On March 8, 1993, music video criticism leveled up: Beavis and Butt-Head premiered on MTV. Created by Mike Judge, the show grew out of a short called "Frog Baseball," which was part of the Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation and aired on MTV's cutting-edge, cartoon-centric Liquid Television.
The full-length animated episodes generally revolved around the ne'er-do-wells getting into trouble at school, at work and in their neighborhood. But what made Beavis and Butt-Head so special was the show's music video commentary. The metalhead pair was brutal toward the declining hair metal bands (and some of the weirder alternative rock popular at the time) but relished the times when AC/DC, Metallica and other "cool" bands appeared on TV. Really, the pair verbalized all of the snarky comments music fans were thinking when watching videos, but had the decency not to speak out loud.
Incredibly enough, Beavis and Butt-Head was credited with helping White Zombie break in the U.S.; the duo especially dug "Thunder Kiss '65." On the flip side, the show's criticism of Winger (uncool neighbor Stewart wore the band's T-shirt, and the duo had some choice words to say about "Seventeen") endured well after the series ended. Kip Winger did bury the hatchet back in 2011, however.
"I found Mike [Judge] and told him I wanted to clear the air," he said in 2014. "I never tried to sue MTV or Mike, I never had a problem with the cartoon. I mean, it was David and Goliath, really. There was nothing you could do but take it like a man. It certainly didn’t help us, I’ll tell you that. But it was a funny show and Mike’s a funny guy."
A quarter century later, much of this commentary is dated, crude and even inappropriate. That the pair kept hammering home that many of the hair metal musicians looked like women or seemed like "wusses" scans as intolerant today. But many sentiments expressed on Beavis and Butt-Head remain as funny today as they were back then. Here are the Top 40 Beavis and Butt-Head One-Liners -- at least the ones included in video clips that are available online.
'Darkness rules.'Rollins Band, 'Liar'
The potential nightmares caused by an especially sinister Henry Rollins as the devil in this video are a bonus.
'Motley Crue fired this dude.'Vince Neil, 'Sister of Pain'
Even with Steve Stevens on guitar, Motley Crue's Vince Neil fell short with Beavis and Butt-Head, who felt his post-Motley solo work didn't exactly measure up to his glory years shouting at the devil with Dr. Feelgood.
'Hey, it's that dude from Damn Yankees.'Ted Nugent, 'Heads Will Roll'
This video's commentary about Republicans and archery is remarkably prescient.
'This is that guy with all those last names.'John Mellencamp, 'Pop Singer'
B&B were not a fan of this John Mellencamp tune. "What a whiner," Butt-Head says as the video progresses. "This guy is always complaining," Beavis agrees.
'Whoa, it's the president of England.'Spinal Tap, 'The Majesty of Rock'
Their exclamation came after the Spinal Tap video superimposed the face of Queen Elizabeth II onto someone playing the guitar. Beavis approved, however: "She jams."
'If I wanted to see a video in school, I'd go to school and watch TV.'Krokus, 'School's Out'
It's difficult to tell what irritates the duo more: that this is Krokus covering Alice Cooper, or the fact that the clip takes place in school.
'It is in these hills that Juan Valdez and his trusty goat gather coffee beans every morning.'Soundgarden, 'Black Hole Sun'
B&B's contemporary pop culture references tended to hit the mark. Although this reference to a famous coffee TV commercial might be a bit dated, anyone who remembers the ad should laugh as the observation is perfect.
'Hey Butt-Head, doesn't Slash wear a hat like that?'Alice Cooper, 'Welcome To My Nightmare'
Taking a shot at Alice Cooper's "clown makeup" seems like a surefire way to get a free appointment with the guillotine. But we're guessing that the veteran shock rocker would probably give Butt-Head a pass.
'Hey look, she's running away from home and she's only 30!'Pat Benatar, 'Love Is A Battlefield'
Beavis and Butt-Head were savage critics of '80s music video plotlines, which tended toward the absurd. Exhibit A: their commentary on the implausibility of this Pat Benatar video.
'Glam rock just isn't what it used to be, Beavis.'Enuff Z'Nuff, 'Fly High Michelle'
Most of the commentary along with this Enuff Z'Nuff video is a prime example of sentiments that haven't aged well. However, the quippy one-liner above nails it.
