They're dumb, violent, mean, vulgar, horrible, little teenagers. You're never sure to laugh at them, hate them, pity them, or root for them. I think as a viewer everyone kind of takes a stand as they observe data, we want to see the hero win and the villain lose. Are they heroes? Anti-Heroes? Villains? You're never really sure. Are you supposed to cheer them on or learn a lesson from their idiotic ways? What's their deal?
Some think Beavis and Butthead was supposed to be a wake up call for society to start worrying about today's youth or to warn us about devo-lution (explored later in Judge's "Idiocracy" work). These are components, but I don't think this is the main idea behind it. I think they were meant to be rooted for like any other protagonist in any other work of literature.
The hardest protagonists to root for are the ones who never win. Ask a Chicago Cubs fan if that statement is true, they haven't won since 1908 and aren't looking like they will in the future. Beavis and Butthead will never age, never score, never win, and never succeed. They are forever trapped in the purgatory of failure and hardship. In essence they represent suffering in its purest form.
Look closely at the characters. They have no parents, they slave away at school all day and then slave away at minimum wage labor at Burger World (the fast food chain in their world) on their weekends, they are angry and depressed, they take their anger out on each other through violence. They live a life of suffering...and will never as long they exist in their story ever free themselves from their hardships.
|Ouch, I think I hurt myself.|
Each episode featured them losing, failing, getting beat up, beating each other up, being scolded at school, getting arrested, getting stuck in something, getting terribly bloody and injured. Life beats them down into the ground each and every time. Except for one...one episode in the entire run of the original series was totally different than the rest. It was their only victory, and it wasn't much but it was still a victory.
A GREAT DAY
A Great Day is a break from the motif of failure, hardship, and injury. They wake up and feel good, Butthead says "I think it's because I finally got some sleep" and Beavis says "Ah boy...I feel pretty good right about now." They start out happy, and everything just goes right for them. Their victories are not grand at all, they see some cool things and because of their good mood they have a positive outlook on life and for that brief moment in time...the nachos taste better, the sight of two dogs banging makes them laugh more heartily, looking up at the sky and going "ah boy...I feel good today" makes them feel a-o-kay.
This was our heroes victory. One day in their miserable, impovrished, beat-down lives where they were happy. This episode feels odd and out of place, but I understand it now, that it's those little silly things in life, those little passing moments in time when things make you smile and you don't know or can't explain why. You got some sleep the night before and had pleasent dreams and you just feel pretty good right about then. You get a couple of breaks that day, you know, the laws of random chance just fall in your favor. You see someone else get injured instead of you (schadenfreude) and are glad you're not getting hurt for once...you know...stuff like that. You learn to appreciate those little things.
These guys didn't need much to be happy, they could laugh at literally anything. They laughed through all the tough times. They just wanted to be free from school, free from menial labor...they wanted to be free so they could rummage through trash cans and find porno magazines. They wanted to explore the world, do America, and find cool places and see cool things like cars crashing, dogs banging, stuff they never saw before.
"Someday I'd like to be like that, you know, a kid finds a dead bird...you give him 20 bucks for it."
"Beavis...life just keeps getting better."
They're thinking about the future and they're place in it and how great it's gonna be. This episode was so different than the others. These kids are ok, they're good kids, they had it rough and act out but they just want the same thing anyone wants...just to be free and to be happy. They just want a couple of great days. That's all.