Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head Is Nostalgia Done Right: Review
Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head returned in a major way with their Paramount+ feature "Do the Universe." And now they're back to their old "series stomping grounds" with a back-to-basics reminder to fans that worked so well in the '90s could still have something to say in 2022. The streamer released the first two episodes, each containing two standalone shorts with breakaway segments of what the duo is watching at home. Creator and star Mike Judge, who voices the duo, is back to his original form in a way that feels like it's only been a few months since the show was last on.
During the series' original run, those interludes between shorts were music videos, given the IP's association with MTV. The first revival changed them out in favor of the reality programming that the cable network favored. Bow, the Paramount+ revival has swapped those out for random TikTok videos and music videos, which Judge takes advantage of, especially with one K-Pop music video that takes an unexpected turn with Beavis. The first short called "Escape Room" has them recruited to participate in an Ancient Egyptian-themed one since two women were trying to start one but needed two more participants given the requirements. Given Beavis and Butt-Head's perpetually immature adolescent minds, they think it's an opportunity to score, so they stop letting cars run over their milk cartons to join in.
Going off ahead, they take a wrong turn and end up in a bathroom while letting their imagination take over, not realizing the bathroom door opens in from the inside. It's simplistic, and it works because the slapstick humor between them comes in bunches. The second part in "The Special One" is a dramatic shift from the normal narrative that finds Beavis at a fast food wing restaurant. His curiosity takes him to the back when he finds a sentient dumpster fire. Naturally, given the teen's fascination with fire, he treats it like a God and bows to his will with unexpected consequences.
The second episode contains shorts "Boxed In" and "Beekeepers." Much like "Escape Room," the stories follow along with simple premises and regretful decisions. It does feature the return of David Van Driessen, their hippie teacher, who still hasn't lost complete patience with Beavis and Butt-Head, along with the duo's neighbor, Tom Anderson. "Boxed In" is about as minimalist as it gets for a story as the duo spends most of it trapped inside a box, and Beavis can't stop playing with a power drill. "Beekeepers" is a little more involved as one of several get-rich-quick schemes the half-brained duo tries to cook up fails miserably.
Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head has a promising future ahead with its current Paramount+ run because the show sticks to the formula while still finding a way to remain current and relevant. Injecting the hybrid of TikTok and music videos into the format still keeps things on-brand to what the duo would normally watch… more than… say… Jersey Shore or The Real World.