In the spirit of the heroes of this cartoon, I feel it’s only proper to start this off with a five word review: the show does not suck. But if you want to know more about the much-anticipated premiere of Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head, read on.
I went in to the first new episode of Beavis and Butt-Head with a nagging feeling that something would be off. I wasn’t sure what, exactly. Maybe a small detail in the animation, a change in the voice acting, or even re-recorded theme song (the first time I watched a Married With Children on Netflix, I almost didn’t make it past the revolting place-holder music for Sinatra). But surely there was going to be something that would ruin it. With Hollywood constantly finding new, grotesque ways to reboot franchises, maybe I am just conditioned now to be repulsed. But as soon as that fuzzy guitar lick hit, I knew we were in business. That said, it was weird to enjoy this on a nostalgic level, but also as something that feels part of today.
In the opening scene of “Werewolves Of Highland,” Butt-Head offers up a five word review of his own for one of the “Twilight” movies, making it clear that B+B would be rooted in today’s pop culture: “well, this isn’t very good.” But that doesn't stop the boys from convincing themselves that getting bitten by a werewolf will make them irresistible to women. Of course, this leads them to pay a disease-ridden homeless man a stick of gum for him to bite the hell out of them. That hook was proof enough for me that Mike Judge hasn’t missed a beat and his feel for Beavis and Butt-Head is as sharp and stupid as it was fourteen years ago.
In “Crying,” the lesser of the two episodes, Beavis starts tearing up while eating a chili-dog. Butt-Head, convinced that Beavis was affected by the Bachelor-esque show on TV, delivers what is perhaps the line of the episode: “you’re moved.”
I was happy to see that a music video – MGMT’s “Kids” – was the first thing they took aim at in the interstitial bits. Yes, there would be plenty of reality TV to come, but starting off the commentary bits with anything but a music video just wouldn’t have been right. Butt-Head’s perfect encapsulation of the video: “she’s a lousy mom.” The animation was even the same, with Beavis doing his patented “FIRE” wiggle, straight out of 1993.
The reality TV bits played alright, but felt like they needed a little ironing out. While watching The Jersey Shore and True Life: I’m Addicted To Porn, Beavis and Butt-Head don’t come up short at all. When Butt-Head breaks out a stereotype Italian-pizzaiolo accent, it’s one of the show’s funniest moments. But it was strange not to have that familiar bed of music under everything. There were moments where it felt like Judge had to fill in silent gaps with material that wasn’t as sharp.
Overall, the episode was a solid start. As more familiar characters start to pop up and the show starts to pick up some steam, I’m betting that it will only get better and better. So in summation… I guess it’s not a big surprise: I am a man aged 28-45, and I could not be happier to have these two idiots back.
Ben Worcester was moved by the premiere of Beavis and Butt-Head.