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TV review: Beavis and Butt-Head attack new targets with scathing satire

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TV review: Beavis and Butt-Head attack new targets with scathing satire
Beavis and Butt-Head are back in high school making trouble. Photo courtesy of Paramount+

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- The triumphant return of Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head continues this summer. After their new movie, Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe, the Paramount+ series, premiering Thursday, shows the duo have still got it in short form too.

Like the original MTV series and it's 2011 revival, episodes of Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head include two short misadventures of the metal head teens. As interstitial act breaks, Beavis and Butt-Head also watch TV and comment on what they see.

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Episodes like "Escape Room" show there are plenty of new activities and business in 2022 worthy of the Beavis and Butt-Head treatment. The clues would surely stump Beavis and Butt-Head, but they never even get that far.

A classic never goes out of style so when Butt-Head says, "Yeah baby" to a disinterested female player, it's still funny. Perhaps it is even funnier because of how little he's changed in nearly 30 years.

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An episode like "The Special One" applies a more modern sense of absurdity to Beavis and Butt-Head. Beavis's alter ego The Great Cornholio was always absurd, but this is more fanciful.

Beavis encounters a sentient fire in a dumpster. The anthropomorphic fire talks to Beavis and utterly disappoints him with his commands.

Beavis and Butt-Head are usually the agents of chaos in the real world. "The Special One" shows they can even be the straight man if they encounter something even more absurd than they are, and it won't violate their characters.

It doesn't take that much to mine comedy out of Beavis and Butt-Head. They get stuck in a box for one entire episode.

Watching Beavis and Butt-Head in cartoonish pain is also a classic that never gets old. They're like dumber versions of Wile E. Coyote.

Although Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe explained how they got from 1998 to 2022, the series doesn't seem too concerned with continuity and that's fine. They are still in high school with Mr. Van Driessen, and Mr. Anderson makes a cameo appearance too.

YouTube and TikTok prove even more suited to Beavis and Butthead than music videos. People share every inane moment on video, so Beavis and Butthead can comment with their own inanity.

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Any random YouTube video works, although it begs the question: Why are they still watching it on their TV? Music video segments address where Beavis and Butt-Head stand on modern MTV.

Yes, they watch a BTS video and one of them is a fan. Guess which one.

A Cale Dodds video really feels like old times. They mock the premise of the video and they don't get it, but their idiocy points out what the video may unintentionally be suggesting.

During the video watching segment, the boys still use their favorite words like wood, schlong, bunghole, "spanking the monkey" and Beavis imitating a spring boinging upright. Like Butt-Head's "Yeah baby," these catch phrases are just as funny applied to modern commentary.

Beavis and Butt-Head had the original hot takes for a generation of pop culture connoisseurs. They remain necessary and provide comic relief in these trying times.

New episodes of Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head premiere Thursdays on Paramount+.

Fred Topel, who attended film school at Ithaca College, is a UPI entertainment writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001 and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012. Read more of his work in Entertainment.

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