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From 'King of the Hill' to King of the Reboot
Mike Judge's "Beavis and Butt-Head" revival gets everything right.
My wife and I went out to dinner with some friends last Friday night, and I was slightly embarrassed when she revealed to them just how much I’d been enjoying Mike Judge’s latest reboot of his 1990’s animated creation, Beavis and Butt-Head. She accurately described how, just a couple days earlier, I had twice called her into the living room to watch portions of the same episode, prefacing it with something like, “Okay, you’ve got to check this part out!”
Unsurprisingly, she didn’t think the scenes were nearly as funny as I did, but I assure all of you ‘Daly Grind’ readers that they were absolutely hilarious.
Granted I’m kind of biased. I loved the original MTV show back in college, and enjoyed it only getting better and more refined as time went on. The pop-culture phenomenon was smarter — yes smarter! — than a lot of people gave it credit for, satirically slaying the era’s increasing sense of political correctness. The show even spawned a pretty decent feature film in 1996.
After the series’ initial run ended a year later, Judge went on to do other pop-culturally significant projects including the often quoted comedy-film Office Space, and the brilliant, long-running Fox animated series, King of the Hill. But after the latter ended in 2010, Judge returned to his roots, breathing new life into the two famously clueless, heavy-metal loving, teenage couch potatoes for a new season of Beavis and Butt-Head.
Many people were doubtful the formula would withstand the test of time, but even to my surprise, it was actually quite good. The writing was up to snuff, and just as funny as before. And in a nod to the early 21st century, the boys now critiqued amateur YouTube videos and clips from reality TV shows rather than music videos.
It worked well, and the season at least started out as a ratings hit. Viewership declined over the weeks, but things wrapped up nicely, and it felt like a good sign-off for the popular franchise.
But lo and behold, earlier this year (more than a decade after its last season), the streaming service Paramount+ announced a brand new chapter in the Beavis and Butt-Head saga, beginning with a full-length film, and seguing into a ninth television season.
The film, Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe, combined science fiction and time travel with the franchise’s hallmark elements, and what can I say? It was fantastic, drawing plenty of laughs and delivering an even harder punch at today’s much higher baseline of political correctness.
The new series, which I’ve only watched a few episodes of so far, picks up where the movie left off, with the two boys navigating aimlessly through the modern era, including technology and activities that weren’t around in the 1990s.
The dialogue’s sharper (without compromising the show’s original formula), and similar to the 2011 version, our two protagonists are watching a number of viral YouTube videos. Their takes on them are a hoot.
The show is an irreverent, viscerally funny breath of fresh air, and I’m glad that Mike Judge was able to pull it off… again. It’s tough to keep anything fresh after 30 years, but he’s somehow managed to do so.
I get that Beavis and Butt-Head has never been everyone’s cup of tea (if it had first come out when I was younger or older, I probably never would have become a fan), but for those who “got it” back then, this latest reboot is absolute gold. I highly recommend it.
Are you a fellow fan, or have you never been able to stand these two? I’m guessing most people reading this fall into the latter, but that’s okay. Let me know your thoughts in an email or in the comment section below.
20 years ago last week, a young dude with hair married my wife. That lucky SOB.
Last week, I represented my publisher, BQB Publishing, at the Mountains & Plains Independent Bookseller Association’s annual FallCon event in Denver. MPIBA supports and promotes independent bookstores in Colorado and 13 surrounding states, so FallCon is always a good opportunity to expose new and existing titles to a wide range of book retailers in this region of the country.
Speaking of Beavis and Butt-Head…
Some of you may remember me writing about Sugartooth, the 90’s rock band who got their national stardom on Beavis and Butt-Head, and who I had a personal connection with back in the day. Some of you may even remember me writing a brief follow-up several months later about them reuniting, and a new album they’re working on slated for release before the end of the year. It’s not quite out yet (though I’ve heard some of it, and it sounds great), but what is available, for perhaps the first time in almost 25 years, is Sugartooth merch!
I may have gotten a little carried away, and ordered all three of the above shirts (along with some other items on the band’s new online store), but you’ve all got to understand: for me, this is like Guns N' Roses getting back together. If I can’t commemorate something like that, what good am I? 😉
Obligatory Dog Shot
The golden child.
Have you picked up your copy of RESTITUTION?
Interested in a signed copy? You can order one (or five) here.
Already read and enjoyed it? I’d love if you could leave a review for the book on Amazon.
I’ve been on a bit of a Reverend Horton Heat kick since they opened in Denver for the Toadies a few weeks ago. I had planned on picking up some of their stuff on vinyl at the concert that night, but the merch table was sold out by the time the trio had even taken the stage. Thank goodness for the Internet (specifically their website).
“Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em” is the band’s debut album from 1990. It includes the iconic, fast-paced, cackling “Psychobilly Freakout”, their signature song. The rest of it is a fun listen too.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.
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Also, if you’re not caught up on my Sean Coleman Thrillers, you can pick the entire series up at a great price on Amazon. And if you’re interested in signed, personalized copies of my books, you can order them directly from my website.
Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!