In the ’90s, MTV was still airing plenty of great music videos, but they also had the world’s two most prominent music video critics/commentators: Beavis and Butt-Head. The duo of moronic, headbanging couch potatoes offered some honesty (and much hijinks) while watching videos, dishing out both funny and brutal criticisms — filtered through their own love of hard rock and metal, and a general distrust of anything they deemed “wussy” — plus a few observations that more than a few viewers probably shared with them, but rarely said out loud.
Though the show signed off after seven seasons in 1997, and even returned for a brief eighth run in 2011, TV still can’t get away from the duo. Comedy Central announced in July 2020 that creator Mike Judge had signed on to bring the animated show back for two seasons, though a premiere date has yet to be announced. Since then, film Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe premiered in June 2022, and the Beavis and Butt-Head series revival arrives on Paramount+ Aug. 4.
With B&B appearing anew once more on our screens, it’s time to revisit some of the great music video moments (222 episodes worth!) from the duo to snicker at. Here, we’ve picked 15 of our favorite, so grab some T.P. and get comfy on your couch.
Ramones, “I Wanna Be Sedated”
Season 1, episode 2
When Beavis and Butt-Head actually enjoy music, they don’t joke about it. Enter the Ramones’ classic “I Wanna Be Sedated,” a rock song that the two troublemaking friends just can’t mock. The pair simply headbangs their way through the hit with an occasional “heh heh” to punctuate the video. The series would have been a lot different had we not heard their often caustic criticisms of the MTV generation of tunes, but it’s still nice to know that Beavis and Butt-Head aren’t always haters. — DENISE WARNER
Nelson, “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection”
Season 2, episode 5
Beavis and Butt-Head often had girls on the mind, but they doubled down on their obsession with “chicks” in this video, going so far as to call dibs on the Nelson twins, whom they somehow mistook for masculine women in the age of hair metal. The two also hilariously put their lack of pop-rock history on display, with Beavis noting that Matthew and Gunnar’s grandpa was Ozzy Osbourne (it’s actually Ozzie Nelson), and Butt-Head “correcting” him to say they’re “Elvis’ kids.” Maybe Highland High could offer a Rock Genealogy course? — ANNA CHAN
Kiss, “I Love It Loud”
Season 2, episode 23
For B&B, nothing slapped harder than Kabuki-makeup rockers Kiss. And the performance video for this thundering track from their 1982 Creatures of the Night album had everything the boys love: metal riffs, extra-long tongue wagging, dumb-looking old people, axe-shaped basses, sick costumes and the ability to anger said lame parents. That combo elicited the highest of praise — and one of the most iconic B&B quips ever — from Beavis, “These guys are pretty cool for a bunch of mimes.” Butt-Head’s response: “Yeah, heh, heh, mimes are cool because they make lots of noise and scream!” — GIL KAUFMAN
Alice in Chains, “Man in the Box”
Season 3, episode 22
Come for Beavis’ surprisingly in-tune imitation of the iconic Jerry Cantrell talkbox riff that opens Alice In Chains’ “Man in the Box,” stay for Butt-Head’s Winger zinger, in which the duo concludes the guy in the music video must have sewn his eyes shut after seeing a clip from Stewart’s favorite band. — JOE LYNCH
Season 4, episode 11
Back when one-hit wonderdom seemed in the cards for Radiohead’s future, B&B had perhaps the final word on their single-song legacy — roundly unimpressed through the verses, then enthralled on the chorus. “If they didn’t have a part of the song that sucked, then it’s like, the other part wouldn’t be as cool,” Butt-Head expounded, accidentally summarizing an entire decade’s worth of grunge-era quiet-loud dynamics in the process. Radiohead would end up the most acclaimed rock band of the next decade, but this early review remains among their most memorable. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Nine Inch Nails, “March of the Pigs”
Season 4, episode 17
B&B may have been tough on those they deemed “wussy” artists, but they also proved they’re not averse to slamming bands they think generally rule. After initially admiring Chris Vrenna’s speedy drumming at the outset of this NIN banger, the duo complained that “drunk” frontman Trent Reznor needed to “get started.” And when the song slowed down during the bridge, Butt-Head opined, “These guys just need to concentrate on rocking,” later adding that the industrial rockers, “need to practice more.” Harsh, dude. — A.C.
Soundgarden, “Black Hole Sun”
Season 5, episode 1
Butt-Head may have initially shown off his wit by narrating the video’s calm opening as if it were a documentary film, but things quickly devolved. When Chris Cornell launched into the chorus, the duo’s childish obsession with “holes” (heh heh heh!) took over, with Butt-Head schooling Beavis with this nugget of wisdom he apparently gleaned from Star Trek: “A black hole is like this giant bunghole in outer space.” No wonder these two were briefly demoted to kindergarten. — A.C.
