Early Internetting is a topic near and dear to our hearts. One fond memory of Early Internetting is that lone computer with Internet access in the school library. Each class was dragged down to get introduced to the one computer for a school of hundreds. Sure, we had CD-roms and actual books for research, but having the Internet at school? This was big.
Many students didn’t have the Internet, let alone a computer, at home in 1997. That changed dramatically over the following decade and changed even further now that we carry computers in our pockets.
In the 90s and even early 2000s, I had friends and classmates that had never been online, had no desire to be online, and didn’t understand why anyone would want to use the Internet. They had no email addresses, even as late as 2005. These are the same people that plaster every move their child makes on Facebook now, obviously.
But back in 1997, this was a big deal. An even bigger deal: trying to look at porn on that school computer. Enter Beavis and Butt-Head.
In this 1997 episode, “Cyber-Butt”, Beavis and Butt-Head go through a similar experience as we all did: the joys of that one Internet-capable computer at school, a “Gateway to the Information Superhighway,” if you will.
Thinking back, it is absurd that an episode of Beavis and Butt-Head could so perfectly capture that point in time where we all experienced the One Library Computer with Internet Access, but absurd is what they did best.
Mr. Van Driessen gives the obligatory “this isn’t for porn” warning, but telling Beavis and Butt-Head that the computer should not be used to access porn is like demanding they look up porn on it immediately. And they want to, of course, they just don’t know how.
The boys follow Stewart around, harassing him into getting porn for them.
Stewart finally relents.
First we see… Sears Catalog-level porn? And then…
Stewart shows the boys porn that’s illegal in the states. Whatever that means. They don’t look at it very long before getting caught and sentenced to detention for the rest of the year, their computer privileges revoked.
Stewart ignores Beavis and Butt-Head’s taunts during detention and gives him his Game Boy to shut them up. Which made me realize– whoa, there were no other options for a Nintendo-branded handheld system in 1997.
Pixels be damned, Beavis and Butt-Head are determined to see more porn, and they kind of do. According to Beavis, “If you kind of like, close your eyes and make them blurry, that thing over there kind of looks like a naked chick with big boobs.”
Spoiler: it does not.