What began as a cartoon strip in a student newspaper is now the most controversial cartoon on TV. Aaron McGruder’s The Boondocks is somewhere beyond South Park and Family Guy on steroids, viagra and a sack of purple.
The show consistently exposes the truth that “most Black people don’t talk about when they think white people are listening,” as Huey Freeman (voiced by Regina King) said in season one.
In the first season, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King–who was actually just in a coma, not assassinated–came back and in order to get the attention of his people he said, “The N-word.”
After being kicked off with a satirical spoof of a fictional Soul Plane 2: The Black Jacking, showing the difficulty would-be terrorists would have hijacking the Black NWA airlines, season two presses the limits of dark comedy and even has an episode where a teacher calls Riley the N-word, based on a true story.
While seemingly out of touch with reality at times (for a cartoon), season two never strays far from the series greatest strength: truth.
Season two was also marred with controversy, but ironically not because of what was aired, but what wasn’t.
Two episodes were banned from TV in the U.S. but aired in Canada. Clips were constantly being uploaded to, and removed from, online video sites like youtube.com and dailymotion.com.
The first banned episode, Hunger Strike, Huey vows to go on a hunger strike until BET is taken off the air and all it’s top executives commit Japanese ritual suicide.” Mocking BET (which now stands for Black EVIL Television) top execs are depicted in an Austin Powers Dr. Evil fashion. Huey meets a Al Sharptonesque Reverend (Rollo Goodlove) who is more concerned with “shining”than Huey’s actual cause: Not far from the actual experience of many aspiring revolutionaries. The second banned episode shows Uncle Ruckus (that Black guy that hates Black folks) and his own reality TV show.
The show also pokes fun at the image of so-called gangsta rappers, with the return of Gangstalicious (Mos Def), who is on the down low. (Not the R. Kelly type either–as far as we know). Riley’s grandfather gets worried when he sees Riley wearing Gangstalicious’ new fashions (i.e. pink, sandles, capris and halter tops).
Not mention ‘licious’ new song, “Homies ova Hoes.” Complete with a DL4 snap beat and all. The Boondocks will make you laugh and think. The $40 price tag might make you think twice, but think of it as an investment for your critical thinking skills.
This article originally appeared in the August 2008 issue of the Harambee Newspaper.