The Boondocks: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong?

The Boondocks is an American animated series created by Aaron McGruder for the Adult SwimTurner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network, based upon McGruder’s comic strip of the same name. The Boondocks is a social satire of American culture and race relations, revolving around the lives of the Freeman family – ten-year-old, his younger brother, eight-year-old, and their grandfather. The series is produced by Rebel Base in association with Sony Pictures Television and is currently airing its second season on Adult Swim.

The Boondocks takes place in the same place and time frame as its comic counterpart. The Freeman family, having recently transplanted themselves from the South Side of Chicago to the peaceful, fictional suburb of Woodcrest, find different ways to cope with this acute change in setting as well as the drastically different suburban cultures and lifestyles to which they are exposed. The perspective offered by this mixture of cultures, lifestyles, and races provides for much of the comedy on which the series plays.

We all know that controversy sells and on TV, controversy gets ratings. When it comes to The Boondocks, some people love it and some people can’t stand it.. what are you views? thought?

**The following videos comprise a full episode if you are not familiar with the series. Please be aware, this video is intended for a mature audience. AlumniRoundup.com does not endorse any views expressed in this clip.


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  • Jerry Hatter

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    Do you find this particular episode offensive or the series all together? I guess I am a little confused as to why you think this is the subject of controversy (but maybe it is not just you and how you framed up the topic but how society looks at and shuns differing viewpoints of any kind especially truthful ones).

    I think the series is in the very least extremely thoughtful and does take a candid look at Black culture allbeit a bit exaggerated, after all it is a comedy. Even in some of the more edgy episodes like the Trial of R Kelly and the Return of Martin Luther King there are some dramatic concepts presented that should make every Black person take a second and ponder their own actions and opinions. If you can’t tell by now I love the show. Personally I am not a fan of children using profanity like they do but the show dose stimulate thought and debate which I think is one of Aaron’s goals.

    Peace

  • RoundupRussy

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    The question was posed about the series in its entirety.

  • Mark Ricks

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    I’ve been a fan of the show since it came on. We talked about this at work all the time and I maintain that this show is the best that there is out in “our” animated genre. Used to update my peeps overseas, who could only get to the Net, with some clips on my blog: http://rant-room.blogspot.com/search?q=boondocks

    I don’t know… I have ALL of his books and subscribe to his daily post. I just can’t get enough of Boondocks.

    PS: Who can forget this from season 1: “A Nigga Moment – Webster defines A Nigga moment: A moment where ignorance overwhelms the mind of an otherwise logical Black Man”

    CLASSIC!!

    ~ Ricks

  • L

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    This series has not gone too far. Like titled before, it is a satire. I have pretty much seen all the offensive aspects on the show in real life. Black people do get trashed and party on MLK day instead of reflecting. I’ve seen people party in a church before. People fighting over nothing. The cribs episode is ridiculously exact. It is only slightly exagerated.( Like peple coming back from the dead) The point of it is, is to make people that do things like that to see how ridiculous it is a la’ Bamboozled.

    And then there are others that say it goes over peoples heads. This series quotes so many books, its ridiculous. If you don’t know who khalil gibran is….then RESEARCH it and find out. If you don’t know who tookie is….RESEARCH IT. It’s almost as if if you can’t find info on something through wikipedia/youtube, people will not try to find anything out. Huey has even yelled at the audience once to READ A BOOK.

    This program has used all the tools in order to get is point across. Uses offensive but realistic topics to get a following. Check. Has a high hilarity factor. Check. Raising awareness of irony……No, because that would be too self reflective to do so with ego’s on so high. (which the series is pretty much about)

    The point is to actually anger and enrage some people. Assata Shakur made a statement in her book that opressed people could never be accepting. There is a big difference between tolerating something and accepting it. When you accept it, you get comfortable and then ultimately dormant. For the people this is accepting they should, try and find a way to change it. Not the animation, but the reality. Because I go on the metro everyday and see 15 Riley’s an hour. Plus, like my main man 50 said, “If a muhfuka is comfortable in the dark, dont give them a muhfukn’ candle.” End quoth. (Yes I quoted Assata and 50 in the same breath;)

  • LEW Wadley

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    I enjoy most of the shows; but I can see some black folks finding this offensive and some non-black folks seeing this as the truth and nothing but the whole truth. I think the show highlights why West Virginia and Kentucky, for the most part, voted the way they did. I think education/exposure is the key determinant.

