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Beavis And Butt-Head Do The Universe Scenes That Had Us Rolling

"Beavis and Butt-Head" was a popular adult animated television show that aired on MTV from 1993 to 1997, and for a brief one-season reboot in 2011. The eponymous idiotic metalhead teens would get into gross slapstick hijinks while trying to "score" with girls, mess with their neighbor, or slack off at school. They would also occasionally watch and comment on music videos from their dingy couch. The show was created by Mike Judge, who would go on to also co-create another animated classic in "King of the Hill," and directed the cult classic live-action films "Office Space" and "Idiocracy." 

The show's success eventually led to a (surprisingly) critically-acclaimed, star-studded, theatrically-released feature film, "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America," in 1996. The film found the titular duo traveling across the country while (unbeknownst to them) getting embroiled in a high-stakes political thriller plot.

Now they're back in "Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe," a new movie currently streaming on Paramount+ ahead of a new reboot season. The story begins in 1998 as our two lovable morons somehow, through a series of highly improbable circumstances, find themselves stumbling onto a NASA shuttle mission to space. After screwing up the highly important mission (because of course they do), Beavis and Butt-Head are then sent into a wormhole by the shuttle's captain, Serena Ryan (Andrea Savage), which transports them to the year 2022. Thus, fish-out-of-water hijinks, lazy double-entendres, and idiocy ensues.

In a film full of hilarious comedic bits, which were the best comedic bits?

The opening credits

Like "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America," the new film starts out very strong with an awesome action-packed intro. While their first film opened up to a pastiche of kaiju films — featuring a giant Beavis and Butt-Head stomping through a city, stealing women from buildings like King Kong and spewing fire from their mouths at tanks like Godzilla — "Do the Universe" opens up with a cool "Star Wars"-inspired space chase.

Beavis and Butt-Head, briefly are rendered in full CGI, piloting a small, sleek space craft in what looks like a facsimile of the Death Star trench, being chased by enemy ships shooting green lasers at them. It's a great, well-directed action sequence on its own, even outside the comedic incongruity of plopping Beavis and Butt-Head into a scene from a high-stakes space opera, saying things like "space sucks" and commenting, "That was cool." The scene also immediately orients the audience with the high concept, epic sci-fi tone the film will have for the rest of its runtime, as well as the concept of a multiverse (with the CG Beavis and Butt-Head obviously being alternate versions).

Then, they blow up right before the opening credits, because they were looking at all the cool explosions instead of what was right in front of them. Seems fitting.


While it is obviously improbable that two dumb teens -– especially ones as comically dumb as Beavis and Butt-Head — would ever, ever get a chance to board a NASA rocket ship, writers Mike Judge and Lew Morton came up with a relatively clever reason as to how that would be possible in "Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe"

After Beavis and Butt-Head create a science fair mishap that leads to the burning down of their school, the two are given a court order to attend a NASA space camp, which was slated to be the prize for the fair's winner. This is because the fire Beavis and Butt-Head created has destroyed the records of the real winner, and the judge assigned to their case recently watched a "Touched by an Angel" episode (a surprising running gag throughout the film), inspiring him to give the at-risk boys a second chance.

Once at the camp, Beavis and Butt-Head are obviously bored by all the science stuff ... except for a docking machine that mimics (even if only abstractly) the act of sexual intercourse. So they spend all day and all night practicing the "docking maneuver," to the point that they become experts (including Beavis mastering a complicated crane machine to simulate a hand slapping a butt). The NASA astronauts, unfortunately, mistake their enthusiasm for the machine as them being technological prodigies, rather than horny boys who just see sex everywhere.

Serena's partners

The person who is initially the most gung-ho about Beavis and Butt-Head joining the space mission, due to their surprisingly legitimate aptitude for the docking machine, is Captain Serena Ryan. This assertive astronaut keeps misunderstanding Beavis and Butt-Head's clear (and unhealthy) sexual attraction to her as enthusiasm for the space mission. This is exemplified in one of their first meetings, where she asks if "they'd like to do it for real" –- meaning manning the docking controls in actual space, rather than what they obviously think she means.

However, one of the funniest exchanges along these lines is when they are all fully-dressed in their space suits, marching towards the launching rocket. This whole time Beavis and Butt-Head have assumed their space training was training to sleep with Ryan. "You know how few people have done what you're about to do?" she asks them, meaning going to space. The answer of "only 256 men and 49 women" elicits a solemn reply from Beavis: "A little more than I was hoping."

She then goes on to add, "And that's not even counting the Russian dog and the monkey," making Beavis' bereaved reactions funnier and funnier.

