Friday, March 30, 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

They Call Them Melos Yellows: The Hot TERA MELOS Q&A

In Orlando, Florida, Nick Reinhart is on a couch with members of the touring party for his band Tera Melos. He's calling me over from across the green room. "Mike! Come here and talk to us! Let's hang out!" I'm getting trolled. He knows my band Speedy Ortiz has a set time that begins in 25 seconds, and I know he knows this, so I start cracking up as I grab my forgotten bottled water and run out of the room as quickly as I entered.

This bit happens a few other times. He calls me over in a similar manner 12 days later in San Francisco from the driver's seat of Tera Melos' tour van just as Speedy is moments away from driving across the country back to our homes. I'm pretty sure it's the last thing he said to me in person.

As our bands continued our tour, I recognize this as a good bit. Tera Melos are full of good bits, in-jokes, catchphrases. Some of these date back to the early 2000s when Reinhart and bassist Nathan Latona began playing in bands together near the Sacramento, CA area. Nathan and Nick share a similar dryness in tone that feels deeply rooted.

John Clardy's passion for drums made him a perfect fit when joining Tera Melos circa-2008. Together, the trio's instrumental mastery feels as fluid as the most heralded progressive bands of the '70s. Since that time, they've released three full lengths throughout the 2010s and amassed a loyal cult following. A large fraction of their audience seems comprised of math rock enthusiasts, gear heads, and 20-somethings who can quote full episodes of The Simpsons verbatim. (No negative judgement intended here. Nerds are lit.)

By November 15th in Phoenix, we had four shows left on our tour. Three of them were in their home state of California, which meant they'd be busy on those nights. So I knew I had to strike fast if I wanted an interview. This was my big moment. I approached them voice recorder in-hand and went for it.

TMK: Hello Tera Melos.
Everyone: Hey! What's up?

TMK: What do you call the thing you do when you twist up the bottle?
Nathan: Oh, making the dragon smoke?
TMK: What is that called?
Nathan: Dragon smoke.
Nick: Dragon smoke.
TMK: How do you do it?
Nathan: Well, you drink a bottle of water, and then you-- Well, it's magic!
Nick: You drink a bottle of water, and then you twist it up--
Nathan: You gotta grab the bottle with both your hands and twist it so it looks like you're gonna shoot the cap off at somebody.
Nick: So when you're twisting it up, you get it to where you can feel it heating up, and then you untwist it, and then--
TMK: It's supposed to heat up?
Nick: Yeah. The friction--
Nathan: You're causing heat to make the water in the bottle evaporate.

TMK: Are you pro bottle-flipping?
Nick: As of this tour, I am. So when Speedy Ortiz had the day off-- We played Dallas the other day, and I had a crazy bottle flip that I nailed.
TMK: Really?
Nick: It was on a rim above the door-- an awning kind of thing. And it probably took me 15 tries, and it was maybe 13 feet high or something, and I got it.
TMK: 13 feet high!
Nathan: And also Ron was like, "You're not gonna be able to do it. There's not a ledge there."
Nick: And I proved everyone wrong. Have you seen Rudy?
TMK: Oh man-- The football movie?
Nick: Yeah.
TMK: No.
Nick: Okay. It was like this massive thing. We had a moment.
TMK: Did you tape it?
Nick: No, we didn't get it on tape unfortunately.

TMK: Well that leads me to my next question. Where's Ron? [Their touring sound engineer.]
Nathan: The rumor is that he's sleeping in the van. I haven't seen it for myself.
TMK: Well, you guys are gonna have to answer questions for him on his behalf.

TMK: Okay, so they announced the Warped Tour was ending today.
Nathan: We heard!
TMK: What are your thoughts on the end of the Warped Tour?

John: I have positive memories of it as a teenager, but it's probably a good thing to be wrapping that up. The last time I went, the line-up was pretty depressing.
TMK: Like who?
John: Okay, it was good because Dillinger Escape Plan was there. But the rest of it was all like swooped dyed-hair AP bands.
Nick: I was saying earlier that I would go to the final Warped Tour if it was like NOFX, Bad Religion, Lagwagon. Classic stuff, like a late-'90s, early-2000s Warped Tour line-up.
TMK: Where was the Weezer one?
Nick: I saw Weezer play in San Francisco in 2000.
TMK: It was San Francisco? Okay, because I went to that tour also, but it was in New York City. So Weezer and Papa Roach were off of the bill when I attended.
Nick: We lived in Sacramento, so sometimes we would go to San Francisco and Lake Tahoe Warped Tour, and Weezer did not play Lake Tahoe. I think they played San Francisco, and maybe like San Diego and L.A.
TMK: (To Nathan) Were you at that one also?
Nathan: I did not see them. I was not at the San Francisco one.
Nick: It was amaze-balls.
TMK: Do you love the word amaze-balls?
Nick: I like cool beans.
TMK: Do you love totes magoats?
Nick: I do!

TMK: What are your two favorite Weezer non-album tracks?
John: Man-- For me I would say "Devotion" and-- that's the thing, they're all good.
Nick: I might go with "Suzanne."
TMK: You can choose two! (To John) "Devotion" is your number 1?
John: I think so.
TMK: Right on. (To Nick) And "Suzanne" is your number 1?
Nick: Yeah.
Nathan: Mine is also "Suzanne."
Nick: Okay, well my number 2 is-- I'm blanking on it. Oh, I'm gonna change my number 1, which is "Mykel and Carli."
TMK: That's a very sad song.
John: I would also maybe say "Waiting on You." It's funny because a lot of the b-sides from the golden era are in 6/8, and almost all of them have a china cymbal in there if you listen carefully. A fun nerdy fact.

TMK: (To Sadie) Do you want to ask your Weezer question?
Sadie: You should ask it for me but attribute it to me.
TMK: Okay, we have a contribution from Dupuis. It's "Eff / marry / kill: Rivers, Sharp, Patrick."

Nick: Eff marry kill-- Rivers, Matt Sharp and Pat Wilson.
TMK: Yeah.
Nathan: I'm gonna marry Matt Sharp, I'm gonna fuck Rivers, and I'm gonna kill Pat Wilson.
Sadie: Whaaat?
TMK: Wow!
Nathan: Yeah. I wanna be able to ask Matt Sharp how he got that bass tone. Because he answered for us once, [regarding] the Return Of The Rentals record-- He answered, and I've forgotten it.
Nick: He answered it via tweet. And I tried to find it recently, and he deleted that tweet. I went back through all of his--
TMK: Did he delete his twitter at some point?
Nick: No, he just deleted that specific answer. Okay, I'm going to marry Rivers, I'll fuck Matt Sharp and I'll kill Pat. I feel like I've heard Pat is like a conservative.
Nathan: What?
Nick: That could be false, but I feel like I've heard that before. But it's just rumors. It's "goss."
TMK: (To John) Any thoughts?
John: It's tough.
Sadie: Originally I thought you were gonna kill Rivers.
TMK: Yeah, I thought the same.
Nick: I was considering killing Matt. I don't think he's an interesting musician.
Nathan: Is Rivers? Well Rivers is Rivers.
John: Yeah, but I could meditate with Rivers, so I guess I would marry him. Eff Matt Sharp and kill Mr. Wilson.

