Beavis and Butthead: Cult Icons

If you love nachos, heavy metal music and find yourself incessantly laughing at your television in the small hours of the night, chances are you’ve come across Beavis and Butthead.

Beavis and Butthead

Beavis and Butthead

Beavis and Butthead ran throughout the mid 90s 1993-1997 and became a cult classic with the show still being repeated today.

Icons of the nineties and profoundly stupid, Beavis and Butthead were a love it or loathe it affair who created the ‘MTV generation’.

Spending half their lives in front of the television critiquing heavy metal bands and talking about ‘scoring chicks’, these two numbskulls counted David Letterman and even Patrick ‘Jean Luc Picard’ Stewart as fans.

We present a trip down memory lane (for those who were too stoned to remember it the first time round) of perhaps the most pivotal cartoon of a generation: Beavis and Butthead.

A Pair of Dumbasses

The brainchild of Mike Judge, Beavis and Butthead began life as characters in a short film Frog Baseball for Liquid Television. MTV soon signed Judge to create a series and the rest they say is history.

Set in Texas, the show centred around two ‘dumbasses’ called Beavis and Butthead who attend (occasionally) Highland High School.

Despite a complete lack of work ethic, they do have jobs at Burger World – causing frequent havoc due to their incompetence.

With an almost constant, fixated stare, Beavis often takes a beating from Butthead.

Beavis has an unhealthy obsession with fire (*cough*PYRO! *cough*) which landed the show into a spot of bother when it was blamed for a toddler’s death.

In Ohio in October 1993 a five-year-old boy set fire to his mother’s mobile home, killing his two-year-old sister. The mother later claimed that her son had watched one of the fire-related segments of Beavis and Butthead shortly before he burned down the home.

The show was then restrained from further references to fire.

Also, on consuming too much sugar and/or caffeine, Beavis’ alter ego The Great Cornholio comes out to play. Beavis pulls his shirt over his head and starts shouting in a mock-Spanish accent ‘I need T.P for my bumhole’ – don’t ask us…!

Beavis and Butthead

Rockin' out!

The more dominant of the duo, Beavis’ buddy Butthead wears braces, has squinty eyes, prominent nostrils and a tiny upper lip revealing his gums. Fit. He also has his trademark laugh, uh-huh-huh-huh – oh you know!

Beginning nearly every statement with “Uhhhhh” Butthead is cocky and confident until it comes to women (or ‘chicks’).

Beavis and Butthead had a limited vocabulary to say the least and had no trouble in finding double entendres in almost any phrase.

“This is like a James Bond movie.” “Yeah. They need that short guy, HandJob.” “Heh heh heh, you said ‘Job’.”

Words like ‘butthole’, ‘dumbass’ and ‘wiener’ became playground favourites but probably the most iconic quotation (if you could call it that) was Butthead’s idiotic laugh – uh huh huh huh.

MTV Moguls

Beavis and Butthead would, more often than not, be found on the sofa watching TV with a major part of each show showing them watching music videos on MTV and airing their ‘thoughts’ on the bands.

Huge fans of heavy metal bands (Beavis would wear a Metallica t-shirt whereas Butthead wears AC/DC) and with no tolerance for electronic or new wave music, this segment was improvised by Mike Judge nearly every time and represented the relationship teenagers of the 90s had with music television.

Beavis and Butthead on Sofa

Beavis and Butthead at home on the sofa

Butthead famously said he’d soiled himself when he realised he was watching a Michael Bolton video and remarked that he can “make any kind of music suck”.

They also had a dislike for British bands like Blur and Pink Floyd because of their ‘wussy’ accents – how terribly rude!

The worst critique the boys ever gave was upon stumbling across Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby – the pair simply looked at each other and changed the channel without uttering a word. Oh dear.

They boys did enjoy some videos however, especially admiring Ozzy Osbourne (the pair would sing the Iron Man tune when excited about anything) and such was their power and influence, that even Kurt Cobain was said to be flattered and honoured when the pair praised Smells like Teen Spirit.

It was only a matter of time before their success reached epic proportions – read on for Beavis and Butthead live-action movie goss.

Hollywood and Beyond

Beavis and Butthead got a big screen outing in 1996’s Beavis and Butt-head Do America featuring the pair embarking on a quest to replace their stolen TV set.

During the anarchic 81 minutes the pair get expelled from their school, are mistaken for hit-men and criminal masterminds, they damage the Hoover Dam, nearly die in the desert, and Butthead even makes a pass at Chelsea Clinton.

Celebrities such as Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, David Letterman and Greg Kinnear all leant their vocal talents to the film which earned over $60 million in North America alone, a hefty little earning for a film that only cost $5 million to produce.

Live Action?
In August 2009, Mike Judge spoke on the subject of a live action Beavis and Butthead.

Talking to Collider, Judge admits that he’d “like to keep the door open on Beavis and Butt-Head, because it’s my favourite thing that I’ve ever done. It’s the thing I’m most proud of.”

However he doesn’t know whether he could handle the commitment – “the problem is it takes a year and half, two years, two and a half years – maybe – to do that right. And that’s a pretty strong level of commitment. I’m going to look at that again.”


Beavis haveing a 'Cornholio' moment

Judge likes the idea of bringing back Beavis and Butthead in their 60s as “two dirty old men sitting on the couch… at one point I thought Butt-Head might do okay on some really low-level sales job. Beavis might be landscaping.”

In the 90s at the height of its popularity Johnny Depp proclaimed he would love to play Beavis.

On the set of Don Juan DeMarco with Marlon Brando, both actors apparently frequently did impressions of Beavis & Butthead.

Depp famously only plays ‘special’ characters and by gum he does it well. From Capt. Jack Sparrow to Willy Wonka to the iconic Edward Scissorhands, Depp certainly has an affair with the strange so we reckon Depp would make an excellent Beavis. But who would play Butthead? Answers on a postcard please.

And there we have it – icons of a generation and perhaps the world’s worst role models, Beavis and Butthead certainly left an impression. But whilst we wait patiently for the return of Beavis and Butthead why not watch a classic Cornholio moment here wienerheads!


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