“Beavis and Butt-Head” has been off the air since 1997, but if the crowd at San Diego’s 2011 Comic-Con was any indication they have been sorely missed. When moderator Johnny Knoxville and “Beavis” creator Mike Judge entered the room, the SRO audience exploded. But they weren’t attending to just see the “Jackass” stare and Judge — they were in the room to get a first look at clips from the new episodes of the show.
As Knoxville and Judge cracked open beers and talked about Judge’s start in animation (“I really liked sketch comedy, so I started making animated shorts hoping to get some meetings with people in comedy”) and favorite animators (“The Roadrunner cartoons are like the pyramids in Egypt to me”), eventually Knoxville got down to business. “I was supposed to ask you more questions, but I’m dying to see the footage. Can we watch the [expletive] footage man?”
The segments were the same old Beavis and Butt-Head we remember but this time around, they’re not simply tearing into music videos. The boys also take swipes at TV shows like “Jersey Shore,” “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Cribs.” As Judge explained, “I’ve got to say, that felt like pay dirt to me. I hadn’t seen [“Jersey Shore”], but I’d heard about it. I started watching the first season DVD, then the second one and realized I don’t feel good after I watch it. But I think it’s a pretty good fit.”
Not surprisingly, Snooki and her friends (as well as the slack-jawed teens of “16 and Pregnant” are pretty rich pay dirt for Beavis and Butt-Head. One sniggering comment that followed the “Jersey Shore” residents tracking who had “swapped spit” on a giant chalkboard (“If they do that long enough, they’ll discover how herpes started”) got a well-deserved laugh, as did swipes at ridiculous piercings, obviously fake “reality” TV staging and the goofiness of teens showing off the houses their parents will “have to work the rest of [their lives] paying for all this crap.” Who knew that reality TV was so desperately in need of the Beavis and Butt-Head treatment?
As for storylines, there was a mix of old and new for the guys. In one episode, “Werewolves of Highland,” Beavis and Butt-Head ask a homeless man (whom they don’t know is infected with Hepatitis C) to bite them in the hopes they’ll be turned into vampires, thus making them attractive to girls a la “Twilight.” In another, the title card of which (“Holy Cornholio”) inspired whoops of excitement from the audience, Beavis’ “TP for my bunghole” inspires a cult to worship him as a god, raiding Costco for all the toilet paper members can get their hands on. In a slightly less effective clip from a third episode, Beavis and Butt-Head work at a call center, asking customers seeking IT support how to pull porn off their work computers and imitating foreign employees.
The audience not only responded enthusiastically, many fans who may have only been in elementary school when “Beavis and Butt-Head” was on the air stood up to sing Judge’s praises. But though they’d likely have an audience, DVDs to the original episodes aren’t likely to be released. “Those music videos were only cleared for MTV, so in order to put them on DVD you’d have to clear the music, the band and everyone in them,” Judge explained.
Though Judge explained his reasons for bringing back “Beavis and Butt-Head” by joking that “I felt TV was getting too smart,” the return was likely spurred by the duo’s appearance in “Jackass 3.” “That was a huge honor for us, by the way,” Knoxville said. “We were all like little schoolgirls that Mike was doing that.” For Judge’s part, he was pleased to be in a number one movie “for the first time since they started 3-D.” We can likely expect Knoxville to lend his vocal talents to “Beavis and Butt-Head,” at least if Knoxville gets his way. “I would love to do ‘Beavis,’ thanks for asking,” he said after one fan suggested it.
But don’t look to judge to have a part in bringing back “Daria” (a spin-off of “Beavis and Butt-Head”). Judge was largely left out of the original series. “They hired all these people I didn’t know. That just bugged me a little bit. I didn’t see much of it.” That’s fine. He’ll be too busy watching “16 and Pregnant” anyway.