TMK: I am sorry for pronouncing your band name incorrectly. This is not actually a question.
Nick: All is forgiven. It's not your fault. It's our fault for choosing a difficult band name to pronounce.
[Note: It's pronounced "Mellows" - not "Maylos."]

TMK: It's time now for the honorary Darl Ferm interview question: "Why?"
Nathan: Just "why?"
TMK: Yeah, that's it. Just "why."
Nick: So, it's a super existential kind of meta thing? Why?
TMK: It can be a very brief answer. Usually people are like "Because!"
Nick: Because fuck it.
Nathan: Because you know, what else are you gonna do?
TMK: Why, John?
John: Because it's there if you want it.

TMK: What's your favorite King Crimson album?
John: Red.
Nick: I will say Beat.
TMK: '80s?
Nick: Yeah.
Nathan: I'm gonna go with the only one I really know which is Discipline.
John: This guy loves Tony Levin.
TMK: Which one is Tony Levin?
John: The bass player.
Nathan: He lied, by the way. He's messing with you.
John: I love Tony Levin.
TMK: Is he also on Red?
John: No that's John Wetton.
TMK: I get all the line-ups confused.
John: John Wetton had some pretty killer tone. Gnarly distorted bass tone.
Nathan: Tony Levin's tight, don't get me wrong. But whenever I have seen videos of him, I'm just like "dude, how? why?"
TMK: Where do you find video of him?
Nathan: Just like anything of him playing. He'll play with a stick, and that's something he can do that nobody else can ever do.
TMK: On Youtube?
Nathan: Yeah.
TMK: Okay, I'm gonna hit you up for some King Crimson on Youtube.
John: I got to see The Crimson Projekct in Coppenhagen a few years ago, and I was shocked when I found out how old Tony Levin was.
TMK: How old are they?
John: He's like early 70s but still super spry and carries his own gear.
Nick: Damn Tony.
John: So thanks again Julie Slick. She hooked it up.
Nathan: I would like to interject that I've tried to listen to King Crimson on Spotify before, and--
TMK: It's not there!
Nick: Yeah, I got Spotify, and King Crimson was one of the first things I went to listen to. Sick, [it's] not there. The second thing I went to listen to: Peter Gabriel. Sick, not there.
Nathan: I did the exact same thing.
Nick: Fuckin' pissed me off.
TMK: Bullshit.
Nick: Well, it's just bullshit because you pay for Spotify and the first two things I wanted to listen to aren't there. But props to them for being like, "No, we control this."

TMK: Well, we've been touring for six weeks, and I still haven't heard you talk about The Simpsons. Are you burnt on The Simpsons getting ingrained into the Tera Melos brand?
Nathan: I would say I'm not burnt on it. But I've noticed more bootleg Simpsons items now more than ever. So I feel like-- we have our shirt, and I think it's a cool take on it. But some kid came our Salt Lake City set, and he had tons of enamel pins. It's everywhere right now.
Nick: It used to be Garfield. Bootleg Garfield stuff. And it just seems like it's so over the top now with Simpsons stuff.
TMK: Did that ruin it for the band?
Nick: I don't think it ruined it, but it is what it is. We put it out there. It was an influential thing, and from all these different angles aesthetically what The Simpsons was about. Maybe it's run its course a bit.
TMK: How nerdy do you go into The Simpsons? Like if I asked you about Season 13, what would you know?
John: Okay, that's funny because when we were writing Patagonian Rats at Sargent House, Nick brought Season 13. And so we watched through it, and there were still some pretty good episodes in the season.
TMK: It's also the season where Barney's hair looks different.
Nick: Is that when he's not drinking anymore?
TMK: His character design was changed for the whole season, and it gets switched back in the following season.
Nick: I know I've seen the episode where Barney gets sober. But if that was in Season 13, then that means I must have stopped like Season 12.
[Within a few seconds, they realize their DVD was of Season 11.]

TMK: Nathan, what is your home address? Wow, that is the worst question ever.
John: That's a good question, because his home address is pretty interesting.
Nathan: Well, I'm not gonna give that.
TMK: So then I was gonna say, what are you doing living over there?
Nathan: When somebody asks me about living over there, I think it's very uninteresting because I don't have anything cool or rad that I'm doing over there. I'm looking for work, and I might come back here and go on tour.
Nick: You haven't even said where it is.
Nathan: Sorry, I live over in Switzerland in a city called Lausanne.
TMK: Switzerland? That might be where Disco Doom is from.
Nathan: Who?
TMK: If Disco Doom is not from Switzerland, I'll cut this part out.
Nathan: Disco Dan?
TMK: Who's Disco Dan?
Nathan: I don't know. I know who Disco Stu is.
Nick: Fuck Disco Stu.
TMK: I agree. Fuck Disco Stu.
Nick: It's not funny.
TMK: It was funny the first time.
Nick: Maybe! Maybe the first time he said it.
TMK: The George Bush episode.
Nick: The yard sale! Yes. But nothing after that was funny with Disco Stu.

TMK: Are You A Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, Or Miranda?
Nathan: Miranda all the way.
John: All of us are Miranda.
TMK: Would it be safe to say the whole band is a Miranda at this point?
Nick: Yes.
Nathan: I thought it would be cool to start a super group with [Speedy Ortiz] and just call it The Mirandas. [Note: Everyone on our tour took this Buzzfeed quiz and got Miranda.]
TMK: We'll work on that.

TMK: What are your dankest, most fire memes of 2017?
John: We were really into the starter pack for a while. I like that one.
Nick: There's the one that's the "taking a shit in a girl's bathroom meme" with Chuckee Cheese.
TMK: Oh, I didn't know that was Chuckee Cheese. I thought that was-- fuck, what's that really scary videogame?
John: Five Nights at Freddy's?
TMK: I thought that was Five Nights at Freddy's.
Nick: I guess it could be. I just thought it was Chuckee Cheese.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Check Out Our Entire Huge "25 Years Of B&B" Feature

We hope everyone loved our huge B&B extravaganza!

