Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"Who Is The #1 Artist In B&B History?" and other fun stats

B&B's notoriety for controversy and remaining consistently funny often unfairly overshadowed its musical canonization. The show deserves more credit for rescuing at least 100 bands from complete obscurity. Mike Judge's perfectionism enabled him to dig past the hits, not only for unexpectedly odd low-hanging clips that were easy to shit on but also visually memorable videos that he personally dug. The show was also re-run very often, while 120 Minutes and Headbangers Ball were not (and had far less viewers).

The #1 Artist In B&B History
The musician who has appeared on the most episodes of Beavis and Butthead might be Flea, who appeared in RHCP videos 4 times. B&B also enthusiastically reacted to Flea's cameo in Butthole Surfers' "Who Was In My Room Last Night?" The 1996 line-up of RHCP charted with their cover of "Love Rollercoaster," from Beavis and Butthead Do America. They also submitted an excellent cover of The Stooges' "Search and Destroy" for The Beavis and Butthead Experience LP.

It's possible that Red Hot Chili Peppers deserve the award for the #1 Beavis and Butthead artist of all time.

White Zombie notably express gratitude to B&B who they claim hugely contributed to their success after the show's enthusiastically positive reaction to "Thunder Kiss '65," "Black Sunshine" and "Welcome to Planet Motherfucker" throughout 1993. They returned the favor contributing "I Am Hell" to The Beavis and Butthead Experience comp and "Ratfinks, Suicide Tanks and Cannibal Girls" to the Beavis and Butthead Do America soundtrack.

Along with RHCP, other artists who appeared four times include Beastie Boys (whose "Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun" was covered by Anthrax on The Beavis and Butthead Experience comp), Biohazard, Danzig (whose "Mother" is the only song to receive commentary twice for both studio and live versions), David Lee Roth (solo only, never appearing on B&B in a Van Halen video), Faith No More, Pantera, R.E.M., Soundgarden, The Ramones and U2.

Motley Crue appeared three times, including once without Vince Neil, who also had a solo video in one episode.

Les Claypool appeared on the show in two Primus videos and also once in the band Sausage, who Butthead referred to as The Seminifreous Tubloidial Buttnoids. Primus recorded "Poetry and Prose" (a song literally about watching Beavis and Butthead) as their contribution to The Beavis and Butthead Experience comp.

Dave Grohl appeared in two Nirvana videos and one Foo Fighters clip.

Along with White Zombie, other artists to appear three times include AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Alice In Chains, Bjork, GWAR (who are prominently featured in MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head: The Game for Sega Genesis and SNES), Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, PJ Harvey, Rollins Band, Salt-n-Pepa and Ween.

1994: The Year B&B Broke Bands
Not everyone had the Columbia House catalogs, which was probably the OTHER major reason (besides B&B) why average high school kids might have been familiar with Matador band names like Helium, Pavement, Chavez, Pizzicato Five or Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. For a certain MTV viewer, Helium is immortalized as the band whose lead singer was dragging a hoe through a garden, while Pizzacato Five is remembered as having a band member who looks like Eddie from My Three Sons. (Hugely underrated Butthead impression: "Hhhhhey Uncle Charlie. Seems like a lotta work to me.")

Multiple show appearance from King Missile, Babes In Toyland or Quicksand arguably gave those bands a larger promotional push than a one-time appearance on Letterman.

In either case, Seaweed might have been remembered as that band whose video began with the disclaimer "Over 5 Zillion Bikes Are Stolen Every Year," but re-runs on Beavis and Butthead continued to air the "Kid Candy" video long after its shelf-life on 120 Minutes had ended.

Ween were a grower band. Butthead's initial reaction to "Push Th' Little Daisies" was "These guys got no future." A year later, their reaction to "I Can't Put My Finger On It" mostly focused on gyro restaurants until its outro when Beavis says, "But yaknow, it IS kind of a good song. If you listen to it, it is pretty cool." They upgraded Ween's status again a year later while catching the "Freedom Of '76" video, singing along to "Freedommmm" and calling them out by name: "Check it out. It's Dean and Gene Ween. Ween kicks ass."

