Beavis and Butt-Head TV Poster Image

Beavis and Butt-Head

(i)

 

Crudity, sexism, strong language make 'toon iffy for teens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show uses the guys’ social ineptitude and idiocy as inspiration for its humor. Women are objectified through the characters’ comments about their appearance and sex appeal. The guys’ misbehavior and complete disregard for authority sends negative messages about real-life consequences of similar actions. Stereotypes run rampant, homosexuality is mocked, and bathroom humor is ribald as well: Beavis is a chronic nose-picker, and multiple uses for excrement is a common topic of discussion.

Positive role models

The two teens are anti-role models -- their characters are clearly the absolute opposite of what anyone would aspire to be. They’re the epitome of negligent behavior, skipping school, flaking out on their jobs, destroying property, and fixating on sex. Their apathy toward responsibility and basic social graces is constant, and much of their free time is spent in front of the TV critiquing music videos. Few authority figures exist (in fact, Beavis and Butt-Head seem not to have parents), and those that are around (teachers, police officers, employers) barely attempt to curb the duo’s misbehavior.

Violence

The guys enjoy skeet shooting in their free time.

Sex

Pretty much anything short of the act itself is fair game. Innuendo-laced comments (“I think I just inoculated”), references to "stiffies," provocative photos of women, couples posed suggestively (bikini-clad women sitting on men’s laps, for instance), as well as plenty of references to body parts like boobs, butts, and slang like "'nads."

Language

Pervasive cursing includes numerous variations of "ass," "damn," "bitch," "hell," and "sucks," as well as name-calling like "diarrhea," "dillweed," "fart knocker," and "butthole."

Consumerism

The show often includes cartoon versions of music videos, featuring artists from The Beatles to Ozzy Osbourne.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The teens often drink non-alcoholic beverages that look like beer and discuss the positive aspects of drunkenness, including the fact that alcohol increases the accessibility of women. Occasional background characters smoke.

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.

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Mike Judge
Network:MTV
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Beavis and Butt-Head was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bysonicd July 3, 2011

Are you threatening me?

There is nothing wrong with this show. There is nearly no language. Huh huh huh huhuh huh huh.........sk33t shooting.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byFullmetalAlchem... May 7, 2011

Not For 14 Nd under :P

This Show Should Be Ment For 14 And Up. Because it Shows crude language and does not send a positive message my Mom Honestly Hates This show Se Said Its Ignerent And Ruins Children.And Chidren Attemt on what they see on tv you have to be more or less mature and have knowlage to watch this show and not get brain washed at the same time.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 7, 7, 8, 11, and 14 year old Written byChrist-Lover May 15, 2011

Stupid.

This is the dumbest show I've ever seen, I think.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?