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The Dynamic Duo Returns to MTV

Written By: Abel S. Pinedo

October 25th, 2011

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Let’s take a step into the wayback machine.  Before the iPad, before the Xbox and Wii, before Smartphones…. there were two dumbass teenagers named Beavis & Butthead.  The show aired on MTV from March 8, 1993, to November 28, 1997.  (Before the premiere, there were two shorts that ran on the animation festival circuit.  However, those original shorts were not part of the regular series run.)  By the time the series ended its run, there were 200 episodes, as well as multiple VHS and DVD releases, videogames, toys and clothing.

The show was not without its critics though.  Politicians and parents groups lashed out at them.  Along the way, critics accused them of being responsible for the “dumbing down” of America.  Certain episodes were pulled from syndication and its airtime was pushed to 10p.m. or later.  Despite all that, they remained on the air.  As the show skirted controversy, its popularity grew.  They had their own comic book, spinoff (Daria) and feature film (Beavis & Butthead Do America).  Hell, they were even presenters during the 69th annual Academy Awards.  (No, they weren’t nominated.  But they should have been!)

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that when I saw the first few episodes, it just did not grab me.  I like dumb humor but something was just amiss.  I didn’t tune in again until about a year later while hanging out with a friend.  He was a huge fan and I thought I’d give it a second shot.  While I cannot recall the episode that we saw that night, I do know that something clicked and I was instantly hooked.  From that moment on, it became a ritual of watching as many episodes as I could.  I appreciated the dumb humor that I had somehow missed the first time.  (Maybe I just was not in the mood that first night.  Fool that I was!)  I suddenly felt like I was in on the joke.

Looking back, I think Beavis & Butthead were so successful because they came along at a time when we needed to laugh at stupidity.  They were the original Jackass, albeit in animated form.  They laughed for laughter’s sake at the inane.  America was reeling from an economic downturn (much like now) yet Beavis & Butthead were oblivious to all but their own basic, primal needs:  entertainment and food.  As long as the music was loud and the nachos kept coming, they laughed.  Despite all their faults, all their failed attempts at scoring beer and chicks, despite all the punishment they were dealt, despite every setback, they laughed.  And we laughed with them.  (Okay, we laughed at them, too.)

Later this month, after a near 14 year hiatus, the boys are back in town!  I was among the lucky ones at San Diego Comic Con this past July where creator Mike Judge was on hand to present never before seen footage of the new show.  To say it was a smash hit is putting it mildly.  Judge talked about how he’d often wanted to bring the show back and now it just seemed like it was time.  In addition to all new episodes and their usual commenting on music videos, the boys will also be watching/commenting on such MTV shows as Jersey Shore and 16 and Pregnant.  I won’t spoil what I saw in San Diego but you won’t be disappointed.

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There’s a reason why I have the same slightly faded Beavis Cornholio bendy keychain hanging from my rearview mirror after all these years; it reminds me that we need laughter as a constant in our lives.  So please join me on October 27th as we revisit with some old friends…and laugh once again for the simplest of reasons.