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Dumber and Dumberer: MTV's 'Beavis and Butt-Head' Are Back, Heh-Heh!
October 25, 2011  | By Eric Gould


Watching MTV's new reboot of Beavis and Butt-Head (premiering Thursday at 10 p.m. ET), you get the same feeling you had when the series premiered in 1993 -- why in the world am I wasting time on these idiots? I mean, serious idiots.

And when Butt-Head reprises his role as couch-bound commentator of MTV videos and shows, it strikes you: You're watching these dopes watch TV. You've become complicit in some sort of meta-moronic ritual making a new low-water mark on the tidal gauge of Western civilization.

Beavis and Butt-Head are still utterly stupid. And silly. And as the two incessantly chuckle, they're still "cool."

Mike Judge, creator of the series, went on to make the indie milestone Office Space (1999) and the longer-running, more sophisticated animated series King of the HIll (1997-2009). When Beavis and Butt-Head debuted the first time, Matt Groening's The Simpsons had already been going a few years, setting the stage for an animated show to serve up the inanity of modern media culture and our dependence on it.

Little did we realize at the time how fertile that territory would be, paving the way for today's adult cartoons including Family Guy, The Ricky Gervais Show, Archer and others.


It's a bit curious that Judge and MTV have decided to bring B&B back from the dead, and bring them back now. After all, the characters' original adventures ended in 1997.

Judge is on record as thinking there's more for the characters to do, particularly since media and music culture have expanded so widely and into so many different formats. There's more material for them to interact with.

Then there's a whole new generation of MTV viewers that can take its own ride with these dumb-asses of the highest order.

For the uninitiated, Beavis and Butt-Head are two socially inept, chronically underachieving idiots forever stuck in high school. (Although we do get to see them age in a flash-forward in Thursday's premiere.)

They know just enough to know that being snarky and sarcastic is cool, but are so dim-witted and uncultured that they don't know why. And they only get truly interested in the violent or inappropriate content they see on television.

Sound familiar? Yeah. To a certain degree, that's all of us.

Then is their awkwardness and immaturity with the opposite sex. Beavis and Butt-Head know that girls are cool, and that they should be scoring, but haven't the slightest clue as to how to get there.


The premiere episode joins them after they've watched Twilight, going off to become vampires because chicks think that's "cool." Not only does the plan fail, but in typical Beavis and Butt-Head fashion it goes stupidly, badly wrong.

Most episodes from the '90s show had the two watching MTV music videos and making arcane yet somehow unintentionally insightful comments about the mindlessness of it all. Those segments are back, updated here with the two idiots also watching and dissing newer MTV shows like 16 and Pregnant and Jersey Shore.

Butt-Head is still the ringleader of these segments (with Judge doing the voiceover), and they're often the best part, since we're getting moronic criticism on moronic content, and that, of course, is smart. And funny.

Beavis, more clueless than Butt-Head (if that's possible), is back and more extreme than ever, morphing in future episodes into his signature alter-doofus "Cornholio," a nihilistic savant, speaking in over-caffeinated tongues with his T-shirt pulled up over his head like some sacred headdress.

Part of the Beavis and Butt-Head genius (and yes, I just used that term for these two) is that their badly drawn, sketchy world, their washed-out colors, their ill-fitting, too-small shorts and their malnourished body frames all sketch an oddly queer suburbia that is hilarious and cautionary.

Cautionary and Darwinian, since these two self-styled rebels without a clue have survived and returned like cockroaches after a nuclear holocaust.

Which only proves you don't have to be smart to make a successful comeback -- just persistent, and willing to be a bigger dumb-ass than the guy on the couch next to you.

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