  • Kendrick "Drack" Muse

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    You should’ve posted this one because it sums it all up.

  • Sean

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    I love the series. It is controversial, but if your open minded, all the episodes have a message buried into each. But once again, I feel that too much emphasis is put on TV shows and not on real issues like oil prices, the election and the state of real people suffering in this nation. This is all entertainment and that’s all it should be, entertainment!!! If you don’t like it you can always change the channel.

  • Dev

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    Without intentionally running the risk of sounding overly excited, I typically use the word “genius” when discussing that show. I think the show is a harsh (but comical….and TRUE) look into the mirror for many Black people and an urban culture that constantly toes the line of bufoonery….while sometimes tripping over it. I liken the show to the recent messages of Bill Cosby, in that it exposes our “dirty laundry” with the intention of washing that dirty laundry. However, I do think that the message may go way over the heads of the very people for which it is intended. The ones who need to peer into that mirror a little deeper and learn some type of a lesson are the ones that are probably laughing the hardest, failing to realize that the makers of this show are more likely laughing AT them and not with them.

  • Alan

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    My problem with the show is I don’t think it’s funny. Dave Chapelle can be just as offensive, but is a far superior comedic mind than Aaron, in my humble little opinion. People have shown me clips of the show to indicate how ‘offensive’ it is, but the main thing I usually wind up thinking is how un-funny it is. I think the one episode they refused to air, about BET, had at least one part that made me laugh. In general, I think the writing on that show is sub-par though and proves how difficult it is to pull off satire.

  • Lionel

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    The first time I saw this I was shocked. My jaw literally dropped and i was speechless and angry for awhile. But then I put it in perspective and realized the purpose of this particular episode. Much like Bill Cosby’s comments a few years ago, it was meant to spur our people to action. We have got to do better. The younger generation has no clue what privileges they have because of the Civil Rights Movement. Sadly, this episode probably didn’t help most of them understand any better; but one can only hope.

  • Kimm

    Reply Reply May 28, 2008

    I enjoy the show tremendously! I think it is often thought-provoking, extremely funny, and quite politically and socially relevant.

  • Shaun

    Reply Reply May 29, 2008

    I love the show. I think it is right on point. The MLK episode hits home. BET is an abomination. African Americans are more than just music and dancing. To be frank I loathe BET and think that network could be doing alot more. Mr. McGruder shows through his comics what many african americans are thinking but are afraid to say. I love black people and we need to learn how to laugh and not take things so seriously but call a spade a spade when it is.

  • Alison

    Reply Reply May 29, 2008

    Like Kimm, I love this show and I have all of The Boondocks books. Now if you think the show is something, you should’ve seen the strip! I regret Aaron still doesn’t write it, becuase he could have some fun with the Dems Primary season.

    The Boondocks isn’t controversial; it’s TRUTHFUL! Admit it. Dr. King would be upset if alive. BET went from Teen Summit to Tip Drill. And he nailed the R. Kelly trial on the head. Since when has the truth not been controversial anyway?

  • Alison

    Reply Reply May 29, 2008

    How could I forget the Rattlers have a Boondocks Fan group (of which I’m a member). How many other HBCUs have one? I would be willing to bet, most of them.

  • dq

    Reply Reply May 29, 2008

    i watch the show and love it. unlike southpark ,which i just cant tolerate anymore, this comedy reflects on some very serious issues within our community. like it or not “a nigga moment” hit home for real as well as a few other like “gangstalicious”. i see riley everyday as well as a few uncle ruckus’. the problem i find is that people dont want to hear the truth since it either irritates them or makes them uncomfortable.the satire is in itself a teaching tool as it reaches the masses. i was surprised when a coworker,(young white male) told me he watched it and loved it because it touched base on topics that most folks were afraid to address.he told me it was funny but serious enough to make one understand that we have issues not as black and white but as a community.i just wish that it was on more and the season was longer.

  • admin

    Reply Reply May 29, 2008

    FYI, to get rid of that generic photo holder FOREVER, log into http://www.gravatar.com and upload your own picture.

    -Be.

