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What can we learn from the new Beavis & Butt-Head movie

Those who were listening intently in the early years 1990 understood that there was brilliance under the “Uh . . . huhhuhhuh” by Beavis and Butt-Head, by Mike Judge. We have been vindicated repeatedly over the years as Judge has become a much-cited oracle with his films How to Drive Your Boss Crazy and Idiocracy ) and his TV shows The King of the Hill and Silicon Valley. Now Judge is back where he started with a brilliant new film from Paramount+: Get Ready for the B&B in Space.

What Judge, now a widely acclaimed authority on idiocy, performed in Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe will go unnoticed by most critics, but here it is: the film is a successor to Far Beyond do Jardim, from , to our moment.

Beyond the Garden, directed by Hal Ashby from a screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski, was a one-joke movie (as were Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe ) which, being set in Washington DC, presents its satirical points with such frankness that even a critic could not fail to notice them. Critics congratulated themselves on getting the joke: Hey, this cretin rises to the highest levels of Washington politics babbling naively about gardening! And people take him for a wise man speaking in parables!

Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe does the same thing, but its accusation is a little more interesting. We watch in awe as we learn that no matter how stupid Beavis and Butt-Head are, the society we live in is even more stupid . So they get along very well. And even grow. At the beginning of the film, after Butt-Head’s habit of repeatedly kicking Beavis in the testicles leads to a high school science fair burned down in 1998, the duo find themselves celebrated. as “at-risk youth”. Not only are they given a pass, they are also awarded a space shuttle mission. The adults around you reason that smart and talented kids will do well anyway, so why encourage virtue?

This is all very funny, but it’s also satire sure, a kind of miniaturization, centered on high school, of Idiocracy. Indeed, no social analysis that assumes that people are unfortunate victims of circumstance can survive our collective high school memories, in which it becomes extremely obvious that the “unhappy” are mostly the same people as the “undeserving.”

As lazy, vulgar, and moronic as they are, Beavis and Butt-Head stumble on one hit after another because our culture either doesn’t recognize, or even actively supports, pure stupidity. They effectively have no parents, no guidance except television. They’re just two modern young men wandering through life with no purpose other than the utterly futile goal of ‘catching some girls’. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that even in a multiverse where every possible version of B&B coexists, no repeat of the pair has achieved this feat.

A typically idiotic interlude in space (the lads blind by pointing a high-powered telescope directly at the sun) leads to a reasonable assassination attempt by their commander, later Texas Governor Serena (Andrea Savage). However, stupidity can never be killed. It just transforms into a different form. And so the boys are sucked into a black hole, pushed through time, and end up in Galveston, Texas, in 2022. Since everything is just as stupid as they are, they end up with an iPhone that they can use to pay for anything, the phone’s passcode being “password”. With unlimited access to finance, they spend their wealth on . . . nachos.

Upgrading even further to our stupid century, the boys attend a feminist lecture at college, where they learn about “white privilege”, which they understand as allowing them to do whatever. “I think the problem is that you are simply ignorant,” they tell the police when they are arrested. More stupidity (nonsensical muttering about toilet paper by “Cornholio”, Beavis’ alter ego) stupidly gets them out of prison as the stupid government agents chase them. The judge imagines a governor of today appearing at a prison to say, “I am here to offer surprise pardons to two criminals, as part of my new ‘soft on crime’ initiative. .”. Well, we as a society have clearly failed Beavis and Butt-Head.

The romantic imagination of our idiot pubescent heroes is such that Beavis imagines a date that culminates in seeing his girlfriend in bikini beheading random people with a sword. In reality, the boys are so obsessed with pornography on the one hand and video games on the other that this scene cuts things a little too close to the bone. Meanwhile, referring to a woman as a “slut” gets the boys applauded by a feminist teacher for their “sexual positivity.” This is all very broad, but also largely correct. The new film clarifies that Beavis and Butt-Head are not mere signifiers of the 1990s 1990; their level of intelligence makes them perfectly suited to the 21st century. “It’s like I now have the skills for the current workplace,” says Butt-Head. And how.

Kyle Smith is a member of the National Review Institute and a general critic of the National Review.

© 2022 National Review. Published with permission. Original in English.

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