5 June 1999 | mercer74
I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I really like this show!
Okay, I admit it. I am a closet Beavis & Butthead fan. Well, actually, not all that closeted, but when I tell people I enjoy the show, sometimes they just don't get it. Some of them say, "But it's just stupid! It's just two morons laughing and being crude all the time!"
Well, I thought so too, before I ever watched the show. I had heard of them; I would occasionally see B & B pop up on an MTV awards show and receive lots of laughter and applause - the laughter and applause of recognition. I knew they were popular but I didn't "get it." Then, part of the way through the first episode I watched, I "got it." The reason Beavis & Butthead is so funny is that it does an extremely dead-on accurate job of portraying a very real aspect of teenage males that had been completely overlooked in a lot of previous television.
I can even remember the exact moment I "got it": Beavis and Butthead were watching a video by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and adding their usual commentary, and when the video ended and the name of the band appeared on the screen, Butthead read their name out loud. And when I heard the tone of voice he used, it hit me. It's that sarcastic, detached, "I'm so cool" kind of voice that teenage boys use constantly - even for such a banality as a simple declarative statement about a band's name.
And of course, what makes B & B's sarcastic detached cockiness all the more ironic is that they have extremely passive and uneventful lives: they spend all their time "hanging out" and doing the same stupid stuff, yet they somehow (well, Butthead especially) consider themselves qualified to put on this jaded cynical act. Everything they do is as observers. They see sex and rock music on TV, they think and talk about sex and rock music all the time, and they've never had sex or played rock music. And the irony never hits them. They're somehow this weird combination of innocence and jadedness at the same time, and this, combined with their passive observer nature, makes Beavis and Butthead an extremely dead-on accurate portrayal of adolescent males.
Of course Beavis and Butthead are exaggerations of teenage males, but nevertheless I find them a rather refreshing change from the portrayals of teenagers in shows such as Beverly Hills 90210 and Dawson's Creek, who seem as articulate, poised, and self-confident as a bunch of sophisticated 28-year-olds, and who do not ring true to me at all.