Despite their fandom of hard metal, they did not enjoy deathmetal bands like Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel or King Diamond nearly as much as early '90s hardcore metal like Pantera or Crowbar or the louder end of the grunge spectrum like Soundgarden or Alice In Chains. They notoriously hated late '80s pop metal and were unjustly blamed for ending the short-term careers of bands like Winger and Poison whose popularity had already been disintegrating by 1993.

Three Times B&B Watched The Entire Video
The structures were left untouched since they're all pretty short songs. Even if Beavis wanted to shout "change it!" he simply didn't have enough time.

1. Gary Young "Plant Man" (July 1995)
We suspect that Beavis's "heyyyyyy Butthead" might have been a vague reference to You Can't Do That On Television.

2. Elastica "Connection" (September 1995)

3. Del Amitri "Roll To Me" (January 1996)

(bonus) Nine Inch Nails "March Of The Pigs" (May 1994) also came close. A short section from verse 2 was cut.

(bonus) Not available on Youtube, their two commentaries from the Thanksgiving special in November 1997 unusually allowed commentary to continue past the 2:30 mark. Almost all of Marilyn Manson's “Long Hard Road Out of Hell” and Fiona Apple's “Criminal” were shown.

Videos We Wrongly Assumed Were On B&B
Our B&B trivia was not a sharp as we originally thought.

1. Van Halen "Hot For Teacher"
We're surprised to discover David Lee Roth's solo videos were shown four times and yet the only Van Halen video shown was "Can't Stop Loving You" from 1995's Balance (a Hagar video which they correctly assess as resembling one of those really horrible early '90s country videos from TNN).

2. Gilby Clarke - any video
Gilby Clarke had no solo videos on B&B. We probably got this confused with Izzy Stradlin and Slash's Snakepit, both shown once each, while GNR's two videos were "Garden Of Eden" and "Paradise City."

3. Snow "Informer"
Huge during Spring 1993. Low-hanging pop. Many 9-year-old fans. But somehow, Mike never threw it into the rotation.

4. Smashing Pumpkins "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"
5. Alanis Morissette "Hand In My Pocket"
6. Alanis Morissette "You Oughta Know"
Video commentary quietly ended by the time these videos blew up in September '95. We'll discuss this more in a future post.

Three Videos B&B Shockingly Enjoyed
1. Bee Gees "Jive Talking"
"Is this The Black Crowes?" "No way! These guys are cool." (P.S. It also seems odd that they never watched a Black Crowes video.)

2. Wilco "Box Full Of Letters"
Not on Youtube. Butthead has trouble understanding his enjoyment: "Uhh. Something about this sounds different."

3. Bon Jovi "Something For The Pain"
While they were watching "In These Arms" in late '93, Beavis asks, "Remember when these guys were cool?" alluding to some secret guilty-pleasure Jovi fandom. Butthead laughs and responds, "You probably like these guys, wuss." It took over two years for Beavis to finally stand up for himself during the "Something For the Pain" video in January 1996, hinting that Mike Judge felt guilty whenever fans would misinterpret B&B's in-character criticism as a serious taste-making alternative. Granted, they usually had pretty great taste in bands, although Beavis was kinda wrong in this case; "Something For The Pain" is terrible.

We'd like to think Mike Judge didn't actually pronounce Nirvana's name incorrectly IRL. His bit for "Heart Shaped Box" was recorded pre-death but eerily first aired post-death in May 1994. It wasn't until "I'll Stick Around" in November 1995 that NirvaRna was acknowledged one last time.

Beavis's "channeling of a rock critic" sequence was pretty amazing, and we wish Mike Judge had tried this more often.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Beavis and Butthead's Greatest Hits

A few other similar "Best music videos" listicles popped up over the past few days.

