TV

Can New "Beavis and Butt-Head" Succeed?

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

We've heard rumors that "Beavis and Butt-Head" creator Mike Judge is working on 30 all-new episodes of the hit 1990s animated comedy show. Now, the New York Post is reporting that sources at MTV have confirmed the rumors: the teenage metalheads will snicker and insult their way back onto the channel soon, though the network hasn't announced when exactly the new shows will air.

It's an interesting move by MTV and Judge. Considering the world has changed quite a bit since Beavis and Butt-Head first stormed America, can the show regain the success it enjoyed in the '90s, or are times too different for the show to remain relevant?

The Post makes a good point: the return of "Beavis and Butt-Head" will mean MTV has to play more videos, at least within the format of the show, so that the two sarcastic teens can reprise their mockery of cheesy bands, bad songs and general lameness. For older fans who remember what MTV used to be, this will be a welcome change. Yet younger MTV aficionados may be annoyed that the channel isn't showing yet another "16 and Pregnant" marathon.

Also, metalheads aren't as much a part of the cultural or musical landscape as they used to be: in the U.S., at least, they've been replaced by hip-hop fans and hipster teens. Will a new crop of viewers still identify with the air-guitar-playing, Ozzy-referencing Beavis and Butt-Head, or will they seem hopelessly dated?

Or -- and we can't rule this out -- will Mike Judge change Beavis and Butt-Head's interests? Will they now have some commentary for the latest Rick Ross or Lady Gaga video instead?

It'll be a shame if younger kids can't get into "Beavis and Butt-Head." Not only is the show hilariously dumb, but it's also unexpectedly intelligent. Beavis and Butt-Head's dynamic is fascinating: while Butt-Head thinks he's cooler than Beavis, Beavis is the one who seems to have the most fun. He's less inhibited, more creative, and has much more of a zest for life than the dour Butt-Head. Yet, Beavis, too, thinks Butt-Head is the cool one, and looks to him for guidance most of the time. It's a classic teenage-boy friendship dynamic.

There's one element of teenagerdom that never seems to go out of fashion: disaffectation. To a teen, a few things are cool, but most stuff sucks. This is the rule Beavis and Butt-Head live by.

Maybe that'll be enough to pull in a new, younger audience for the classic MTV show. Once the teens of today decide "Beavis and Butt-Head" doesn't suck, they can hopefully come to love this gloriously stupid, subtly profound show as much as the older fans did.