Beavis and Butthead Do America

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America is as good of an example of a comedy that successfully mixes highbrow and lowbrow jokes as any I have ever seen. It is both a clearheaded critique of America’s idiotic culture and an expression of that same idiotic culture, since it parodies idiots that only understand dick jokes by telling a bunch of dick jokes. As such, it deserves a review that is as thoughtful as it is stupid, which is why I’ve decided to mix a serious analysis of the movie’s political relevance with a bunch of doggerel.

Let’s eat our vegetables before we get to the dessert. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America is perhaps the foremost example of a pre-9/11 movie. The plot concerns two sex-obsessed teenaged morons who accidentally stumble into the middle of a murder plan – a drunk man offers them $10,000 to “do” his wife, an offer which the two horny virgins are all too eager to accept. They then set out on a road trip to meet up with her in Washington DC, and along the way they get into a lot of situations that would never appear in a comedy today. For example, Beavis gets high on pills, then he breaks into the cockpit of a plane and tells the pilots that he needs “TP for my bunghole.”  Later, the two nitwits wander into the control room of the Hoover Dam, accidentally shut down the plant’s generators by rubbing their butts all over the kill switch, and end up cutting off most of the West Coast’s power. Oh, and they also unwittingly smuggle a biological weapon into the Oval Office of the White House during an international peace summit.

However, while Beavis and Butt-Head Do America feels shockingly out of touch in our modern political climate it is still really, really funny. In fact, the film is a good argument for why it might be time for us to ease back a bit on our post 9/11 uptightness. Watching this movie helps you realize that in the proper context all of these potentially upsetting situations can still be hilarious as long as they are presented the right way. Yes, the idea of two nitwits carrying a WMD in their back pocket is pretty scary, but it’s hard to be too frightened when those two nitwits are constantly chuckling under their breaths every time they hear a “dirty” word. (Their concept of what constitutes a dirty word is incredibly broad; it basically covers any word that could potentially be a synonym for any body part.)

In fact, the film’s humor only works if we don’t take either Beavis or Butt-Head too seriously despite the potential seriousness of their actions. One of the film’s running jokes is that all of the government officials that are on Beavis and Butt-Head’s trails are just as dumb as they are. In particular, the main FBI agent is obsessed with giving every suspect he detains a thorough cavity search, which is pretty much how Beavis or Butt-Head would behave if they ever ended up in his position. That joke doesn’t work if we see them as threats to national security or him as a noble protector of the people - but I'm glad that this movie treats all three of them like clowns, because a good political satire should remind us not to take a man with a badge too seriously just because he has a badge. This country was founded on the idea that the people in power are just as likely to be fallible as anyone else and we should never forget that.

But enough of that serious talk – let’s get to the silliness.

Years ago I used to host a weekly B-Movie viewing party and after everyone had gone home we would text each other goofy haikus about what we had just seen. (You’d be surprised how many poems one man can write about the “John McClane stabs a man to death with an icicle through the eyeball” scene in Die Hard 2.) Anyway, this seem like a fitting time to revive that tradition.

1.

Running for our lives

One step ahead of the Feds

Can’t stop till we score

2.

Paranoia reigns

This country never the same

Boobs heh-heh heh-heh

3.

Hey, that’s Bill Clinton!

Does he have any TP?

My bunghole’s hungry

4.

A complete package:

Political relevance

And ugly overbites

5.

Two idiots meet

Our popular president

All three are horndogs

6. (aka my favorite)

Man’s Natural State

Corrupted nobility

Laughing at boners

 

Winner: Me

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America on IMDB