Butt-head explained

Butt-head
Portrayer:Mike Judge (voice, 1992-1997, 2011-)
Creator:Mike Judge
Gender:Male
First:Frog Baseball (1992)
Occupation:Student and cashier at Burger World

Butt-head is a fictional character from the MTV animated series Beavis and Butt-head. He is voiced by the show's creator, Mike Judge.[1]

Mike Judge got the name Butt-head from his university days, when he knew a couple of kids who had the nicknames 'Iron Butt' and 'Butt-head'.[2] Some of the mispronunciations of Butt-head's name by adults have been Butthole, Bum-Head (by President Clinton) Butter-head, Buttbrain, Tangpode, Nuthead, Bob-head, and Butter (Wall Of Youth). Senator Ernest Hollings first used the name 'Buffcoat' on the floor of the U.S. Senate — an incident believed to have inspired incidents of mispronunciation of the title characters' names.[3]

Characteristics

Of the title characters, Butt-head appears to be the leader of the two. He is calmer, cockier, older, and marginally more intelligent than Beavis, but is oblivious to subtleties, semi-literate and still significantly less intelligent than the other characters in the show. Regardless, as the 'leader', he is usually 100% confident in everything he says and does – no matter how ridiculous or frivolous it is. Dan Tobin of The Boston Phoenix described Butt-head as "ringleader, the devious visionary."[4]

Butt-head seems to be the lazier of the two. He never seems to react to things unless they catch his attention, in which case he describes them as 'cool'. Beavis, on the other hand, always has some kind of reaction, although his actions predictably end with bad results.

Butt-head has a severe overbite, wears dental braces, and has brown hair and squinted eyes. His top gums are often exposed and he speaks nasally with a deep voice and a slight lisp, repeatedly punctuating his speech with his trademark laugh (Uh huh, huh huh). He is usually shown wearing an AC/DC t-shirt. In merchandising appearances, his shirt displays the word 'Skull', to avoid licensing issues.

Though Butt-head is physically weak to the point of being unable to lift a bar without weights (Buff n' Stuff) even with help from Beavis, he still seems to win most fights with Beavis.

Butt-head's parents are not seen, except for in Beavis and Butt-head Do America. His dad is shown as a former Mötley Crüe roadie voiced by David Letterman and his mother in "This Book Sucks." In the movie, Butt-Head and Beavis and their fathers part company before they make the rather obvious connection.

Relationship with Beavis

The series appears to show both title characters living in the same house. The movie Beavis and Butt-head Do America gives a quick glimpse of their fathers telling the boys how their mothers got pregnant (both groups failed to make the connection of their kinship). Judge calls the two men 'their dads' on the DVD commentary.

On many occasions, Butt-head is depicted as being abusive towards Beavis, usually slapping or insulting him. In several episodes Butt-head shows no concern for Beavis, whether Beavis is being severely beaten (Teen Talk, Tired and Do America), abandoned (B&B vs The Vending Machine) or deported to Mexico (Vaya Con Cornholio). The feeling appears to be mutual, as seen in Water Safety when Butt-head nearly drowns in a pool and Beavis remains indifferent to Butt-head's near-death experience, and in Choke when Butt-head chokes on a chicken nugget and Beavis takes his time attempting to help him as if it were nothing serious. Beavis tells the 9-1-1 operator "He's not really my friend". When Butt-head is in a situation when he may need Beavis' help, Beavis' reluctance to help him may be due to a failure to realize that Butt-Head needs help. In Choke, when Butt-head tries to demonstrate that he is choking Beavis says "I hate this stupid game", as if Butt-head were playing a game of charades. When Beavis gets a nosebleed (caused by Butt-head punching him in the face), Butt-head "tries" to help him, resulting in Beavis losing a great deal of blood (Nosebleed). In The Final Judgement of Beavis, after Beavis knocks himself out by crashing into a wall of the house (imitating a maneuver by Robocop on television), Butt-head revives him by dumping a bucket of cold water on him.

The two characters spend most of their time with each other. They share the same occupation, and usually compliment each other when one makes any sort of endeavor, especially if it involves their life-long goal to 'score with chicks'. It can be inferred that, despite their abusive relationship, the duo are still best friends, considering their shared activities, residency, interests, and simply for their lack of any other friends.

Relationship with other characters

Butt-head is especially scornful of Stewart Stevenson, a nerdy, overweight teen, who wants to be friends with the duo. He greatly admires Todd, an older bully who takes advantage of and pushes around the duo. He and Beavis aspire to be in Todd's "gang", sometimes subjecting themselves to considerable abuse in vain attempts to be accepted. Although he pretends to dislike Daria at times (derisively calling her "Diarrhea"), Butt-head appears to respect her intelligence. He is generally a thorn in the side of both the Maxi Mart owner and his neighbor Tom Anderson. The duo spend a lot of time loitering in and around Maxi Mart, annoying both the owner and the customers (especially females, with their weak pick-up lines). Mr. Anderson continually hires the two to do chores and asks favors of them, despite disastrous results each time. He does not seem to recall who they are from one encounter to the next, apparently due to poor sight and/or senility. He has been seen talking to other students in the classroom such as an overweight teen who was telling them about Jurassic Park and he seemed to be getting along with him and listening.

Mr. Van Driessen is alone among teachers at Highland High in that he sees potential in the duo and he tries to reach out to them and encourage them. He makes several attempts to teach them life lessons, to no avail. Conversely, Coach Buzzcut takes every opportunity to embarrass them, exposing both their stupidity and their lack of manliness. Principal McVicker has no idea what to do with them, as virtually every attempt he makes to instill discipline in them fails miserably.

Spoofs

In the 1996 Paramount and MTV movie, Beavis and Butt-head Do America, at the beginning during the King-Kong/Godzilla-like scene, Butt-head is known as Butt-Kong, but when Beavis appears, they are referred to by their real names. In the Christmas episode Huh Huh Humbug there is a sequence in which Beavis explains the future to Coach Buzzcut (cast as the Ghost of Christmas Future in the episode). Butt-head is working at the counter of a fast food restaurant, with both him and the customers wearing uniforms reminiscent of Star Trek. A mechanical Beavis walks in, saying "I'm back", then starts blasting holes in the walls with a futuristic weapon. There is some similarity to the Terminator series.

References

  1. News: Butt-head, We Hardly Knew Ye. The Los Angeles Times. 2010-11-08.
  2. Web site: Mike Judge Interviewed by John Kricfalusi. Wild Cartoon Kingdom. 1994.
  3. Web site: Dude... This Sucks - We mourn the loss of fresh Beavis and Butt-head episodes. EW.com Television News. August 15, 1997.
  4. "Butting out," The Boston Phoenix