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Beavis and Butthead

Beavis and Butt-head was an animated comedy show that aired on the U.S. TV station MTV from 1993 to 1997, and is a spin-off of MTV's animation showcase Liquid Television. It was created by Mike Judge, who later went on to write and produce the TV series King of the Hill and the live action movie Office Space. The show highly influenced the vocabulary of 1990s American youth.

The TV series

Beavis and Butt-head started life as an animated short created by Judge for the Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. This short, named "Frog Baseball" was aired on MTV's independent animation showcase Liquid Television, which was presumably the catalyst for MTV's interest in pursuing a TV series featuring the characters.

An episode of the show typically consists of Beavis and Butt-head making candid commentary while watching music videos. Between the videos, stories are advanced involving the duo's adventures in troublemaking both at home and at school. Beavis and Butt-head's lifestyles revolve around music videos, nachos, Slurpees, and shopping malls. The two were perpetually wearing an AC/DC shirt and a Metallica shirt. (These were change to shirts saying "Skull" and "Death Rock" on some merchandising items, possibly due to copyright reasons.)

Butt-head seems calmer and marginally more intelligent than Beavis, the latter being prone to bouts of hyperactive lunacy (especially in the form of his alter-ego, Cornholio). Butt-head is usually oblivious to subtleties, while Beavis is somewhat oblivious to the obvious.

The sneering, mindless duo introduced a plethora of slang insults and terms into the lexicon of American teens, including "buttmunch", "fartknocker", "bunghole", "cornhole" and "spank the monkey". Early episodes gave the duo a juvenile obsession with fire and dangerous, risky behavior. The show was blamed for numerous child deaths as the result of fire and dangerous stunts, and the references were excised from further broadcastings, being replaced to some extent with simply silly stunts, bad pick-up lines, et cetera. References to fire were often cut from earlier episodes in reruns. Other episodes were filled with pyromaniacal, risky behavior to the point of being uneditable, and MTV opted simply not to air them. Jabs at the controversy were made in subsequent episodes. In one episode, Beavis begins chanting "liar liar", and cuts it off, saying it as "liar liar pants on...heh...woah!" Another episode features Beavis shouting "water" in the same manner he would shout fire. Episodes with the original content are now only available on home-made tapes. MTV also responded by broadcasting the program after 11:00 PM, and adding a disclaimer reminding viewers that:

"Beavis and Butt-head are not role models. They're not even human, they're cartoons. The things they do could cause a person to get hurt, expelled, arrested... possibly deported. To put it another way, don't try this at home."

The message was read by a man with a faint southern United States accent, while the text of the message scrolled up the screen. The text was yellow and written in using a font similar to the main title. The disclaimer was also accompanied by banjo music. While never specifically stated, it is generally accepted that the disclaimer was meant to be light hearted.

Beavis and Butt-head, along with other mainstream cartoons such as Ren and Stimpy and The Simpsons, pushed the boundaries of American cartoons away from clean material for small children. They were famously lambasted by Democratic senator Fritz Hollings as "Buffcoat and Beaver." Critics, though split upon the cultural merits of the cartoon, often compared the dialogue to that of Samuel Beckett. While some might say they were crude, the show often offered succinct social commentary. Beavis and Butt-head have been compared to idiot savants due to their creative observations of music videos. This part of the show was mostly improvised by Mike Judge (who performed both characters simultaneously) and is considered the show's highlight. With regard to criticisms of Beavis and Butt-head as "idiots", Judge has responded that a show about straight-A students and do-gooders just would not be funny.

Recurring themes

The series has a number of recurring elements as far as stories go. Perhaps one of, if not the most persistent element is the constant torment and chaos the dimwitted duo visit upon their semi-senile, near-sighted neighbor, Tom Anderson. This typically takes the form of the two being hired by Anderson to do odd jobs, or the theft and destruction of his property. Despite how often they interact, Anderson rarely ever seeks retribution, as his bad eyesight and absent-mindedness often make it easy for the duo to claim that someone else did whatver he accuses them of. A typical Anderson encounter begins with his familiar line, "Say, you boys look kinda familiar....aren't you the ones (insert various misdeed here)." To which the two often reply "Uh, no, that was like, other kids." Or something along those lines.

Other common story elements involve the two causing havoc at their place of employment, Burger World, which is a parody of typical fast food outlets. They spend little time working, and when they try to work, they are often too incompetent to even take a customer's order.

The other most common situation involves the two being at school and causing trouble there. They are usually pitted against their teachers and other school officials, with the most well known and recurring ones being Mr. Van Driessen, Coach Buzzcut, and Principal McVicker, whom they occasionally refer to as "McDicker."