'These guys are pretty cool -- even though they're 60.'Aerosmith, 'Livin' on the Edge'
Beavis and Butt-Head generally dug Aerosmith, even if they gave the Boston legends a backhanded compliment during "Livin' on the Edge."
'If you, like, saw these guys on the street, you wouldn't even know that they're cool.'Helmet, 'Unsung'
This Helmet song is Beavis and Butt-Head-sanctioned -- and the band's "regular guy" vibe also gets a nod of approval.
"Hey, Butt-Head, Ozzy bit off the head of a cow once."Black Sabbath, 'Iron Man'
Not only does this Black Sabbath video feature the pair doing one of their patented "singing along with the music" tricks, but it also finds them accidentally rewriting classic rock history.
*sings Boston's 'More Than A Feeling'*Silverchair, 'Tomorrow'
Okay, so this isn't exactly a one-liner -- but it is an unexpected (and hilarious) juxtaposition to hear the duo start singing Boston's "More Than a Feeling" as Silverchair's "Tomorrow" starts.
'Hey Butt-Head, remember when these guys were cool?' 'No.'Bon Jovi, 'In These Arms'
There's a running gag in Beavis and Butt-Head that the former is a Bon Jovi fan -- and the latter thinks the band is terrible. That disagreement plays out across multiple videos throughout the TV series.
'Hey Beavis, do you know how to read?'Guns n' Roses, 'Garden of Eden'
The motor-mouthed "Garden of Eden" tripped up (but delighted) B&B, as they tried to follow along with the bouncing ball over the lyrics.
'Even if Maiden did Unplugged, I bet they'd still have explosions.'Iron Maiden, 'From Here to Eternity'
Iron Maiden rule, as do their fire- and explosion-heavy videos.
'If you make out with a frog, you turn into Prince.'Peter Gabriel, 'Kiss That Frog'
Beavis at first thinks Butt-Head means the Fresh Prince, but is quickly corrected.
'This is kind of like a country video: You have football players and old people and dogs and stuff in it.'Van Halen, 'Can't Stop Lovin' You'
Honorary mention in this video goes for the pair's confusion over Eddie Van Halen's appearance. "Where's Eddie?" Butt-Head asks. "I mean, How can they fire Van Halen from Van Halen?" Beavis adds.
*falls asleep in the middle of the video*Skid Row, 'Monkey Business'
Okay, again, this isn't a one-liner -- but the pair being so bored by the Skid Row video that they fall asleep is brutal (but funny).
'If you say one more good thing about Bon Jovi, I'm going to really smack the bejesus out of you!'Bon Jovi, 'Something for the Pain'
Some of the funniest moments come when Butt-Head gets violent with Beavis -- and there are a number of times in the history of the series that this happens with Bon Jovi as the soundtrack. Spoiler alert: Beavis takes quite a beating in this one.
'I bet these guys practice their wussy little dance moves.'Poison, 'I Want Action'
Beavis and Butt-Head really, really, really hated Poison. As the video for "I Want Action" started, the former made it clear how much he despised the band. "Oh, blah, this is Poison," Beavis smirked, and made a retching noise. The mockery continued from there.
'Axl is cool.' *sings guitar riff*Guns n' Roses, 'Paradise City'
If we're being honest, Beavis and Butt-Head's reaction to "Paradise City" -- short sentences, headbanging, singing the riff -- mirrors how we always react to the song.
'And remember, I'm not only the Hair Club president--I'm also a member.'David Lee Roth, 'Just Like Paradise'
The duo had plenty of fun with all eras of Van Halen, but shared their quippiest comments for David Lee Roth's solo work, including "Just Like Paradise." The comment above is something Beavis said randomly at one point during the clip.
'Is this Pearl Jam?' 'Yeah, Eddie Vedder dyed his hair red.'Stone Temple Pilots, 'Plush'
'Check it out: It's Krokus coming to kick their ass!'Accept, 'Balls To The Wall'
Rest assured, Krokus coming to crack some Accept skulls is a dis on both bands.