R.E.M., “Shiny Happy People”
Season 5, episode 9
As dim-witted, miserable cartoon characters, Beavis and Butt-Head have nothing in common with “Shiny Happy People.” What do they have? An unfailing ability to make a d–k joke out of anything. Cue Beavis pointing out that you can’t say the word “happiness” without saying “penis,” and later informing us he’s “hung like a horse.” We’ll just have to take your word for it, Beavis. Please. — J.L.
MC 900 Ft. Jesus, “If I Only Had a Brain”
Season 5, episode 15
One of Beavis’ more endearing characteristics was his tendency to get his brain broken by pop culture delivered at a very particular wavelength. Perhaps the most memorable example of a song delivered at that specific frequency was MC 900 Ft. Jesus’ alt-rap almost-hit “If I Only Had a Brain,” whose insistently murmured synth bass line instantly burrowed its way into Beavis’ cerebral cortex, rendering him unable to do anything but sing along to it. Eventually, he ensnared Butt-Head into doing the same — even after the latter made good on his threats to smack Beavis upside the head, repeatedly. Mid-’90s MTV just had that kind of effect on people, y’know. — A.U.
Snoop Dogg, “Gin & Juice”
Season 5 episode 28
Their commentary on this iconic single is the perfect distillation of what made the couch-surfing buds so legendary. While watching Snoop’s gangsta exploits, Beavis dubbed himself a “straight G” and claimed he’s from Compton. Butt-Head snapped back, “Yeah, you’re a G … for ‘gonad,'” doubling down and reminding his couchmate that he’s actually a “white wussy from right here.” When Beavis wouldn’t shut up about his suburban street bona fides, Butt-Head laid the ultimate smackdown: “Beavis, shut up. You’ve never been to Compton, you’re never gonna go to Compton. You’re gonna be here for the rest of your life. You’re stupid, you don’t have any money, and you’re never gonna score.” Can’t argue with that. — G.K.
Gary Young, “Plantman”
Season 5, episode 33
“Is that Robert Plant?” No, it’s ex-Pavement drummer Gary Young, but his “Plantman” was a perfect encapsulation of the kind of musically absurd and lyrically nonsensical ’90s alternative to cause a whole lot of rightfully perplexed euuhhhhh couchside reactions from B&B. Beavis’ Plantman vs. Spoonman hypothetical would’ve made for a great Celebrity Deathmatch a few years later, BTW. — A.U.
Season 5, episode 37
This one’s less about commentary than the joy of watching Beavis enter a state of ecstasy as he witnesses a man on fire run down the street in slow motion. Butt-Head’s repeated attempts to regain his attention are met with indifference — or outright hostility — and he finally has to slap Beavis silly to bring him back from his happy place. Sadly, Beavis doesn’t remember anything he’s seen, and it’s possible he’s done this countless times only to forget when he snaps back to reality. We just want Beavis to see the cool man on fire, and remember it. We just want him to be happy. — SAMANTHA XU
Season 5, episode 42
After Beavis deprives himself of oxygen while watching the video for Korn’s “Blind,” he goes off on a surprisingly literate, glib critique of “derivative” bands in the “so-called alternative rock” genre, referencing everything from Suicidal Tendencies to Laurie Anderson. But music-blogosphere version of Beavis doesn’t sit right with Butt-Head, who sums up that rock critic diatribe after Beavis returns to normal: “You got all dizzy and then you started talking like a dumba–.” Touché. — J.L.
Season 5, episode 43
“These dudes, they’re just there. They don’t even think of them as people, just things for these chicks to look at and get off on,” Beavis complained, with his astute observations that Elastica was objectifying the naked men in their video. His faux outrage is a great example of how self-aware the writers were in mocking the show’s main characters. Of course, Beavis immediately took back his comments at the prospect of himself getting naked near any chicks in any music video. That’s different because he’d be one step closer to scoring! — S.X.
Katy Perry, “Firework”
Season 8, episode 4
We all know that Beavis is the sensitive one, but we didn’t know how sensitive until we found out he loves Perry’s 2010 hit. Of course, Butt-Head was having none of it, once again taking the opportunity to tear down Beavis and his propensity to overshare his emotions. Fortunately, Beavis doesn’t take it, delivering a swift kick to his friend’s ‘nads while asserting that he is, in fact, a firework. Yes you are, Beavis, yes you are! Let your colors burst! — S.X.