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Smells like teen spirit: Beavis, Butt-Head are back

The TV show

The TV show "Beavis and Butt-Head" returns to MTV, premiering on Oct. 27, 2011, at 10 p.m. Photo Credit: Mike Judge / MTV

Hard, very hard, to believe, but an original "Beavis and Butt-Head" hasn't aired in 14 years. Fourteen! Rather than burden you with cliches about "where did the time go?," I will burden you with the thought that "B&B" very much was a product of its time -- a time of "Clerks" and slackers and Metallica (it still is a time of Metallica, thank goodness, but less so) and "Nevermind" and "Smells like Teen Spirit."

Speaking of "Nevermind," never mind some of these landmarks arrived before "Beavis," but they still reflected the spirit of the times -- that teens were dissolute, and didn't give a -- about anything, and that the world (in their eyes), and on and on. Wall Street was booming! But youth was slumming!

It was a fascinating time -- when MTV actually aired (sort of) videos and when rap had begun to take over the world. The Berlin Wall had just fallen, and Communism had ceded to capitalism in Russia. And yes, Metallica ruled -- really ruled. Check out its famous "Enter Sandman" Monsters of Rock appearance in Moscow circa 1991 I've posted -- which captured the energy and power of American pop culture as much as anything before and since. (Which "B&B" was part of.)

And then, came "B & B:" Not quite a hangover, but a distillation of the teen spirit of the moment; it was a raw, lascivious, disgusting, and sometimes extremely funny -- or just extremely stupid. So much has been written about "Beavis" -- too much really -- that I just can't resist piling up the words either. But Mike Judge really was on to something.

My only point this morning, however, would be this: "Beavis" was of its time, and its time is not now. Yes, it has thrived as a cult phenom for more than a decade, but its strange power is gone. The world has gone through 9/11 and two major wars in the Middle East. Everything has changed. Meanwhile, this time capsule arrives to remind us all just how irrelevant it is right now.

OK, that said, here are the clips. Here's a good extended one featuring scenes from the new season, and as promised, "Sandman" - another cultural reference - the Farrelly brothers too were influenced by "B&B," hence "Dumb and Dumber..."

 

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