The Boondocks (TV series)

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The Boondocks
The Boondocks.png
Genre Adult animation
Action
Satire
Black comedy
Format Animated sitcom
Created by Aaron McGruder
Based on The Boondocks by Aaron McGruder
Written by Aaron McGruder (2005-2010)
Rodney Barnes
Yamara Taylor
Andre Brooks
Jason Van Veen
Directed by Seung Eun Kim
Anthony Bell
Joe Horne
Kalvin Lee
Sean Song
Dan Fausett
Sung Dae Kang
Sung Hoon Kim
Young Chan Kim
Voices of Regina King
John Witherspoon
Cedric Yarbrough
Gary Anthony Williams
Jill Talley
Gabby Soleil (2005-2010)
Theme music composer Asheru
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 55 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Aaron McGruder (2005-2010)
Rodney Barnes
Brian J. Cowan
Carl Jones
Producer(s) Ayub Dahir Kim
Brian Ash
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Rebel Base Productions
Adelaide Productions
Sony Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channel Adult Swim
Teletoon (episodes 29 & 30)
Picture format 16:9 SDTV (2005-2008)
16:9 HDTV (2010-present)
Original run November 6, 2005 (2005-11-06) – June 23, 2014 (2014-06-23)
External links
Website

The Boondocks is an American adult animated sitcom on Cartoon Network's late-night programming block, Adult Swim. Created by Aaron McGruder,[1] based upon McGruder's comic strip of the same name,[1] the series premiered on November 6, 2005. The show begins with a black family, the Freemans, settling into the fictional, peaceful, and mostly white suburb of Woodcrest from Chicago's South Side.[2] The perspective offered by this mixture of cultures, lifestyles, social classes, stereotypes, viewpoints and races provides for much of the series' satire, comedy, and conflict.

The Boondocks ended on June 23, 2014 with a total of 55 episodes over the course of the show's four seasons. The fourth and final season was produced without the same level of involvement from series creator Aaron McGruder.[3] The series also airs in syndication outside the United States and has been released on various DVD sets and other forms of home media, including on demand streaming of the first and second season on Netflix.

Development and production[edit]

The Boondocks began as a comic strip in The Diamondback, the student newspaper at McGruder's alma mater, the University of Maryland, College Park. The strip later found its way into The Source magazine. Following these runs, McGruder began simultaneously pitching The Boondocks both as a syndicated comic strip and an animated television series.[4] The former goal was met first, and The Boondocks debuted in newspapers in April 1999.

In the meantime, development on a Boondocks TV series continued. McGruder and film producer/director Reginald Hudlin (President of Entertainment for BET from 2005–2008) created a Boondocks pilot for the Fox Network, but found great difficulty in making the series acceptable for network television. Hudlin left the project after the Fox deal fell through, although McGruder and Sony Television are contractually bound to continue to credit him as an executive producer.[5] Mike Lazzo, president of Adult Swim and executive producer for Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Space Ghost Coast to Coast, stumbled across the pilot and declared it too networky. He then ordered a 15-episode season and told McGruder to "just tell stories".

The series has a loose connection with the continuity of the comic strip, though during the final year of the strip McGruder made a point to try to synchronize both. He introduced Uncle Ruckus into the strip, and the comic-strip version of Riley's hair was braided into cornrows to match the character's design in the series. During Season 1, McGruder put the strip on a 6-month hiatus beginning in March 2006. He did not return to the strip the following November, and the strip's syndicate, Universal Press Syndicate, announced that it had been cancelled.[6]

The opening theme song used in the series (slightly remixed for Season 2 and 3) is performed by hip-hop artist Asheru.

The series was produced in widescreen since the beginning, however, the image was cropped to accommodate the 4:3 aspect ratio at the time of their original broadcasts as well as reruns. Cropping widescreen material is a participate Adult Swim rarely uses. Since the third season the series has been produced in 16:9 high definition and is presented in its original aspect ratio and resolution.

In 2014, it was announced that Aaron McGruder would not be involved in the show's fourth and final season. Adult Swim stated that "a mutually agreeable production schedule could not be determined."[7] The first episode of the fourth season aired on April 21, 2014. The series concluded on June 23, 2014.

