The Boondocks: In Hindsight

Season 4 of the Boondocks was probably one of the best examples of Seasonal Rot, where a show gets progressively worse with each season. Which is sad, because the show had some of the cleverest writing, most beautiful animation, and likable characters I’ve seen in a long time.

For me, seasons 1 and 2 are perfection of comedic satire. While season 2 was more outlandish and less grounded in reality than Season 1, it captured the feel of the comic strip perfectly. The show constantly caused controvery from having Dr. King say the N-word to directly calling out BET in two episodes. Season 3 lost the social commentary, but not the humor.

Season 4, neither profound nor funny, was panned.

Aaron McGruder, the creator of the season had suddenly left. And once season 4 was announced, his lack of involvement was announced soon after:

“As the world now knows, The Boondocks will be returning for a fourth season, but I will not be returning with it. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Sony and Adult Swim for three great seasons”.

“I created The Boondocks two decades ago in college, did the daily comic for six years, and was showrunner on the animated series for the first three seasons. The Boondocks pretty much represents my life’s work to this point. Huey, Riley, and Granddad are not just property to me. They are my fictional blood relatives. Nothing is more painful than to leave them behind”.

“To quote a great white man, ‘Hollywood is a business’. And to quote another great white man, “Don’t hold grudges”.

“What has never been lost on me is the enormous responsibility that came with The Boondocks – particularly the television show and it’s relatively young audience. It was important to offend, but equally important to offend for the right reasons. For three seasons I personally navigated this show through the minefields of controversy. It was not perfect. And it definitely was not quick. But it was always done with a keen sense of duty, history, culture, and love. Anything less would have been simply unacceptable”.

“As for me, I’m finally putting a life of controversy and troublemaking behind me with my upcoming Adult Swim show, BLACK JESUS”. –

Source

In my opinion, either 1 of 2 things happened:

1: He lost the rights in a dispute.

2: He sold the Boondocks to move on to other projects.

Either one is unfortunate, but based on his “don’t hold grudges” comment, I’m guessing he lost the rights to his show.

The Boondocks was a property that could’ve been handed down to the right people, and could’ve gone in so many different directions.

Take the concept is that Huey is in love for example. Whether it’s with Jasmine or another cynical radical revolutionary remains to be seen. Perhaps, never to be seen. There are probably hundreds of writers slamming their heads on the keyboard. A show that had so much more to dive into.

There were entire arcs from the comics that could’ve made great material for the show, yet were completely abandoned. Like when Huey and Caesar (who was never introduced in the TV show) tried to create an alternative media outlet.

Or Jasmine’s struggle with racial identity.

Or day to day racial prejudice.

I haven’t even bother to watch Black Jesus, not because I think it’s bad. But because it truly seems like this one gag of “how funny would a black Jesus be?”. Same with Black Dynamite, while hilarious, it’s often void of the social consciousness that the Boondocks has (or had). And because it’s a period piece, you don’t get to see much outside 70’s African American culture. Whereas the Boondocks is the something where you can comment on African American culture, history, and progression as a whole.

This is why, personally, I’m always wary when people of color decide to sell off their ideas and brands. Like when the natural hair company and African American owned Carol’s Daughter was bought by L’Oreal Monpolizes and cooperate is something that can screw over anyone of any ethnic background, but in a country where minorities already own so little, for once, I’d like to see this trend end. Something becoming mainstream and then taken over.

On the bright side, these rights can be bought back,

But for now, the Boondocks has become a parody of itself.

Sources

http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/03/aaron_mcgruder_sorta_explains_why_he_left_the_boondocks.html

http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/aaron-mcgruder-finally-explains-why-he-left-the-boondocks

http://www.okayplayer.com/news/aaron-mcgruder-not-involved-boondocks-fourth-season.html

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/10/24/358263731/a-black-cosmetic-company-sells-or-sells-out

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with you. The first two seasons were the best. I have the first three seasons on dvd. Great satire!

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