It’s been a long (uh huh huh) time since 10-year-old Nick Venable first watched Beavis and Butthead on MTV. If it’s shocking that 19 years have passed since it first attacked airwaves, consider that a block of music videos probably played before or after it. 1997 came along and began an extreme dearth of shirt-hooded sugar-rushers asking for T.P. for their bunghole. Then King of the Hill soon Texas drawl-fucked us out of hard (uh huh huh) rock inanity for the next 13 years. If one can say anything about Mike Judge, as one can if one has a mouth, it’s that he allows too long a gestation period between his more genius projects. And I’m including Extract and The Goode Family in there. But then, cue the angelic “ahhh” sounds, Beavis and Butthead was resurrected for 12 new episodes. I hold this Blu-ray in my hand, and while it doesn’t make me feel like God, it makes me feel like I could kick God’s ass. As it were.
It is not an effortless task explaining the appeal of this self-aware celebration of stupidity. Their first segment in 14 years, “Werewolves of Highland” features the duo of Beavis and Butt-head allowing a rabid homeless man to bite them repeatedly, because they think it will turn them into a werewolf, which will attract girls. A satire of American youths obsessed with romanticizing formerly horrific monsters? Possibly. A hilariously gory way to bring back this particular brand of counter-counter culture? Absolutely. And viewers who don’t like the cartoon should take pleasure in watching their failure, as they lay slumped over on the couch, infected and pus-ridden. Everyone wins!
Enough about new viewers, though, because this set is for hardcore (uh huh huh) fans. It’s akin to a greatest-hits album comprised of new renditions as done by the artist, only without the cringe-worthy awfulness. The Great Cornholio returns in full force, held up as the Messiah after he drills an action figure through his hand and a cultish group mistakes it for stigmata. The duo try to get girls, though I’m certain sex would be alien to them. (They ask a girl’s father for her “hand” in marriage, assuming it means something more than its metaphor. Also, they assume an abortion clinic is a brothel. Connect the dots.) They fuck around at Burger World a few times, once involving a pet rat. They try out a few other accidental jobs, including tech support and military drone operators. Situations are misconstrued, as when a Highland evacuation due to toxic gas leaks invites them to assume they are survivors of an apocalypse, leaving them free to ransack all the houses in the neighborhood. Van Driessen, Stuart, and Coach Buzzkill show up. And of course, there’s some major ass-kicking performed by Todd. Go Todd!
Lest anyone thinks the music videos are gone, you’ll be only half-disappointed. Many “artists of the half-decade” are skewered, such as MGMT, Lil Wayne, Battles, and Cage the Elephant, among others. (I don’t know why, but it amuses me that they’re familiar with deadmau5.) But the majority of the interstitials come from other original MTV programming, although there is a fake movie review and a UFC fight involved. These shows include 16 and Pregnant, True Life, Teen Mom, and, most notably, they deservedly berate the fuck out of Jersey Shore, especially Deena. I would pay good money to see them go MSTK3K over entire episodes of the Shore. But I suppose I’ll let their resurgence be the one dream realized this past year.
The episodes themselves are bright rainbows over golden showers. When it comes to the actual Blu-ray disc itself, though, things come up short (uh huh huh). The intended crude animation looks as crisp as it possibly can in high-def, but the 3:4 aspect wastes the format. It’s also intentional, but doesn’t justify paying extra money to get it on Blu-ray in the first place. If any show would welcome the return of VHS, it would be this one.
The extras are equally disappointing. “2011: San Diego Comic Con Panel” is a 20-minute Q&A with Mike Judge, joined by fanboy Johnny Knoxville, as he discusses the show history, characters and their voices, and Judge’s past in general. Well worth a watch, it begs for Mike Judge to showcase himself more often in public appearances. However, the “Interruptions” features are ridiculously slight, offering minute-long phone conversations between B&B and cast members from Jersey Shore. I assume they played as promotional material on MTV. It’s not even worth mentioning “Silence Your Cell Phone,” where they tell theater-goers to shut up, but I just mentioned it. I guess it was worth only that.
Honestly, I don’t give a pet rat’s ass about extras and aspect ratios. My nostalgia and immaturity rarely form such a cohesive bond, and this disc allowed it to happen. Just as honestly, I didn’t watch the initial airings, as my remote control tries to pour water over itself and electrocute me anytime MTV is considered. I watched them on Hulu. I’m not ashamed. Thank you for bringing these guys back into our lives, Mike Judge. Many happy and horny returns.
Length: 264 min.
Rated: Not rated
Distributor: MTV Productions
Release Date: 2/14/12
Starring: Mike Judge
Directed by: Yvette Kaplan, Tony Kluck, John Rice, Roy Smith, Ted Stearn
Produced by: John Altschuler, Mike Judge, Yvette Kaplan, Dave Krinsky, Tom Lassally, Michael Rotenberg
Written by: John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, DJ Javerbaum, Brad Pope, Jeff Goldstone, Kristofor Brown, Sivert Glarum, Michael Jamin, Greg Grabianski, Boyce Bugliari, Jamie McLaughlin, Bo Weinberg
Visit the Beavis & Butt-head Official Website