Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Beavis and Butt-head
Beavis and Butt-head is an animated comedy show that aired on US TV station MTV from 1993 to 1997. 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 was highly influential on the verbal language of the 1990s American youth.
Beavis and Butt-head started life as an animated short created by Judge for the Spike and Mike 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 becoming interested in pursuing a television series featuring the characters.
An episode of the show typically consists of Beavis and Butt-head making juvenile commentary while watching music videos. Between the videos, stories are advanced involving the duo's adventures in troublemaking both at home and at school. Targets for their carnal humour include authority, high school life and even themselves. Beavis and Butt-head's characteristic features are that they are obsessed with sex and somewhat mentally challenged.
Butt-head seems marginally more intelligent and calmer than Beavis, the latter being prone to bouts of hyperactive lunacy. Butt-head is usually oblivious to subtleties, while Beavis is somewhat oblivious to the obvious.
The sneering, mindless duo gave American teens a plethora of new slang put-downs and terms, including "buttmunch ", "fartknocker", "bunghole", "cornholio" 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, etcetera. MTV also responded by broadcasting the program after 11:00 PM, and adding a disclaimer reminding parents that the show was not for children.
Beavis and Butt-head, along with other (arguably) mainstream cartoons such as Ren and Stimpy and The Simpsons, pushed the boundaries of American cartoons away from clean material for small children only. While some might say they were crude, it offered succinct social commentary and a disturbingly accurate portrayal of life in America for many. Some critics note that the show is actually a satire on MTV itself. Beavis and Butt-head, they argue, are prime examples of latchkey kids who have been turned into idiots by staying home and doing nothing but watching music videos all day. Because they are raised entirely by MTV, they are unable to adapt to social life at all, and (especially) they are unable to meet girls (or, as the duo state, "score with a chick").
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" prostitutes in Beavis and Butt-head's hometown, Highland. The film implies that these men are, in fact, Beavis and Butt-head's biological fathers, or that only one, a heavyset slob voiced by an uncredited David Letterman, is the father of both (making them half-brothers).
The movie Beavis and Butt-head Do America followed the duo in their journey to retrieve their stolen television set. The couple traveled across the land and got involved in a master scheme that they had no idea of. Beavis and Butt-head's fathers are revealed for the first time ever, and even President Clinton makes an appearance. The movie features the voices of famous actors like Bruce Willis and Demi Moore.
Beavis and Butt-head have also appeared in many video games, like Virtual Stupidity, Bunghole in One and Beavis and Butt-head Do U.
Along with the usual merchandising, a comic was released and several video games. A spinoff show based on their maligned classmate Daria Morgendorffer, Daria, was also created. The show's success also inspired MTV to launch a similar animated series entitled The Brothers Grunt, which placed an even greater emphasis on sophomoric toilet humor. This show was swiftly cancelled in the wake of poor ratings.
- 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
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