The newly released The Boondocks DVD, compiling the show’s first season, is terrific. The Cartoon Network show follows the life of two young black kids, Huey and Riley Freeman, who live with their granddad in a white suburb. To the casual viewer it may seem like a South Park rip-off with its explicit dialogue and random storylines. But Boondocks offers an intelligent message.
The animated series, taken from the newspaper comic strips by its creator Aaron McGruder, is an edgy show that challenges the views of those who dare to watch. Unlike programs that use sharp racial humor, such as Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia and Chappelle’s Show, its message is poignant as well as provocative–to the point where you are sometimes unsure whether to laugh or seethe. McGruder’s observations of society and race are powerful; he pushes viewers to examine the issues for themselves.
The DVD offers commentary, previews and behind the scenes peeks. A highlight includes the season finale, where the boys’ racist Uncle Ruckus has a dream where he travels to heaven to find Ronald Reagan at the pearly gates. Reagan explains to Ruckus that God really doesn’t mind racism and that the segregated heaven would only grant him entrance if he spread the word of white superiority. My jaw dropped when Reagan took responsibility for implementing AIDS and crack to cripple black society.
The Boondocks obviously thrives on controversy. It’s not for the faint of heart, but I think it works for everyone else.
By Intern Mike Singer