Characters[edit]

  • Huey Freeman (voiced by Regina King) - Huey Freeman is the family's moral compass and voice of reason. He is an intelligent, wise-beyond-his-years avid reader who is knowledgeable about a variety of subjects. He is heavily influenced by the theories of various left-wing social movements and social justice leaders. His family constantly ridicules and underestimate him, thinking he is a fool to have goals and values that aim higher than those of the lower-class environment from which they came. It's mentioned that he has been declared a "domestic terrorist". While he promotes various social causes, he is openly contemptuous of Urban Gangster Rap/Hip Hop as portrayed in mainstream media for glamorizing wasteful extravagance, self-defeating lifestyles, and ignorance. Huey, unlike the other characters, rarely smiles; in the episode "Let's Nab Oprah" he smiles after his duel with Riley; he also smiles when Riley begins to win basketball games in "Ballin'". He is a highly skilled kung-fu fighter, and beats Riley with ease in all of their fights. He has only lost to a few opponents.
  • Riley Freeman (voiced by Regina King) - Riley Freeman is Huey's trouble-making younger brother, an enthusiastic follower of Urban Gangster Rap/Hip Hop. Though he is otherwise charming, clever, and artistically gifted, Riley maintains loyalty to those Gangster Rap ideals, even in the face of their self-destructive consequences. In "The Fundraiser" Huey tries to warn him directly about the foregone conclusions of his poor decisions, but Riley offhandedly rebuffs him. The bulk of the series focuses on Riley's misadventures (most of which are fueled by his love of gangsta rap and a desire to emulate other people he admires, or on his various outlandish schemes, which his grandfather often endorses and aids. Despite his wild nature and attempts to appear tough, Riley occasionally shows a softer, innocent side. Unlike his brother, Riley is skilled in street fighting, as shown in "Home Alone" and "Smokin' with Cigarettes".
  • Robert Jebediah Freeman (voiced by John Witherspoon) - Robert Freeman (AKA "Grandad") is the grandfather and legal guardian of Huey and Riley. While he loves his two grandsons, he sometimes explodes in tirades of angry frustration over their wisecracking observations, constant schemes, and misadventures, although he has his own moments; for instance, his eagerly misguided dating pursuits constantly attract bizarre or dangerous women. According to Season 3's "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman", "Nobody knows exactly how old Robert Freeman is--not even himself." Robert often threatens to discipline his grandsons, mainly Riley with Three Stooges-style corporal punishment and has developed a remarkable degree of speed and dexterity in wielding his belt for this purpose.

Episodes[edit]

Both the comic strip and the cartoon were influenced by McGruder's love of anime and manga.[8] He cites Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo as sources of inspiration for the series' fight scenes. The opening sequence of Season 1 contains similarities to that of Samurai Champloo. Some of the humor is based on the characters' anime-style movements.[9] In 2006, McGruder explained in an interview, "We now have a Japanese anime studio named Madhouse to help us out,"[10] however they show up nowhere in the show's credits, instead MOI Animation, an Emmy Award-winning South Korean studio are credited with animation from this point on.[11] As a result, the following seasons of the series have more detailed animation, as well as minor updates for most of the character designs.

The episode "Pause" presents a thinly veiled parody of Tyler Perry, presented as using his religion to hide his cross-dressing. The episode reportedly angered Perry, with the network responding to his complaints by saying that they should have warned him before the episode aired.[12]

On March 21, 2014, it was revealed via press release from Cartoon Network's adult component Adult Swim that The Boondocks TV series would be renewed for a fourth, although final, season.[3][13] However, it was also revealed that the fourth season would also take place without the involvement the series creator Aaron McGruder. The reason cited for the split between the creator and the company was neither could come to an agreement over the production schedule of the fourth season. [3]

Cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Special guest stars[edit]

Additional voices[edit]

Crew[edit]

Reception[edit]

The Boondocks has received critical acclaim. In January 2006, it was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series at the 37th NAACP Image Awards alongside The Bernie Mac Show, Everybody Hates Chris, Girlfriends, and Half & Half. The show won a Peabody Award in 2006 for the episode "Return of the King.". As of July 8, 2010, The Boondocks had a 72 rating on MetaCritic, based on 21 reviews and an 8.4/10 (Based on 9,469 votes) on IMDB.[14] IGN named it the 94th-best animated series, describing it as a sharp satirical look at American society.[15]

Critic Jeffrey M. Anderson of the San Francisco Examiner said, "Each episode is beautifully crafted, with an eye on lush, shadowy visuals and a pulsing, jazz-like rhythm... the show is almost consistently funny, consistently brilliant, and, best of all, compulsively watchable."[16]

Mike Hale of the New York Times has considered The Boondocks among the top television shows of 2010, citing "Pause" as a "painfully funny" satire of Tyler Perry being portrayed as a superstar actor and a leader of a homoerotic cult.[17] In 2013, IGN placed The Boondocks as number 17 on their list of Top 25 animated series for adults.[18]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

This isn't the 'nigga' show. I just wish we would expand the dialogue and evolve past the same conversation that we've had over the past 30 years about race in our country. [...] I just hope to expand the dialogue and hope the show will challenge people to think about things they wouldn't normally think about, or think about it in a very different way.

