Nostalgia And The Resurrection Of Beavis And Butt-Head

October 21, 2011

The Charlotte Hornets, Green Day and “Beavis and Butt-Head”: These are the first three things that came to mind as I thought about my life as an 11-year-old the other day.

The reason for the mental time travel, of course, is next week’s premiere of  “Beavis and Butt-Head” 2.0, which I am a little ambivalent about, to say the least.

I get that nostalgia entertainment is profitable, as 1980s movie remakes, which seem to be coming out every month these days (recent examples include “Footloose,” “Karate Kid” and “The Thing”) are proving, but I’m not so sure it applies to this classic MTV series.

The reason for the commercial success of the new “Karate Kid” with Will Smith’s kid, for example, I think, can be traced to people who were 11 when the original Ralph Macchio version came out who now have kids of their own they want to take to see the remake and talk about those “in my day” stories with on the way home. Offspring of the “Beavis and Butt-Head” generation are either not born yet or are too young to watch the new program.

Another thing to consider is how much more crude TV shows have become since “Beavis and Butt-Head” left the airwaves. In 1995, two cartoon characters, possibly under the influence of marijuana, chuckling (if that’s what you can call their trademark “heh, heh”) about “that’s what she said” jokes before the term was coined, and saying “that sucks” to everything, was considered controversial.

As community standards have evolved in the 16 years since the series ended, and shows like “The League” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” have become popular, our culture’s shock value has matured. The things that Beavis would have to say to fulfill the new appetite for vulgarity/obscenities that today’s audience has would have the FCC pulling the plug on the show before it even airs. The loss of shock value equals worse ratings, in my mind.

So, I have some doubts about how successful the show’s return is going to be, but there’s no doubt about this: Mike Judge is still funny. The show’s creator (who can also be thanked for “King of the Hill” and “Office Space”) was smart to have the guys making fun of new pop culture phenomena such as “Twilight,” “Jersey Shore” and “16 and Pregnant” in the trailer embedded above, which could reel in today’s MTV viewer.

I have a feeling the show’s original viewer, for the most part, finds this current “Jersey Shore” era deplorable, so the network may just get some of those therapeutic eyeballs from this older demographic as well.

Another tactic I think Judge and MTV could implement to have a chance of bringing back the original “Beavis and Butt-Head”‘ audience (other than playing a healthy amount of actually good music videos) is featuring commentary on things that the 1995 viewer is into today, like Twitter. Imagine the following: “Hey, Beavis, look at these dumb tweeters trying to get Puff Daddy to like, re-tweet their tweet. Huh, huh. You said ‘tweet’. Let’s see if that Katy Perry does tweets, too. She’s like, hot. Heh, heh.”

I could possibly laugh at that, although it will most likely be on YouTube, as I’m a firm believer that this show should just be left alone, mostly because I ultimately don’t want my memories of the 1990s messed up due to the desperation that today’s entertainment industry is showing as it struggles to come up with fresh programming/movie ideas.

In other news, “Beavis and Butt-Head” is one thing, but if they ever bring back “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” I might just really lose it.