It’s hard not to feel bad for the educators in Beavis and Butt-Head’s lives. Dating back to the series’ original run, Principal McVicker, Mr. Van Driessen and co. have banged their heads against the wall in an effort to teach and graduate a pair of nitwits who essentially represent distilled slacker inertia in its purest form. It’s as if these characters are doomed to some eternal animated hell where they only exist to facilitate the humorous indifference of ageless teenage morons.
In “School Test,” they all come together in an earnest, Stand and Deliver-meets-Summer School display of academic charitableness, crunching years of facts from various disciplines into one crash course, all so that Beavis and Butt-Head can pass a standardized test and move on from the halls of Highland High. Naturally, when Butt-Head claims he’s had an epiphany, it’s that No. 2 pencils are funny because, as Beavis chimes in, “It’s a poo pencil.” Unstoppable good intentions, meet immovable idiocy. Besides, it’s hard to be persuaded that B + B, or any kid in their position, should put in any extra effort when McVicker—as an ostensible stand-in for most burned-out high school administrators—tells a news reporter (don’t ask) how he really feels: “It’s not me, it’s them. They ruin our school. They ruin everything.”
Not only that, but what kind of world would this be if Beavis and Butt-Head were subjected to all the normal laws of human action and reaction? When Todd—yay! Todd!—warns the boys not to rat him out after a parking-lot dust-up or puts them in his trunk during “Snitchers,” it’s hard not to wonder what they’d actually do if Todd, say, held a gun to their heads. Would the seriousness of their situation still be lost on them? Probably. Which is why it’s funnier to keep them out of any real harm’s way, so we can laugh as they snicker in the face of danger, rather than worry about their actual safety when they don’t. That kind of fruitless babysitting is best left for McVicker and Driessen.
Both “School Test” and “Snitchers” were consistently light and funny, outside of some cutting jabs at the endemic issues in our public-education system. If anything, as is often the case, it’s a shame there weren’t more videos, and that the Jersey Shore and 16 & Pregnant segments weren’t just a tad more concise. (How many DTF and smoosh room jokes can one really tolerate, even if when independent of other episodes, each instance is pretty funny on its own?) It’s possible MTV orders Mike Judge to feature a certain video-to-network-series ratio over the course of a season or half-hour, or he could just be running with the fact that, unlike, videos, reality clips are what makes the show relevant to MTV’s audience in 2011.
After all, that’s what added a new and essential wrinkle to Beavis and Butt-Head this year. It’s like watching a skit of the 1992 version where they travel in time to the near-future and speak with competent literacy about true-life television and a wider range of pop-culture, but are still too dumb to spell their names correctly on a Scantron. But the one constant, best exemplified tonight when Beavis turns to his BFF and says admiringly, “Boy, nothing gets by you, Butt-Head,” is that they’ll always have each other.
- Line-O-Rama (aka my favorite of the week, even out of context): “He definitely said something about a child’s left behind.” “Are those dogs guidos too?” Beavis just saying, “Poop” in a pitchy voice. “Now my lovelies will go forth and poop.” “He should make friends with his stress.” “Look at this guy, he’s got his whole day ahead of him.” “These guys both look like ass-wipes, but in two completely different ways.” “That’s how you roll through the Century 21 branch office.” “Take that, your walls are clean now.” Todd: “You get money from the Tooth Fairy?”/Butt-Head: “Yeah, but we had to, like, kick his ass first.” “I’m afraid I have some bad news Aubrey, you’re journey ends here.” “I think you’re fine with your backwards hat, dumb glasses and skimpy beard.” “Get back to your computer under the stairs and shutup.” Best line of the night: “Someday, we’ll be able to tell our grandparents about this.”
- My wife, Colleen, astute as always: “Am I the only one thinking that their therapist is basically Deb’s therapist from Dexter?”
- I LOVE that Beavis can read his name but not write it.
- I LOVE that they share the witness stand.
- Butt-Head’s signature affected moment: Imitating the counselor in 16 & Pregnant. Classic.
- Law & Order was on the tip of my tongue just before Beavis said it? What does it mean that he’s quicker than me?
- On that subject, Beavis doing the "clank" sound effect from the end of the L&O opening credits... amazing.
- Also amazing, invoking the American Idol send-off song during the 16 & Pregnant segment.
- Huge bonus points for referencing “Held Back” (one of my favorite all-time eps) in “Snitchers.”
- OK, as per usual, let the funny lines and reminisces fly, and thanks as always for reading and chiming in. And happy/merry Hanumanza!
- Oh, and I probably won't be authoring next week's review (someone will, in all likelihood, sub in) as I will be overseas for ye old holiday. So I'll see you guys in 2012!