'Hey look, Beavis, it's your mom hanging out in bars again.'Styx, 'Too Much Time on My Hands'
Their '80s wardrobe didn't play well in the '90s, making Styx an instant target, with Beavis wondering, "Didn't these guys play that wedding we went to?" Butt-Head counters quickly with his own question, "Yeah, remember when you kept asking them to play Pantera?"
'Is this the Partridge Family?'Journey, 'Separate Ways'
Barry Manilow also gets a choice mention as B&B slag nearly every member of Journey in this video.
'I thought people usually looked cool in leather jackets.'Kix, 'Cool Kids'
Another low-budget '80s video, another well-placed Krokus reference.
'You know who Lemmy looks like? He looks like that dude down the street that's always working on his car.'Motorhead, 'No Voices in the Sky'
Lemmy was God to B&B. After all, the pair dub call their neighbor "cool," so them describing Motorhead's late frontman as a greasemonkey is a major compliment.
"This guy looks like one of those salesmen at the mall."Eddie Money, 'Shakin''
B&B had some choice words about the Money Man. "This guy looks like one of those salesman, at the mall," Butt-Head observes. Beavis concurred: "Excuse me, can I help you boys with something?
"Oh no, is this Yanni? [pause] Oh, this is Pink Floyd."Pink Floyd, 'High Hopes'
Even legends like Pink Floyd couldn't escape the bullseye of Beavis and Butt-Head, who labeled the group as "just another gang of wussies from England."
'Sit your ass down, Lars, and play the drums like you're supposed to.'Metallica, 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'
Beavis' only article of clothing is a Metallica shirt, so of course he's a die-hard fan. That doesn't mean Butt-Head always shares this sentiment, though, as he's the one snarking on Lars Ulrich in this live clip.
'These dudes are like, 'Look at me, I'm kicking!''Cinderella, 'Somebody Save Me'
B&B were not Cinderella fans. In fact, the duo attacks many aspects of the band in this clip, including its stage moves. "Look at me, I'm shaking my hips and kicking, just like we did at practice!" Butt-Head mocks.
'Uh, what happened to Axl?'Slash's Snakepit, 'Beggars and Hangers On'
Here's another clip with commentary that, in hindsight, is largely cringe-worthy. "These guys were probably like, 'Okay, Axl, I'm gonna give you one more chance, but if you wear another skirt onstage you're out of the band.'" But in Slash's Snakepit, B&B figure that tights are probably okay -- as long as you don't wear high heels.
'This guy kind of looks like that dude on Sesame Street, The Count?'King Diamond, 'The Family Ghost'
Beavis and Butt-Head were not fond of Grim Reaper and King Diamond. The latter received criticism both as a band and with Mercyful Fate.
'I think I saw Lenny Kravitz tied to a cross once.' 'No, Beavis, that was Jesus.'Rush, 'Stick It Out'
The members of Rush are known for having a warped sense of humor. So we're guessing they probably enjoyed Beavis and Butt-Head arguing about whether it was Jesus or Lenny Kravitz.
'Right now, David is planning to kill Sammy Hagar.'David Lee Roth, 'Just a Gigolo'
B&B basically used this David Lee Roth video to riff on Van Halen's "Right Now" clip and mock DLR's solo career. Sample quotes: "Right now, David wishes he had his old job back" and "Right now, David is trying to convince some chick that he used to be the lead singer for Van Halen."
'These guys are pretty cool for a bunch of mimes.'Kiss, 'I Love It Loud'
Make no mistake: Beavis and Butt-Head totally thought that the video for Kiss' "I Love It Loud" (as well as the band itself) ruled.
'Dammit, Pantera, this beer is warm. Get me another one!'Pantera, 'This Love'
One of the most absurd (and, as a result, indelible and hilarious) Beavis and Butt-Head moments occurred when the duo imagined that Phil Anselmo was actually named Pantera. "Does this Pantera guy ever relax?" Beavis mused while watching the clip for "This Love." Butt-Head took it one step further, and theorized that "Pantera"'s dad was tough on him. This led to some commentary such as the above and quips such as "You treat your stepmother with respect, Pantera! Or you'll be sleeping in the street!"