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Ahhh, Beavis and Butt-Head. Being one of the first shows that I actually made a point of catching every episode of during my teen years, I have to admit that I had fond memories of this one. After all, what's not to love about the duo of borderline-retarded kids who liked to set things on fire and lust over the bikini-clad women in music videos before heading off to school and / or work? It was definitely a show that hit the market at exactly the right time, as I certainly wasn't alone in my love for the show; however, the charm seems to have died, and I now find myself wondering what in the hell I saw in the show to begin with.
Review by Chad
Added: October 17, 2007
For starters, let's take a look at what's included on this three-disc set. We've got two discs which are chock-full of episodes (some of which are the "director's cut" versions - more on that in a moment), and a third disc featuring random bonus features. All of the episodes come to us without the music videos which were included during their initial airings, and although I understand the rights issues, I have to say that the episodes just don't feel the same without them. These music videos were oftentimes the highlight of the episodes - honestly, who from that era doesn't have fond memories of seeing one of their favorite bands popping up on an episode and being ridiculed or praised by the bastardly duo? A few of these videos do surface on the bonus disc, but that just whets my appetite for the original, uncut episodes even more.
Now, the music video thing is sort of a given with this release as nobody truly expects them to appear in their complete format on any official release. However, one thing that did bug me was the "director's cut" versions of some of the episodes. When you hear the phrase "director's cut" in this day and age, you expect to see some additional footage: maybe a gore scene that had to be trimmed down to appease the censors, perhaps an extra couple of seconds of boobies, or maybe even something as simple as some extra dialogue. Applying this mindset to an animated series which was rife in controversy during its heyday, one would expect to find additional footage: perhaps a couple of lines which MTV deemed to push the envelope a little too far, or maybe some of the more controversial moments from the series.
This was not the definition of the phrase that was used for this set, as instead of adding footage into the episodes, we instead get to see them in an edited form. Yes, "director's cut" refers to the fact that pieces of the episodes have actually been removed for this DVD release, pieces which I guess were deemed to be too offensive even for the DVD release. Why even bother when the old Time Life DVD releases of the show came to us completely uncut (barring the music video thing, of course) and had no problems with showing us the episodes in all - well, most of - their glory?
They're not all cut to shreds, of course, and some of the better episodes have found their way onto the disc. They do seem a lot shorter than I remember them (episodes generally run for six minutes each on these discs), but again, that's probably a fault of the music videos being cut out (yes, that really bugs me). Since this is the Mike Judge Collection and not Season X, the episodes are pretty much a random assortment of the better episodes from over the years, with the vast majority of them coming from season four and the beginning of season five. None of the more controversial episodes are included here (you know, the ones that made the news and really got parents in an uproar), but I guess that's to be expected... I guess. You know, when a show like That '70s Show can manage to get seven complete seasons (and counting) on DVD, you would think that the powers-that-be would just break down and give us the complete Beavis and Butt-Head seasons, but I digress. Included in the set are the following episodes:
"Lawn and Garden"
"Washing the Dog"
"They're Coming to Take Me Away, Huh Huh"
"Late Night with Butt-head"
"The Final Judgment of Beavis"
"Butt is it Art?"
"Mr. Anderson's Balls"
"The Pipe of Doom"
"Generation in Crisis"
"Beavis and Butt-head vs. the Vending Machine"
"The Great Cornholio"
"Dude, A Reward"
Again, some are cut and they're all stripped of the music videos that originally accompanied them, but there you go. They're just as stupid as I remember them being, but - and maybe I'm just getting old here - they're no longer "stupidly funny", but instead, they're merely stupid. Sure, some episodes have their moments, but the vast majority of the content found here had me embarrassed that I was actually spending time on this set, and I repeatedly found myself questioning why I ever enjoyed this show in the first place. Your opinion may differ, of course, but I'm the one writing the review here.
The third disc sports all of the bonus features, and included here are eleven music videos from the likes of Korn, Pantera, Wilco, Beastie Boys, and yes, even Grim Reaper. We also have a thirty-minute piece entitled Taint to Greatness: The Journey of Beavis and Butt-Head Part 1, which is basically a mini-documentary about the series with thoughts and notes from Mike Judge himself as well as plenty of others who were involved with the show. This was definitely the highlight of the set, but once again, I find myself irked over the handling of the feature: notice the Part 1 piece of the title? Yeah, you have to buy the other two sets if you want to see it in its entirety, and while that's a smart business decision, I have to say that it's annoying for me, the viewer. Rounding out the disc is a mish-mash of random material: "appearances" at the MTV VMA's, clips from the Thanksgiving Special with Kurt Loder, episode and season promos, and a pair of montages. Nice to have, but basically useless all around.
Hardcore Beavis and Butt-Head fans will no doubt be disappointed in the censorship and the lack of music videos, while newer fans will likely find themselves scratching their heads and wondering what all of the fuss was about. It's nice to have the episodes on an official DVD release with great audio and video quality, but personally, I think I'll just pick up one of the many unedited bootlegs next time I want a B&B fix.
DVD Set: 6/10.