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August 20, 2014

Review: The Boondocks

by Jay Allen, posted Nov 5th 2005 3:39PM
Riley FreemanThe scene: a swanky party. Rich, white people are hob-nobbing, sipping from champagne flutes, and engaging in various other white-people activities...until Huey Freeman strolls up to a microphone and announces that "Jesus was black, Ronald Reagan was the Devil, and the government is lying to you about 9/11". After a brief silence, chaos erupts. "It can't be TRUE!!" a woman screams, as people slug one another and set themselves on fire.

Huey snaps out of his dream just in time for his granddad to smack him about. "You been dreaming about making white people riot again?" Granddad demands.

Welcome to The Boondocks, the most hilarious new show anywhere on the cable spectrum - and the show that saves Adult Swim from a season of uninspired, poorly-drawn premieres. The series is not scheduled to launch on the actual channel until tonight, but it's been airing intermittently on AS's online-only Friday Night Fix for a few weeks now. I had the pleasure of catching it this Friday. And while I know Aaron McGruder doesn't give a damn what I think, I have to say that, after enduring weeks of solipsistic crap like 12 Oz. Mouse and Squidbillies, it's so refreshing to behold a show this well executed.

This first animated episode based on Aaron McGruder's popular, controversial comic strip follows Huey Freeman, Riley Freeman, and their granddad, Robert Freeman, as they attempt to settle into their home in the suburbs. The show wastes no time turning on the Offense-O-Meter, as Huey and Granddad clash in the first 5 minutes over the word "nigger". "We don't use that word in this house!" "Granddad, you said 'nigger' 47 times yesterday. I counted." "Nigger, hush!" (Should a white person like myself even refer to "the 'n'-word"? Given that one of the jokes in the show involves a white woman saying to her friend, "I think it's okay if they say it," avoiding even a reference seems dodgy.)

Within the first 10 minutes of the episode, Huey's cocktail party dream turns prophetic. The owner of the S&L who gave Robert his loan, Ed Wuncler, stops by for a visit; after quizzing the elder Freeman about whether he's gay, Wuncler (voiced perfectly by Ed Asner) invites the Freemans to a reception at his house.

There, we're treated to the owner's son, a white Eminem-ish dimwit fresh from Iraq, who invites Riley to fire a shotgun blast into his armored chest. Elsewhere, Huey tries to bring his dream to life...only to find that the rich, white people he's longing to infuriate think he's just so damn cute! "Look, I'm trying to tell you that Ronald Reagan was the Devil!" he insists. "Ronald Wilson Reagan?" But his explanation of the demonology behind Reagan's name draws nothing but applause - leavving Huey to bemoan how the guests are too rich to care about anything. And Granddad is stalked and harassed by Uncle Ruckus, who keeps needling Freeman for attending the white man's party. Meanwhile, we're left guessing about Wuncler and his attraction to Mr. Freeman. His homophobia is off-putting, as is the way he enunciates "FREE-man". Is his budding friendship with the "old school" Freeman genuine, or laden with ulterior motives?

There's no way to capture how this show slides between stinging comedy and social commentary without repeating everything verbatim, which is lame. See it for yourself this Sunday. Between the slick-ass animation, great voice acting, and witty script, you're sure to have a hell of a good time...even if you don't think Ronald Reagan was the Devil. (I'd more fashioned him as a mere minion of Satan, myself.)

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JoanDrake

If you think Boondocks is even slightly "relevant" you probably think Ali G is real. Magruder is a no talent hack who has spent years beyond his time parlaying his race and his mean-mindedness into a career based mainly on white liberals who think themselves uncool if they notice that he's simply not funny. The show is a one joke horror at best and usually a bad joke at that. For god's sake, watch an old rerun of " In Living Color" if you wish to see how real Afrocentric humor should be done.

December 28 2005 at 1:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anthony Beldochi

Boondocks is not only the funniest show of the year, but also the most creative. Did I hear someone say Boston Legal was great? T.V. needs more courtroom and medical shows, like I need another hole in my ass. As far as the n-word is concerned I think they use it so much that it becomes comicle in the show. It looses it's shock factor. People need to lighten up, it's a f-word cartoon. Just laugh and enjoy the satire. Save your P.C. sh*t for the work place. By the way I am Italian so according to the Sopranos I am a Dago, W.O.P., Guinee who enjoys pizza, pasta, and shooting people in my spare time. I am also in the mob.