—Aaron McGruder during the series' launch in 2005[19]

The Boondocks has been a frequent lightning rod for controversy since its comic-strip debut in 1999, with ABC News noting, "Fans and critics of The Boondocks loved and hated the strip for the same reasons: its cutting-edge humor and unapologetic, sometimes unpopular, views on various issues, including race, politics, the war on terrorism and the September 11 attacks."[19] Numerous outlets predicted the show would encounter controversy prior to its November 2005 debut, due to its casual use of the word "nigga."[20][21] According to an article in The Washington Post, references to Rosa Parks were removed from one of the series' first completed episodes within a week of her death.[22] In 2006, the Reverend Al Sharpton protested the first season episode "Return of the King," for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s character's use of the word "nigga," saying "Cartoon Network must apologize and also commit to pulling episodes that desecrate black historic figures." Cartoon Network released a statement in response defending McGruder: "We think Aaron McGruder came up with a thought-provoking way of not only showing Dr. King's bravery but also of reminding us of what he stood and fought for, and why even today, it is important for all of us to remember that and to continue to take action," the statement said.[23] The episode was later awarded a Peabody Award for being "an especially daring episode."[24]

During The Boondocks Season 2, two episodes were banned from airing without any official word from the network.[25][26] Originally slated to air on November 16 and December 17,[26] "The Hunger Strike" and "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show" were both heavily critical of BET. An exclusive clip of "The Hunger Strike" was given to HipHopDX.com in late January 2008, before both episodes were included in full on the Season 2 DVD release that summer. An anonymous source close to the show told HipHopDX.com that they heard BET had been pressuring Sony (the studio behind The Boondocks) to ban the episodes and threatened legal action.[26] Cartoon Network publicly stated that "...neither Turner nor Adult Swim were contacted by BET, Ms. Lee or Mr. Hudlin." However, BET's parent company, Viacom, did threaten legal action against Sony if said episodes were broadcast to air in the United States.[27]

Tyler Perry was reportedly infuriated by his depiction in Season 3 episode "Pause", first aired in June 2010, although he has officially given no response.[28] The episode stars Winston Jerome, a parody of Perry, a "closeted, cross-dressing cult leader whose love of the Christian faith is a mask for his true sexuality," in what the Los Angeles Times described as "one of the sharpest public criticisms of Perry."[29] Soon after the episode aired, Perry got in touch with executives at Turner Broadcasting and "complained loudly" about the episode, threatening to rethink his relationship with the company.[30] In 2010, Time magazine named The Boondocks as sixth out of 10 of the Most Controversial Cartoons of All Time.[31]

Attempted film spin-off[edit]

McGruder launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $200,000 in order to produce a live-action film focusing on the character Uncle Ruckus. He stated that crowd-funding would be the sole source of funding for the film's budget.[32] The campaign was from January 30 through March 1, 2013, 7:00 p.m. EST, ending with 2,667 backers and $129,963 of the $200,000 goal.[33]

Broadcast[edit]

The Boondocks airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in the United States and on NITV in Australia (in Australia Season 2 has also aired on The Comedy Channel). In Canada, Teletoon at Night, then known as "The Detour on Teletoon", aired the first two seasons, including several episodes that didn't air in the US. Sony Entertainment Television (and later Sony Max) broadcasts the show in South Africa. It has also been aired on TV3 and TV6 in Sweden, on Comedy Central in New Zealand. MTV Italy and Comedy Central Italy in Italy, and on channel TV3+ in Denmark.

In Russia, The Boondocks is aired on channel 2×2 under the name of Гетто (Ghetto in English).[34] In Poland, it is broadcast on AXN Spin HD as Boondocks. In France, it airs on MCM (TV channel). It airs on Sony Entertainment Television (Latin America) in Latin America, as well as Animax also in Romania, Germany, Japan, and in Hungary (under the name of A kertvárosi gettó, "The suburban ghetto"). It also airs uncensored and uncut in the Arab World on OSN.

