Uh huh, huh huh… Heh heh, yeah…
Before South Park and Family Guy were joyfully eroding the fabric of American culture, Beavis and Butt-Head were making MTV the destination for kids and teens that wanted to anger authority figures. It was the brainchild of and launch pad for Mike Judge, who went on to do King of the Hill, Office Space and, most recently, HBO’s Silicon Valley.
With its 25th anniversary nearly upon us, Judge’s creation is getting a brand new compilation entitled Beavis and Butt-Head: The Complete Collection, a 12-DVD box set featuring more than 17 hours of the duo’s misadventures. So is it worth picking up? Let’s find out.
WHAT’S IN THERE
There are more than 120 episodes selected from the show’s eight-season run, including when MTV resurrected it in 2011. Of the 12 discs, eight contain episodes of the show, three contain various bonus features and the final one is a copy of the feature film Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. No digital copy is included.
Despite its age and the simplicity of the animation, the series still delivers some laughs. Not all of the episodes are gems, and certainly the lack of music videos hurts (more on that later), but Beavis and Butt-Head have lost little of their simple charm over the years. The supporting cast is better than we remembered it as well.
It’s worth noting that the 2011 season contains the episodes in their entirety, which includes them talking over music video and clips of MTV shows such as Jersey Shore and 16 and Pregnant. They’re also significantly better visually, featuring much cleaner animation, more locations and just coming across like a higher-budget production.
Considering all of the content that’s packed into this collection, including the movie, and that it seems to be selling below the suggested MSRP of US$46.99 (it is listed at US$34.99 most places we checked) there’s value to be found here.
There is a lot of fun extras, spearheaded by the three-part Taint of Greatness: The Journey of Beavis and Butt-Head, which provides an interesting “behind the scenes” look into how the series got started with MTV and beyond. Lots of little appearances from past events are included as well, and they’re fun to check out.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room: the “complete” collection is missing roughly one-third of the show’s total episodes. Some of the ones that made the cut are censored, too, and none of the show’s most controversial (read: banned) episodes are present. This seems like a poor decision. It’s been 25 years and people are buying this for home use. Let’s see ’em all.
Going a step further with the marketing angle, it’s important to understand The Complete Collection is actually a rehash of previously released materials. As in nine of the 12 discs comprised the three-volume Mike Judge Collection, one is the movie and the final two are from 2012’s Beavis and Butt-Head: Volume 4. These are straight rips, right down to trailers for games and DVDs released over a decade ago.
Most damaging, however, is the loss of the music videos (minus the 2011 season). While it’s obviously a matter of rights and royalties (and money), it’s still disappointing as some of the funniest stuff to ever appear on the show were their commentaries on the videos of the time — not getting the videos also robs a key nostalgic element.
It should be pointed out that there are some videos included with the bonus features, but even those are pulled from the context of the show and left to stand alone. Granted, the videos and accompanying commentary were unrelated to the “plot” of each episode, but watching the 2011 season just feels right compared to the segmented main run.
There is a couple of small items of note, starting with the cheap case. The exterior is fine, but the inside isn’t connected and can fall right out. We’re not fans of how the discs lay out, either, as it feels like you might break one taking it out. Closed captioning is unavailable as well.
At some level, calling this Beavis and Butt-Head: The Complete Collection is disingenuous. In reality, it’s a compilation of all previously released materials from the series and sold at a cheaper price than buying all five items separately.
If you’re a fan and don’t own any of the older DVD sets, this is the best option you have and an easy set to recommend despite the omissions. If you bought the Mike Judge Collection, however, there’s no reason to repurchase the same material again.