Now that the show is on a streaming platform, did you ever consider using more explicit language or content?
We talked about it at the beginning. For one thing, it doesn’t seem like them anymore; it seems less innocent. But also, there’s something about them saying stupid things like “butt wagon.” They’re just really dumb and remind me of junior high. It’s not like everybody’s going, “Oh, I can hardly wait for Beavis and Butt-Head to say [expletive].”
There was a focus group they did in the ’90s. The moderator goes, “What would you like to see on ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’?” This one guy is just angry, he’s like, “I’d like to see them get on the first plane to Mexico, go to a strip joint, get drunk — you know, something creative.” And I’m standing there thinking there’s nothing funny about any of that, actually. Sometimes what people think they want is probably not what they want.
We’re nearly 30 years removed from a controversy where “Beavis and Butt-Head” was blamed in the death of a young child who died in a fire, and some content was removed from the show as a result. How does that all feel to you now?
It seems more ridiculous now, and when I’ll tell people of it, they’ve kind of forgotten and I’ll say, ‘No, this was like a big deal.’ A small group of people were very angry, but it was pretty crazy. “Beavis and Butt-Head” had landed right at a period when there wasn’t a lot going on in the world, and things were pretty good, and then suddenly, everything just turned — the problem is violence and television. Now, there’s so much worse if you’re going to really nitpick. That conversation seems to be a thing of the past.
In the same way that you get asked all the time about bringing back “Beavis and Butt-Head,” I presume there are similar conversations about “King of the Hill”?
We’re in the middle of exploring that possibility, too. I think we have an idea of how that could go. I get a lot of people saying they watch it before they go to bed. Maybe it puts people to sleep, but that doesn’t mean that it’s boring.
My younger daughter, about 10 years ago, would watch “Gilmore Girls,” and then I started watching it, and I’d go, oh, I like this — this has a similar Zen quality to it. Nothing too horrible happens. Fox, at the time, was pressuring us, like, “We want life-changing events. You won’t believe what happens on ‘King of the Hill’!” That’s not for every show, you know. I don’t think everyone comes home and goes, “OK, I want to be shocked tonight.” Sometimes, you just want comfort TV.