One of their most common goals in life is to "score" with chicks, which often results in them attempting to pick up girls. To this day, neither of them has had any success.


The series has featured many recurring characters, most of whom appeared in minor roles in the early days and whom were not initially given names. Also listed are a number of popular and memorable one-shot characters. It should be noted that some of these characters will be listed as only descriptions, as many characters are never given names.

* Tom Anderson. The near-sighted, scatter-brained elderly neighbor of Beavis and Butt-head. Of all the residents of Highland, Tom Anderson has perhaps suffered more from the antics of the dimwitted duo than anyone else. Most often, he hires them to do odd jobs, which usually results in them destroying his yard, home, or personal belongings. Due to his poor eyesight and mild senility, he never recognizes the two when they return for more chaos.

* David Van Driessen. A teacher at Highland High school, and arguably the only person who cares about Beavis and Butt-Head. Van Driessen is a hippie-like teacher with a forgiving nature and gentle demeanor. While his attempts to teach Beavis and Butt-Head useful life lessons often end in disaster, he is not nearly as victimized as some of the other residents of the town. What exactly he is a teacher of is unclear, as he has been shown teaching classes on Biology, Art, Animation, Economics, Health, History, Literature, etc.

* Mr. Buzzcut. The loud-mouthed, angry, and somewhat antisocial gym teacher is a former marine, and, with the exception of Principal McVicker, hates the duo more than any other character. He is often charged with administering discipline to the two, as well as dealing with their antics in his classes.

* Principal McVicker. The Principal of Highland High is, arguably, Beavis and Butt-Head's arch-enemy. The two have unintentionally ruined his life, and have driven him so far to the edge of sanity that he has a drawer of stress medication, drinks while at school, and occasionally wets his pants. Many episodes begin with Beavis and Butt-head in his office, as he is forced to deal with yet another misdeed of their making.

* Todd. Todd is a white-trash thug who leads a local street gang. He is rude, arrogant, and violent. Because of this, Beavis and Butt-Head look up to him, and aspire to be members of his gang some day. Todd despises the two and tends to take advantage of them when he needs something, such as money or a place to hide from other gangs or the police.

* Todd's Gang. Todd's gang is never given a name, and consists of largely nondescript metalheads. None of them are ever named, and none of them have dialogue. While Todd continued to appear regularly, the gang was largely forgotten in the later seasons of the show.

* Todd's Girlfriend. Todd's girlfriend has appeared two or three times, and is never named. She works in a beauty salon and has an 80's metalhead appearance.

* Stewart Stevenson. A nerdy, short, fat kid who looks up to Beavis and Butt-head, and thinks they are his best friends. He often tries to hang out with them, much to the chagrin of the duo. Stewart's father thinks Beavis and Butt-head are a bad influence on him.

* Mr. Stevenson. Father of Stewart. Mr. Stevenson was, at one point, a teacher at Highland High, but eventually he was no longer depicted in this position. Whether he quit teaching or not was never addressed. He mostly hates Beavis and Butt-head, but is friendly to them on occasion. His love of pornography provides Beavis and Butthead with most of their access to naked women.

* Mrs. Stevenson. Stewart's Mother. Mrs. Stevenson is depicted as something of an airhead, and usually likes Beavis and Butt-head, being somewhat oblivious to their antics. She has a thick Wisconsin or Minnesota accent.

* Billy Bob. Billy Bob was an earlier recurring character who stopped appearing in the later seasons. Depicted as an obese redneck, Billy Bob does not wear clothes for some reason, and is often shown in only a cowboy hat and briefs. He often smokes a cigar.

* Daria Morgendorfer. Daria is vaguely alt-rockerish, nerdy girl. Along with Anderson, the teachers, and Stewart, she is one of the show's oldest recurring characters. She holds Beavis and Butt-head in disdain for their stupidity and sexist attitudes, but she also seems to feel some pity for them and offers her help and advice every now and then. She eventually went on to star in her own spinoff series, Daria.

* Burger World Manager. Beavis and Butt-head's boss, the manager of Burger World, is never given a proper name. The duo refer to him as "That Manager dude." He shows considerably more patience with the two than some of the other characters, but he often gets tired of their incompotence and goofing off on the job.

* Madame Blavatsky. A one-shot character, Madame Blavatsky was a sham fortune teller who spoke in a faux Romanian accent. She attempted to tell Butt-Head's future once, only to have Beavis seize her crystal ball and give predictions of a war, which turned out to be the reflection of a news broadcast from the T.V. behind him. Her character is based on the real person of Russian origin, Elena Blavatsky.

* Rabid Ron. A local radio host whose show was ruined after Beavis and Butt-head won a guest DJ spot and humiliated him on the air. He went on to do another show where he imitated the two.

