Thursday, March 8, 2018

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)

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