Mike Judge Explains Why Beavis and Butt-Head Are Watching ‘Jersey Shore’

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Last month, when MTV released a five-minute preview of the rebooted Beavis and Butt-Head, one question plagued fans of the original series: Why are they watching Jersey Shore? For those of us who hoped the show’s return would mean a new space for music on the network, the clip was a harsh reminder that times have changed. Although many of us groaned over this development (another show whose de facto star is Snooki?), Jess Harvell at the Village Voice praised it as shrewd, both culturally and as a marketing decision. “The whole point of Beavis and Butt-Head‘s video crit, aside from the hilarity, is that they were the much-derided stereotypical passive MTV viewers absorbing whatever the channel threw at them,” he wrote. “In the ’90s you were as likely to happen on a Blues Explosion video as you were to see ‘End of the Road’ a zillion times in 24 hours. In 2011, Beavis and Butt-Head sucking up endless hours of reality TV is realistic in a way that zinging the Arcade Fire probably isn’t.”

But, as it turns out, creator Mike Judge’s reasons for replacing Sonic Youth with Snooki aren’t nearly that involved. “It’s licensing,” he told Billboard. The issue originally came up in the early ’00s, when the DVD release of the original series was delayed and heavily edited because the show had never secured home video rights for the music videos Beavis and Butt-Head critiqued. And there’s some good news for those who would miss seeing the boys stick it to “Rico Suave”: The show will include music videos (Deadmau5, MGMT, Yolanda Be Cool, and T-Baby have already been cleared, while Judge says, “We’re working on Lady Gaga”), in addition to Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant, and a selection of UFC fights and film clips.