* Mr. Manners/Mr. Candy. Mr. Manners was an educational speaker who came to Highland High to teach the kids proper manners. During his instructional session, Beavis and Butt-head clashed with him, resulting in a fight between him and Mr. Van Driessen. Due to Beavis' allegations that he attacked him, he was unable to find another job for six months. He eventually returned as Mr. Candy, promoting a candy-bar-selling drive for the school.

* Earle. A local loser and student of Highland High, Earle appeared in an episode where Beavis and Butt-head thought he was going to kill them. Earle carried a gun with him at all times until that episode, when Mr. Van Driessen took the gun away. After having his gun taken away, Earle began crying.

* Hiro. A Japanese exchange student who befriended Beavis and Butt-head. The two of them turned him into an irresponsible metalhead.

* Lolita and Tanqeray. Two girls who were roughly the female equivalents of Beavis and Butt-head. They would occasionally take advantage of the duo's attraction to them and ask for things, such as help sneaking in to movies.

* President Bill Clinton. President Clinton appeared in an hour -long episode, as well as the movie. Both times, he met Beavis and Butt-head and befriended them.

* Peter Small. A TV fitness host who was an obvious parody of celebrity bodybuilders, in particular Tony Little. Beavis and Butt-head attempted to order his weight gain formula and emulate him, thinking that if they were like him they would get chicks.

* Fat redneck woman. This woman has never been named, but appeared a number of times, most notably in an episode where Beavis and Butt-head dial a phone-sex hotline. The obvious joke was that the two thought they were talking to a hot chick, but were in reality speaking with an ill-mannered obese slob.

* Mrs. Dickie. One of the few female teachers at Highland, Mrs. Dickie was a sporadically recurring character. Her appearances decreased as the show moved in to its later seasons.

* PATSIES. The group called PATSIES, aka Positive Acting Teens, have been featured in a number of episodes, and consist of goody-goody honor-student caricatures. The two most prominent members are essentially good versions of Beavis and Butt-head.


There are several prime locations features in the series.

* Beavis and Butt-head's living room. Much of the action, and all of the video segments, take place or begin here, with the two sitting on the couch, watching T.V. It is often here that they devise their schemes.

* Highland High School. Probably the most visited location in the series. The school is a typical high school, which is alternately portrayed as run down, but occasionally having more upscale features, such as a very large weight room, an animation class, a fairly sophisticated media center, and a very large indoor swimming pool. Most of the action at high takes place in the classrooms themselves, which all look pretty much the same.

* Burger World. The fast food restaraunt where the two stars work is often the site of on the job pranks and chaos due to simple incompetence. It is often portrayed as either vacant, with customers avoiding the headache of dealing with the staff, or as hopelessly crowded, due to Beavis and Butt-head's inability to carry out even the simplest orders.

* Tom Anderson's house. Anderson's house is continually vandalized and destroyed by the two. It is a typical upper middle class suburban home, but the property value must be rather low considering how much devastation occurs there.

* Maxi Mart. An obvious parody of 7-11 and similar outlets. The duo typically spend their time here buying Nachos, junk food, trying to pick up on chicks, or breaking stuff outside.

* Open field. A grassy field backdropped by a large water tower is where Beavis & Butthead can be found carrying out destructive experiments or setting things on fire.

Holiday Specials

At least two holiday specials were produced. A Halloween special, and a Christmas special. The Halloween special involved the two attempting to trick or treat, with incredibly mixed results, as well as memorably ridiculous costumes. The Christmas special consists of two segments that parodied popular Christmas stories. The first was a parody of A Christmas Carol, featuring Beavis and Ebeneezer Scrooge, and the second was a send up of It's A Wonderful Life, with the angel Charlie trying to convince Butt-head to kill himself for the good of all mankind. The special also contained short segments where Butt-head dressed as Santa, read letters from viewers, while Beavis was dressed as a reindeer. It is unknown if the letters were real or simply written for the special. Neither of these specials contained music videos.

Music Videos

One of the most well-known aspects of the series was the inclusion of the music videos, which occured between animated segments. The duo would watch the videos and make humorous observations about them, or simply engage in bizarre, nonsensical dialogue. Many well known and popular alternative artists were featured on the show, including:

* Bjork
* Blind Melon
* Boy George
* Death
* Donald Fagen
* Dr. Dre
* Faith No More
* Gwar
* Huey Lewis and the News
* Iggy Pop
* Korn
* Marilyn Manson
* MC 900 Ft. Jesus
* Men Without Hats
* Metallica
* Ministry
* Morbid Angel
* My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult
* Nine Inch Nails
* Nirvana
* Nitzer Ebb
* Pantera
* Peter Gabriel
* Prince
* Red Hot Chili Peppers
* Revolting Cocks
* Soundgarden
* Stone Temple Pilots
* The Dead Milkmen
* The Ramones
* Tori Amos
* Van Halen
* Ween
* White Zombie

...and many more. Even bands the duo seemingly liked were rarely spared from their cutting observations. Nirvana's Kurt Cobain is said to have been ecstatic at having the video for Smells Like Teen Spirit praised by Beavis and Butthead and deemed it a great compliment. The ultimate put-down by the duo was to simply look at each other, then switch the channel without saying a word. Only Vanilla Ice and Milli Vanilli met this fate.