Its purpose was to sorta get the wheels of blogging momentum back in motion again, inspiring more TMK content. (In case any readers haven't noticed, we still haven't finished or posted any of "Straight Fire Mix 2017" just yet, because we're really having trouble thinking of anything interesting to say.) We're probably going to be wrapping up this blog for good within the next two years. And if that's gonna be the case, we'd prefer to not abandon this project entirely.

In either case, we can honestly say that this huge Beavis and Butthead feature was breezy and very fun to throw together.

We can't believe there were seven parts to this thing. Here they are, all collected in one spot:

Chapter 1: "25 Years Of Buffcoat and Beaver"

Chapter 2: "The Banned B&B Episodes of 1993"

Chapter 3: "Beavis & Butthead's Greatest Hits"

Chapter 4: "Who is the #1 Artist in B&B History? and other fun stats"

Chapter 5: "The 8 Best and 4 Worst Adventures Of B&B (According to IMDB)"

Chapter 6: "That One Episode When Beavis Scored"

Chapter 7: "Beavis and Butthead's Favorite Videos 1995-2018"

Beavis & Butthead's Favorite Videos 1995-2018

Over the weekend, another buttmunch blogger for the dumbass NME theorized (with predictably weak evidence) how a 2018 Beavis and Butthead revival would be unnecessary and dull "in the Youtube era." Congrats to the writer and NME for monetizing yet another shitty, meaningless opinion (right alongside "Liam and Noel are objectively good musicians"). We hope the exchanged 75 quid was spent on something the writer actually enjoys.

We'd hereby like to predict with 100% certainty that a Youtube series comprised only of updated B&B music video commentary would be nothing short of a smash success. Any musician should consider it an honor to have them say their band sucks. Avi Buffalo and Earl Greyhound thought so back in 2011, and it's probably the widest exposure either band has ever received.

Along the past three weeks of our extensive B&B journey, we noticed a few surprising details:

#1 As mentioned earlier, there is no episode where they watched "Bullet With Butterfly Wings," a video from October 1995 which was smack in the center of the show's peak in quality. If this had been the 12th question on HQ anytime before March 1st, we would have lost our fraction of $2500. (We thought maybe we got this confused with SP's cameo on The Simpsons, but they played "Zero" on that show.)

The only Pumpkins video they ever watched was "Today."

#2 The most recent time we dug this far down into B&B lore was back in 2010-2011. This was the first time we noticed that Season 7 (every episode from 1997) included videos recycled from older episodes. So this meant that B&B never got to comment on '97-era VH1-alt-rock like Matchbox 20 or Tonic or The Wallflowers. They never saw "Sunny Came Home." They missed out on the electronica hype, so Prodigy, Fatboy Slim or any eligible videos from MTV's AMP block never received commentary. They completely missed the roots of the TRL-era pop explosion, so we still haven't heard their take on Spice Girls, Hanson, Backstreet Boys, Savage Garden or Robyn. (The Manson & Fiona videos from the live action Beavis and Butthead Do Thanksgiving special were obvious glaring exceptions.)

#3 A very recent discovery: The audio for the Season 6 videos must have been finished around the 2nd or 3rd week of September 1995. Their canon of roughly 600 videos from Spring '93 through Summer '95 felt so varied and forward-thinking, enough to keep those segments from seeming dated, even as the re-runs continued into the late '90s.

We're surprised that the cut-off happened so early though. "Gangsta's Paradise" was August '95 and quickly blew up over the next few months. They also watched a random Paula Abdul video that premiered in late August '95. Foo Fighters' "I'll Stick Around" and Jovi's "Something For The Pain" both debuted during the first week of Sept '95. These were the most current videos from the original series.

A few late summer '95 hits like Alanis' "You Oughta Know" or TLC's "Waterfalls" or Goo Goo Dolls "Name" were barely eligible. Their next shot for the canon would have been a hypothetical season from the 2nd half of 1996 that never existed because the show creators were busy working on Beavis and Butthead Do America. As mentioned earlier, Mike felt like the video commentary had grown stale by that point, and they opted to dig out classic videos from the B&B vaults for all of the 1997 episodes.

Mike Judge purposely made Beavis and Butthead sound smarter during the video segments, and the setting often seemed to bring out the best in their personalities. In one episode, Butthead tells their high school guidance councilor that one of his skills involves watching videos. Mike's foresight for the potential of human stupidity (a decently scary amount coming straight from his 2006 film Idiocracy) strangely left the door open for B&B to potentially turn their critique into a profit. It helps to have a personality as memorable as Beavis or Butthead, but we think an IRL version of these two could have used "music criticism through Youtube" as a cash flow generator (not unlike The Needle Drop guy).

This leads us to the final post of our B&B feature: Our hypothetical "What If" canon.

What if Mike Judge decided to dig out the old couch transparencies as a means to cheaply re-launch B&B video commentary (via Youtube or through some other streaming medium)? Or what if the show had just never ended? What videos would generate the strongest reactions?

So we wrote up a fanfic list starting with September 1995. They might have loved hating some of these. They might have genuinely enjoyed some of them. They might have simply reacting by smacking each other upside the head. Or it's possible any of these might have sparked some uncharacteristically astute or witty observations.

Fall 1995
Smashing Pumpkins "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"
Radiohead "Just"
No Doubt "Just A Girl"
Raekwon "Ice Cream"

Were B&B feeling the Wu? We think "Ice Cream" would have been a great choice. // The show could have used another 1 or 2 of the tripper Bends era videos after "Fake Plastic Trees."

311 "Down"
Busta Rhymes featuring ODB "Woo-Haa (Remix)"
Wesley Willis "Alanis Morissette"
The Presidents Of The USA "Mach 5"
Cibo Matto "Know Your Chicken"

It wasn't until the 2011 episode where they watched T-Baby's "It's So Cold In The D" that we realized how we missed B&B's occasional outsider artist videos (like Gary Young's "Plant Man"). On a hunch, we just checked the 120 Minutes Archive, and it looks like they never once played Wesley Willis' video for "Alanis Morissette!" We assumed it was aired on MTV at least once.

Chumbawamba "Tubthumping"
Yo La Tengo "Sugarcube"
Hanson "Where's The Love"
Squirrel Nut Zippers "Hell"
Missy Elliott "Supa Dupa Fly"
The Jesus Twins "Feel My Ubiquity"
Wu-Tang Clan "Triumph"

For some reason, we've maintained a shred of hope that they'd catch "Tubthumping" at some point, even when the series came back in 2011. // 1997-1999 was an especially amazing era for videos - arguably the medium's pinnacle in quality. It's a shame that Mike Judge had to put the video segments on hold for their last year. The trippy '97 videos from Hype Williams (like "Supa Dupa Fly" or "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See") definitely would have fit. // There were a few Howard Stern crossovers throughout the series' history. During one video, Beavis pretends to read a stolen People Magazine with a caricature of Howard drawn on the cover. Keeping in the spirit of outsider rock, we'd love to hear B&B's take on The Jesus Twins, a band heavily associated with '97-era Stern.