  • Leonard Carper

    Reply Reply May 29, 2008

    I watch the show when I can. The satire is superb. If you do not like this particular episode, I believe you are missing all of the relevant criticisms of the current “Black” culture in America. The program should open the eyes of those people that have lived life floating on the successes of the bloody river of civil rights. We all need to get in the river and fight the current of oppression that would wash our culture away into oblivion. Think about the DEEPER concepts of the program. Become conscious again. BE What our parents and Grandparents fought for – truely free and truely judged based on the content of your character and abilities. Don’t judge this program based on “white” standards or fear of appearing “too black”

  • Jimmy White

    Reply Reply May 29, 2008

    This is true. Sad but true. We need this to be broadcast to everyone. Our people are f*&%ked up now

  • Thought

    Reply Reply May 30, 2008

    The satirical value of the show is immeasureable…I love it…I think Aaron McGruder has managed to create a gem of artisitic expression giving us socio-political commentary and still allowing us to laugh at todays issues in somewhat clear conscience.

    Isn’t the basis of most comedy, real life? Isn’t the master comedian really just a social reporter who is able to relax us and enable us to laugh aswe examine ourselves?

    Though the language and imagescan be graphic/lewd/rude,I think that is what gives theshow its edge and reality. It i targeted at an adult audience able to grasp the context in which profanity and rudeness creep up every hour of everyday of real life. I am not offended in the least as it is “truth”

    I think McGruder takes elements of all of our personalities, paying particular attention to his own…and gives us three characters based off himself. GrandDad is the old head, quasi-wise, somewhat rude, bachelor, black male…taking on the responsibility of young black men. Though his views aren’t always right/Politically Correct, and are in conflict with the boys as he represents a strong Black Male presence in young men’s lives. Something that isn’t often seen in reality or TV-Land. Kudos for this. Far to often Black men are portrayed as absent, or running. Huey is the militant, ultra-conscious, educated young man with a lot on his mind for “10 years old). He blends intellect with practical common sense and a desire for black people to step away from coonery (coonery: to act in a sometimes comedic way that trivializes, degrades, and/or shits on Black culture/society/plight). Riley, sharp, swift-witted kid who goes the opposite direction from Huey, attracted to the flash, the bling, the glitz of being an african american urban youth in hip hop culture. And the show…blends all three perspectives beautifully…

    This is true Art…it isn’t made to make us feel as if we “like” or “Love the show…but it is made to make us FEEL…and make us THINK…and make us LAUGH…it is a catalyst as all great artistic expressions are.

  • Dev

    Reply Reply June 2, 2008

    Well thought out. No pun intended.

  • London

    Reply Reply June 3, 2008

    As a Brother who works with the youth, I’ve learned that, in order to be effective when speaking with our yout, you have to meet them where they are!! You must be very cognizant of what their perspectives and percpetions are because that’s their reality! Once YOU understand that, it’s easier to change the beliefs and change their behavior totally. Anything less than that will cause them to morph into a temporary behavior and then morph back when needed. For some, Boondocks may be harsh and offensive, but that’s for those who don’t understand the harshness of the pop culture that our kids live in today!! We are force fed programs and music by white people all day every day with NO MEANING AT ALL and we don’t seem to be afraid of that AT ALL!! BOONDOCKS is at least a show that provokes thought about the very issues that plague us DAILY!! I think that what bothers most Africans Americans who don’t care for the show is that it makes some …UNCOMFORTABLE!! It puts everything out on front street to be addressed! N1&&@s….are AFRAID OF REVOLUTION!!! HOW PROPHETIC HAS THAT STATEMENT BECOME IN THIS MODERN DAY AND TIME?!!!

  • Omar

    Reply Reply December 1, 2008

    I love the show. Art imitating life and vice versa. Take the “Dirty Awards” that took place last week in Atlanta. Rappers beefing on stage and somebody throws a chair? Season 1. Aaron speaks the truth even though it hurts. Episodes such as young Riley playing organized baseketball for the first time and is too busy stylin than learnin fundamentals. Dr. King telling ignorant “Niggers” to shut the hell up? Purely hypothetical but had a strong point about the apathetical role that some African-Americans have taken after the civil rights movement. The most controversial episode dealt with the boycott of BET. He has always had problems with the way the network was run, but his episode struck a nerve with the networks.
    I found his humor raw, striking, and a social message that is in tune with the current time.

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