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Beavis and Butt-Head Review

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by Casimir Harlow Nov 1, 2005

    “What the hell is with this laughing thing?”

    Mike Judge created the cartoon characters of Beavis and Butthead some fifteen years ago. Friends since childhood, they were two degenerate loser high school kids who spent the majority of their time sitting in front of the TV and giggling stupidly. Some might say that could get pretty irritating pretty quickly but I think it is pure genius. For some reason, the adventures of these two ludicrously stupid characters are absolutely fantastic, gut-wrenchingly funny and endlessly watchable. Of course, it is certainly not to everybody's taste but I personally think it is great.

    “Huhuhuh, she said sperm.”

    It is difficult to explain - perhaps it's the slightly different contagious laughs that they each have, perhaps it is because they do that air guitar 'rock' impression every once in a while for no apparent reason or because they get into no end of mischief over the slightest thing: from playing with a pencil to cleaning somebody's dog. In fact the real reason is probably because these two lovably innocent but mercilessly stupid characters often come up with comments that strangely cut to the very core of modern society and pop culture, whether or not they mean to (prime examples include where they are commenting on music videos or art, cutting away all the pretentiousness of normal artistic observations).

    “Pruning is cool, let's go prune some power lines.”

    This box set is Volume 1 of the Mike Judge Collection, containing a hand-picked selection of forty of his favourite episodes from his creation. The first disc has several earlier episodes, including a hilarious Spanish class, a hilarious episode where they are forced not to laugh upon pain of expulsion, the eventful sex-education session and the boys getting high on paint thinner. We're introduced to various recurring character, including the nervous wreck of a school principal, the pacifistic hippy precursor to the South Park equivalent, Mr. Woodstock, the angry drill-instructor-like Mr. Buzzcut, the older kid Todd who the boys idolise despite his bullying tendencies and, of course, Tom Anderson, the poor-sighted neighbour who keeps hiring Beavis and Butthead to work on his house and garden, despite the fact that they always cause a stupid amount of trouble, normally with power-tools they find. There are some real classics here, like when Beavis pretends to have caught rabies, when they direct traffic during a blackout, when they encounter a serial killer and when Beavis has a near-death experience that leads to an encounter with God. The dentist episode is also quite good, where some laughing gas puts their propensity to giggle into overdrive.

    “Asked how a teenage boy could have committed a crime that happened more than two decades ago, a police spokesperson explained, 'he's very clever'.”

    The second disc has them slightly older, learning how to drive from the worst possible teacher - Mr. Buzzcut, going on a talk-show, nearly making out with some random girls, getting a lesson from the irritating 'Mr. Manners', getting involved in the music industry, mocking their fast-food restaurant boss by shouting out random numbers while he tries to count and getting put through a lie-detector test. Mr. Anderson returns to get abused on the golf course, Woodstock has a hippy slapping-fight with another pacifistic wuss, Todd returns to get the boys beaten up and Buzzcut gets the principal to send them back to kindergarten. We also see the introduction of Darla, who, like Anderson, also got to go on and do her own series. The boys cause her no end of trouble here.

    “I am the Great Cornholio, are you threatening me?”

    We also see the slow evolution of Beavis into Cornholio, his sugar-fuelled hyperactive alter-ego. It starts with him saying the odd word in an episode (like 'Bunghole'), putting his t-shirt up over the back of his head or just getting agitated and jittery, climaxing in the excellent 'The Great Cornholio' story which sees him reach his full potential. This is probably the best concept in the whole Beavis and Butthead enterprise, although there are some other good episodes on the disc, my personal favourites being the random one where Butthead gets stuck in a pipe and the one where Butthead chokes on chicken. Most of the episodes on these first two discs are 'director's cut' versions, basically including more gore (fingers getting cut off, protruding bones from wounds being prodded and so forth).

    “Dammit, what's wrong with you two?”