I ran down the ways Beavis & Butt-Head are secret geniuses for MTV Clutch. The timecounts are from YouTube clips I embedded in my draft, but apparently they came out because of some Viacom/YouTube snit-fit. So…yeah. Megacorporations.
My original version below, now with added classical reference! (and riboflavin):
BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD ARE LIKE…SMART, AND STUFF
They don’t come any dumber than Beavis & Butt-Head (Except maybe the cut-rate Canadian version, Terence & Philip). They should have exited out the Darwin door years ago, yet they not only survive, they’re coming back stronger than ever this summer. Could it be that they subsist on some kind of animal cunning? We submit to you that these two laughing Neanderthals were in fact perfectly suited to their environment, and we have the video to prove it. If only they’d stop talking over it.
In this extremely early episode, a monster truck rally becomes a Dionysian frenzy of alcohol, destruction, and lust. As the spirit of peace embodied by hippie Mr. Van Driesen is sacrificed beneath Death Truck’s wheels in the mad rite, the gods themselves answer a tormented humanity’s summons to the mortal plane. Not since the destruction of Troy has such horror erased the barriers between the worlds. Beavis & Butt-Head are the first to recognize Sterculius, Roman god of feces, and are bathed in the holy light of his methanic cloud. From such fertile devastation comes rebirth.
Stewart is a real drab kid whose parents sucked the joy out of his life before he got his first bicycle. No wonder this sheltered baby thinks Beavis & Butt-Head are cool. As a dutiful child, he obeys his parents’ orders not to let the gruesome twosome in. But Butt-Head knows the shallows of the human soul. It will always safeguard its own interests first. “We’ll just take this new video game somewhere else,” he says @0:58. Stewart opens the door to see what game they’re talking about, but by then it is far, far too late. The devil has crossed the threshold, and he too becomes witness to the otherworldly horror of Death Truck. The episode ends in a fiery conflagration akin to Hell’s own flames, and the naïf Stewart has now become one of the giggling ifreet.
It took John Stuart Mill five chapters and hundreds of pages in Utilitarianism to articulate that both individual and society are obligated first to those actions which provide for the greatest amount of happiness and the least amount of suffering. But Butt-Head slices through that text @6:56 with his concise rejection of a fried apricot: “Uh…no thank you,” he murmurs, to allay the sting of his words, “I don’t like stuff that sucks.” With that, the pair discreetly exits the field, maximizing pleasure for all parties by rocking in separate locations.
Most people go on a vacation, stay in a comfortable hotel , visit a bar with a cheesy theme, and think they’re trying something new because they order the fish. Beavis & Butt-Head can’t even wait till they have their learners’ permits before they engage another culture, fearlessly trying native food and drink, bearing gastric distress with a chipper attitude, and attending a cultural celebration. Then, of course, they club a child in the head, steal a box of explosives, and swallow condoms full of pills, because this is gonzo tourism. Only having tasted all extremes of life in another land can they assess it in full.
While volunteering at the local hospital, the pair takes a moment to reflect on the simple joys of life: altruism, a sunny day, a refreshing drink, and of course, lifelong friendship. When a local boor suffers a heart attack, Butt-Head does not let personal antipathy impede quick action. In a stroke of genius, he reconfigures a handy battery wire and electrical to serve as an impromptu defibrillator. This low-cost development will save millions of lives in poorer hospitals around the world. “We’re heroes, Beavis,” says the plucky youth. Unable to contain their joy at the sweet and varied delights of life, we leave the future of America singing a triumphant duet.