Harmon and Scott discuss the making of the Mike Judge animated short, Frog Baseball, which launched the MTV series: Beavis and Butt-head. We also dive into some of Judge's early animation work, such as Inbred Jed and Office Space.
If you haven't lived under a rock for the past few decades, then you know that Beavis and Butt-head, is an animated show that ran on MTV from 1993 to 1997 - and was renewed for an eighth season which aired in 2011. In 1996, the series was made into the animated feature film Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.
But how did Beavis and Butt-head get it's start. What's the origin story?
The series originated from the animated short: Frog Baseball - which originally appeared in the Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Film Festival in 1992 Midnight show.
After seeing the short, MTV signed Judge to develop the concept into a series. The animated short first aired in 1992 on MTV's Liquid Television. (Mark Mothersbaugh' from DEVO composed the end credits theme.)
In the short, Beavis and Butt-Head are shown switching TV channels and laughing at a Suzanne Somers Thighmaster commercial. That concept was changed to laughing at MTV music videos in the animated series.
A little backstory on Mike Judge. He graduated in 1986 from UCSD with a bachelor of science in physics. His first job was as a programmer for the F-18 fighter at Support Systems Associates, Inc. In 1987 he moved to Silicon Valley to join Parallax Graphics, a startup video card company based in Santa Clara.
Disliking the Silicon Valley tech culture - he quit that company and toured for a while as a bass player for a blues band. In 1989, Judge purchased a Bolex 16 mm film camera and began creating his own animated shorts.
Office Space would later be turned into a feature film - which uncannily had bits of the same dialogue.
Inbred Jed was also a 1991 short Judge created and was funded by Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Film Festival. One character yells, "Play some Skynyrd man!" - later made a few appearances in early Beavis and Butt-head episodes as the character "Dave," most notably the episode "Way Down Mexico Way".
How this ties together? Inbred Jed made an appearance in the opening titles of Frog Baseball. When the short starts, an "Inbred Jed's Homemade Cartoons" title card appears like the MGM logo with country-western music playing and Inbred Jed giving a somewhat evil hillbilly cackle.