"The Brothers Grunt," a new animated series premiering on MTV tonight at 7 and 11:30, attempts to wrench the vulgar-and-tasteless crown from "Beavis and Butt-head." It's an effortful, sophomoric half-hour that leaves the viewer longing for the refined good taste of Alice Cooper.
The title characters--Perry, Frank, Tony, Bing, Dean and Sammy--are siblings raised by the Secret Order of the Grunt. As they're being inducted into the Order (a ceremony that involves rubbing their faces with a duck's behind), the monks realize that Perry is destined to be their next leader. But Perry gets flushed away during the ceremony, so the other five are sent to find him. Clad in boxer shorts, knee socks and wingtips, they dash about in a series of disjointed vignettes between rock videos.
Visually, "Brothers" suggests a Saturday morning kidvid show on LSD. The colors are garish; the designs are wincingly ugly. The animation jerks from distorted pose to distorted pose. The close-ups of stretching tongues, bulging veins, popping eyeballs and mucus-encrusted nostrils would be tasteless at any hour, but at 7 p.m., they're inexcusable. Parents who dislike "Beavis and Butt-head" won't want their children exposed to gags about used condoms, urinals, police beatings, sagging breasts and stretched nipples.
"The Brothers Grunt" was created by Danny Antonucci, who gained a certain notoriety on the festival circuit for "Lupo the Butcher," in which a gutter-mouthed meat cutter hacked himself to pieces amid fountains of blood. His talent continues to develop.