Who Was There: Beavis and Butt-head creator Mike Judge, Jackass star Johnny Knoxville, and executive VP of programming for MTV, Chris Linn.
What They Talked About: After a brief intro from Linn, Mike Judge and surprise moderator Johnny Knoxville took the stage (beers in hand) to talk about the iconic teenage miscreants, Beavis and Butt-head. Judge began by talking about how the series got started back in the early '90s. Originally conceived as an animated short intended to help Judge make comedy connections, MTV picked it up for its animation showcase, Liquid Television. The short was picked up by MTV and developed into a series that ran for four years.
Now the pair is back. Judge said that in the intervening years, he kept them in the back of his mind and regularly noted things that he wanted to do with them and jokes he wanted to make. He spoke about the creative process, which takes place in the States, while most of the animation is handled in Korea. After praising Korean art education and telling a few anecdotes from his visit there, Judge named some of his inspirations. Among them were Chuck Jones, Wes Archer, and John Kricfalusi.
As the audience (and Knoxville) clamored for clips, Judge described what was in store for viewers. The new series will take a form similar to the old one, chronicling the misadventures of the idiotic teens and putting them on the couch in front of music videos to offer their own unique brand of commentary. In addition to videos, they will watch (and skewer) popular MTV shows, including Jersey Shore, 16 & Pregnant, and Teen Cribs, among others.
The clips he showed featured some funny couch sequences, as well as a few out-of-the-house exploits. In one, the two take a job in a tech-support call center, offering terrible advice, insulting their customers, and mimicking their Indian boss's faux American chitchat. In another, Butt-head has to take Beavis to the emergency room after an attempt to insert a wood screw into an action figure's butt goes wrong. Beavis then gets high on painkillers, and we witness the return of Cornholio, his TP-loving, maniacal alter ego, who ends up attracting the worship of cultists.
And in a particularly appropriate segment for Comic-Con, the two wander in search of vampires who can turn them into the undead so they can score with Twilight fans. They mistake a hairy hobo for a werewolf, greeting him as their dark lord after he berates them with a barely intelligible rant. The bum is more than happy to bite them at their request, which naturally results in the two lying on the couch, observing each other's weeping sores and commenting that they are totally ready to pick up chicks.
In the audience-question portion of the panel discussion, Judge offered a few interesting tidbits. A future DVD release is going to be problematic, due to licensing issues for the music videos. One of his favorite episodes of the new series is "Time Machine," in which Beavis and Butt-head board a bus to an old-timey village, fall asleep, and wake up thinking they have traveled through time. In response to the question about the possible return of Daria, Judge said, "You'll see." And when asked if there was talk about a new video game outing for the duo, Judge was surprisingly enthusiastic. He said there had been talk about such a project and that though there have been some fun forays into video games in the pair's past, there "could be a really cool one that we haven't made yet."
Quote: "I felt like TV was getting too smart."--Mike Judge, when asked why he was bringing Beavis and Butt-head back.
Takeaway: Beavis and Butt-head are back with the same animation style, same idiotic hilarity, and same obsession with skewering pop culture and scoring with chicks.