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A lot of things are changing for Beavis and Butt-Head, which is a fundamental part of the upcoming film Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe. The new Paramount+ production, among other things, explains how crass teenage couch potatoes Beavis and Butt-Head (both voiced by creator Mike Judge) eventually find themselves back on the couch in the year 2022 — thus setting up the two-season revival series that’s set to begin on the streaming service later this year.
And once back on the couch, the boys will not only be watching music videos — instead, Beavis and Butt-Head will be providing their signature commentary on other material, including YouTube clips and TikTok. “That just sort of came up,” Judge tells Consequence, just prior to the Los Angeles premiere of Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe on Tuesday (June 14th), about the decision to broaden the boys’ horizons. “Like, there’s just so much to watch. We were limited to [music videos] on MTV, but the world is cluttered with so much video now.”
Plus, he adds, “Now, whatever the demographic that was watching music videos [in the ’90s] is probably watching this kind of TikTok stuff. And we all watch YouTube.” Judge notes that the concept of watching clips of people watching YouTube isn’t a new one for the internet, but while “there’s a lot of YouTubers who are watching stuff, not that many of them are animated. So.”
Of course, music videos remain an important part of the Beavis and Butt-Head aesthetic — In the past, Judge says, episodes had been released on DVD without most of the videos because “back then, you had to clear not only the song, but every person in it. And so it was a lot of legal work.”
So while Judge wasn’t involved with the legal maneuvers that made it possible for classic episodes of Beavis and Butt-Head to premiere on Paramount+ with the original music videos included, he’s happy that it happened. “There’s something that was nice about the rhythm of [the episodes] with the videos. It just kind of worked and people got used to it. I always liked it.”
Judge did say that updating the series for the present day has been a bit of a challenge, if only only a writing level. “It’s harder than it looks to write Beavis and Butt-Head because they’re so dumb. They can’t figure stuff out. Things sort of have to happen to them. I watched a lot of Clouseau movies and Cheech and Chong and that stuff is really well done. Like I say, it’s harder to write than you’d think, but I think I’m pretty happy with the way we brought them into the future.”
And looking forward, Judge says he’s most excited for new audiences to see the upcoming episodes of Beavis and Butt-Head where they’re old. That’s been very fun to do. I hope people like it.”
Really, Judge’s secret to writing these characters might be as simple as this: “I think it’s just finding the stuff that’s pure and funny about them — and not trying too hard.”
Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe premieres Thursday, June 23rd, 2022 on Paramount+, along with the full library of original episodes. The first season of the revival is set for release later this year.