Created by Aaron McGruder and based on the comic strip of the same name, The Boondocks is a show that takes a sharp and satirical look at American society with an emphasis on social issues, as well as icons like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama. It was controversial right from the start (as you can tell from the opening line) but it was able to address hot button issues in unconventionally humorous ways.
The main characters of the show are Huey, a 10-year-old mini-revolutionary named after the Black Panther Huey P. Newton, and his 8-year-old brother, Riley, a would-be gangsta, who live with their cantankerous grandfather Robert Freeman. They live in an affluent white suburb called Woodcrest, with other supporting characters, where the main actions of the show takes place.
The show, in a politically incorrect and brash manner, touches and reflects on interesting and controversial issues like black culture and race relations among other things. It’s a show that can make you really think about deep issues. It contains a mix of of the political, social, philosophical and sentimental, not usually seen in other animated shows. The character Huey Freeman channels the creator’s own thoughts and views, disapproving of how things currently are and sometimes taking matters into his own hands.
The show is widely known for the controversy it whipped up through bold moves. The n-word is used very casually in almost every episode, Martin Luther King even says it at one point. McGruder also attacks politicians and celebrities of every stripe and race; he is merciless about President Bush, Sean Combs and Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television. The show also made daring statements and took harsh stances in trying to get its message across.
Don’t let all this scare you away. The show is first and foremost, a comedy and its execution is plain brilliant. It’s hilarious to see how much the show parodies or exaggerates various problems and incidents. It’s equally entertaining to see the different shenanigans the Freeman family get involved with, whether it’s opening a fast food restaurant, getting trapped in jail or going on a hunger strike against BET. Every episode makes you laugh at one point or another. That, and the fact that the show is incredibly smart and witty, makes this one of the few gems of TV.
Three excellent seasons were made with Aaron McGruder and one disappointing one without him. While the show ended long ago, what remains, at least from seasons 1-3 is a potent, poignant and sometimes controversial look at politics and race in a show that’s full of laughs.
The Boondocks is available on Adult Swim