In an ironic role reversal, Beavis and Butt-Head appear primed to prove once and for all what their biggest critics have been crowing about for almost two decades: the rapid decline of media standards into downright freefall.
Later this month MTV will begin broadcasting a dozen new episodes of "Beavis and Butt-Head," the adult-oriented cartoon that oozed raunch and stupidity while airing from 1993-97.
Whereas the two title characters' bad behavior made them lightning rods for parent advocacy groups in the 1990s, the New York Times wonders aloud whether the imminent Beavis and Butt-Head reboot will even register a blip on the controversy radar of 2011.
"The reception is bound to be quieter than it was in the '90s," Karen Olsson writes in the Oct. 16 New York Times Magazine profile of "Beavis and Butt-Head" creator Mike Judge. "Back then the two became controversial figures at the vanguard of televised crudeness, but they've since been far surpassed in the onscreen moron category. And the world that Beavis and Butt-Head have returned to, with its blogs and its Twitter feeds and its customer reviews, is bloated with dumb commentary."
Judge is adapting Beavis and Butt-Head to the 21st century in part by having the sedentary duo expand its repertoire to include making comments from their couch about reality TV shows such as "Jersey Shore" and "Sixteen and Pregnant" (previously, all couch commentary was limited to music videos).
Steve Greider, executive vice president of sales for MTV's parent company, Viacom, explained to Variety the strategy behind bringing back Beavis and Butt-Head.
"It's the same format, but today it's not just a question of commenting on music videos, but on everything out there. There's a lot of comedy to be mined by everything that we get on TV today. … As I understand it, there's a lot more for 'Beavis and Butt-head' to say."