Years after announcing a deal to bring back MTV’s most popular cartoon characters of all time, Paramount+ finally took the wraps off its first major Beavis and Butt-Head production this week. And, honestly, this is about as “Ars Technica” as the ’90s cartoon duo might ever get.
Warning: this preview includes spoilers based on the recently released trailer. If you want to go into this film as clueless as its lead characters, consider yourself warned.
Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe will premiere exclusively on Paramount+ on June 23, and its handlers at MTV are already calling this feature-length treatment “the dumbest science-fiction film ever made.” The film appears to resurrect the polished-yet-childish animation style established in their previous feature-length adventure, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America—only this time with CGI flourishes that you might expect from dumb teenagers flying not only through space but also time.
The good name of NASA has never been so besmirched, as the titular duo (heh, heh, “titular”) dons official astronaut garb while completing training exercises in what resembles NASA’s Houston base—which checks out, considering the series has always vaguely taken place down the road from creator Mike Judge’s Austin-area home. Yet for accuracy’s sake, the shuttle’s launch appears to send the boys to Florida, based on where NASA traditionally stages its human launches, as these sure look like Kennedy Space Center LC39 launchpads.
Either way: Do you want to see Beavis and Butt-Head enter zero space and propel their bodies on a spacecraft with the force of their own puking? How about watching the guys raise and lower test NASA hardware into a docking port so that it resembles sexual intercourse? Ah, the future is now.
B+B-H (and their time travel variants) now, Daria spinoff soon
Speaking of the future: The trailer points to both ordinary life in the year 1998 and extraordinary events in the year 2022, as the duo enters something that resembles a black hole (heh, heh, “hole”) before crash-landing in full spacewalk attire on a Texas beach some 24 years later. (That’s good news because a series like Beavis and Butt-Head, which has included frequent cartoonish near-deaths of its characters, should be careful to establish ’90s timeline continuity.)
What’s more, these time travelers aren’t alone. Four other versions of both Beavis and Butt-Head can be seen in the trailer, and the most prominent ones in this week’s new footage speak to the default teen versions as glossy-eyed, robe-wearing variants—who say “amusing” and “yes” at the same cadence that the normal guys say “heh, heh” and “fartknocker.” Another version of the duo is likely a dream sequence of Beavis’, as it sees him riding a flying Pegasus with Butt-Head’s face and hair while clutching onto a beautiful woman in Heavy Metal-inspired garb—but, for the record, I’d watch an entire streaming series based on such a fantasy-adventure premise, Paramount+.
Beavis and Butt-Head‘s most recent revival was announced in 2020 with plans to air on Paramount-owned Comedy Central, but the deal was shaken up this February; now, its order of TV-length episodes will premiere on Paramount+ at some point in 2024 and will last for at least two “seasons.” The same 2020 announcement flurry also included news of a new animated series named Jodie, which would serve as a spinoff of Daria, itself a spinoff of Beavis and Butt-Head‘s original animated run. Last month, news emerged that Jodie had been retooled as a feature-length film, but its target platform (theaters, TV, or streaming) has not yet been confirmed.
While Beavis and Butt-head are slated to Do the Universe, the trailer doesn’t clarify whether other familiar series faces will join them. Everyone, from annoyed gym teacher Coach Buzzcut to annoyed neighbor Tom Anderson, is absent so far, but time travel and multiverse angles sure seem fruitful for jokes at other cartoon cast members’ expense—or, at the very least, token mentions of creator Judge’s last stab at the “dumb humans travel to the future” premise that was Idiocracy. Thanks to a release date only three weeks from now, we won’t have to wait long to find out.