Beavis and Butthead

A tale of two idiots that changed the face of television.
May 29, 2007

Beavis and Butthead, the brainchild of creator Mike Judge, was a cartoon on MTV about two teenage delinquents who lived in the small town of Highland, Texas. The storylines centered on crude and often dangerous humor, as well as the duo ridiculing the world around them. Beavis and Butthead were both lollygaggers who lacked any intellect whatsoever and had no goals or aspirations for the future (other than trying to get laid, which they never were able to come close to). Between segments, they would watch real life music videos, either criticizing or praising the artists.

Beavis and Butthead both made their debut in 1992 in a short film titled “Frog Baseball”, which was based on a demented game that Mike Judge overheard a couple of kids talk about playing as he was taking a walk one day. After seeing it for the first couple of times, I can honestly say that I have never laughed harder at any other cartoon short in my entire life. Mike Judge made two more shorts featuring Beavis and Butthead, “Peace, Love & Understanding” and “Insect Court”. Beavis and Butthead, the series made its debut in March of 1993. Although the number of episodes in the premiere season fell well short of a typical season for a show on network television, the cartoon quickly developed a cult following.

Butthead, the name, came from a couple of friends Mike Judge knew while attending college who gave him nicknames such as “Iron Butt” and “Butt-Head”. The name Beavis came from a kid Mike Judge knew in his neighborhood also during his college days named Bobby Beavis.

Beavis’ look was actually based on Mike Judge’s crude illustrations of singer Barry Manilow. In the duo, Butthead was usually the leader, who came off as nonchalant. Beavis was usually Butthead’s polar opposite, especially with his alter ego, Cornholio, to which Beavis would pull his shirt over his head after consuming too much sugar or caffeine.

Although there is no evidence to suggest otherwise, Beavis and Butthead lived together in the same shoddy household at too young an age, with absolutely no parental supervision, watched television, and ate junk food. They did however both work at a fast food restaurant called Burger World to help pay the bills. They would screw up on the job constantly, but the duo still kept their jobs at the restaurant, which was almost always understaffed.

In late summer of 1993, a news story broke about a five-year-old boy who set fire to his mother’s trailer home in Ohio, killing his two year old sister. The homeowners blamed Beavis and Butthead for the incident and the show became more popular than before. MTV, however, opted not to rerun any of the episodes associated with arson. They also called for a tighter reign on the scripts and storylines. The show has been credited for lending popularity to many derogatory terms used by the duo, to which MTV also tried to subdue.

Beavis and Butthead was moved to a later time slot at 11:00PM, which included the following disclaimer:

“Beavis and Butt-head are not role models. They're not even human, they're cartoons. Some of 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.”

In December 1996, the movie Beavis and Butthead Do America was released in theatres. The film featured the voices of Mike Judge, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, the late Robert Stack from Unsolved Mysteries, and Greg Kinnear. Although it is still unknown who the duo’s parents are, the men in the desert scene, with whom Beavis and Butthead encounter on their long journey to Washington D.C., each bear a strong resemblance to their biological fathers.

Beavis and Butthead left an indelible mark on popular culture throughout much of the 1990s that the show spun off Daria, based on one of its minor characters, Daria Morgendorffer, which became wildly popular on MTV. Creator Mike Judge ended the Beavis and Butthead series in the fall of 1997 to work full time on the Fox animated series King Of The Hill.

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10 years, 8 months ago
Not a fan. Nor a fan of any of the "Adult" oriented cartoons. Always find the content out of my liking.
    12 years, 3 months ago
    I need TP for my bunghole XD.
      12 years, 5 months ago
      This was pretty funny.
        12 years, 8 months ago
          13 years, 1 month ago
          teacher: it's a great time to discover we don't need television to entertain us.

          butthead: huhuhuhuhuhuuhuhh you said "Anus"
            13 years, 2 months ago
            Everyone at my high school watched this show.

            I hated King of the Hill, the only good character is Dale. Everyone else is annoying.
              13 years, 5 months ago
              beavis and butthead is awesome one of the best shows ever!
                13 years, 6 months ago
                I remember when I was in middle school, I was trying to watch Beavis and Butthead in our livingroom and my dad made me change the channel. Another time I was trying to watch it, I got in trouble by my mom. I have the first season King of the Hill that I have also watched since I was in middle school. I have also seen Daria which is what my older sister liked.
                  13 years, 8 months ago
                  I hate that show to death, but my boyfriend totally loves it.
                    13 years, 9 months ago
                    he he he you said wood
                      14 years, 1 month ago
                      On the one hand, Beavis and Butthead were instrumental in opening the doors for animation and the creation of shows like South Park and Family Guy.

