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Paramount Home Video presents
Beavis and Butt-Head: Volume 1 (1993-1995)

"I am Cornholio!"
- Beavis (Mike Judge)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: November 07, 2005

Stars: Mike Judge
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations, language)
Run Time: 03h:34m:00s
Release Date: November 08, 2005
UPC: 097368817449
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ AC+B+ B-

DVD Review

Beavis and Butt-Head appeared on the scene (more specifically, MTV) in March of 1993 with a bang. It was an instant success, glueing kids and teenagers to their couches every day, as they waited to see what kind of trouble the complete slacker moron title characters would get themselves into next. The highly rated TV show sparked a merchandising explosion as well, with people toting shirts, hats, and even listening to a CD with music revolving around the show.

The show played a huge part in the overall pop culture landscape of the '90s, brewing controversy due to Beavis and Butthead's slacker mentality. The nation's parenting groups wouldn't stand for these bad influences, and when a five-year-old boy set his two-year-old sister on fire in Ohio, the mother of these kids blamed the series. This unfortunate incident did cause MTV to ban future fire-related references from the show (and moved its air time to a much later slot), but it continued to thrive, running on the network until 1995, when the creative juices just weren't there anymore.

There's an insert in this collection with a statement by creator Mike Judge, in which he discusses how only two thirds of the show's episodes are worth watching, while the other third is "embarrassing." This is a rather bold statement from a show's founder, who goes on to inform us that this is only the first volume in what will turn out to be a series of DVDs that present us with only the episodes that "don't suck." While completists might be upset that they aren't getting the Beavis and Butt-Head shows that do suck, I applaud Judge for sparing us from those debacles.

The formula of an average episode, as they originally aired on MTV, consists of a short cartoon featuring various antics of the titular duo. During each show, the pair sits and watches music videos, with Mystery Science Theater-type commentaries as they mock the various tunes, fashion, and other tackiness during the clips.

For this set, the music videos and cartoons are available separately, with 40 of the latter (available on Discs 1 and 2) and 11 of the former (on Disc 3). While purists might want to see Beavis and Butt-Head in their originally televised format (with the music videos mixed in with the storylines), the way these DVDs are presented is actually more entertaining. No longer are these funny stories suddenly interrupted for the videos. Sure, the music video sequences are very funny in their own right, but they definitely belong on their own. The blend of music is eclectic to say the least, with offerings by everyone from indie rock bands Wilco and Catherine Wheel to the metal of Pantera and Korn. Still, it's great to finally have some of these videos, regardless of how they're presented, as rights issues have supposedly played a part in the delay of the show's DVD debut.

Some 23 of the 40 episodes are "director's cuts," and are completely uncensored. Some of the most memorable bits are in these, including Rabies Scare, Butt Is It Art?, Plate Frisbee, Manners Suck, and Beaverly Buttbillies. Plus, once you see who's really on the other end of the phone sex number our heroes call in 1-900-Beavis, you just might wish that the censors would have stepped in.

Fortunately, Judge was right and about 35 out of the 40 episodes here are very funny, many of which are considered classics among Beavis and Butt-Head fans. Tainted Meat is quite possibly the grossest episode, and Mr. Anderson's Balls is pretty self-explanatory. However, the one cartoon that simply can't be missed is The Great Cornholio. If you aren't familiar with the title character of this hilarious short, you won't be able to get this hooded champion out of your head after a first viewing.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: All 40 cartoons and the music videos show up in their original full-frame format, and they do look a bit better than they did years ago. However, the animation is extremely low quality, with dull colors and a limited palette. Things look very grainy as well, but this is part of the show's charm, so this is a rare case where such poor quality is slightly welcomed.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is surprisingly good. The music part of the music videos is still muted so Beavis and Butt-Head can trash them, but their dialogue is always sharp throughout this set. The guitar-heavy theme song sounds great, thanks to nice dynamic range and even an aggressive bass presence.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 40 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring South Park: The Complete Sixth Season, Drawn Together: Season One, The Animation Show: Volume One, Jackass: The Box Set, Aeon Flux: The Complete Animated Collection, LA Rush
3 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
3 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Montages - Two short collections of clips from Beavis and Butt-Head.
Extras Review: All of the extras are on Disc 3, beginning with the 27-minute documentary Taint of Greatness: The Journey of Beavis and Butt-Head, Part 1. This is a very entertaining doc, with Mike Judge taking center stage, focusing on Beavis and Butt-Head's inception. There's even a great look at the role that focus groups played in getting the series to MTV.

We also have four special appearances that find Beavis and Butt-Head at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards, both by themselves and with David Letterman, at the 1996 VMA's, and during an MTV Thanksgiving special with Kurt Loder.

Clip collections are usually fluff pieces, but the two montages that are here are very funny, as they bottle up some of Beavis and Butthead's craziest moments and present them in a rapid-fire format that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter.

There are also three TV promos, and previews for other Paramount Home Video releases.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Justice has finally been served in the eyes of Beavis and Butt-Head fans, as the biggest animated lunkheads in TV history are nicely represented in this three-disc DVD set. The audio and video have been cleaned up quite a bit, and the disappointing output of extra features is nothing that can't be made up for in future volumes.


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