TV Throwback Thursday: ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ and Other Shows Our Terrible Parents Wouldn’t Let Us Watch

Beavis and Butt-head Anniversary

In our quest to bring you the best TV content, sometimes we have to look… backwards. That’s why we have Thursday TV Throwback, wherein each week our staff of pop culture enthusiasts will be tasked with bringing back some of the best television clips that have been forgotten by time, space and the general zeitgeist.

This week, when we at learned that Friday is the 20-year anniversary of Beavis and Butt-head‘s first episode, many of us replied “I wasn’t allowed to watch that!” Turns out, we weren’t allowed to watch a lot of other stuff, too. Thanks for ruining our childhoods, parents!

Matt Patches: Not only did Beavis & Butt-head scare the bejesus out of me as a kid, I wasn’t even supposed to watch it in the first place. And not because my parents knew I’d require massive amounts of therapy if I did so! Beavis & Butt-head was lowest common denominator humor in the eyes of my parents, who inexplicably valued and allowed me to view the sadistic wit at play in The Simpsons. Something about the duo’s evil laughter, their prankster attitude, and/or their appreciation of AC/DC did not jive with my folks, so I was forced to watch my friends quote it to death. I’m not terribly bitter about it: really, nasally voices of Beavis & Butt-headstill give me nightmares.

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Kate Ward: Friends was banned from my household — after all, it was, according to my mother, a show about “those three sluts.” That is until, of course, I returned home from dance class one day to find my mom tuning into the first of the series’ London episodes. “Sit down and watch this,” she said. “It’s funny!” Turns out Friends wasn’t as vulgar as she thought. But that Louie episode about masturbation I accidentally watched with her years later?…

Aly Semigran: Try and figure this one out: I was allowed to watch MTV — home of Beavis and Butthead, Singled Out, and, at the time, music videos — but I was not allowed to watch its kinder, lamer sister station VH1. It wasn’t because my parents feared Pop Up Video was sending me subliminal messages or anything, though. We had on VH1 on one afternoon when Chris Isaak’s risque video for “Wicked Game” started playing. At the time I had no idea what was going on, nor did I understand what the big deal was (everyone likes the beach!) and I was mostly upset I wasn’t allowed to tune into VH1 anymore. Looking at this video now…well, I can see why they made their kids change the channel. (Lucky for me, VH1 was permitted in our house again by the time The World Series of Pop Culture and I Love the 80s came around).

Kelsea Stahler: I was forbidden to watch The Simpsons until my 12th birthday because my parents feared that before that fateful day, I might mistake Bart’s hilarious “Eat My Shorts” antics for acceptable behavior. Thankfully, the show aired on Sundays and August 2, 1999 fell on a Monday, so my parents shifted their steadfast rule for a single day. After years of wearing Lisa Simpson t-shirts, a character with whom I unknowingly shared a kindred spirit, I finally watched my first episode of The Simpsons and fully realized what I’d been missing for the preceding decade of my life.

Shaunna Murphy: 3rd Rock From the Sun was fine in my house until this sex-centric episode — “Big Angry Virgin From Outer Space” — that taught the lesson “sex fixes everything.” I will never forget the outpouring of outrage from my brother and I as they snapped off the TV and turned on Nickelodeon. JERKS. I had a crush on Joseph Gordon-Levitt back then, and thus consider myself to be ahead of the times.

Jean Bentley: My parents were always pretty lax about what I could and couldn’t watch, which makes it even more surprising that my mom decreed Rocko’s Modern Life, about a walking, talking Australian wallaby living in the USA, off-limits. I watched it at friends’ houses, of course, so I still know all the words to the theme song (…which is actually just “Rocko’s Modern Life” said in different voices). But looking back on the situation later in life, I realize it’s not that my mom deemed any of the quirky cartoon’s content inappropriate, it’s just that she thought it was kind of gross and didn’t want to be forced to watch it.

Abbey Stone: Because of horrors like The Real World and Marilyn Manson, MTV was banned in my home. But that didn’t stop fifth grade me from tuning in to TRL every day after school before the parentals returned home from work. Somehow, however, 24 was A-OK in the Stone household. Go figure.

Leanne Aguilera: When I was younger my mother HATED Ren & Stimpy — she thought it was disgusting and crude, and completely inappropriate for a little girl to watch. So whenever she would tell me to turn it off in one room, I would always sneak into another, turn it on mute, and watch as the demented cat and dog got into all kinds of disgusting shenanigans. Now looking back, I can’t believe that I ever liked this show because watching it makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Thanks for looking out Mom!

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Michael Arbeiter: Afraid that it would fill my head with free-thinking conspiracy theories… or maybe just keep me up at night entrenched in terror… my parents never allowed me to engage in a much desired viewing of The X-Files. I never got to tag along with Mulder and Scully, never knew the identity of the Cigarette Smoking Man, never learned what truth was indeed out there. All for the better, probably… just thinking about that theme music makes falling asleep difficult enough.

Sydney Bucksbaum: My parents never allowed me to watch South Park when I was younger… for the obvious reasons. This show goes so far past the line of appropriate. But there’s a reason it’s been on for the incredible amount of 17 seasons — it’s just that good. And just because my parents didn’t let me watch it at home doesn’t mean I never watched it. I would just watch it at my friends’ houses! Problem solved. (Sorry, mom and dad!)

Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna

[Photo Credit: MTV]

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