Beavis and Butt-head
Themes and format
The theme of the show was the lives of two stupid and immature high-school characters named Beavis and Butt-head. Frequent topics were pranks Beavis and Butt-head pulled, their obsession with television, interactions between them and other adult characters, their job at fast-food restaurant "Burger World," and their unsuccessful attempts at sexual relationships with women. The show format consisted of two 5-10 minute episodes, which were interspersed with commentary on music videos, which Beavis and Butt-head would watch on their TV set.
Beavis and Butt-head, for its time, was very controversial. In the early seasons of the show, pranks and destructive acts received more focus than the stupidity of the characters. Acts included leaving the house during tornado conditions, drug trafficking, bulldozing school property, and injuring themselves while attempting to profit from subsequent lawsuits. This led to children imitating behavior of the characters, similar to what would happen with later MTV shows such as Jackass and Punk'd.
MTV reacted by voluntarily censoring more and more of the show. Early episodes featuring Beavis' catchphrase "Fire! Fire!" were censored or removed. The emphasis on pranks, destructive activity, and annoying school faculty lessened over time, with the newer seasons holding a greater resemblance to The Three Stooges and Ren and Stimpy.
Beavis and Butt-head would frequently laugh at double-entendres accidentally said by other characters on the show. Other dirty jokes were prevalent as well.
The show has been misinterpreted, by many, as promoting the dangerous behavior and stupidity of the characters of the show, whereas, in reality, the show is stereotyping their behavior.
In 1996, Beavis and Butt-head Do America was released to theaters. The plot featured Beavis and Butt-head becoming accidental puppets in the trafficking of a biological weapon while looking for their stolen TV set. Promised sex in return, Beavis and Butt-head tour the country to Washington, DC, unknowingly carrying the weapon. Along the way, they are tracked by the BATF, which misinterprets their behavior as clever and deliberate.
- When the show began, heavy metal music was still popular, with alternative rock only starting to gain popularity. Beavis wore a Metallica T-shirt, and Butt-head wore an AC/DC T-shirt. Stewart, the neighbor subject to ridicule by Beavis and Butt-head, wore a Winger T-shirt. Winger was a hair metal band, then popular among women due to attractive lead singer Kip Winger.
- Beavis and Butt-head's cynical classmate Daria would later receive her own spin-off show between 1997 and 2002.
- A speech by Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings mistakenly referred to the characters as "Buffcoat and Beaver." Mistaken and mispronounced names of the two characters then became a feature of the show.
- The elderly neighbor Tom Anderson, who Beavis and Butt-head frequently annoyed, was voiced by Mike Judge and ended up serving as a prototype version of Hank Hill, one of the main characters of later show King of the Hill, which utilized the same voice.