11/01/1993 at 01:00 AM EST
The controversy over MTV's Beavis and Butt-head (which is no longer airing in a 7 p.m., children-friendly time slot) raises familiar questions about network and parental responsibility, censorship, and the perilous interaction between mass entertainment and volatile psyches. Two other questions: Why would anyone watch something so relentlessly hostile? How could you pretend it was hip?
A recent episode, for instance, found our teenage antiheroes sent to prison, where Beavis became constipated (all animated in the show's matchsticky style). Later, B&B spent a night at a convenience store, fantasizing about using condoms. The woman of their dreams walked in: a biker chick, a shoplifter who threw scalding coffee in the manager's face. The rest of the show was the boys' usual imbecilic commentary on heavy metal/punk videos. Gurgling through it all, like a river of sludge, was their trademark heh heh heh.
Beavis and Butt-head is the rare fringe entertainment that's been accepted—because it's disguised as a cartoon?—by the mainstream. It's as if David Lynch, instead of reworking his sexual quirks for Twin Peaks, had sold Blue Velvet as a prime-time sitcom. Enjoy, heh heh heh.