Puff Daddy "It's All About The Benjamins (Rock Remix)"
Marilyn Manson "The Dope Show"
Rammstein "Du Hast"
Alanis Morrisette "Thank U"
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion "Talk About The Blues"
Barenaked Ladies "One Week"

The first time we saw "Talk About The Blues," we assumed Jon Spencer was made up to look like Winona Ryder. About 20 seconds later, something clicked on our brain after realizing the guitar player was played by Giovanni Ribisi, at which point we turned to our friend and said "Oh wait. That IS Winona Ryder. Huh-huh." This shit writes itself.

Fiona Apple "Fast As You Can"
Stone Temple Pilots "Sour Girl"
Aphex Twin "Windowlicker"
Blur "Coffee + TV"
Britney Spears "Sometimes"
Limp Bizkit "Nookie"
Kid Rock "Bawitdaba"

We thought of "Fast As You Can" because we'd like to see them try talking without their mouths matching the words. We thought of "Sour Girl" because who wouldn't want to hear B&B joke about teletubbies?

We thought of "Windowlicker" and "Coffee + TV" not only because they're still two of the greatest videos ever, but also because in late-'99 we recall MTV made other attempts to get comedians to riff over music videos. We recall catching a pilot episode for a show that was never picked up, where people tried to do voices over "Coffee + TV" and one of them says "Help! This band needs their lactose!" which is about as un-funny as anything we'd expect from failed copycat shows.

The Britney, Limp and Kid Rock videos would rule just so we can finally feel like we weren't the only ones who spotted the girl with a hand over her crotch or these other moments.

Mr Oizo "Flat Beat"
Kool Keith "Livin' Astro"
Aaron Carter "Aaron's Party (Come Get It)"
Air "Playground Love"
Ludacris "Southern Hospitality"

"Livin' Astro" is one of the most underrated funny/weirdo videos of this era, and it could have used a promo boost, plus commentary about Lonnie Hendricks, Light Blue Cop or The Kid In The Commercial. // "Playground Love" was the video with a singing wad of chewing gum, which kinda reminds us of the singing pills from this commercial. Perhaps B&B would make a similar observation. // It would be cool to hear their take on upside-down rappers, like Ludacris in "Southern Hospitality."

Outkast "The Whole World"
Elton John "I Want Love"
Madonna "What It Feels Like For A Girl"
P.O.D. "Alive"

We're guessing they wouldn't have figured out that Robert Downey Jr was only lip-synching in "I Want Love." // We'd like to hear them crack up at the slow motion car crash from "Alive" or any of the reckless driving moments from "What It Feels Like For A Girl" (plus, a censored version might have helped the video receive some airplay since it was banned from MTV after its premiere).

Creed "One Last Breath"
Andrew WK "Party Hard"
Avril Lavigne "Sk8r Boi"
The Strokes "Someday"

Are we the only ones who LOL at Scott Stapp's thud (after he lands)? We're guessing their reaction to Linkin Park or blink-182 would have been neutral. Also, we'd love to hear their take on The Strokes vs Guided By Voices on Family Feud.

Audioslave "Show Me How To Live"
Ludacris "Stand Up"
50 Cent "21 Questions"

This is around the point where we think they would have started getting into huge violent arguments over the merits of emo. As mentioned in a previous post, we think Beavis would have dug Rival Schools, At The Drive-In or Converge and would marginally have accepted stuff like "Bleed American" by Jimmy Eat World. Butthead would have considered it all wuss music. // The ending of "Show Me How To Live" is still one of the all-time unintentionally funniest moments from any video. // Ludacris' hair in "Stand Up" deserves a shout out. We think they would have generally dug Ludacris videos.

The Darkness "Growing On Me"
Jay-Z "99 Problems"
Eminem "Ass Like That"
Dresden Dolls "Girl Anachronism"

"I Believe In A Thing Called Love" seems like an obvious magnet for silly criticism; however "Growing On Me" one-up's the potential for STD-related double entendres. // We want them to shit on Dresden Dolls because that band is horrible.

The Bloodhound Gang "Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo"
Korn "Twisted Transistor"
Black Label Society "In This River"
Weezer "We Are All On Drugs"

"Fire Water Burn" and "The Bad Touch" probably would have made the cut in either case, but "Foxtrot Uniform" feels too perfect for this show. // "In This River" is funny enough on its own, but just hearing them laugh at Zakk Wylde's garbled vocal style would be pretty dope. // We'd also like to hear them point out the horrible edit MTV forced into "We Are All On [censored]." [EDIT: Perhaps MTV would have allowed Beavis to sing "We Are All On FIRE!"]

James Blunt "You're Beautiful"
Fergie "London Bridge"
The Pack "Vans"
C.S.S. "Alala"
DragonForce "Through The Fire and the Flames"

They would probably hate DragonForce; beyond "this sucks," we've always been curious to know where the conversation would lead.

Pissed Jeans "I've Still Got You"
Rich Boy "Throw Some D's"
UGK "Int'l Players Anthem"
Nickleback "Rockstar"
My Chemical Romance "Teenagers"

Years ago, the ILX board correctly assessed how B&B would love every Pissed Jeans video. How much though? Would they headbang?

No Age "Eraser"
M.I.A. "Paper Planes"
Flobots "Handlebars"
Snoop Dogg "Sexual Eruption"

When the show re-launched in 2011, we had our fingers crossed that Mike would be hip to No Age and possibly throw "Eraser" in the queue for some B&B jokes. No such luck.

Miley Cyrus "Party In The USA"
Attack Attack "Stick Stickly"
Brokencyde "Freaxxx"
Dinosaur Jr "Over It"

The 2011 re-launch sadly neglected crab-core and BrokenCyde; however, they shit all over 3Oh!3, which is still probably our favorite moment from that season. There should have been more of this! And we think they were far too kind to Katy Perry.

Pissed Jeans "False Jesii Part 2"
Lady Gaga f/ Beyonce "Telephone"
Die Antwoord "Enter The Ninja"
Willow "Whip My Hair"
Mary Kate & Ashley Olson "Gimme Pizza Slow"

If viral videos were considered fair game for the 2011 season, "Gimme Pizza Slow" might have been a home run. We know ICP's "Miracles" came out this year, but wouldn't it have been far more exciting to hear them riff on Die Antwoord?

