The First Animations of Mike Judge, Creator of Beavis and Butt-head & Office Space (1991)

Mike Judge first became famous for cre­at­ing the crude and crude­ly drawn car­toon series Beav­is and Butt-head (find com­plete episodes online here). The show was about two high school burnouts whose run­ning com­men­tary on the lat­est music videos was so bone­head­ed and bald­ly vul­gar that you couldn’t help but laugh. Pris­sy cul­ture war­riors point­ed to the show as yet anoth­er symp­tom of America’s decline while legions of stoned col­lege stu­dents glee­ful­ly tuned in. In 1998, Judge made the jump to live action fea­tures with Office Space, a hilar­i­ous, if uneven, take on the banal­i­ties of Amer­i­can cor­po­rate cul­ture. It’s one of those movies that no one saw in the the­ater but, thanks to cable, every­one of a cer­tain age can quote. (“If you can come in on Sat­ur­day, that would be great.”) Cur­rent­ly, he is the cre­ator for the hit HBO series Sil­i­con Val­ley.

Judge start­ed in ani­ma­tion after work­ing for a spell as first a com­put­er pro­gram­mer and then a blues bassist. After see­ing an ani­ma­tion cel on dis­play in a local movie the­ater in 1989, he ran out and bought a Bolex 16mm cam­era and start­ed mak­ing movies. Two years lat­er, he was pro­duc­ing odd, thor­ough­ly unpol­ished ani­mat­ed shorts that made the rounds in film fes­ti­vals, even­tu­al­ly launch­ing a career in Hol­ly­wood.

Above is a short about Mil­ton, the neb­bish sta­pler-obsessed cubi­cle dweller who was the gen­e­sis for Office Space. Stephen Root played him in the movie. His boss is the same pas­sive-aggres­sive prick as in the movie though played with less unc­tu­ous zeal as Gary Cole’s per­for­mance. The short proved to be such a suc­cess that MTV’s Liq­uid Tele­vi­sion ordered more.

Next is The Honky Prob­lem, about an emo­tion­al­ly unbal­anced coun­try singer named ‘Inbred Jed.’ He wants you to know that he is real­ly, real­ly, real­ly hap­py to be play­ing at a remote trail­er park­er pop­u­lat­ed by a bunch of char­ac­ters out of a David Lynch movie. In fact, if it weren’t for the jokey voice over at the end, this short is creepy enough to almost pass for an episode of Lynch’s own ani­mat­ed series, Dum­b­land.

And there’s this short also from 1991 called sim­ply Huh?, which pits the shrill against the obliv­i­ous.

You can find more Ani­ma­tions in our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Dum­b­land, David Lynch’s Twist­ed Ani­mat­ed Series (NSFW)

Watch All of Ter­ry Gilliam’s Mon­ty Python Ani­ma­tions in a Row

Tim Burton’s The World of Stain­boy: Watch the Com­plete Ani­mat­ed Series

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow.

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