Some are surprisingly well packaged, and you can tell the blogger actually did some research, such as "Beavis and Butthead's Top 40 One-Liners" from Ultimate Classic Rock: http://ultimateclassicrock.com/beavis-and-butt-head-one-liners/

Others seemed poorly thrown together, such as Consequence Of Sound's "The 10 Greatest Music Videos of All Time According to Beavis and Butt-head," a listicle described as "videos that don't suck nads," as if "suck nads" was a phrase ever once written into the dialogue of a single B&B episode. The Ramones' clip from B&B's 1st episode is a bizarre #1, especially since they barely express anything beyond headbanging, laughing and "this rules". https://consequenceofsound.net/2018/03/the-10-greatest-music-videos-of-all-time-according-to-beavis-and-butt-head/2/

It wouldn't be easy to pick their favorite video. They got excited enough about GWAR's "The Road Behind" that the commentary was almost entirely the word "GWAR" repeated over and over.

Butthead's repeated "YES! YES! YES! YES!" throughout the intro of Pantera's "I'm Broken" might have been the closest he ever got to reaching Beavis's excitability. They were headbanging far less often after Season 3 as Mike Judge forced them to watch mostly videos that they largely detested or might have enjoyed if the song or visual cliches didn't seem derivative. "I'm Broken" felt like a moment of euphoria. If we were forced to pick their favorite video of all time, this might be it.

And now, here's our completely subjective choices for their 10 greatest video commentaries...

10. Rollins Band "Liar"

9. Crowbar "Existence Is Punishment"

Pig out.

8. Soundgarden "Black Hole Sun"

Juan Valdez.

7. Danzig "Cantspeak"

Toilets of the future.

6. Mercyful Fate "The Bell Witch"

Beavis finally locates the turdburglar.

5. Annie Lennox "No More I Love Yous"


4. Live "I Alone"

3. Slim Whitman "Paloma Blanca"

Season 1, 45 seconds long. A rarity.

2. Pantera "This Love"

1. Yanni "Reflections Of Passion"

Thursday, March 8, 2018

MTVZ: March 2018

We'll have more B&B posts throughout this weekend.

Beavis & Butthead dominate this month's MTVZ with mad video commentary.

The Banned B&B Episodes Of 1993

We'd like to think that many '90s teens have fond nostalgia for drifting off to sleep while B&B was shown on MTV. Throughout the majority of its run, it was often programmed after The State on Saturdays at 11:30. On Sundays, it aired at 11PM before Liquid Television and 120 Minutes.

From March until mid-October 1993, B&B was also shown during prime-time once or twice between 7-8PM. Within seven months, the show's popularity with young people exploded to the point where B&B's world was incessantly adored and annoyingly imitated. As Season 2 continued, it generated intense polarization on both ends.

The show was blamed for an October 8th incident when a 5-year-old was influenced by the show to purposely ignite his family's trailer home killing his 2-year-old sister. No other copycat incidents were reported; however, the show was unjustly blamed for a Jersey City teen releasing a bowling ball from an overpass bouncing through the window of a car driving under the Holland Tunnel and killing an infant.

Within days after the Ohio incident, MTV publicly stated that the show would no longer air prior to 10PM. Disclaimers were added. The word "fire" and any references to fire were infamously deleted from subsequent airings of Season 1, 2 or 3 episodes. Less infamously, the phrase "choad smoker" was also removed. Beavis used to be seen occasionally lighting a cigarette, but no more. Certain episodes no longer exist in their original form after MTV made permanent cuts. The documentary Taint Of Greatness claims that four episodes were forever banned, although a 2013 article from L.A. Weekly lists at least six.

Here's what we could find.

#1 "Way Down Mexico Way, Part 2" (May 26, 1993)

This episode is fucking insane. They hitchhike to Mexico, feed hot sauce to a dog, and smack a firecracker-obsessed boy unconscious with a piƱata stick. In one scene, B&B swallow condoms filled with pills to help a drug smuggler sneak them past the Mexican border. And of course, the condoms open up while in their stomachs.
Status: Permanently banned since summer 1993.

#2 "At The Movies" (May 31, 1993)
B&B blow up toilets with explosives at a drive-in movie.
Status: Banned from MTV until 1997.

#3 "Stewart’s House" (June 14, 1993)

Stewart's first appearance. Along with No Laughing and any adventures with Tom Anderson, this is the funniest episode of Season 2. B&B are shown inhaling gas fumes from a stove (with a disclaimer) and blowing up Stewart’s kitchen.
Status: Permanently banned since the Ohio incident.