                      On the other hand, Beavis and Butthead were also the beginning of the end for MTV (which used to stand for Music Television). They weren't the only reason for the demise of the network, but they didn't help.

                      Still, it was funny as hell.

                      And, who needs MTV anymore anyway?
                        14 years, 1 month ago
                        I remeber an episode where Beavis wanted a tattoo of a butt with a tattoo of a butt on it and was going to locate this tatoo on...youeguessed it....his butt.I laughed at that for days. I enjoyed their movie too. My favorite line is: "Is this a God Dam?" when they visit the Hoover Dam.
                          14 years, 1 month ago
                          This show was so funny, even as an 8 year old when the show first came out in 1993. I remember seeing that story about the kid who set his house on fire. Shouldn't the parents have been watching the kid? I miss the old MTV, now it's all shitty reality shows like Laugna Beach. I want my music videos, damn it!
                            14 years, 6 months ago
                            liquid tv...
                              14 years, 7 months ago
                              Great over-view. I have the three volumes of the Mike Judge collection DVD and would say that the three part documentary of the history of Beavis and Butt-head (one part per DVD set) makes for good viewing.

                              A comment Butt-head makes during one of the video commentaries in a later season had some foreshadowing; "There's hardly any music videos on MTV anymore, it's all videos of people snowboarding."
                                14 years, 7 months ago
                                Oh what a fantastic show! Believe it or not, this was appointment television for my entire family. My dad bought the DVDs and watches them all the time.
                                  14 years, 7 months ago
                                  Beavis and Butthead rule!! yeah-yeah! uhh, huh-uh huh-uh, yeeeeaaah. I'd like to see them again.
                                    14 years, 7 months ago
                                    holy crap! I wish they can bring it back! This used to air on MTV(when it was good). One of my bosses at work looks like Butthead hah!
                                      14 years, 7 months ago
                                      I was never really offended by Beavis and Butt-Head. My mother however is another story all together.
                                        14 years, 7 months ago
                                        This show was classic.
                                          14 years, 7 months ago
                                          It makes me feel so old that my favorite show of all time is now considered "retro"! I can remember being 12 years old when it first came out, and thinking it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. I have all the episodes on tape complete with videos, and I still watch them from time to time. I made a Beavis and Butthead Geocities page 3 years ago, its just a links page, but I was very satisfied with it, because whenever I would search for Beavis and Butthead stuff on the Internet, I would just get a bunch of broken links. If anyone is interested, here it is: By the way, retroguy78, love the article.
                                            14 years, 7 months ago
                                            Man I loved this show. I remember that disclaimer like it was yesterday. I didn't HATE Daria, I just never really got into it (until later, but that's another story for another day). I remember watching it often to see if Beavis and Butthead would make a cameo appearence.
                                              14 years, 7 months ago
                                              Um, Sonic64, B&B Do America was released in theaters 1996, and was released on video the following year.
                                                14 years, 7 months ago
                                                I loved this show! My dad and I still quote it (and the movie) to this day. I have Volume 3 on dvd. I loved Daria, too.
                                                  14 years, 7 months ago
                                                  i never did like B&B. but then i prettymuch hated just about every show MTV made. i was and still am a purist. the M in MTV stood for play some video's. but nice artical anyway.
                                                    14 years, 7 months ago
                                                    This article seems incomplete. You could have put a closing statement after the King of the Hill picture. As for this article, Beavis & Butthead fans, live your life the way you want to.
                                                      14 years, 7 months ago
                                                      ^First Daria hater I found. It topped B&B in everyway for me, and a lot of people I know love it.(Granted, these friends are rather intellegent...)
                                                        14 years, 7 months ago
                                                        I hated Daria! Condesending characters reaaly irk me.
                                                          14 years, 7 months ago
                                                          I don't think "Insect Court" was a Beavis and Butthead short, I always thought it was just a scene from one of the earlier episodes. But I could be wrong.
                                                            14 years, 7 months ago
                                                            They were so funny. I loved that show.
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