Beavis & Butthead creator Mike Judge announced that Comedy Central will be the new home of a Beavis & Butthead reboot! The cartoon will move from it’s original home, MTV (who are more of a trash reality channel now) and the show’s producers are claiming that the new version will see the iconic duo “reimagined for Gen-Z”. Mike Judge promises the humor will simultaneously appeal to both Gen-X’ers who love the original as well as their children.
The original format of Beavis & Butthead was perfect for a teen’s minuscule attention span. Every episode had two short storylines sandwiching video reviews, which meant you never had to pay too much attention to one storyline. In subsequent attempts to bring the show back, I think MTV leaned too hard on Mike Judge, who has gone on to be a GREAT creator with his run on “King of The Hill” as well as all-time cult classic films like “Office Space” & “idiocracy”. But we must remember that Beavis & Butthead originated from a 3 minute short called “Frog Baseball” that caught fire (heh heh….FIRE! FIRE!) after being featured on the MTV animation showcase “Liquid Television”. These characters are designed to be as shallow and one dimensional as possible. Beavis & Butthead have never shown deep emotions, they don’t cry, they don’t fall in love and they never will… they’re loser metalheads. So in 2011 when MTV brought back the show, they tried to replace the video reviews with B&B doing commentary MST3K style over shitty reality shows.
The whole thing fell flat in my opinion because while it made perfect sense for two sixteen year-olds to sit around watching videos. It was less likely that they would make a point of watching “Real Housewives”. Also it required you to sort of watch & listen to the shitty reality show portion for the joke setup. The beauty of MTV in the 90s was that while they had genre specific programming, their main rotation featured music videos of all genres. So pop music mingled with alternative rock & gangsta rap. As a result you ended up watching a wide array of music videos & taking a giant crap on the stuff you didn’t like… much like Beavis & Butthead did.
Comedy Central is trying to get an adult animation lineup in the mold of “Adult Soup”, the wildly popular block of adult animation that runs nightly on The Cartoon Network. “Adult Swim” has done a great job of appealing to a wide demographic, and If Beavis & Butthead want to be successful in 2020 they must look not to other animated programs, but to YouTube & the internet in general. Youtube has conditioned young people to watch short videos rather than longer form shows. In this sense Beavis & Butthead are perfect for today’s viewers. You could take any B&B from the 90s & break them up into several short videos that would almost certainly fit right in with the YouTube format. The two storyline based skits would make for short & complete stand-alone videos, but mainly you ABSOLUTELY MUST bring back music video reviews!
The music video reviews were essentially what are known today as “reaction videos” where Beavis & Butthead would see a music video & react as the video played. Fast forward to 2020, and reaction videos are HUGE! It sounds dumb, but go to YouTube and watch a reaction video. When you crawl out of your guaranteed three hour long rabbit-hole you’ll understand. The kids of today have even less of an attention span that the Gen-X kids. Adult Swim capitalized on that by making their shows shorter (15 minutes). Beavis & Butthead could take this to the next level with short episodic skits & music video reviews mixed in. You run the full show on Comedy Central, but release every music video review as it’s own reaction video & watch the views (and money) pile up!
Old-heads will love it too because they absolutely hate the music of today & would love to hear Beavis & Butthead take a huge crap on modern videos. For example; my parents haaaated Beavis & Butthead with a passion! But they would always laugh at the video reviews because they too felt like many of those music videos sucked! Viacom owns Comedy Central so they have the same licensing as other Viacom owned channels like CMT & MTV. You could also throw in some Tosh.0 type internet video reactions in there & you’ve got gold! Instead of watching on an old beat up TV, the boys could huddle around a shitty old beat up PC!
I love Beavis & Butthead and I would love to see them take over the world again. If for no other reason than when Beavis & Butthead had it’s first mega-successful run, Mike Judge got royally screwed by MTV & it would be cool to see him finally make some money off of his first big hit. But if you want to keep the attention of today’s viewer it’s clear as day… it’s time for Beavis & Butthead to clap-back at the world!