Easiest review for this new week Beavis and Boot Head The revival of the TV series would probably be written as follows:
Huh-huh-huh, hey-heh-heh, huh-huh-huh. He said “easier”.
If you still fondly remember the ’90s poem of the dumbest teens in the world, laughing, laughing, with “TV” interruptions between scenes, Beavis and Boot HeadHis latest episode, which launches Thursday, August 4th, exclusively on Paramount+, will do it for you. However, the series has been taken over by a new generation of writers and directors who grew up on the original version of creator Mike Judge.
It does mean a few things for the series, and some of it has nothing to do with Ars Technica (although I’ll summarize my general opinion later). But one thing stands out as an interesting generational mark: a change in the series’ old TV viewing scenes and how its implementation reflects a new era of app-fueled media consumption.
Primer: The Original Series, 2011 Reboot
who missed it Beavis and Boot Head In the ’90s, the MTV series was not only a huge pop-culture sensation but also a cleverly low-cost operation. The raw animation kept costs down while also pairing well with the tone of the ‘grungy’ 90s series. Additionally, instead of animating entire 22-minute episodes, each episode contained only approximately 10 to 12 minutes of traditional animation.
The rest of each episode was filled with titular characters (heh, heh, heh) watching music videos while the judge hammered jokes into their voices. MTV had the right to rebroadcast those videos at the time, and somehow, Beavis and Boot Head She became another blockbuster for MTV video streaming when she ruled the world of pop culture. (In the years since, licensing rights have gotten more and more messy. Last month, Paramount+ brought back a tiny percentage of Beavis and Boot Head Watch video sequences, with most of them edited and put into the trap of classic VHS tapes for fans.)
You may have missed the first Beavis and Boot Head Revival, which ran only one season in 2011 and updated the series’ television sequence to include excerpts from original MTV programming, in particular Jersey Shore. This was when MTV basically admitted that the “M” in their name had been completely wiped out by reality shows, dating contests, and black-light nightmares. While this revival briefly referred to the then-flourishing YouTube, the 2011 release wasn’t ready to imagine a world in which either Beavis or Butt-Head knew how to run a desktop computer or TiVo.
Laughing at the new ASMR network in Beavis
This week, the second revival of the animated series came out two months after the feature film Paramount +, Beavis and Boothead Make the Universe (In itself, “Ars” thanks to its transmission of American space travel, the multiverse, and science fiction concepts.) Once again, we’re back to the old TV series series of entire animated episodes that were interrupted by joke fests to watch the video.
These scenes are clearly formatted by and for the people who watch the videos online. Ahead of this week’s premiere, Paramount made the first two episodes of the revival available to members of the press (heh, heh, heh, “the members”), and for TV viewing segments, it definitely looks like someone connected to an online video streaming box of the old duo’s TV bunny-eared. (Maybe their wing-loving neighbor Stewart?)
A highlight is that the duo watch a minute-long demo of ASMR, one of the biggest genres of the YouTube era, and it’s unsurprisingly entertaining. Bat-Head lowers his voice to match the size of the YouTube video, and Beavis indulges in an eye-whisper. Jokes appear about the host’s arsenal making noise. Then Beavis begins to lose his composure: the combination of a nice woman as a hostess and an unusual whisper infuriates him. The Butt-Head makes a familiar voice, “Shut up or I’ll kick your ass” in response. It concludes with Beavis’ sexy persistence that made Pat-Head crazy enough to slap Beavis, but even his slap is fitting for ASMR: the soft look of his hand on Beavis’ face.
The boys also watch some TikTok videos, which include a high school student opening a college acceptance letter and an ex teaching viewers how to make a prison tattoo. All three online reaction videos are written much more than the subconscious streaming stupidity the duo usually applies to their old music videos (heh-heh-heh, “stream”), and that’s definitely by design. In the nearly 30 years since the animated series debuted, the reaction-video genre has become its own industry-invented, so its predecessors chose to adapt a more polished and funny concept—particularly with Beavis and Butt-Head both hilariously plagiarizing the tone of former opponents. (Part of me wishes characters were active when videos interacting with viral NSFW videos were popular. Maybe this season, we’ll get “Two Girls, One Beavis”? Fans of the series can dream.)
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