TV review: ‘Beavis and Butthead’ is, like, still cool and stuff

By Kyle VanDyke

The Speakeasy, Ohio U. via UWIRE

Way back in the day, from approximately 1981 to the mid-90s, MTV was a “cool” television network that brought the latest and greatest of the music industry right to audiences’ own homes. Anyone could flip on the TV and watch music videos, musician interviews, live-broadcasts and other music-related shows. Unfortunately, as the American culture changed, so did MTV; it transformed into a grotesque network of douche-bag-filled reality shows and other wastes of valuable time. It seemed all hope was lost . . . until now. With the end of the fourth torturous season of “Jersey Shore,” MTV rekindles the flame of a long lost classic: “Beavis and Butthead.”

Thirteen years and 11 months after their apparent final episode, the dimwitted duo made their much-anticipated return to their original home network, MTV,  Oct. 27. Still sex-crazed, still under-educated and still in high school, Beavis and Butthead ensure that fans of the series won’t find any disappointment in their reborn heroes’ new season.

Reviving an old show, especially one with an expansive cult-following, is a task that producers must approach with the utmost care. The slightest blunder could send devoted fans over the edge and destroy the season at episode one. Fortunately, “Beavis and Butthead” creator Mike Judge hasn’t lost touch with the distorted part of his brain that gave birth to the awkward teenagers and has managed to bring them back with their familiar originality and stupidity.

After so many years of working on series that are best described by the words “frustratingly lame,” it is no big surprise that people were skeptical as to whether or not Judge would be able to reproduce the laugh-out-loud, mindless humor that he incorporated into the seven seasons of “Beavis and Butthead.” Apparently, he was just half-assing the shows “Daria” and “King of the Hill,” because the old-school humor is certainly still in his taste.

The premiere episode of the eighth season, titled “Werewolves of Highland,” follows the boys as they watch a film from the “Twilight” movie series and try to become werewolves so they can “score” with chicks. As usual, their lack of both basic-knowledge and judgment lands them in an undesirable situation; this time hospitalized and diagnosed with staph, MRSA and Hepatitis B, among other things.

The second episode of the premiere, “Crying,” puts Beavis in an awkward and frustrating position when an onion in his chili dog causes his eyes to water while watching “The Bachelor.” Butthead notices right away, exclaiming, “Whoa! You’re crying! You’re crying like a girl!” For the remainder of the episode, he tortures Beavis with this misunderstanding by announcing it first to their class of peers, and then to the entire school.

Watching the new season, it feels as if they are just episodes that were never aired in the 90s. Nothing seems out of place or different from the original, except for one new spin that actually seems to make the show better. “Beavis and Butthead” episodes have always been peppered with short segments of the teens watching music videos, usually either deeming them cool or ripping them apart. In the new season, though, not only do they watch music videos of current artists such as LMFAO and Skrillex, but also popular MTV shows, including “Jersey Shore.” Who wouldn’t enjoy watching Beavis and Butthead mercilessly insult the faux-tanned reality stars such as Mike “The Situation” and Snooki? They aren’t going to be taking it easy, either, which is apparent when they ask JWoww where she got syphilis. This assault on goofy reality shows will most likely only add to the hilarity of the new season.

It’s beyond great to have Beavis and Butthead back on MTV, with fresh-out-of-the-oven episodes being cranked out of Judge’s mind. The new season has much promise and fans of the series should be more than happy to have something fun and familiar to watch. MTV has taken a big step forward by bringing back these classic icons and introducing them to a slightly different world than the one they left. Without missing a beat, the two doltish, virgin teenagers aren’t finding it hard to adapt to this new generation. Uh-huh-huh-huh. Hard.

Rating: A

“Beavis and Butthead”

MTV

Thursdays, 9 p.m.

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