Tyler The Creator "Yonkers"
Underground Railroad To Candyland "We Aren't The World"
Rebecca Black "Friday"
Ringo Deathstarr "So High"
Yuck "Get Away"

Kanye West has made it pretty obvious over the years that he's a huge fan of mainstream comedy. And we recently learned that he really wanted B&B to riff over one of his videos in Fall 2011. Mike Judge allegedly had some ideas in mind for what they could say, but one of the song's co-writers refused to release the rights. We're guessing the song in question was "Runaway," since we don't know what other recent videos would have been eligible at this point.

We were among those who lost our shit over Odd Future in the first few months of 2011; we had our hopes up for "Yonkers" appearing in the 2011 season, but sadly it wasn't included.

Big Sean f/ Nicki Minaj "Dance (A$$)"
Rihanna "We Found Love"
Mac Demarco "Ode To Viceroy"
Ariel Pink "Only In My Dreams"
YN Rich Kids "Hot Cheetos & Takis"

Who wouldn't want to hear B&B sing "Ass Ass Ass" along with Big Sean? The possibilities are endless.

Trinidad James "All Gold Everything"
Beach House "Wishes"
Yuck "Middle Sea"
Jeff The Brotherhood "Six Pack"
Ghost B.C. "Secular Haze"
Joey Bada$$ "Waves"

We thought of "Middle Sea" because Beavis has admitted that he enjoys watching tennis.

Indiana "Solo Dancing"
Lil B "I Love You"
Tony Molina "Don't Come Back"

"Solo Dancing" has lots of visual metaphors alluding to masturbation, so obviously...

Nicki Minaj f/ Beyonce "Feeling Myself"
Oneohtrix Point Never "Sticky Drama"
Cyriak "Malfunction"
Fetty Wap "Trap Queen"
Rihanna "Bitch Better Have My Money"
Kendrick Lamar "For Free? (Interlude)"

If "Feeling Myself" is the one where they scarf Boca Burgers, then yes, obviously...

Maren Morris "80s Mercedes"
Melkbelly "Elk Mountain"
Joey Purp f/ Chance The Rapper "Girls @"

Options have been running lower in the past few years as videos have been getting progressively less and less exciting. Not sure what to say here.

Pissed Jeans "The Bar Is Low"
Run The Jewels "Love Again"
Young Thug "Wyclef Jean"
Lil Yachty "Bring It Back"
Cloakroom "The Sun Won't Let Us Go"
Winter "Jaded"

They probably would not have thought "Wyclef Jean" was as great as it is since the video entails lots of reading. "Bring It Back" tho...

Bruno Mars f/ Cardi B "Finesse"
Wrong "Zero Cool"

2018 could use a few more of these. We'll continue to update this list sporadically as others come to mind.

[Edit: It's two years later. Here's some more!]

The Chats "Smoko"
Fozzy "Judas"
Hunt The Dinosuar "Destructo"
Sheck Wes "Mo Bamba"
Valee "Womp Womp"
Flasher "Material"
Pig Destroyer "Mt Skull"
Kanye West "I Love It"
Broods "Peach"
2 Chainz "Proud"
Mason Ramsey "Famous"
Andrew WK "Music Is Worth Living For"
Tenement "Garden Of Secrecy"
Turnstile "I Don't Wanna Be Blind"
Greta Van Fleet "Highway Tune"
Sting & Shaggy "Gotta Get Back My Baby"
Little Big "Skibidi"

100 Gecs "Money Machine"
Realworld "Green Room"
DaBaby "Babysitter"
Steve Lacy "Playground"
Rich Dunk "High School"
Billy V "Real Tune Is Life"
DaBaby "Suge"
2 Chainz "2 Dollar Bill"
Danny Brown "Dirty Laundry"
The Chats "Identity Theft"
Fury "Angels Over Berlin"
Sedona "More Love"
Devil Master "Black Flame Candle"
Rammstein "Sex"

645AR "4 Da Trap"
Thundercat "Dragonball Durag"
RMR "Rascal"
Bad Bunny "Si Veo a Tu Mama"
Puddle Of Mudd "About A Girl"
Soccer Mommy "Circle The Drain"
Lil Mosey "Blueberry Faygo"
Protomartyr "Processed By The Boys"

Thursday, March 22, 2018

That One Episode When Beavis Scored

As far as we know, Beavis still hasn't scored. But we think he deserves it.

This might sound like a bold statement, but we think Beavis is one of the most misunderstood fictional characters of the last 30 years. He might be just as deep as Butthead is shallow, even though on the surface both characters might appear equally superficial.

In "It's A Miserable Life," we get to see what would have happened to Beavis (and everyone else in Highland) if Butthead had never been born. Beavis is still adaptable and clingy. Without Butthead, he would still live with his unhealthy obsessions: fire, explosions, poop and scoring. But he's a loyal friend who receives satisfaction from the acceptance of a dominant influence. Without Butthead, the blindly good-natured Stewart would enhance Beavis's wussier qualities. And Beavis would have been just as funny and strange of a dude in either case.

We love the part in "Tired" just before Beavis gets thrown down the hill above Highland. "Whoa, check this out! This town looks small! It's like, you can see all the little houses, Butthead. Check it out, this is pretty cool!" This was one of the first times we noticed Beavis following his naturally wussy instincts. Butthead responds with "Shut up and get in the tire," quickly luring Beavis away from his fleeting moments of aesthetic appreciation. "Oh yea. Hm. This is gonna be cool."

Beavis is adorable. We love when he answers the door at the end of "Ding Dong Ditch," sees no one there, and yells "Butthole!" But then a second later figures out what happened. "Ohhhh yea! Huh-hm. That works pretty good."

We've already discussed the Bon Jovi thing on two other pages of this B&B feature, but we keep going back to how Beavis carries and accepts his guilty pleasures. Had the show continued into the 2000s, we think he might have enjoyed some of the early-'00s emo bands that Butthead inevitably would detest. (We'll discuss more about this in a future blog post.)

Whoever wrote this on Beavis's Wikipedia page seems pretty on-point:

"On the rare occasion that a female exhibits interest in one of the duo, it is usually Beavis who gets the attention. This could be because of Beavis' somewhat childlike temperament, which is less off-putting than Butt-Head's crasser, more blatantly sexual approaches. For example, when the two encounter members of the opposite sex, Butt-Head will typically lead off with a smug opening line such as "Hey, baby", which invariably flops; Beavis, on the other hand, will usually approach the woman with a less obvious "Hi!" or "Hey, how's it going?"."

