The last time Beavis and Butt-Head were on the national spotlight, America was catching a bad case of Seinfeld fever, getting to know a peculiar president we now know as William Jefferson Clinton, and coming to terms with the dying art of the non-pretentious music video. With the current decay of our culture, (a good chunk of it at the blood-stained hands of MTV) the world could use some levity delivered by Mike Judge’s famous, loveable, teenage schlubs.
Even though Beavis and Butt-Head have been absent since 1997, Judge’s other characters haven’t. Who isn’t familiar with Hank Hill; the ideal husband, father and American? Goofy as King of the Hill was, it still maintained the usual subversive humor that made Judge one of the best animators in the ’90s. And with his dive in, shall we say, “higher comedy” (as in comedy that doesn’t rely on farts and sex puns for laughs), Judge has honed “Beavis and Butt-Head” into a comedy made for just about any sensibility.
The ninth season of “Beavis and Butt-Head” kicked off with a scathing lampooning of the Twilight movies. The episode opens with Butt-Head poignantly stating, “This isn’t very good,” in a theater full of love-struck teenage girls. The rest of the episode has the duo attempting to get bitten by a werewolf (who is actually just a diseased homeless man) in attempts to woo ladies.
Beavis and Butt-Head taking the MST3K approach to music videos is back as well. MGMT’s music video for their single “Kids” had me quite literally laughing out loud. As immature as Beavis and Butt-Head may be, they were able to dissect a music video consisting of a bunch of actors dressed as monsters chasing around a toddler saying, “OK son, you’re going to be chased around by a bunch of monsters, but it’s OK ‘cause you’re, uhhh, one and a half.” They’re also not afraid to burn bridges, stating out of nowhere, “Is this Florida? Florida sucks.”
What is easily the best part of Beavis and Butt-Head’s return is that they’re no longer simply taking on music videos. They’re biting the hand that feeds and making fun of MTV programming such as Jersey Shore.
On an episode where the Jersey Shore cast goes to Florence to make pizza, Jenni “JWoww” (typing this name was incredibly painful) talks about how she can’t wait to tell her grandkids about the memories they would create that day. Beavis responds with what will no doubt be her grandkids sentiments: “You’re the best, Grandma JWoww. Please don’t hit us again,” and “Are Uncle Juice-Head and Uncle Gorilla going to help us make pizza?”
While its beginnings may have been shallow, immature and simple, Beavis and Butt-Head’s return is on par with modern comedies such as “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “30 Rock.” And like “30 Rock,” which isn’t afraid to make fun of the crumbling empire of NBC, “Beavis and Butt-Head” isn’t afraid to make fun of MTV’s vapid, mind-numbing primetime lineup.
It may be too soon to make a definite judgment, but I can say with plenty of confidence that “Beavis and Butt-Head” will no doubt be a shining light in the horrible culture hole that is MTV.