December 13 2005 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Hulme

This show is incredibly funny. Like the review said, you really have to see it to appreciate it. A lot of the humor is in the animation (like the way spit flies out of the mouth of some of the characters when they talk). If you appreciate exaggerated social satire humor like South Park, you will probably like this show. I think people with white liberal guilt will not like this show. It makes fun of black people a lot more than white people. It highlights common black racial stereotype behavior; in my view it ridicules much of the behavior of the black characters and shows how that behavior is detrimental to blacks and facilitates racism. The show generally depicts white people as happy-go-lucky and oblivious. In this way it illustrates that white people have it easier because of their race and are often oblivious to the real racism that occurs against blacks. Bill Cosby would probably like the show but Jesse Jackson would probably be appallingly offended by it. Regarding the use of the n-word: I dont buy the explanation given in post #10. The examples given were all about whether or not you have a personal relationship with the other person, not what race you are. For example, a white person could call a close black friend n***er in a joking manner (if they were both cool). I guess black people can call each other n***er even if they dont have a personal relationship because they are all brothers? (I just made a white person joke.) Or is it OK on the show because they are really saying nigga (the text actually displayed on the screen in the episode Nigga Moment and not n***er? (See http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nigga). Of course, you can ignore all this commentary and just laugh at the show because its funny as s**t to both n***ers and cr***ers.

December 09 2005 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
patrica

A lot of people are all riled because the cartoon acually made it to television(so what).Some can't handle the truth and facts of life and struggule of what some African-Americans have to put up with in life every single day. Some even get up rattled when a cartoon fictious child says the word "n***ga" a few times ,truth is its all round us so ya might as well get used to it.When it comes into a little 24min cartoon show people bash it before they see it saying it isnt good enough and its racists and stupid and they dont even bother to look at.Like they always said dont judge a book by its cover see whats inside before commenting.its not made to be racists its just made to enjoy and to have a laugh. Also News flash for ya'll its rated TV-MA ,read hard enough and it says its only for the strong not for the weak and if you cant handle simply just dont watch or ignore it. FYE:There's a specific reason for the remote and the V-Chip trying using it. thanx for listening

November 26 2005 at 5:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
djl

after enduring weeks of solipsistic crap like 12 Oz. Mouse and Squidbillies I do not think it means what you think it means.

November 15 2005 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BlackCock

lol you guys are arguing over this? moviegoer, you are crazy, a conspiracy? really? just because u dont agree with someone doesn't mean they gotta be ur enemy. a difference of opinion is all this seems to be. and did u say "..hippie..agenda"? hippie agenda! ha! you, my freind, have set your people back a thousand years. word of advice, stop sleeping with your sister, get out of the NRA, get real man, this is america dude. and all take a chill pill

November 09 2005 at 1:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BlackCock

lol you guys are arguing over this? moviegoer, you are crazy, a conspiracy? really? just because u dont agree with someone doesn't mean they gotta be ur enemy. a difference of opinion is all this seems to be. and did u say "..hippie..agenda"? hippie agenda! ha! you, my freind, have set your people back a thousand years. word of advice, stop sleeping with your sister, get out of the NRA, get real man, this is america dude. and all take a chill pill

November 09 2005 at 1:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stefano lowery

Giggity giggity,giggity goo.I'm a black man that says nigga all the time.I don't care if white people say nigga as long as they're not using it offensively.And white people with a ghetto pass(Eminem,Paul Wall,ETC) should be able to say nigga

November 08 2005 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nym9

"Should a white person like myself even refer to "the 'n'-word"?" When you use a phrase "should a white person", Jay, you are participating in and condoning a racial mindset which also excuses the phrase "should a black person...", and then you get yourself into a shitload of trouble, Jay, with "should a black person....vote, should a black person...go to the same schools....". It's why you do-gooders inevitabely make things worse. Also your review, Jay, it clear that you're free with the term "white" which pops up multiple times, but never once refer to black people as "black ". There is a one-sided racially/politically biased mindset implied behind this behavior, and quite frankly I come to this site for the tv reviews, not whatever your agenda happens to be. I guess coming here I now have to take note of who is writing the reviews, so I can weed out the subjective ones? Well, you're first on the list, Jay, along with the author of all those anti-E-ring reviews.

November 06 2005 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Zero Boss

One point of clarification: This is one of the only reviews I write for TVSquad. I cover several of the Adult Swim shows and nothing else. So referring to other things "I" have reviewed makes no sense - unless you've found some sort of lingering tree-hugging hippy liberal bias in my Full Metal Alchemist recaps. I watched the show. I liked it. It made me laugh. End of story.

November 06 2005 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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