In "Another Friday Night," as Butthead unsuccessfully tries to work the cash register at Maxi-Mart while two chicks are waiting in line, Beavis quietly says to them "You know, I was first, but you can go ahead. That's just the kind of guy I am." Shockingly smooth. Later, while they're all trapped inside of Maxi-Mart, Beavis somehow gets a hold of some up-tempo metal and starts with his jerky half-karate punky dance moves. And weirdly enough, one of the chicks decides to join him! We think he actually had a pretty good shot here.

[EDIT: We've just been informed this dance is called The Dillhole.]

Within the same episode, they watch the Janet Jackson video for "You Want This," and Beavis can't stop himself from inventing a dance he calls "My Monkey Boy." It seems like he enjoyed dancing a lot more than Butthead.

Plus, his underbite creates a natural demonic smile. He usually seems happier and less angry than Butthead, even though both are always laughing together.

Butthead is usually the first to step in the way whenever it seems like Beavis is about to score, but then blames Beavis. In the song "Come To Butthead," he says "Maybe I'd score with some chicks if your buttmunch ass wasn't always hanging around." But it seems like it's really the opposite. It's Butthead who keeps blocking Beavis from scoring.

In one of the 2011 episodes, Stewart accidentally scores with some chicks; in the world without Butthead imagined in "It's A Miserable Life," Beavis would have been right beside Stewart the whole time.

It would have happened if the show continued. The episode where Beavis finally scores definitely exists somewhere in Mike Judge's head, and we think it probably will happen if the show ever returns again.

Deep down, Beavis is truly a wuss, and that's why he rules.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The 8 Best and 4 Worst Adventures of B&B (According to IMDB)

We couldn't locate any official fan-conducted polls of the best or least favorite episodes, so we figured the rankings on IMDB were a decent alternative. The results seem reasonably close to what hardcore fans might have chosen.

So how did Beavis score on IMDB? The top 8 all scored between 8.5 and 8.7. IMDB breaks their 1-decimal ties alphabetically by episode title, but we chose chronology to break ties because of our personal preference for earlier episodes. The bottom 4 all received a respectable score of 7.0.


#8 "Werewolves of Highland" b/w "Crying" (2011)

Contrary to popular opinion, Season 8 and its noncanonical 2011 premiere episode did NOT pick up where the show left off 14 years prior. Instead, it functions to fill in the gaps. Had the show continued endlessly like The Simpsons or South Park, this is how it would have progressed:

  • Scoring is still their primary motivation, although Beavis and Butthead no longer exclusively think with their dicks or react only to their baser impulses. They’re slightly more adept at quick inferences than in 1997.
  • For some reason, they’re paying attention in class and not goofing off as much as before.
  • ‘90s B&B writer David Felton once described his process as “Go back to the place where thinking begins and stay there.” Now controlled by a different creative crew, B&B generally seem less stupid than they used to be.
  • Butthead’s jokey demeanor drops into his mellow, alluring tone more frequently than ever before. It seems like half of his dialogue is delivered with the same tone he used for the line “Let’s get a little mellow” when they were watching “Fake Plastic Trees,” which is not the same way he used to speak. Many fans noted that Beavis’s voice sounds more grunty.
  • This was the first episode animated with digital ink and paint and not entirely hand drawn.
  • The 2 stories are permanently packaged as an unbroken 30-minute experience instead of the old school methods where MTV would re-air previously aired B&B shorts during the show’s second half.

    We’re unsure why this placed as the eighth best episode ever over classics like “Pipe of Doom” or fan favorites like “Tired.” The jokes aren’t as funny as they used to be, and the stories throughout the 2011 season felt overall conceptually overreaching.

    Fans were initially skeptical of the commentary segments switching to half-videos/half-MTV shows, although the very first Jersey Shore clip from this episode is not bad. In "Werewolves Of Highland," Beavis adds spiciness to a few lines like "Soon, they will do our bidding!" in the same way that he used to deliver his horribly classic Mr. Sulu impression. Moments like those were the ones we were waiting for.

    “Crying” is the stronger of the two stories in this episode, but mostly for its ending when we finally get to see what might have been Butthead’s death scene at age 95, directly beside geriatric Beavis who gives equally as less of a fuck about his friend’s death as Butthead expressed in “The Final Judgement of Beavis.”

    Also, this is the only episode from the top 8 current streaming at MTV.Com:

    #7 "Butt Flambé" (1997)

    Throughout October and November '97, MTV held an extended Beavis and Butthead celebration re-airing what they advertised as "every episode" in chronological order (2-4 episodes per night). It was not every episode, but they probably showed about 170 of them, which they had never attempted before. They re-aired a handful that were previously banned and a few that lifted some of the censored moments. (This was a big deal in the era before binge-marathons and DVR.) Casual viewers were reminded of the minimal, crude non-stories of 1993. The journey from "Frog Baseball" to "Butt Flambé" felt like an eternity.

    "Butt Flambé" was the third-to-last episode, premiering mid-way through the "every episode" celebration. It's as maximal and high-concept as the show ever got, including a B- and C- story, plus a mysteriously open-ended intro and closing scene. It's also (possibly) part of a loose story arc within the show's floating timeline that connects to "Beavis and Butthead Are Dead" and "Prank Call." (These connections will be explored later in this list. *spoiler*)

    Similar to '50s Looney Toons shorts, the simplicity of B&B's universe crafted itself around what the writers chose NOT to include (a tip Simpsons writers could have used from Season 14 onward). The potential scope of B&B's adventures were purposely limited, enabling the writers to get more wild and creative as the show progressed. After showing the "money shots" part of the story 197 times, the adventure that sent Beavis to the E.R. was decidedly less interesting than what happened afterwards.

    From Meeseeks and Destroy:
    Rick: (sarcastically) "Yeah, Morty, this is the part of the story evvvvv'rybody loves - scaling down 650,000 oversized steps."
    Morty: "All right, okay, you know, if this was a story, this part wouldn't be included, stupid."

    Yes, but "the parts that shouldn't be included" are essentially the basis of reality television. It was only a matter of time before TV cartoons ultimately led in this direction.

    #6 "Candy Sale" (1996)

    "Candy Sale" is a good example of a classically stupid narrative in the style of Larry Fine & Curly Howard or Jed Clampett & Jethro Bodine who probably expressed a similarly boneheaded grasp of basic sales exchange at some point.

    Mr. Candy (voiced by David Spade), formerly known as Mr. Manners, got what he deserved. He doesn't exactly say that Butthead is wrong after getting called out for holding his nads while speaking in front of Mr. Buzzcut's class. He later places his hands on Beavis and hyper-defensively loses his cool after they call him a pocket fisherman and a pervert. All signs point to B&B seeming very correct in their insight. "Ohhh no. You're not gonna pull that again. It took me six months to get another job!"

