Beavis and Butthead (1993): Hilarious Lovable Idiots

Beavis and Butthead

Beavis and Butthead are coming back! The iconic animated duo will be returning to Comedy Central and Paramount Plus in the form of a reboot, and fans everywhere are rejoicing.

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This new series will be produced by Mike Judge, the creator of the original Beavis and Butthead show, which ran from 1993 to 1997. This article will discuss the origins of Beavis and Butthead, their controversy, and how they became such pop culture icons. We will also look at the upcoming reboot, including who is cast in the show and when it is scheduled to air.

The Origins of Beavis and Butthead

Beavis and Butthead Frog Baseball

Beavis and Butthead are perhaps the most iconic characters of MTV’s animated lineup. The two brain-dead teenagers were created by Mike Judge, who also voiced them on the show. Beavis and Butthead first appeared in 1992 in the short film “Frog Baseball.” The film was later included as part of the Beavis and Butthead volume of “Liquid Television,” an experimental animation anthology series.

In 1993, Beavis and Butthead got their spinoff series, quickly becoming one of MTV’s highest-rated shows. The show followed the misadventures of the two teenage friends, who often engaged in crude antics. Beavis is distinguished by his high-pitched giggle and sugar attacks (which breeds his alter ego Cornholio), while Butthead is known for his slow-wittedness and monotone voice.

Despite their low intelligence, the pair often find themselves in situations that result in violence or property damage. Beavis and Butt-head would watch videos on TV, insult them with their trademark wit, eat lots of nachos, and do things many teenagers invested in. Beavis and Butthead proved to be popular with MTV’s teenage audience, and the show ran for seven seasons before being canceled in 1997.

In the show’s final episode of its original run, the school speculates that Beavis and Butthead are dead as they have been missing from school for an extended period. This leads the faculty to celebrate that their torment from the duo may finally be over. But, of course, in typical Beavis and Butthead fashion, they were just home all along. In 2011, Beavis and Butthead returned to MTV with a reboot, which, while it ran for two seasons, ultimately was canceled as well.

Main Beavis and Butthead Characters

The following reoccurring characters frequently appear on the show:

Are Beavis and Butt-Head based on real people?

Beavis and Butthead

In an interview done by John Kricfalusi (creator of Ren and Stimpy), Mike Judge claimed that he got the names of the characters from people he encountered in real life:

JOHN: How’d you come up with the names?

MIKE: It wasn’t his name, but when I was in college a twelve-year-old kid next door called himself Iron Butt. They all called him Iron Butt because supposedly you could kick him in the butt as hard as you wanted and it wouldn’t hurt him. He’d demonstrate this. He’d stick his butt out and kids would line up and just whack! kick him in the butt and he’d say, “See, it doesn’t hurt.”

JOHN: Did anyone ever cheat? Put a nail in their boot or something?

MIKE: [Laughing] Yeah, I did. I taught him a lesson. His parents were … he had a single mother and she was just never around, and he’d be at our house, he’d sneak into our house, he’d be in the backyard, he actually burned down the tree in front of the house once. He was just a maniac and his parents weren’t around. His friend, actually, we called Butt-Head, even though that wasn’t his name. Then there was a kid in the neighborhood about three blocks away, his name was Bobby Beavis.

JOHN: Uh-oh, he’s going to rear his head up and sue you or something.

MIKE: He wasn’t anything like Beavis. I just liked the name. And he was sort of an athletic guy. He was just like a guy people thought was cool. There was this kid I knew who used to always just say, “Yeah, man, Beavis is cool.” Out of the blue, he’d say that from time to time. It’s so weird when I think about it. When I did the first B&B cartoon, I’d drawn them before I named them, I was just thinking, What am I going to name these guys? I almost didn’t name Butt-Head “Butt-Head.” I came real close to calling him something else.

I can’t remember what it was, but I put the storyboard down and came back to it like two weeks later and saw that I had written “Butt-Head” next to the picture, and it kind of made me laugh and I thought, Well, might as well go for every laugh you can get. It was really weird, when this thing started, to hear lawyers and MTV people calling me and actually saying “ButtHead.” People tried to avoid it too. Someone would say, “Yeah, this Beavis and … uh … uhh,” hoping I would save them: “and Butt-Head.” I’d just let them dangle. “Beavis and what?”

How Old Are Beavis and Butthead?

While their ages have never been verified, the duo are Freshmen in High School, placing their ages anywhere between 15-17. 

Beavis and Butthead Controversy

Despite its popularity, the show was the subject of much controversy due to its perceived glorification of violence and juvenile behavior. In addition, some have criticized the show for its sexist and misogynistic humor. Some people argued that the show was crude and offensive and encouraged terrible behavior among its young viewers. Beavis and Butthead were even blamed for several violent incidents in the 1990s.

Beavis and Butthead: Inspiring Child Violence, Or Just Bad Parenting?

In 1993 when five-year-old Austin Messner set fire to his family’s mobile home, killing his two-year-old sister Jessica Matthews, the victim’s mother blamed the TV show. The children’s mother alleged that Austin watched an episode of the show featuring fire and was compelled to commit arson. Whether this is true is up for debate, as neighbors of the family claimed they did not have cable.

Nonetheless, all references to fire were erased from the show in future airings, with some master tapes even permanently being altered. The writers would poke fun at this, having Beavis say words that sounded close to the offending word or stop short of saying “fire,” but ultimately, the uncensored versions only exist in bootleg form.

