Proving that some things never go out of style, “Beavis and Butt-Head” return in a new era and venue (Paramount+), but otherwise unchanged, even if the times might have altered their targets. The result is as funny and proudly stupid as ever, with creator Mike Judge bringing a little more awkward laughter (Heh heh) into the modern world.
After an animated movie to essentially relaunch the franchise after a decade-long absence since their 2011 revival, the new series closely follows the template of the original, featuring a pair of shorts within each episode and interstitial riffing on videos. It’s just that the topics have evolved, giving the clueless 15-year-old friends a chance to lampoon ASMR and college-reaction videos (they think the celebrating mother and daughter are wrestling) or to share their mixed feelings about BTS.
Given how proudly unaware Beavis and Butt-Head originally were, including their fruitless obsession with “scoring,” they might seem like an odd duo to revive in the current moment. In an interview with Indiewire, Judge suggested the concept was actually “eternal,” noting that teenage boys “really haven’t changed that much in hundreds of years. There are some things that don’t have anything to do with what time period you’re in.”
That turns out to be largely true, with only the shifting backdrops for their shenanigans – like visiting an escape room, easily the best of the four stories in the episodes previewed – reflecting that we’ve moved into a new century. Judge also drops in one very amusing cameo as a reminder of his animated filmography.
What still makes “Beavis and Butt-Head” work, though, is the disarming idiocy of it all, like the two hiding in a cardboard box in order to infiltrate the school after hours, and Butt-Head proudly saying, “We’re beating the system” even after the plan has gone haywire. There’s even an episode devoted to Beavis’ obsession with fire, which, given the show’s history – and run-ins with concerns about kids imitating the behavior – was probably thrown in just to torment Paramount’s legal team.
Animated characters are always ageless, but this isn’t exactly the Peanuts gang as candidates for revivals go. Through the years, though, Judge has demonstrated that he certainly knows how to work the system, and that when it comes to “Beavis and Butt-Head,” the funny side of stupidity is, indeed, eternal.
“Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head” premieres Aug. 4 on Paramount+.