ANIMATED PREMIERE "Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head"
WHEN | WHERE Tomorrow at 10 p.m. on MTV
REASON TO WATCH Beavis . . . huh-huh-huh . . . and Butt-Head . . . heh-heh-heh . . . are back.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Influential/controversial MTV series about two imbecile dudes with trademark guttural snickers who watch TV, occasionally go to Highland High, check out girls, and (in the original series, 1993-1997) worked, sort of (huh-huh-huh) at Burger World. Tonight, Beavis (redhead, Metallica T-shirt) and Butt-Head (brown hair, AC/DC fan) decide to become werewolves to impress "the chicks," but the consequences are unintended. Also, in lieu of the music video critiques that appeared on the original, the boys now take whacks at MTV series like "Jersey Shore" and "16 and Pregnant." Example: "That guy [on "16"] looks like he might be stupider than us." Huh-huh-heh-heh . . . Creator Mike Judge continues to voice both characters, and others.
Back in the day, the show found itself in the middle of several content-related controversies (notably, language). "B&B" became the poster child of Congress' deliberations to codify the TV parental guidelines that went into effect in 1997. There also were a handful of so-called copycat incidents, including one in 1993 in which an Ohio mother claimed her 5-year-old had set a fire that killed his 2-year-old sister after watching an episode. MTV later moved the show from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., while Beavis and Butt-Head's proclivity for fire was curbed.
MY SAY Bill and Ted . . . Wayne and Garth . . . Cheech and Chong . . . Dumb and Dumber . . . Patrick and SpongeBob . . . The list of mentally challenged comic duos is a most excellent one, dude, but for want of almost any higher intellectual functions, none have ever surpassed Beavis and Butt-Head. In Judge's seditious estimation, they were at the end of the evolutionary scale -- if, say, someone were to evolve watching only MTV and a few other choice Gen-X television fixtures. Too many Metallica or Sir Mix-a-Lot videos, or sitcoms, or infomercials? You, too, could become Beavis or Butt-Head. Of course, there was fierce debate over whether Judge was sending up the culture or abetting its decay, but the result was more of the same. "South Park" arrived August of '97, and much later, "Jersey Shore." The ratings system "B&B" helped birth ironically (or perversely) provided some cover to so many others who would follow.
Meanwhile, "B&B" was, in fact, funny, gross, stupid, and, at times, clever or as much of a waste of time as anything else on the boob tube. But why exactly do we need more?
BOTTOM LINE Like opening a time capsule. The boys remain the same. At least their snark has been updated for contemporary targets.