    The B&B Wikia page sheds some insight: They theorize Mr. Manners & Mr. Candy are the same character as Kelly, the doorman in the episode "Babes R Us," who calls on Thor (the security guard "gorilla boy" from "At The Sideshow") to throw their heads into sidewalk pavement multiple times. When they see Mr. Buzzcut finally kicking his ass 3 years later, it's karmic revenge.

    Video stuff: During the Coolio video, Beavis does a impression of Redd Foxx in Sanford & Son and they admit to loving the show because there's lots of garbage everywhere.

    #5 "The Great Cornholio" (1994)

    The Beavis and Butthead Wikia resource claims the original title "Breakfast Burritos" was quickly changed to "The Great Cornholio" during future airings thanks to Cornholio's instant popularity. We've found no other evidence to back up this claim. But if true, this adds some insight to Cornholio's genesis. The show creators had no intention of devising a catchphrase-heavy recurring motif easily exploitable by MTV in the coming years.

    From Taint Of Greatness...

    Mike Judge: "One night sometime right after the L.A. earthquake – maybe it locked a screw loose in my brain. I had an image of Beavis with a shirt over his head pulled up with his head sticking through, like I’d seen kids do when I was a little kid."

    Kristophor Brown (writer/producer): "I had just heard a news report that said 'A medical study says sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children.' My initial thought was, 'why don’t we just call bullshit on this medical study and have him load up on sugar and caffeine?'"

    Mike Judge: "Kris and I wrote a beginning where they go to Stewart’s house. We kinda made it up on the spot, and the rest was really just improvised. I would tell people, 'Maybe no one’s gonna like this. Maybe people will think it’s too out there.' But it ended up being THE favorite episode probably of all time. I didn’t want to do too many [more Cornholio episodes] because the magic of the first time wouldn’t be there – if you wanna call that magic."

    #4 "No Laughing" (1993)

    Many of the '93 episodes have such uneventful narratives, although those episodes did the best job of establishing the inherent boredom of dead-end Highland (a town whose home-state is never established, although we are 99% certain it's a fictional town in Mike's home state of Texas) and dreadfully miserable 7-hour high school days. The shitty animation style from that era adds so much character, establishing a Gummo-esq dichotomy uncovering beauty in the ugliness, liveliness in the boredom, thoughtfulness in the stupidity.

    We get the feeling "No Laughing" would not have been expanded to a 30-minute 2-parter had it premiered in 1994 or later. That said, it has most engaging and most memorable narrative of anything from the first 3 seasons. (The only other 1993 episode to crack IMDB's top 50 was "Closing Time," the one where a health inspector closes down Burger World after B&B spend their graveyard shift throwing fast food into the ceiling fan.)

    Early in the episode, a sharpened pencil flies into Beavis's eye socket. He initially screams, but then laughs it off moments later. The laughs are more than just punchline indicators; they're a natural defense mechanism deflecting certain death. Will their lives forever change after the staff of Highland High removes their privilege?

    It's one of Principal McVicker's first appearances, and his voice sounds uncharacteristically less quavery and more confident. In "Burger World" (a few episodes prior), his character design was not yet designated as the high school principal, but his drive-thru order (to which Butthead replies "shut up") sounds more similar to what happened after "No Laughing." We see him maniacally laughing while knocking back guzzles of bourbon hidden in his desk drawer. It's possible the quavers are a consequence of the alcoholism and drug addiction that B&B allegedly enabled.

    #3 "Beavis and Butthead Are Dead" (1997)

    When the title of the last episode leaked weeks before its premiere, rumors spread that B&B would be among the few TV shows in history daring enough to kill off its titular characters once and for all. The show creators strongly considered the idea. Either way, the title promised an exciting banger of a finale on par with the scene from Beavis and Butthead Do America when the FBI and secret service take aim at deliriously oblivious Cornholio.

    B&B did not go out with a bang. The last episode was instead a friendly wave goodbye to the hardcore fans. In its final scene, Beavis and Butthead walk slowly into the sunset with their laughter (not unlike the final scene from Do America). Instead of Mike Judge's self-recorded B&B theme song, Liberace's version of "I'll Be Seeing You" plays over the final credit scroll (alongside a once-shown "greatest hits" series of still shots). A final message is shown: "Thank you to all the talented artists, writers and highly intelligent people who worked so hard to make Beavis and Butt-head look so dumb." The last 10 seconds are silent. A blank screen shows "(c) 1997 MTV Networks" with the B&B logo one last time. Along with the majority of Season 7, the episode wasn't re-run as often as previous ones.

    There were no explosions. This was not the fabled episode when Beavis finally scored. Rather, it was the only time Beavis and Butthead opted to throw together a clip show in lieu of video commentary. It's not one of the funniest episodes, so it's a strange choice for the top 3, although its historical significance alone should be enough for canonization. Plus, it's packed with notable moments:

    - Before the show reveals that they're not actually dead, Van Driessen and McVicker discuss the whereabouts of their parents. For a moment, it seemed like the final episode might have uncovered more insight or included prominent show appearances from their moms. (It's assumed their dads are the two former Mötley Crüe roadies who cross their path in the desert segment of Do America.)
    - McVicker's drug addiction and shaky nerves immediately subside after he believes the news of their death.
    - It's never explained how they acquired three weeks worth of nachos, which is the reason why they haven't left the house in so long.
    - We're having trouble figuring out whether Tom Anderson was present throughout Season 7. His last appearance might have been in Beavis and Butthead Do America, and he is probably the character we miss the most who we wish had been present in the final episode.
    - The TV parodies were among the show's most underrated moments, and we're happy the old clips included 8 or 9 of these. "Do these buttwipes actually think we’re gonna sit here and watch the same crap over and over?” Mike was exhausted, but the viewers were not. MTV viewers proved they really could watch the same crap over and over. (This sequence was foreshadowed in Butt Flambé a few episodes prior. In the operating room, the Benny Hill parody clip with the line "I got me finga stuck in me bum" was recycled from the episode when Butthead chokes on chicken.)
    - This was Daria's final show appearance. (She's not in the 2011 season, and her own series premiered earlier that year.) Daria and Stewart seem like the only Highland students even marginally affected. Daria's memories are objective and accurate. Butthead and Stewart's memories are inaccurate, while Beavis is incapable of remembering anything.

    #2 "Prank Call" (1996)

    Harry Sachz first appears deep in Season 6 within the series' last 50 episodes. Along with the Crazy Farmer from "Bungholio: Lord Of The Harvest," he is one of the show's more mysterious recurring characters.