In another incident, Natalia Rivera (eight months) was Killed by a bowling ball dropped from an overpass by 18-year-old Calvin Settle. Like Austin Messner, Beavis and Butthead were again blamed for this act, despite the defendant not having cable television.

Ultimately, as with any violent media (video games, movies, etc.), it is the popular choice to blame entertainment over finding other root causes (mental illness, lousy upbringing). As the show says, “Beavis and Butt-Head are not role models. They’re not even human. They’re cartoons. Some of the things they do would cause a person to get hurt, expelled, arrested, possibly deported.”

Cartoons, much like video games, don’t make people violent.

Beavis and Butthead Movies

Beavis and Butthead Do America

Beavis and Butthead Do America was a 1996 American animated road comedy film based on the MTV television series Beavis and Butt-Head. The film was directed by series creator Mike Judge and starred the regular television cast of Beavis and Butt-Head. It also included Robert Stack in a highly memorable comedic role as Agent Fleming. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore also played leading roles in the movie.

This was the first theatrical Beavis and Butt-Head feature. In the film, Beavis and Butt-Head start on a quest to find a television after their tv is stolen, running into Muddy Grimes, who mistakes the duo for hired assassins.

Muddy enlists the boy to “do” (kill) his wife. Our intrepid team, hilariously misunderstanding the order, set off to find his wife with the expectation they’re going to ‘score.’ Many memorable moments occur throughout their travels, including sabotaging the Hoover Dam, causing a massive pileup on the interstate, and being mistaken for terrorists in the White House. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America was generally well-received by movie critics and scored 70%.

New Beavis and Butthead Movie

A second film is currently in production exclusively for Paramount+ called Beavis and Butthead Do The UniverseThe official plot synopsis is below:

“In perhaps the dumbest space movie ever made, Beavis and Butt-Head were sentenced to Space Camp by a ‘creative’ judge in 1998. Their obsession with a docking simulator (huh huh) leads to a trip on the Space Shuttle, with predictably disastrous results.

After going through a black hole, they reemerge in our time, where they look for love, misuse iPhones, and are hunted by the Deep State. Spoiler: They don’t score.”

The movie is expected to premiere on the streaming service exclusively in July. It has been highly speculated that the film will feature the characters as adults instead of the teenagers in the series.

Television Specials

 

In addition to their regular episodes, Beavis and Butthead also starred in a number of extended TV specials. These include the Halloween special Bungholio: Lord of the Harvest, the Christmas special Huh-Huh Humbug, and the Thanksgiving special Beavis and Butthead Do Thanksgiving. Each of these specials is a hilarious and irreverent take on traditional holiday programming.  

In Bungholio: Lord of the Harvest for instance, Beavis and Butthead attempt to go trick or treating and are advised they cannot do so because they are too old. Beavis sneaks into Tom Anderson’s home and eats his bowl of candy, turning into Cornholio. Butthead gets kidnapped by Todd, Beavis gets hung up like a scarecrow and lots of hijinks ensue.

New Beavis and Butthead Episodes

Beavis and Butthead on Zoom

After being off the air for over a decade, Beavis and Butthead made their triumphant return to television in 2011. The new series followed Beavis and Butthead as they navigated the modern world, making hilariously astute observations about pop culture along the way. The show was a massive hit with fans old and new, but its ratings ultimately diminished, and MTV did not pick it up for another season.

However, proving that you can’t keep Beavis and Butthead down, the boys will be coming back once more as part of a two-season order by Comedy Central. The revival will include spinoffs and specials, and the new episodes will be premiering on Paramount+ after the latest movie releases in July. Much like the premise of the upcoming second movie, the new series will show Beavis and Butthead as they attempt to navigate a Gen-Z world.

Beavis And Butthead in Other Media

ACDC Beavis and Butthead

Beavis and Butthead have appeared in other media since their breakout success on MTV in the early ’90s. In addition to their cartoon series, the duo has also been featured in comic books by Marvel’s Absurd label, video games, and music albums. Perhaps one of their most famous appearances was their duet with Cher on a remake of the famous Sonny and Cher duet “I Got You, Babe”.

Beavis and Butthead appeared alongside the famous singer in the music video, with the video being directed by Tamra Davis and Yvette Kaplan. The duo also made an appearance in AC/DC’s live concerts during their Ballbreaker tour. In recent years, Beavis and Butthead have continued to appear in various forms of media, cementing their place as pop culture icons.

Legacy

Even if you’ve never seen an episode of Beavis and Butthead, their legacy has likely been felt in many of the shows you see today. While the duo was often engaged in childish hijinks, they also provided a sharp and often irreverent commentary on popular culture. In many ways, Beavis and Butthead were ahead of their time, and their legacy continues to influence pop culture today.

From South Park to Family Guy to Rick and Morty, many of today’s animated shows owe a debt to Beavis and Butthead. The show also helped to launch the career of its creator, Mike Judge. Since Beavis and Butthead went off the air, Judge has gone on to create some of the most successful animated shows of all time, including Beavis and Butthead’s spiritual successor, King of the Hill, the short-lived series The Goode Family, and the HBO series Silicon Valley.

Judge also went on to direct the films Office Space, Idiocracy and Extract.

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