The Earth sucks

"Beavis and Butt-Head," as a series and a concept, always thrived on contrast. While it may seem to many viewers that the superficial appeal of "Beavis and Butt-Head" is their scatological humor and slapstick shenanigans, the truth is that only works when they're in opposition to something more intellectual. So their stupidity is usually best served –- like a lot of the best buffoonish comedy –- when going against a straight man (or in this case, a straight woman).

This worked great in the show, such as when their idealistic hippie homeroom teacher Mr. Van Driessen tried to get through to the boys using art or other outlets, and it was always hilarious seeing his efforts getting completely dashed by overestimating Beavis and Butt-Head's abilities and underestimating their lack of self-awareness.

The same goes for Captain Serena Ryan, who, while in the NASA shuttle, takes Beavis and Butt-Head to the ship's cockpit to show them the sun rising over the Earth from space. Her speech, wonderfully delivered by actress Andrea Savage, is earnest and poignant. Not only that, but the musical score by John Frizzell (who had previously worked with Mike Judge on "Office Space") is rousing and inspirational, and even the visuals are probably as awe-inspiring as the patented scratchy visual style will allow. All of this makes Butt-Head's quick declaration that "the Earth sucks" once she leaves all the more hilarious.

They're not human

One of the ongoing jokes among fans of "Beavis and Butt-Head" is how visually distinct they are -– even when compared to the other characters on the show. Everyone else in their universe seems to have roughly the same proportions as a real human being. Beavis and Butt-Head, by contrast, have long, bulbous heads, completely out of proportion to their tiny, caricatured bodies, as well as exaggerated Robert Crumb-esque facial features that border on the grotesque.

In "Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe," when the wormhole in 1998 spits them out on a beach in 2022, the space-time anomaly of course attracts the U.S. government to investigate. When government agent Mattison (voiced by "Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law" star Gary Cole) looks at a sketch drawing of Beavis and Butt-Head, he immediately says, in a grim tone, "Whatever they are, they're definitely not human."

In fact, Mattison believing Beavis and Butt-Head are actually part of an advanced alien species is a running joke throughout the film. This includes a scene later on, when he hears a conversation between the two on an intercepted cellphone call, and states (again, grimly), "It's crude, but they're learning to approximate our speech."

It's the metatextual acknowledgment of Beavis and Butt-Head's outrageous designs, on top of Cole's committed delivery, that sells the humor.

Smart Beavis and Smart Butt-Head

One of the more outlandish sci-fi concepts in "Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe" — outside of the wormhole and time-travel plot — are the inter-dimensional beings known as "Smart Beavis" and "Smart Butt-Head" (because the Beavis and Butt-Head we know and love are too primitive to comprehend their real names with their "puny brains"). The Smart Beavis and Butt-Head variants are styled after Marvel's Uatu the Watcher, with pale skin, bald heads showcasing somehow even bigger foreheads, pupil-less white eyes, flowing ornate sci-fi robes, and even lighting on their faces that evokes Jack Kirby's signature shading style.

Smart Beavis and Smart Butt-Head have traveled to meet up with Beavis and Butt-Head Prime to warn them that they need to enter a portal to return back to their own timeline, lest the multiverse collapse on itself. As the Prime idiots we know look on confused, Smart Beavis asks, "Um, did you see the cartoon 'Spider-Man' movie, per chance?" When they say no, he laments, "That would've made explaining it a lot easier."

They then reveal that -– dramatic musical sting –- no Beavis or Butt-Head in any universe has ever scored. However, instead of being dismayed, Beavis and Butt-Head Prime take that as a challenge to be the first ones. All the while, rather than their trademark chuckling, Smart Beavis and Smart Butt-Head react with comments like, "This is amusing, yes, quite jocular," or "Droll, very droll."

The Smart Beavis and Butt-Head variants are a running gag throughout the film, with the most clever joke being the reveal that they in the fact are still really dumb, since their plan was needlessly complicated. They are indeed the smartest Beavis and Butt-Heads in the multiverse –- that just isn't saying much.

White privilege

The time travel conceit is used relatively sparingly throughout "Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe," despite it being the catalyst for the whole plot. Not to say there aren't funny fish-out-of-water scenes in which they confront how things have changed over the years, such as discovering what a cellphone is for the first time, as well as realizing how their childhood home has changed (having recently been flipped into a crappy, nondescript suburban home). But by and large, that's not the main comedic thrust of the story.

However, one bit that really takes advantage of how society has shifted in the last couple decades is the scene at a woman's studies class that Beavis and Butt-Head accidentally crash. In it, the feminist professor (voiced by noted stand-up comedian Tig Notaro) asks them to confront their white privilege.

Now, to be clear, white privilege is a very real phenomenon, which has devastating systemic ramifications. The movie ... doesn't do much to explain what it actually is, relying on strawman explanations (for instance, just because Beavis and Butt-Head were born into impoverished backgrounds, their circumstances nonetheless still weren't exacerbated by being marginalized in other ways).

