The Fried Chicken Flu
|"The Fried Chicken Flu"|
|The Boondocks episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Written by||Aaron McGruder|
|Original air date||August 1, 2010|
Marion Ross as Ms. Von Hausen
"The Fried Chicken Flu" is the thirteenth episode of the third season of the American animated television series The Boondocks. It first aired in the United States on Cartoon Network's programming block Adult Swim on August 1, 2010 and on Centric on November 15, 2010. In the episode, the Freemans must survive in a post-apocalyptic world after a virus originating from KFC fried chicken erupts across the country.
The episode was written by Aaron McGruder and directed by Sung Dae Kang. The episode's plot makes references to the 2009 flu pandemic, as well as a controversial Kentucky Fried Chicken-Oprah Winfrey promotion for the former's then-new Kentucky Grilled Chicken products. The episode features Marion Ross guest-starring as Ms. Von Hausen, a resident of Woodcrest. The episode received mixed reviews from critics, who compared its overall quality to an episode from the show's first season.
Granddad and Riley are in the living room, eagerly watching TV coverage about the latest special at Kernel's Fried Chicken, a new type of chicken with 13 spices. Meanwhile, Huey and Jazmine Dubois are busy testing out a generator in the Freemans' garage. The power at the Freeman house then goes out as a result of Huey's generator bursting, causing an infuriated Granddad and Riley to leave for KFC to buy chicken. It is revealed that he has been testing the generator as a part of his survival plan for his family in the event that a pandemic sweeps the nation. Later, Jazmine asks if she can be included in the plan as well, and eventually convinces a reluctant Huey to do so.
At KFC, Granddad and Riley wait for hours in line at the drive-thru, only to discover that the restaurant has run out of chicken. The people waiting are infuriated, and a riot forms, causing an angry customer to drive his car to barge into the restaurant. Granddad and Riley return home and watch the news, discovering that KFCs all over the country have been running out of chicken, resulting in riots, fires, looting and violence, which in turn result in food, water, and power shortages. At the same time, cases of an new, unknown virus have been reported across the country. Linked to the KFC virus, the virus is dubbed the "fried chicken flu", and by night the number of those infected has reached the thousands. Huey realizes that it is time for his plan to be put in effect, but his instructions are ignored by his family, who all believe they will die.
The next day, Huey's survival plans quickly fall apart. Thugnificent and his roommate Leonard, Granddad's friend Tina, and Jazmine's parents Tom and Sarah all take refuge in the house, though the food and water supply can only support four. More news reports come, predicting that millions will die as a result of the flu, and that the virus has possibly spread to other chicken restaurants. Huey finally gets his generator to work and restores power to the house, but this does not last long, as the house residents quickly use it up. Meanwhile, Uncle Ruckus has tipped off the residents of Woodcrest that the Freeman house is loaded with supplies, and they demand that they be let into the house. Though they are able to temporarily drive away the residents with tear gas, things turn worse when Tom contracts the flu, as a result of eating buffalo wings given to him by Leonard (Leonard apparently thought that buffalo wings came from actual buffalo meat). Thugnificent and Tina are caught having sex with each other, and they, along with Leonard, are promptly kicked out of the house by Granddad. The remaining six realize that they must evacuate the house, and they take off with their supplies and 'wrapped Tom Dubois'-put them in the trunk and go off with their Freemans' car, just as the Woodcrest residents come back, this time armed with gas masks and armor. This results in a high-speed car chase between the Woodcrest residents' on Ruckus's bus and the Freemans' car, which is resolved when Thugnificent and Leonard (Whom they got kicked out of the house) uses his UPS delivery truck to block the bus' path and tip it over, allowing the Freemans' car to escape.
A news crew is then seen reporting outside a KFC restaurant, reporting that the entire situation has been exaggerated: no deaths have been reported from the "fried chicken flu" outbreak, which is revealed to have been nothing more than a mild salmonella outbreak. The news report is interrupted when the Freemans' car, having trouble slowing down, coming towards from a distance, accidentally crashes through the doors of the KFC, mirroring a previous scene in the episode. They are all exhausted, but Granddad and Riley finally get to order some chicken and fries, right before they pass out.
Originally entitled "Kentucky Fried Flu", the episode was written by Aaron McGruder and directed by Sung Dae Kang. In an interview preceding the season 3 premiere of The Boondocks, McGruder stated that the episode of the season would most likely get him into a lawsuit.
"Kernel's Fried Chicken" is a reference to fast food restaurant Kentucky Fried Chicken. Both restaurants have the same acronyms, and many aspects of "Kernel's Fried Chicken" are based on the real-life Kentucky Fried Chicken, such as the designs of their restaurant buildings, their employees' uniforms, and even their slogan. The episode also references Kentucky Fried Chicken's controversial promotion for their Kentucky Grilled Chicken; free coupons could be printed out on the website of talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who had partnered with KFC. The promotion resulted in shortages of grilled chicken at KFC restaurants, which in turn caused riots. These two situations also take place in the episode.
The "fried chicken flu" pandemic is a reference to the 2009 swine flu pandemic; Granddad even mentions the swine flu pandemic directly in the episode. The episodes features a satirical animation of American president Barack Obama (voiced by Cedric Yarbrough) twice in the episode, giving addresses to the people of the United States.
The final chase scene includes multiple references to the Mad Max films. When the Woodcrest Fried Chicken Flu Militia shows up to demand the food and water that Huey has stashed away in his house, one of the militia members is dressed like Lord Humungus with face mask and bare-chested leather straps. As the Freeman family escapes the house with their food and water tied on top their car, Aunty Entity's hairstyle and large earrings (from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome) are worn by the Woodcrest Militia leader as she orders her gang to get on a school bus to give chase.
Leonard Pierce of The A.V. Club graded the episode a B, writing that although "once the episode finally kicked into high gear at the end it was excellent", it overall "lacked punch" and "was more reminiscent of the slow-building, leisurely comedy of The Boondocks' first season than the rapid-fire, high-octane excellence of season three."
- Pierce, Leonard (2010-08-01). "The Fried Chicken Flu". Onion, Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-03.
- "'Boondocks' spoofs fast food fried chicken hysteria". Typepad. 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2011-08-03.