Animated series from 'Always Sunny' writers feels like a happier 'Beavis & Butt-Head'
"Beavis & Butt-Head" returned to television
a few months ago, and the boys were essentially unchanged from their '90s origins. But even as they're back on the air, there's a generation of comedy writers who grew up watching their original adventures, and — in the same way that Seth MacFarlane's "Simpsons" love gave us "Family Guy" — who have now tried crafting their own animated comedies about oblivious teenage boys.
One of those, MTV's "Good Vibes," actually aired as a companion to "Beavis & Butt-Head," and tonight at 10:30, FX debuts another: "Unsupervised." Created by "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" writers Rob Rosell, Scott Marder and David Hornsby, it's about best friends Gary (Justin Long) and Joel (Hornsby), who technically have adult guardians but have essentially had to raise themselves — and who have a fundamentally flawed understanding of the world as a result. (Joel in particular seems very Beavis-like, with his shock of yellow hair and frequent moments where he can't keep control of his emotions.)
But what's most interesting about "Unsupervised" — and what kept me watching all three episodes FX sent out for review, even though I didn't find any of them terribly funny — is that Gary and Joel's DIY upbringing hasn't turned them into slack-jawed, hateful morons. Instead, despite having no one to care about them but each other, they are the most exuberant, optimistic characters on television this side of Leslie Knope on "Parks and Rec." They have no idea what they're doing, and tend to make the worst possible choices, but all their mistakes come from a good place.