However one moment, when a white male student talks over a Black female student to confidently explain the concept, is legitimately hilarious. It shows the hypocrisy, or least the well-intentioned lack of self-awareness, that can exist even within liberal spaces. While the film pokes fun at the earnestness of some of the students' often oversimplified view of white privilege, it also shows a pretty concrete example of its existence as well.

Cornholio prison riot

One of the most iconic bits in the "Beavis and Butt-Head" canon is when Beavis consumes too much sugar (or, in this movie's case, drugs), and transforms into The Great Cornholio, his manic alter-ego. The Great Cornholio speaks quickly and emphatically in mostly gibberish, with his hands held up high and his blue Metallica T-shirt pulled over his head. The "character" made his debut in the 1994 episode "Generation in Crisis."

In the new film, after Beavis and Butt-Head steal a cop car because they misunderstand the degree to which the aforementioned white privilege would protect them from police, they are sent to prison (which Butt-Head initially thinks is super cool).

When a police inspection comes up, a prisoner named Metcalf (voiced by Chi McBride) forces Beavis to hide his drugs, and Beavis takes that as an invitation to eat them -– against Metcalf's wishes. This, of course, marks the return of The Great Cornholio.

What puts this scene above many of his previous appearances are the raised stakes, and the fact that not only does Cornholio incite a prison riot, he also forces the warden to partake in prison reform (it's because he thinks Beavis is an angel, but still). While the film isn't purely on the side of all criminals, nor prison abolition, it does seem to be on the side of humane treatment. This is exemplified by Cornholio's paraphrased revolutionary declarations, which plug his usual scatological exclamations into Marxist rallying cries.

It also subversively (or possibly inadvertently) proves that white privilege is real as well, considering the warden decides to show Beavis mercy, which probably wouldn't otherwise be the case.

Beavis and Butt-Head's scoring fantasy

The main plot of "Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe" is Beavis and Butt-Head going on a quest to find Captain (now Governor) Serena Ryan and have sex with her, as they are (wrongly) convinced that's what she promised them all those years ago (though to them it was merely moments ago, due to wormhole physics that they continually fail to grasp). Before they both go to finally confront her, Beavis and Butt-Head each have their own fantasies about what it would be like to "score."

Beavis' fantasy is almost childlike in its simplicity and relative wholesomeness. It's funny to see how hormonal he and Butt-Head are throughout the film, but when the audience actually sees inside his head they realize that Beavis just wants a sweet girlfriend to cuddle with, skip across fields, and watch him burn ants with a magnifying glass. It gets even funnier when he imagines her as an avenging warrior princess in metal bikini armor, bloodily slicing up his bullies and taking him on a ride atop her rainbow-farting Pegasus steed ... which also happens to have Butt-Head's face (calling himself a deer while laughing).

Butt-Head's fantasy — in which he's a pimped-out lothario wearing a tacky fur coat and gold dollar-sign jewelry, surrounded by beautiful women –- is less original and comedic than Beavis', but it does have a hilarious joke when one of the beautiful women asks him very earnestly, "Is it true you put your thingy in a girl's thingy?" So that's good.

Multiverse of Beavises and Butt-Heads

As mentioned before, one of the main conceits of "Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe" is that no Beavis and no Butt-Head — in all the vast, infinitesimal multiverse — has ever had sex. Which, given what we know about Beavis and Butt-Head, isn't much of a surprise.

However, that all changes at the end of the film. Beavis feels he has legitimately fallen in love with Serena, though he's actually fallen in love with Siri, due to being unaware of how cellphones and apps work. He's about to confess his true love to her, when Smart Beavis swoops in and offers Serena a chance to travel the cosmos as she's always dreamed with his vast, omniscient Watcher-esque cosmic powers. She agrees.

It's later revealed that Smart Beavis and Serena did indeed have sex, after a ceremony is held by an Empress Beavis and Emperor Butt-Head, who award Smart Beavis an "I Scored" medal (even though it's also revealed Serena "left immediately and is not returning phone calls or texts"). Meanwhile, Smart Butt-Head is awarded an "I Watched" medal, since he was "hiding in a suitcase at the foot of the bed" to watch the two do it.

But the coup de gras is the reveal of the vast number of alternate Beavises and Butt-Heads witnessing the ceremony –- hundreds, if not thousands of variants –- seated in a futuristic space coliseum, cheering Smart Beavis and Smart Butt-Head on. As we zoom out, we see Mushroom Beavis and Butt-Heads, Cyborg Beavis and Butt-Heads, Reptilian Beavis and Butt-Heads, and countless other sci-fi references. It's a sight to behold, and is an all-around epic (and hilarious) way to end the film.