#4 "Heroes" (June 30, 1993)
Butthead fires a shotgun multiple times and shoots down a passenger airplane.
Status: Permanently banned since the Ohio incident.
NOTE: Surprisingly, "Heroes" has not yet been yanked from Youtube, possibly because it has never appeared on any home video release.

#5 "Washing The Dog" (July 8, 1993)
Offending moments include washing a dog in a washing machine and riding in the laundromat dryer.
Status: Banned until 1997.

#6 "Be All You Can Be" (July 15, 1993)
Questioned for “unserious themes directed toward the military.”
Status: Banned until 1997.

#7 "Comedians" (September 6, 1993)

A noticeable upgrade in both jokes and animation quality, "Comedians" b/w "Car Wash." kicked off Season 3's "All New Episodes" premiere week. Pristine uncensored 1st generation copies of "Comedians" are considered rare. It was shown unaltered only once. The scene where Beavis juggles burning newspapers was permanently cut from the master tapes. This edited version was shown during subsequent broadcasts until 4 weeks later.
Status: Permanently banned since the Ohio incident.

#8 "Couch Fishing" (September 7, 1993)
Unconfirmed reports of teenagers copycatting similar couch fishing stunts raised concerns.
Status: Banned until 1997.

#9 "Incognito" (September 8, 1993)

The character Earl is not prominently featured in future episodes. He carries a concealed hand gun, using it to threaten B&B and shoots out of the class window after a bullet flies in from outdoors.
Status: Permanently banned.
NOTE: Despite MTV banning the episodes, still images from "Comedians," "Couch Fishing" and "Incognito" were shown during the show's closing credits throughout 1994. (The screen caps shown here with the mid-2000s VH1 logo were DVR'd from European broadcasts.)

#10 "Sperm Bank" (October 7, 1993)
Includes sexual themes.
Status: Banned until 1997.

#11 "Ball Breakers" (October 25, 1993)
Deemed questionable for re-airing after the bowling ball incident.
Status: Banned until 1997.

Censored Episodes
Christmas season was just around the corner, and high demand for B&B merchandise (including the November release of The Beavis and Butthead Experience comp CD) along with pressure from fans, advertisers and investors meant MTV had to make a quick decision. They chose to continue airing altered versions of re-runs. The show creators were unhappy that many of the cuts disrupted comedic rhythm. "Fire!" was removed from almost all of these, but here are some other notable censored moments:

  • "Peace, Love and Understanding" - Glue-sniffing images were removed. (Mike Judge hated this episode anyway.)
  • "Give Blood" - The shot where Butthead breaks his giant bag of blood over Beavis' head was cut.
  • "Good Credit" - “Chode smoker” and Beavis's suggestion to light a credit card on fire were cut. Beavis’ attempt to light a parrot on fire was cut. Mr. Anderson’s repeated “Damnit! Damnit! Damnit!” was cut down to one “Damnit!”
  • "Burger World" - “Chode smoker” was removed.
  • "No Laughing" - Some of Mr. Buzzcut’s dialogue was cut, including the words “clitoris” and “scrotum” (the anatomically correct versions of these words). These cuts were restored in 1997 and appear uncensored when the clip reappeared in “Beavis and Butthead Are Dead.”
  • "For Better Or Verse" - “Light first, then spray” followed by the aerosol lighting Beavis’s face on fire was removed.
  • "Kidnapped" - The parody scene of Urkel on “Family Matters” (showing Urkel pointing to a house fire and asking “Did I do that???”) was removed.
  • "Tornado"- A parody of Barney the Dinosaur catching fire while pulling a cake from an oven was altered. Barney’s original dialogue was longer and accompanied by Beavis chanting “Fire! Fire!” but it was later shortened to Barney yelling “Help! This sucks!”
  • "Scratch N Win" - Permanent cuts were made before the episode premiered. It abruptly ends after B&B mow the anarchy symbol into the front lawn of Highland High School with a lawnmower. The rest of the episode would have shown B&B crashing the lawnmower into the car of Gina (a classmate they were hitting on earlier in the episode).
  • "Sporting Goods" - A scene where B&B light grasshoppers on fire was replaced with a scene of B&B with dueling grasshoppers.
  • "Citizen Butthead" - The Bill Clinton episode was one of the first to air after the Ohio incident. Beavis’s “Fire! Fire!” and other fire references were permanently cut prior to airing.