Home releases[edit]

All four seasons have been released on DVD, both individually and as a box set spanning the entire series. Seasons 1 and 2 are presented in the original 16:9 aspect ratio used for production, rather than the 4:3 ratio achieved by cropping the image to fit television screens in use at the time of their original airing. The 16:9 ratio was used for broadcasts of Seasons 3 and 4 and is preserved on the DVD sets.

'The Boondocks was also released on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.[35][36] Season 1 was also released on UMD. The first two seasons were also made available for on demand viewing on Netflix, with the exception of the season two episodes "The Hunger Strike" and "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show".

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'The Boondocks' Season 4 Is In The Works.". Kofi Outlaw (Screen Rant). 2011-07-23. 
  2. ^ "The Boondocks archive". GoComics.com. 
  3. ^ a b c ""The Boondocks" Returns to Adult Swim for Fourth and Final Season". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Hutchens, Bill. "Aaron McGruder interview: Complete transcript". The News Tribune, 6 November 2005. (archived page)
  5. ^ McGruder, Aaron (2005-11-3). The A.V. Club. (Interview). 
  6. ^ "Return of 'Boondocks' comic strip delayed". CNN. September 25, 2006. [dead link]
  7. ^ Moore, Frazier (18 April 2014). "'THE BOONDOCKS' BACK FOR FINAL 'OFFENSIVE' SEASON". The Associated Press. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  8. ^ McGruder, Aaron (2005-11-06). thenewstribune.com. Interview with Bill Hutchens. Archived from the original on 2007-03-01. 
  9. ^ "Aaron McGruder - The Boondocks Interview". Troy Rogers. UnderGroundOnline. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  10. ^ "Madhouse in the Mix for Boondocks Season 2". Anime News Network. 2006-07-14. Retrieved 2006-07-20. 
  11. ^ "TV TRopes: Moi Animation". 
  12. ^ Flint, Joe. "Turner Broadcasting tries to make peace with Tyler Perry". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Xilla, Blog. ""The Boondocks" coming back for season 4! (DETAILS)". Global Grind Inc. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "The Boondocks". MetaCritic. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  15. ^ "94, The Boondocks". IGN. News Corporation. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  16. ^ "Combustible Celluloid film review of ''The Boondocks: The Complete First Season'' (2005)". Combustiblecelluloid.com. 2006-07-09. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  17. ^ "Top 2010 TV Shows - 'Boondocks,' 'Fringe,' 'Huge'". Mike Hale (New York Times). 2010-12-17. 
  18. ^ Fowler, Matt (15 July 2013). "The Top 25 Animated Series for Adults From caped crusaders to web-slingers to danger zones, here are the best animated shows to enjoy as a grown up.". IGN. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Robinson, Bryan (2005-11-03). "The Boondocks: Not the N&#@$%a Show". ABC News. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  20. ^ "Boondocks Cartoon Stirs Controversy". Fox News. 2005-07-18. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  21. ^ Squires, Chase (2005-07-18). "Boondocks, epithet coming to Cartoon Network". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  22. ^ Tucker, Neely (2005-10-26). "Like It or Not, 'Boondocks' Will Finally Hit the Airwaves". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2005-10-28. 
  23. ^ "Sharpton criticizes Boondocks for showing King saying the n-word". USA Today. 2006-01-25. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  24. ^ Ball, Ryan (2007-04-05). "Boondocks wins Peabody Award". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  25. ^ Braxton, Greg (2008-06-04). "'Boondocks' to BET: !*%#!". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  26. ^ a b c Hale, Andreas (2008-01-23). "DX Exclusive: Boondocks Vs BET! | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHopDX. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  27. ^ http://adage.com/abstract.php?article_id=124786(subscription required)
  28. ^ "Tyler Perry Wants You To Know…". Straightfromthea.com. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  29. ^ Braxton, Greg (2010-06-21). "Aaron McGruder's Boondocks' lampoons Tyler Perry". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  30. ^ Flint, Joe (2010-06-30). "Turner Broadcasting tries to make peace with Tyler Perry". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  31. ^ "Top 10 Controversial Cartoons". Time. 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  32. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. (31 January 2013). "Aaron McGruder Is Making A Live-Action Uncle Ruckus Movie. Launches Kickstarter Campaign". Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  33. ^ "The Uncle Ruckus Movie by Aaron McGruder — Kickstarter". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  34. ^ "Телеканал 2х2". 2x2tv.ru. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  35. ^ The Boondocks Season 1 at iTunes.
  36. ^ The Boondocks Season 1 at Amazon Instant Video.

External links[edit]