Beavis and Butt-Head Return Tonight. Here Are Six of Their Greatest Musical Insights
The world-at-large is bound to associate a few things with Beavis and Butt-Head: the '90s, a ballsier MTV, low-grade animation, juvenile delinquency, crude sex talk, and two idiots who loved fire, cappuccinos, and causing mayhem. Another major B&B element that should be on that list is the duo's interest in music videos. In between their misadventures, the horny, oafish deadbeats sat on a couch, flipped between channels, and voiced opinions on whatever clips came their way. Their soft spots were metal and hard rock (Beavis almost always wore a Metallica shirt, and Butt-Head an AC/DC one), but over the show's eight seasons, they took on hundreds of artists from all sorts of genres. Subjects included Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Beck, Dr. Dre, George Michael, Danzig, Letters to Cleo, Scatman John, Oingo Boingo, Biohazard, Nine Inch Nails, Men Without Hats, Reverend Horton Heat, Ween, Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper, and Jawbox.
They're back! The horror!
Tonight, Beavis and Butt-Head return to MTV with new episodes for the first time in 14 years. (The show starts at 7 pm PST.) They will "analyze" (I use the word very loosely) music videos again, along with clips from reality shows such as Jersey Shore.
As the pair spent their time chortling and making dumb sex jokes in front of the TV, they occasionally dispensed nuggets of insipid brilliance -- things that were so funny that they deserved to be taken as truth, or were at least worthy of repeating. In honor of their grand comeback, let's revisit six of Beavis & Butt-Head's finest pieces of music video insight.
1. Pantera was often reprimanded as a child
In a sterling example of their never-ending stupidity, Beavis and Butt-Head watched the above video for "This Love" and became convinced that Pantera's aggression stems from his being pushed around as a kid by his father. Here, "Pantera" refers to vocalist Phil Anselmo (for some reason, B&B figured that was his name), but the clip's even funnier if you imagine they discussed the entire band as being, another other things, "Daddy's little girl":
Beavis: "Does this Pantera guy ever relax?"
Butt-Head: "I don't think so. This guy's dad must have kicked his ass when he was a kid."
Beavis: "Yeah, really. He was like, 'Dammit, Pantera! This beer is warm! Get me another one.'"
Butt-Head: "Yeah, he was like, 'You treat your stepmother with respect, Pantera, or you'll be sleeping in the street!'"
2. Radiohead's "Creep" mostly sucks so it can be cool at other points
Even though Thom Yorke and company would rather not admit it, 1992's "Creep" will always be one of the band's best-recognized songs (on Last.fm, its total number of plays is second only to "Karma Police"). Beavis and Butt-Head's riff on the "Creep" clip did nothing to diminish its presence. While watching it, Beavis pondered why the song's dour, moody build-up even existed when that guitar riff at the chorus was the only good part. "Well, Beavis," Butt-Head responded relatively tactfully, "if they didn't have, like, a part of the song that sucked, then it's like, the other part wouldn't be as cool." As dismissive as this commentary is, the idea applies to every branch of art in general: Without any rising action and/or fluff, the climax wouldn't be nearly as effective. Beavis even pays his pal a compliment for this insight: "You're pretty smart, Butt-Head."
3. James Hetfield looks like the Cowardly Lion
Beavis was always a major advocate of Metallica: Not only did he always sport the band's shirt, but he once adamantly declared that Lars Ulrich could beat up Cousin Itt from The Addams Family. Butt-Head was likelier to go back and forth on them. Although he said nice things about Metallica sometimes, Butt-Head was easily irritable when the pair watched the video for "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Upon seeing Ulrich excitedly rise from his kit, Butt-Head ordered, "Sit your ass down, Lars, and play the drums like you're supposed to." This didn't set well with Beavis, so in classic Butt-Head style, he only decided to agitate his friend more, declaring "Metallica sucks" and "That James Hetfield dude looks like the Cowardly Lion." A pertinent and related question: Does this somehow make Kirk Hammett Dorothy?
4. Snoop Dogg used to hang out at the Compton Swap Meet
Beavis was also a big fan of Snoop Dogg. Based on the clip for "Gin and Juice," Beavis found Snoop Dogg cool because he had a phone by his toilet and touched some woman's boob. Watching the video for this 1994 single also uncovered Beavis' gangsta side. Apparently, he is from Compton, kicked it with Dre, enjoyed gin and juice, and -- best of all -- had a history of hanging out with Snoop at the Compton Swap Meet. Of course, these fake facts prompted Butt-Head to cut his friend down to size in dramatic fashion: "Beavis, shut up. You've never been to Compton, you're never gonna go to Compton, you're gonna be here for the rest of your life, you're stupid, you don't have any money, and you're never gonna score." Kinda harsh, but Beavis actually agrees.
5. Ozzy Osbourne bit off a cow's head and milk poured out
You are probably familiar with the strange-but-true stories about Ozzy biting the head off a living dove in 1981 and a bat in 1982. Turns out, those instances didn't happen in real life, and everyone's just remembering things wrong. While watching the clip for Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," Beavis and Butt-Head agreed that Ozzy once bit the head off of a cow. "Yeah, that was cool," Butt-Head reminisced. "Milk poured out of his neck." If there is any justice in the world, this new season will feature an episode where B&B visit a dairy farm and try to extract milk the Ozzy way.
6. Vanilla Ice sucks
The first video in the above montage is "I Love You," a soothing number by Vanilla Ice from To the Extreme, his 1990 album that also contained "Ice Ice Baby." As they watched the clip, Beavis voiced his thoughts on Mr. Van Winkle: "You know, they're always, like, putting this guy down and, y'know, like, making fun of him and saying he sucks and stuff, but y'know, um, he really does suck, and this is one of those times where everybody's right, you know what I'm saying?" Butt-Head agrees and offers three key criticisms about what was wrong with the video: "One, this dude sucks, and, uh, three, he's trying to rap a love song." Point being: Vanilla Ice sucks. Who dares dispute stunning analysis like that?