Are you ready?! One of the greatest shows of our generation is coming back this evening. The fourth season of The Boondocks premiers at 10:30pm EST on Adult Swim.
I must admit, I’m late. I just got into The Boondocks a few weeks ago, but hell … better late than never! I was first introduced to TB in 2010, when my boyfriend at the time and I were on a flight to Brasil. He was watching it, and forced me to watch an episode with him. I didn’t like it. I thought it was too ignorant and too obnoxious…but that was only because I didn’t understand the clever social commentary underneath the plethora of unfortunate characters.
But, earlier this year, when it was announced that season 4 was on it’s way, I decided to give it another try. With an open mind, and a renewed intelligence about my ancestry, I watched The Boondocks and immediately fell in love.
Aesthetically, the show is beautiful. The animation is crisp, and references Japanese anime. Creator Aaron MacGruder is an avid fan. But, the graphics aren’t what ultimately caught me and converted me to a follower. The content did.
The Boondocks is outrageous … it’s certainly not for everyone. To enjoy TB, you have to have a thick skin; the “n word” is constantly thrown around, and the characters are exaggerated personas evident in today’s society. From Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy, who embody white privilege, to Uncle Ruckus (no relation), who highlights self-hate in the Black community, the show provokes deep thought about the future of racial interaction in an outlandishly raw manner.
My favorite character is Huey Freeman, the show’s main protagonist. A 10 year old Black revolutionary, Huey serves as the moral center of highly the immoral show. He frequently registers opinions with a perspicacity lacking in most adults. Highly observant and emotionally withdrawn, Huey is the lens by which covert social commentary comes to the forefront. Voiced by Regina King, Huey Freeman is a fan favorite.
He is the older brother to Riley Freeman (also voiced by King), the immature brat who serves as a caricature of ignorant youth who idolize materialism and reject intellect. Huey and Riley are the grandsons of Robert Freeman (voiced by John Witherspoon), the semi-perverted and scheming retiree. Altogether, they live in a predominately white suburb, where their personalities often collide or coalesce with a myriad of equally intriguing neighbors and friends.
The Boondocks is a hidden gem that, in the future, will certainly be recognized for the genius that it is. For now, the show has to withstand tremendous controversy. With its portrayals of cultural icons, the show has invited disdain from a number of celebrities and other noted figures.
But that’s to be expected. When I first watched the show on that flight to Brasil, I, too, was disgusted by it’s sick portrayals of the Civil Rights Movement, and other figures who revolutionized the American landscape and promoted Black rights. But what I was missing was the cultural depth underneath; the implicit ideologies which were woven together to form a cultural critique on the Black experience in the 21st century. The Boondocks is a mirror that shows us the oddities in the Black community, and how those oddities are transfixed into the greater racial picture.
Season 4 is highly anticipated. After years being off the air, the show has a lot to live up to. Boondock’s creator, Aaron MacGruder isn’t involved, which have many fans questioning if the show can carry on with the same inexplicable majesty.
All I expect (and hope for) is the continued brash tone that startles the unsuspecting and excites the base. I expect cultural critique that encourages me, as a Black woman, to do better as a Black woman. I expect a facepalms and more insights into white privilege and self-hate. I expect conflicting feelings about hip hop, and the costs of upwards social mobility.
Basically, I expect The Boondocks to hold true to the formula that makes it great. Shock value throughout and sound reasoning at the end.
::whistles end credits::