    And finally, from the episode "Scared Straight..."

    The Plasmatics' "The Damned" features a sequence where Wendy O. Williams crashes a schoolbus through a wall of televisions resulting in an explosion, delighting Beavis. After its first week of airing, subsequent broadcasts permanently replaced this with U2’s “Lemon,” pulled from a previous episode. The Plasmatics video was never shown again.

  • 25 Years of Buffcoat & Beaver

    Over the next few days, we'll be posting lots of content related to Beavis & Butthead in honor of Season 1's 25-year anniversary. TMK needs content, and this is a breezy topic for us.

    - 3/8/93 -
    The television debut of Beavis & Butthead technically happened on September 9, 1992 within the first 45 minutes of an especially legendary VMAs simulcast. In addition to Garth Algar, “Hi Axl,” Fartman, Flea simulating masturbation and Eddie & Kurt’s off-camera slow-dance, the nominees for each award were shown in 60-second montages bookended with brief clips produced by animators whose work was shown on MTV's Liquid Television series.

    Most viewers probably didn’t retain the weirdness of B&B’s fleeting TV premiere. Eddie Murphy announced, “And the nominees are...” followed by two unexplained, anonymous cartoon teenagers wearing metal t-shirts singing the riff from “Smoke on the Water.” The words “Best Male Video” were shown, and a few moments later, that award was presented to Eric Clapton for “Tears in Heaven.”

    Less than two weeks later (September 22, 1992), "Frog Baseball" had its low-key MTV premiere during a late-night Liquid Television episode.

    Either 9/9 or 9/22 could technically count as Beavis & Butthead’s TV debut, but we prefer to celebrate their true moment of arrival as Monday, March 8, 1993, the premiere date of S01E01 - “Give Blood” b/w “Door-to-Door.”

    - Season One -
    According to the documentary Taint of Greatness, Mike Judge and his freshly-assembled team were commissioned by MTV to finish 22 episodes by March 8th, but only one was completed in time. From 3/8 to 3/18, some combination of “Give Blood,” “Door-To-Door,” “Frog Baseball,” “Peace, Love and Understanding” (B&B’s other Liquid Television short from November 1992) and music video commentary were chopped and screwed by MTV’s editors just enough so that three 30-minute episodes of recycled content were rotating daily in the same timeslot.

    Mike Judge often spoke about how he hated the bad jokes, weak stories and crude animation in “Give Blood” and “Door-To-Door.” But despite the premiere not meeting his standards, MTV viewers immediately reacted. Kids were buzzing about it during school. On March 7th, no one knew Beavis and Butthead. By Friday, March 12th, the ratings for their time slot tripled. They had essentially gone viral.

    A new half-episode of content was finally added to the rotation on Friday, March 19th and again on Thursday, March 25th, both arriving with fresh music video commentary. And for the next two months, editors continued repackaging what couldn't have been more than 50 minutes of content. In a couple episodes, the outro of "Frog Baseball" was shown out of context. "Give Blood" was re-titled "Blood Drive" and shown in the second half of another episode. This small handful of reruns was the entirety of Beavis & Butthead’s ultra-shitty, phenomenal first season.

    - Mike Judge Shorts 1990-1992 -
    Peace, Love and Understanding (Nov '92) was the first appearance of Mr. Van Driessen and just happened to be the first B&B adventure we ever caught while flipping through cable channels. As far as we know, it's the only one of Mike Judge's shorts produced before S01E01 that isn't currently on Youtube.

    Here are all of the others we could find...

    Pencil Tests (1990)
    We'd like to think these were created while he was taking animation classes, presumably from a deep Texas heroin junky.

    The Honky Problem (1991)
    A few bits from this may have also been shown during the '92 VMAs but we could be wrong about that.

    Office Space (1991)
    This also aired on SNL during their 1992-1993 season.

    "Huh?" (1991)

    The Unused "Judgemental Films" Logo

    Frog Baseball (1992)