    The story of Harry Sachz begins in "Prank Call." He's a larger dude who drinks beer alone while watching The People's Court. The timeline implies that B&B push Harry Sachz into a maniacal rage with several months of prank call harassment. By the time of "Nothing Happened" (roughly a year later), he's involved in a high speed police chase after stealing a car and is shot by police. In "Butt Flambé" (roughly six months after "Nothing Happened"), he's in the emergency room with bullet wounds in his chest and is later pronounced dead on an operating table. Are all of these events related? So many missing puzzle pieces.

    At the time, he was one of the show's only dead recurring characters. However, between 1997 and 2011, Harry somehow recovers from gunshot death and prominently appears in the 2011 episode "Doomsday."

    A few notable moments from "Prank Call":
    - B&B's phone number is 555-2868 (which appears on Harry Sachz' caller-ID unit, recently purchased out of frustration. "Somebody gawna die."
    - Mr. Stevenson no longer teaches at Highland High School by the time of this episode. "Can somebody get that? That might be the office."

    All three vids are great examples of how video critique could miraculously uncover areas of their intelligence rarely heard outside of their living room.
    - Bucketheads "The Bomb" - Butthead invents a tongue-twister, "Her butt looks better in pants than most chicks butts look naked."
    - Bon Jovi "Something For The Pain" - Beavis defends his love for Jovi.
    - Del Amitri "Roll To Me" - Butthead says the chicks in this video give him a special feeling in his seminiferous tubules.

    #1 "Bus Trip" (1995)

    David Van Driessen should probably stop singing in public. As early as his first appearance in the Peace Love and Understanding short, the first of his nine lives ends abruptly while singing a song about Earth Day at a monster truck rally. "I'd just like to remind everybody that today is Earth Day, and everyday is Earth Day. So I'd like to ask everybody to sort of just mellow out, and if we could all just join hands and help me sing this song, that would be really great! Mm-kay? *Plant a treeeee... Save a treee...*" Around this point, the monster truck lands on his head and crushes his entire body into fragments of flesh, bone and blood. B&B respond "YES!" and headbang.

    Mike Judge has admitted that, aside from Beavis, Mr. Van Driessen was his favorite of all his voices, although he always felt uncomfortable whenever he got stuck singing one of Van Driessen's incredibly shitty folk songs like "Men (Have Feelings Too)" or "Lesbian Seagull." It seems like every time he sings in public, he's interrupted by a violently traumatic near-death experience. To B&B's credit, it's usually not their fault, although in "Bus Trip" it's partially their fault that Van Driessen was standing a little too close to the front of the bus.

    Is this the single greatest moment in B&B history?

    It's a moment when we are definitely NOT reminded that they are cartoon characters portrayed as gloriously tragic humans. His crash through the school bus window is amazing enough to get shown three times from three different angles. He warns the class earlier that the descent down "Mount Pierrdido" (huh-huh, mount) will be "quite a work out," but the MTV equivalent of a Wile E. Coyote moment is probably not what he had in mind.

    By '95, the character designs, voices, animation style, stories and jokes were as close as they would ever get to what Mike Judge had in his head when he first started. By '97, the animation had grown slightly too slick, the stories were just barely too polished, and they were no longer pacing the episodes with video commentary. So it's possible that this moment from "Bus Trip" might the culmination of their best season. It's one of those episodes that has at least one joke (sometimes more than one) within pretty much every line of dialogue.

    The show's pacing shouldn't be underestimated here. Following the bus accident, the A.D.D. nature of the show abruptly pivots to commentary for a forgotten '90s band called The Rake's Progress that focuses on milk delivery. An old guy with a long white beard is shown drinking milk from a carton. Butthead responds, "Hh-hh. I like it when old people let their mouths hang open? 'Cuz they don't remember to close it? Hh-hh." The timing of this one-liner occurs just when viewers might be cooling down from Van Driessen's gut-busting moment about 45 seconds prior. It's a 1-2 punch that just about leaves us dying in laughter, helpless against B&B's powers.



    #4 "Car Wash" (1993)

    When a new set of animators were commissioned to work on Season 3, Mike Judge felt unsatisfied with the Hanna-Barbara style subtlety in the characters' movements and gestures. "Comedians" b/w "Car Wash" is a great example. It's kind of strange seeing the way the audience applauds at the juggler in "Comedians." In Taint Of Greatness, Mike specifically notes Butthead's gestures in "Car Wash." He's shown shrugging, moving his eyebrows in an unusual manner and waving his hands while describing a plan to Beavis. The creators understood the nuances of classic animation well enough to know that it wasn't appropriate for this show.

    Either way, "Car Wash" is a strange choice for the 4 least favorite episodes. We always thought of "My liver! My liver!" as one of the show's more memorable early moments.

    #3 "Yogurt's Cool" (1993)

    This episode from late in Season 2 was frequently run during Summer '93's weekend Moronathons. The story starts out okay with B&B watching a girl licking a froyo cone in a TV commercial, and it might be the only time Butthead says "Whoa. Huhuh. I'm getting a boner." The rest of the story is pretty bad. They buy yogurt cones at a mall and immediately hate the taste. Instead of returning their money, the store manager pushes the cones in their faces and laughs. B&B get revenge by smearing the yogurt on the walls of the mall. After they run into a mall security guard, the story abruptly switches to a meeting with a high school guidance councilor. This final scene feels like it was pulled from an entirely different episode, and it doesn't refer to the mall sequence at all.

    In the video commentary, Rick James' "Superfreak" and T'Pau's "Heart and Soul" (two of the greatest songs of all time) are both stamped with the official "this sucks" tag. Their assessment of "Heart and Soul" resembling a phone sex commercial seems ok, but the writers might have expanded that concept into more bizarre and sillier areas in a future episode.

    #1 & #2 "Sign Here" b/w "Give Blood" a.k.a. "Blood Drive" (1993)

    Is this episode actually that bad? As mentioned earlier, Mike Judge hates both parts, and was "burying [his] head in the sand" after its premiere. But it was a success anyway. Both parts of the episode start with the TV parodies and fake commercials that became often used throughout the series. There's something to be said when the strength of the characters and the freshness of the format can still generate over a million new fans within 5 days even though it's probably the series' poorest animation quality and includes two of its weakest stories. (To be fair, "Yogurt's Cool" looks worse and has NO story.) The strength of the format itself is noteworthy since it hadn't been attempted on MTV before, and it was the perfect point in history to show cartoon metal fans' negative reactions to Hall & Oates and Huey Lewis. (P.S. We're fans of both artists.)

  • 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:

    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".

    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 piñata 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.