Beavis and Butt-head: The Movie

A full-length animated movie, Beavis and Butt-head Do America, was released in 1996. The movie features the voices of Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, David Letterman, Cloris Leachman, Robert Stack and Eric Bogosian. The film's plot follows the duo in a journey to retrieve their stolen television set: Beavis and Butt-head travel across the land and become involved in a biological weapon smuggling scheme that they remain completely unaware of throughout the entire film. Their journey takes them to Washington, D.C. where they meet President Clinton (voiced by Dale Reeves).

Beavis and Butt-head's parents are never seen, except for a small part during the movie, where Beavis and Butt-head run into two older look-alikes who then tell of how they "scored" with "sluts" in Beavis and Butt-head's hometown, Highland. The film implies that these men are, in fact, Beavis and Butt-head's biological fathers.

The CD

A CD appeared, named The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience featuring many hard rock and heavy metal bands, such as Megadeth and Nirvana as well, in which the duo comments on the tracks. Moreover, they did a duet with Cher on "I Got You Babe" and a track by themselves named "Come To Butt-head".

Other Appearances

* Beavis and Butt-head have also appeared in a comic book series released by Marvel Comics, and many video games, like Virtual Stupidity, Bunghole in One and Beavis and Butt-head Do U.
* In the film Airheads, when the DJ is taking radio call-ins, Beavis and Butt-head call in. Mike Judge supplied the voices himself for the movie.
* In the first Austin Powers film, when Dr. Evil has problems working the remote to the United Nations, he inadvertently switches the channel to Beavis and Butt-head.


A spinoff show based on their maligned classmate Daria Morgendorffer, Daria, was also created. Mike Judge was not credited as a producer of this series; the Daria character had been created for Beavis and Butt-head by Glenn Eichler, who became a producer for Daria. In the first episode of Daria, Daria and her family move from Beavis and Butt-head's hometown of Highland to Lawndale; consequently, none of the other characters from Beavis and Butt-head ever appear on Daria other than Daria herself.

On the Adult Swim sketch show Robot Chicken, a featured parody of the Cartoon Network animated series Teen Titans has Beavis and Butt-head joining the team. Their usual attitude lands them and the team in trouble. They are chauvanistic to Starfire and insult Raven's seemingly gothic nature. They also sing the theme song from the Batman television series when Robin is around. Mike Judge did not voice the duo in this parody.

They also appeared in an episode of Celebrity Deathmatch, where they fought each other. They were animated with clay. Beavis won the match, but lost both of his arms in the process. Their voices were performed by Mike Judge.

On the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28th, 2005, They appeared in a couple of Viewers Choice award skits, saying for to "Vote to put Beavis and Butt-head back on MTV!" This may be a sign that the show is coming back soon.

Video and DVD

All VHS collections of episodes are out of print, but have been collected as part of a Time-Life set. A DVD collection of episodes that have never been released on VHS is rumored to be in production. It is also rumored that the reason the series has not been released by season in boxed sets yet is that there has been some difficulty in acquiring music rights for the videos. On November 8, MTV and Paramount Home Video will release "The Best of Beavis and Butt-Head Volume One: The Mike Judge Collection". The DVD will include approximately eleven music videos.


It is a popular myth at the University of California, San Diego that the appearances of Beavis and Butt-head were modelled on faculty at its Department of Physics. Their real-life models are said to be David Kleinfeld and James Branson respectively.

See also

* List of Beavis and Butt-head episodes
* List of characters in Beavis and Butt-head
* List of Musicians Appearing on Beavis and Butt-head
* King of the Hill -- the next animated television series created by Mike Judge.

External links

* Beavis and Butt-head at the Internet Movie Database
* Beavis and Butt-head Do America at the Internet Movie Database
* Beavis and Butthead Central, a fan site with downloads
* Beavis and Butt-head at the Big Cartoon DataBase
* Beavis and Butthead's world, a fan site
*, German fan site with forum, downloads and much more stuff
* Beavis and Butthead -- fan site with forum, videos, downloads and more.
* [1] -- news on the upcoming Beavis and Butt-Head DVD release


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