Beavis & Butt-Head – The Mike Judge Collection: Volume One
Sound: C+ Extras: B- Episodes: B
Out of sight is out of mind, but in its time, Beavis
& Butt-Head were a cultural phenomenon and a groundbreaker that opened
the doors for so many brave, bold, smart and memorable TV shows. This has been especially true of animated
classics like South Park, Family Guy (both reviewed elsewhere on
this site) and a growing list of others.
After some single DVD releases, Paramount, MTV and creator Mike Judge
have decided to issue box sets of the series featuring select shows Judge feels
are the best. The Mike Judge
Collection: Volume One has those choice shows uncut in director’s cuts that
will make fans happy.
This is a three DVD set, with the first two discs devoted
only to the episodes, followed by a third disc of extras. Of the 40 shows in this set, 23 are those
longer versions and the installments chosen hold up pretty well. The show was often dismissed for being just
outright stupid and the politically correct tried to blame the show for all of
society’s ills. Now, with the show out
of circulation for so long, the argument is moot. If anything, the series was sly in being a smart show about the
two stupid title characters, always pushing the envelope to how stupid they
could make them, how stupid they could get.
It was the kind of thing one “was not supposed to laugh at” and kept
making everyone laugh who got he humor and had a sense of humor. Judge pulled the plug when he realized the
show had played itself and its moment in pop culture out as he moved on to King
Of The Hill (also reviewed elsewhere on this site), but a second look at
these shows post 9/11/01 presents a clearer image of what Judge was really
I will not list the episodes, which are so short (2 to 3
could fit into a half-hour) that explaining them would ruin them, while fans
and those who have never seen the show before deserve to be surprised (or
surprised again) by the jokes and great physical humor the show was actually
doing. This includes some comedy
suspense it never got credit for. In
some ways, the world and pop culture have finally caught up with Beavis
& Butt-Head. The show directly
addressed a generation that was being disposed of by the decline of the
educational system and instead of doing it as a political statement; it did
this as a comedy. Many people said then
(and still say now) they know guys like Beavis & Butt-Head. Now, we know not everyone like them is 100%
responsible for being in their situation, especially like the dumb duo when
they do not know it themselves.
The 1.33 X 1 image has been updated as much as possible,
but the shows were produced hand drawn, with analog video compositing. The result is some fringing in the fine details,
but lets face it, the series purposely had crude animation as its style, which
actually upped the humor. With that
said, they look good and those with 1.78 X 1/16 X 9 video playback can zoom in
and will be surprised how well they reformat.
That is not the way they were intended to be seen, but it is an
alternative that works. Only their Beavis
& Butt-Head Do America (1996) feature film is truly intended to be
widescreen. The Dolby Digital 2.0
Stereo is also solid, though it has no real surround information. It sounds really good for Dolby 2.0 at this
kilobits-per-second rate, though. The
combination is superior to the previous DVDs and all other previous
incarnations of the show, including broadcast.
Extras include the one fans were really hoping for, Music
Videos with commentary by Beavis & Butt-Head, 11 in this set. Too bad they were not doing this now,
because they could have a very successful spin-off series. We also get a weblink to Judge’s and Don
Hertzfeldt’s The Animation Show, three great promos for the show,
three of the duo’s appearances on The Video Music Awards, The Beavis &
Butt-Head Thanksgiving Special with Kurt Loder clip, two amusing montages,
previews for other Paramount DVDs and part one of a series to be continued in
future box sets: Taint Of Greatness – The Journey Of Beavis &
Butt-Head. This is all
entertaining and a really good set of extras.
The show is finally getting a proper release, right down to the silver
paperboard case and slender DVD holders.
Very nice and of course, to be continued.
- Nicholas Sheffo