Contributed by Gaelin B.
Most people never realize just how psychological the MTV classic Beavis & Butt-Head is. To see this, first we have to examine their relationship. Butt-Head, as anyone who’s seen any episodes can tell you, is the “smart” one. (This is of course, relative to Beavis, as no one in their right mind could call either one “smart”. But relativity is just one of the unnoticed themes running through this show.) Butt-Head is invariably the one who comes up with the various schemes. Beavis, on the other hand, is incapable of thinking things out for himself. He is usually the one to implement the schemes Butt-Head comes up with, often fouling them up in the process. Seen in this light, with Butt-Head the Thinker and Beavis the Doer, the show takes on a Freudian direction. Butt-Head represents the Ego (civilization, and what is taught) and Beavis the Id (the inner, base instinct, reverting to our animal natures). This can even be seen to relate to the Nature vs. Nurture concept.
But the evidence is there. Example: The episode where they find a tire. It is Butt-Head who concludes that they can ride in it. He has Beavis push him, in the tire, up a hill, promising that he’ll push Beavis on the way down. Butt-Head lets him go on the way down, all right… at about 60 miles an hour, crushing all that’s in his path. This is an example of the Ego using the Id to its own advantage, causing damage. Another example is the Christmas episode, where, in a great It’s A Wonderful Life parody, Butt-Head is shown what life would be like without him. To his horror, he finds that Beavis is best friends with irritating neighbor Stuart. (Stuart represents an alternate Ego to Butt-Heads. Since the Id is common to all humans, it is the Ego that directs it in one direction or another). Stuart is the metaphor (in the regular episodes) of an Ego without any Id: a wuss, completely incapable of doing anything. Example: The one where Stuart disappears. His parents and Beavis and Butt-Head search the entire neighborhood for him, but it turns out he was just in Butt-Head’s closet, waiting for seven hours for the boys to find him in a fraudulent hide-and-seek game. (Homosexual image? Possibly). “Go home”, Butt-Head tells him. “You’re in trouble”, Beavis adds.
My personal favorite example for this, however, is the episode about the vending machine. Beavis and Butt-Head desire food (one of mankind’s drives), in this case Sour Cream and Salsa Pork Rinds. However, their meal is snagged on the machine, trapped inside (fear of entrapment?). Butt-Head leaves Beavis at the machine to guard it, while he tries to get more change to get the bag (and another) out, “two for the price of one”. He manages to get a dollar from an elderly lady, but the machine won’t take it. Meanwhile, Beavis has been adequately fending off any customers from the machine (following Butt-Head’s instructions rather than rationalizing his own. It doesn’t occur to him that if anyone gets another bag of Pork Rinds, theirs will come out too. Beavis’ mind doesn’t work that way). Butt-Head finally goes into the local convenience store to try and get change for the dollar. There he sees day-old nachos, about to be thrown out. There are even roaches crawling over them. Butt-Head buys all of them with the dollar, and goes home and watches TV, forgetting all about Beavis and returning to his null, inactive state. Beavis, simply cries out “Buuuuttttt-Heeeeeaaaaddd!!!” and finally resorts to eating an old M&M he finds at the bottom of the machine (his one act of independent thought in the entire episode). He then returns to his null state of inactivity, calling out for Butt-Head as the sun goes down…