Mr. Van Driessen

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Van Driessen teaching class.

David Van Driessen is a teacher at Highland High on the show Beavis and Butt-head. He was shown teaching classes on biology, art, animation, economics, health, history, and literature. A soft-spoken, idealistic, aging hippie, he has tried to get his classes interested in animal rights campaigns and horticulture. An issue of the comics reveals he's a secular humanist, who thinks Christianity has fallacies but still sees good sides to it. As he once sang in a song, there was no student he couldn't reach or inspire... until Beavis and Butt-head came along/

Mr. Van Driessen thinks Beavis and Butt-head can be helped and is tolerant towards them, being quite upset when they were thought dead (in "Beavis and Butt-head are Dead"). None of his attempts at helping them have ever worked and they never take on board any of his lessons, but he rarely shows frustration and never faltered in his tolerant attitude to them. In his private moments, he will admit to discontent over them: he made a song about their behavior ("The Ballad of Beavis and Butt-head") in "This Book Sucks", citing their laughter as torture that even haunts him in his sleep and questioning if he'd be better off as a salesman at the mall, to be as far removed from them as possible; in "It's a Miserable Life" he prayed for God to make them go away out of concern that they might breed.

Daria seemed to do well in his class, and he both praised her work on occasion ("U. S. History") and called upon her for answers & input ("Sign Here", "Time Cap"). She also stepped in to assist him against Beavis (then in another Cornholio phase) in "The Great Bungholio", and he let her take charge. "Boxing Daria" states she wrote "violent revenge fantasies" when she was 15 to get a reaction, and Van Driessen is almost certain to have read them and talked to her parents about them. She never mentioned him after moving to Lawndale, however.

Van Driessen is similar to Timothy O'Neill in that they're both liberal softies prone to idealistic causes - unlike O'Neill, Van Driessen appears to be quite competent at carrying them out (except when it involves Beavis and Butt-head). Notably, he's been able to handle thuggish student Earl, who has ties to professional criminal Todd Ianuzzi: in "Incognito" he not only shrugged off a gun being fired at him (merely saying with irritation that he hoped the shot "didn't come from anyone in here") and was able to confiscate a gun from Earl later, who sounded upset and apologized to Van Driessen; in "Time Cap", he asked Earl to contribute a switchblade for the time capsule (and did get him to contribute a brick). In the episode "Manners Suck", Van Driessen can also be seen attacking (badly) Mr. Manners, who is a brought in etiquette teacher in defense of Beavis, after Beavis had claimed that Mr. Manners had touched the boy inappropriately and then hit him ("You touch my students, I'll touch you!") In the present day sections, Van Driessen takes a calm but frosty tone with Coach Buzzcut over his "disrespect" for the lads.

"I hope that shot didn't come from in here!"

He owns and plays an acoustic guitar, and used to own an 8-track tape collection until Beavis and Butt-head wrecked it.

In two issues of the comic, Van Driessen showed an even-handedness that is remarkable for someone as stereotypically hippie as him: in "Discoverin' Things Sucks" he noted Columbus' achievements at the same time as condemning his imperialism, and in "Witless" he viewed the film The Birth of a Nation as classic cinema (it was a technical pioneer) despite its massive racism.

In the 2011 series, Principal McVicker got angry and fired him ("School Test"). That was his last appearance...

Van Driessen in fanfiction[edit]

He has sporadically appeared in Daria fanfics, usually when they're set in Daria's past: Richard Lobinske and The Angst Guy have both used him in pre-canon fics. "Coming of Age" by Deep Metal gives him a major post-canon role. Good-Bye, Diarrhea by C. E. Forman shows him during Daria's last days in Highland. "New Drum, Same Tune" by Roentgen, where Daria's parents remained hippies, has Daria compare Mr. O'Neill negatively to Van Driessen.

Trivia[edit]

In the DVD feature "Taint of Greatness: The Story of Beavis and Butt-head Part 1", Mike Judge said the character was his favourite after Beavis to voice. He based it on an interviewer he overheard during his time in a band. As a 2011 San Diego Comic Con panel, he revealed that he started doing the Van Driessen voice to prank truckers - on long bus rides with the band, he'd use the CB and pretend to be a hippie trucker. The voice later was reused for The Goode Family.

In This Book Sucks, Van Driessen has multiple songs. One, "Women Are Better Than Men", is fairly pointless until the lines "We can’t be trusted with our neighbor’s wife/I will hate myself for the rest of my life."

He later has a song about his father: his father disliked him and thought he was a weakling, and Van Driessen was never able to win the old man around. His dad even beat him the day his brother Tom, a Special Forces veteran, died on a mission in Qatar. Before he could ever win his dad over, his father contracted Alzheimers and was soon to die, and chopping wood with a man he no longer remembered was the closest he ever got to his son. Damn.