A lot has changed since "Beavis and Butt-head" ran on MTV from 1993 to 1997 and became MTV's highest rated show. Creator Mike Judge went on to create the Fox series "King of the Hill," as well as the movies "Office Space" and "Idiocracy." But now Judge has returned to MTV and the series, which attracted the ire of critics (and even the negative attention of Congress). I talked to Judge during the TCAs and the laid-back Texan looked fit and relaxed (he credited surfing) and seemed happy to be back at work on the show that once left him burnt out fourteen years ago.
A lot of people slammed "Beavis and Butt-Head back in the day.
On one hand, I feel like it was kind of unfairly attacked. Well, it definitely was very unfairly attacked by a few people, like should have been sued for slander type attack. But then I think it was written off as something that it wasn’t, but the problem was that we had some episodes that weren’t so good; we were cranking them out really fast. And like the first comic books were horrible; they kind of were guilty of what people accused it of, that I was saying it was not. I’m always like understanding of people who didn’t like it or get it right away, but you know, that’s different from this flat out slander, which did happen.
What do you think of “South Park” and sort of people who followed in your footsteps?
Oh, you know, like I’m – I’m a huge “South Park” fan, actually. I think Trey and Matt, too, are just brilliant. I mean, I still, when I see “South Park” -- I saw one recently, the Facebook episode, I mean, it’s still really good. I’m always just kind of blown away at how every episode has a story and it’s always funny and, yeah, it’s great. I still haven’t seen the “Book of Mormon” thing though. I got to get up there and check it out.
Why is 2011 the right moment to revive “Beavis and Butt-Head?”
It wasn’t like, I will pick the year 2011 and I will bring back “Beavis and Butt-Head.” Over the years, I'd print stuff down that I might do for a movie sequel or whatever, and I just – I kind of looked at everything I had written down. Well, it started with [MTV] calling and saying, what about doing more episodes? They’ve been wanting to do a movie for a while, but I hadn’t heard like, hey, bring back the show. It’s something that’s like kind of more fun and less pressure, and even though a show is more screen time and more writing, more pages, more whatever, there's something that seems like a little more fun and a little less pressure about doing the show. And also, when MTV brought up the thing about having them watch "Jersey Shore" and all this stuff, I mean, it started to click for me and I just – I don’t know, I guess I also kind of miss doing it.
And you had time?
“King of the Hill” was over, you know. And I’ve also been around like a lot of development of animated shows. I’ve worked with some people and I always come back to what works and doesn’t work in animation and I always come back to thinking, you know, I had a couple sort of good characters there that I think would still work and it’s still fun to do. And I don’t know, I just wanted to give it a go and I’m really glad I did.
Was there any thought to changing them at all?
Well Beavis and Butt-Head haven’t changed at all. They’re exactly the same. They never learned anything or ever grew.
And they still haven’t gotten lucky yet.
Yeah, they have still not scored. They’re still virgins. They’re still trying.
Why did you not want to change them?
I mean, it’s kind of like, I look at “The Simpsons,” and I’m glad they didn’t age them. I’m a big fan of the classic TV and the classic animation. Like, how old was Bugs Bunny? Charlie Brown is another thing I’m a big fan of. I just think in those terms I guess. And it never occurred to me to age them; although I can imagine them the age they are or whatever you want to think that is, like 15, give or take a few years. And I can also imagine them being in their 80s for some reasont. But it’s the in-between that I have a hard time with. And we do have one episode where at the end of it they’re old and I would like to do more of that because that was really fun.
Still, they'll be talking about "Jersey Shore."
Well, the world has changed around them, yeah. The rest of the world is modern. The rest of the world is like it is and I kind of feel like they were already pretty surreal to begin with. I mean, none of what they wore made a lot of sense. In fact, there was some comments from MTV and from whoever was involved saying, “Like, what's with AC/DC?” I mean, Metallica was pretty big back then, but AC/DC, you thought it was a 70’s band. They were saying, well, what about Pearl Jam and whoever or Nirvana or something? And for whatever reason, I just wanted them to not be that hip. And so they’re still not hip. That’s easy. That part’s easy.