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Beavis and Butt-Head
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the sexual references, crass humor, strong language, and irresponsible messages in this animated series ensure it’s not appropriate for tweens and offers nothing positive for the teen set. Beavis and Butt-Head are foul-mouthed ("damn," "bitch," "ass," etc.), irresponsible, uneducated slackers whose destructive behavior is the basis for the show’s humor. They view women as a means to sex (though they never actually have sex), school as a waste of time, and rules as a challenge to their independence. The show’s crudity is exaggerated and only upstaged by its graphic discourse about sex, including the guys’ comments about arousal and ejaculation.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD centers on a duo of socially inept friends and their daily aspirations to mediocrity. These heavy metal-loving pals divide their time between skating through high school -- where their teachers merely tolerate their presence -- and barely maintaining a presence at the local burger joint where they work. Because Beavis and Butt-Head (both voiced by creator Mike Judge) have no life goals, they have plenty of free time, which they devote to fantasizing about girls, shooting some skeet, and making demeaning comments about the rockers they see in music videos.
Is it any good?
Since the show’s start in 1993, Beavis and Butt-Head has inspired more than a cartoon’s share of controversy for its characters’ obnoxious behavior, so much so that politicians and TV personalities have weighed in on both sides of the argument. While some applauded its intelligent humor, others feared the effects of its messages. Whichever side you fall on, it's undeniable that, as far as tweens and younger teens go, the show's overt messages are inappropriate. The show mocks responsibility, glorifies drinking (although their beverages are non-alcoholic, they talk about being drunk and romanticize how the effect would get them girls), makes sexism comical, and is brimming with red-letter language. Older viewers might be able to discern a critique of suburban culture, but the message will get lost on the younger set.
The titular characters are pretty bad, but even worse is that their negativity doesn’t really stand out from the rest of the cast, who with few exceptions fall into stereotypical channels of ineffective adults, silly girls, and slacker teens whose actions never reflect those of the real world. In other words, nothing good can come of teens tuning in to the antics of the characters in this edgy show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about comedy. How would you characterize the humor in this show? How does it differ from other comedy shows you’ve watched? Did you find it funny? Why or why not? Are Beavis and Butt-Head stereotypes?
Teens: Does this show attempt to send any messages to viewers? What does it say about gender relations? Do you find any of the relationships particularly palatable or offensive? If so, which ones and why?
How are our likes and dislikes influenced by what we see and hear through the media? How does what we see on TV affect how we define "normal"? Does this show strive to reflect society at all? Does it aim to change it?