Mike Judge is always a half-dozen steps ahead of the culture.
His 1999 comedy “Office Space” bombed in theaters until audiences slowly realized just how brilliant, and spot-on, the satire was.
His 2006 follow-up, “Idiocracy,” also tanked before becoming a cult classic. The film predicted our short-attention spans and the ability to dumb down just about everything. It’s hard to assess the current political climate without winning at an “Idiocracy” memory or two.
Judge even poked fun at Big Tech culture via HBO’s “Silicon Valley” before the Twitters and Googles of the world began behaving oh, so badly.
Now, Judge is virtually alone in shredding the notion of White Privilege via his signature showcase. Yes, Judge both created “Beavis & Butt-head” and provides the voices for the two characters.
The MTV superstars are back courtesy of Paramount Plus.
“Beavis and Butt-head Do the Universereunites the ’90s numbskulls for all-new adventures. It’s part of Judge’s effort to revive his signature franchise, although the concept on paper looked ominous.
Can two sniveling, brain-dead teens still make us laugh? More importantly, can these sexually obsessed souls thrive in our Cancel Culture age?
The answers, as it turns out, are yes and hell yes.
The film finds our “heroes” traveling through time and ending up in 2022 America. They marvel at smartphones, fall for Apple’s Siri voice assistant and end up on a modern college campus.
That’s where Judge flexes his satirical muscles.
They barge into a Gender Studies class and learn all about White Privilege.
“So, white privilege is when white people, particularly men, automatically assume they can take whatever they want,” one young woman explains.
“And they never have to worry about getting stopped by the police,” another chimes in.
“And they have the inside track for any jobs…”
“Cool,” Butt-head says. They leave the classroom and wreak havoc by assuming their privilege will protect them.
It’s brilliant on two fronts. One is obvious – they’re using their so-called “privilege” for destructive purposes, satirizing the folly of the phrase. Their very existence, though, shreds the concept more aggressively. They’re poor, dumb kids from middle America. No parental figures teach them right from wrong. They spend hours staring at a TV screen, soaking in the worst of pop culture excess.
They lack privilege, full stop. It’s vintage Judge – poking fun at cultural elements others won’t go near.
He did something similar with his long-running “King of the Hill.” The Fox animated sitcom mocked Texas culture but did so with humor and heart. Other shows might have taken a mean-spirited approach to the material. Those dumb flyover country hicks deserve a ritualistic ribbing, for example.
The new “B&B” feature also lets Judge cling to the characters’ true nature. Yes, they’re morons, but their sexual cravings and ability to shock haven’t been dampened to appease our trigger-warning culture.
The original MTV shorts caught us off guard with their humor and dopey innocence. Judge’s lads were singularly focused on their own gratification, and nothing else. That nihilism landed in an era when comedy still had few official rules. Without it, the characters no longer resonate.
Judge knew this instinctively. As a result, “Do the Universe” is superior to his 1996 film “Beavis & Butt-head Do America.” It’s also more important, culturally speaking.
Yes, two brain-dead slackers are striking a blow for free expression and mocking a core tenet of the woke mindset. They’re not the heroes we deserve but the heroes we need. And we can thank a culture warrior like Judge for that.