Robert Jebediah Freeman
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|Robert Jebediah Freeman|
|The Boondocks character|
Robert Freeman as he appears in the television series.
|First appearance||"The Garden Party"|
|Portrayed by||John Witherspoon|
|Relatives||Huey Freeman (grandson)
Riley Freeman (grandson)
Cookie Freeman (sister)
Jericho Freeman (second cousin)
Robert Jebediah "Granddad" Freeman is a fictional character in the animated television show The Boondocks, as well as a regular character in a comic strip of the same name. He lives in the suburb of Woodcrest with his two grandsons, Huey Freeman and Riley Freeman. He is voiced by John Witherspoon.
Robert was a Tuskegee Airman and flew a P-51 Mustang during World War II. During the war, his wing-man, Moe Jackson, often took credit for things that Robert or they dually accomplished, and Robert's angst about this culminated at Moe's funeral, during which he blows the lid off of some of Moe's more embellished accomplishments. Robert was an active participant in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement when he lived in Alabama. He specifically recalls showing up late for a march because he forgot his raincoat, much to the indignation of his cohorts. He also had a grudge against Rosa Parks for "stealing his thunder", as he was sitting next to her on that bus and likewise refused to give up his seat. The bus driver was only offended by Rosa's, not his, unwillingness to move, however.
Early in the comic strip's run, he states that he is nearly 70 years old. In the television series, his age is estimated to be somewhere between 80 and 120 years old, as "Not even he knows how old he is." However in the forty first episode, "Lovely Ebony Brown," his Facebook page states him as 100 years old.
To the residents of Woodcrest, Robert is a law-abiding citizen who tries his best to fit in despite being one of the very few black residents of the suburb. To his grandsons, especially Huey, he is an authority figure but only in the sense that he doesn't hesitate to use corporal punishment when they slip up.
Both of his grandsons disrespect him, but sometimes in different ways. Huey often disagrees with Robert and sometimes disobeys him, disapproving of Robert's focus on how they're all viewed in the eyes of their neighbors, seeing this as evidence that he still possesses an antiquated sense of inferiority to the "white man," which causes him to act in a way that he believes his neighbors want him to act. Huey especially dislikes when Robert tries to force this antiquated notion on him, interpreting this as an attempt to change him into a person he's not. Riley disrespects Robert by not obeying him despite being severely disciplined by him often. For the most part, Riley seems to do whatever he wants, and is punished at his grandfather's whim. These punishments don't seem to deter Riley, however, and he is much more unrelenting with his disrespect as a result. In "Granddad's Fight", Riley goes on and on making fun of Robert, his own grandfather, mercilessly rubbing in the humiliation. Even his brother rebukes him for doing this, but he doesn't stop. This singular act epitomizes his lack of respect for his grandfather (although, it seems as though Robert favors Riley over Huey, as Riley openly and actively participates in the schemes his grandfather creates, and vice versa).
Robert can be viewed as selfishly motivated most of the time. He has openly admitted he was ashamed of his grandsons, and went so far as to spend their inheritance on his dream home in his dream neighborhood, moving Huey, and Riley away from their native Chicago against their will. In fact, he somewhat regularly ignores the desires and needs of his grandchildren, such as in Guess Hoe's Coming to Dinner, when he buys willy-nilly to appease the expensive tastes of his prostitute-girlfriend, while ignoring his grandsons' objections to her obvious corrosive effect on them as a family. Though the woman's cover is eventually blown when her pimp shows up to retrieve her, he does exhibit signs of genuine love for her, hopelessly waiting for her to return long into the night after she is taken away by her pimp. This causes his grandsons, especially Huey, to sympathize with him despite getting what they ultimately wanted.
Robert has been shown to have mastery with his use of a belt, due to his experience of using it on Riley often. His aptitude with it is such that he can use his belt as a whip to restrain a target, and comfortably use it as a weapon, seen in such episodes as "Guess Hoe's Coming to Dinner", "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back" and "The Story of Thugnificent".
Robert, having experienced the Civil Rights Movement firsthand, doesn't take the slighting of his race lightly. Uncle Ruckus, a self-hating black racist, butts heads with Robert often. Despite this, he is probably considered to be the closest thing Ruckus has to a friend. Robert also uses his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement as a justification for spending his grandsons' inheritance on a big house in a nice suburb, noting how he helped make such an act possible, whereas it wouldn't have been an option were segregation still in existence. However, Huey noted in comparison to his fellow protesters, he did relatively little (Robert claimed he got hosed down in the Civil Rights Movement to get his house, while Huey noted he didn't get hosed at all).
Robert also seems to be out of touch with popular culture in current society, as shown when Riley Freeman introduces something to him. In the comic strip, he saw Riley playing Grand Theft Auto III assuming it was a form of "cops and robbers", learning later Riley was the "robber" (however, he later played with him on the same game on two-player mode). His understanding of slang and metaphors is very limited, an example being when he believed having a 'golden shower' was a good thing, which amused Riley ("The Trial of R. Kelly"). He also has limited knowledge of gangsta rappers, which at one point eventually started a beef with a rapper named Thugnificent ("The Story of Thugnificent"). He has consistently mangled the pronunciation of Xzibit's name (calling him "Inhibit," "Exhibition," and "Eczema," among other things) and believes that Usher was literally a singing usher. Also, he has recently discovered internet dating and is aware of social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. However, he has also learned firsthand the dangers of internet dating when he invited an attractive, yet mentally unstable woman with master knowledge of kung-fu for the weekend in "Attack of the Killer Kung-Fu Wolf Bitch".
Robert also tends to have habit of asking, "Wait, what was the question?" after telling a story.
- "The Boondocks" on TV.com