Beavis and Butthead Do America Again
Q101.com was so excited for this premiere, our cornholio ached. After 14 years in retirement — or perhaps misdiagnosed brain death — the animated, teenage couch potatoes have returned, no wiser for the wear, to a new generation and a world of YouTube, mixed martial arts and Jersey Shore.
“I feel like it still works, and it’s really fun to do,” creator and Beavis/Butt-Head voice Mike Judge says. “I’m keeping Beavis and Butt-Head the same pure characters they were, but the world has changed a little bit around them.”
That may be the only pure thing about the dunderheaded miscreants: blond Beavis, who’s “got a little bit of a screw loose,” and Butt-Head, a brown-haired adolescent with braces who’s “a little more sane but probably just as dumb,” says Judge (King of the Hill, Office Space, Idiocracy).
MTV executive Van Toffler, who was there at the begining of B&B, thought it was the right time for their return.
“I was up in the middle of the night, and I saw a Gaga video and some Jersey Shore footage and some mixed martial arts, and it kind of hit me that the culture was missing Beavis and Butt-Head and their comment on everything that was going on,” says Toffler, who asked Judge if he was interested in bringing the cartoon boys back.
Judge says he ended B&B in 1997 because he was getting burned out after about 200 15-minute cartoons (two per episode) and wanted to do other shows. His Fox comedy King of the Hill premiered that year. “I also wanted to stop before I felt like I had run it into the ground, and I think I did stop before I’d run it into the ground,” he says.
After years away, Judge felt it was a good time to come back to his popular creations.
“It seemed like I had enough ideas I wanted to try,” he says. “I decided that even if it doesn’t do well, worst-case scenario, I think these will be fun to do and it’ll be good. I look at it like if that’s something to be proud of and show my friends and family, then that’s worth it.”
The addled teens, whose infectious cackles were once mimicked by the masses, became a phenomenon during B&B‘s four-year MTV run (including a hit feature film) with idiotic escapades, focused on trying to score, interspersed with monosyllabic but often very astute analysis of the era’s music videos.
Many of the old characters, such as classmate Stewart and hippie teacher Mr. Van Dreesen, will be back, as will Beavis’ alter ego, Cornholio.
In one of the new cartoons, they watch an episode of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, and Butt-Head notes the soon-to-be father “might be stupider than us.” The animated characters also make hay with Jersey Shore, which Judge has gotten “addicted to,” though he hadn’t watched until Toffler sent him some episodes. (The boys still watch music videos, too.)