A Huey Freeman Christmas
|"A Huey Freeman Christmas"|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Seung Eun Kim|
|Written by||Aaron McGruder|
|Original air date||December 18, 2005|
"A Huey Freeman Christmas" is the seventh episode of the first season of the American animated television series The Boondocks. It was first broadcast on Adult Swim in the United States on December 18, 2005. In the episode, protagonist Huey Freeman seizes complete creative control of his elementary school's annual Christmas play, but runs into trouble with administration when he wishes to portray Jesus as black. Meanwhile, Riley Freeman rekindles an old grudge he has against Santa Claus.
"A Huey Freeman Christmas" was directed by Seung Eun Kim and the script was written by series creator Aaron McGruder.
After spending some time teaching the class about the traditional Kwanzaa Harambee salute, Mr. Uberwitz (Judge Reinhold), Huey Freeman's culturally sensitive teacher, approaches Huey in private and offers him the chance to direct the school's Christmas play in hopes to see an African American version of Christmas. Initially skeptical, Huey guardedly agrees after demanding creative control "in writing." Huey decides to seize the opportunity by drafting an entirely new play and crafting it to adhere to his unique vision. By the next day, Huey has his entire class working efficiently in an office-like setting and brings in Quincy Jones to co-produce the play. Huey's classmates, though, decide to take some time out to have fun. Upon discovering this, Huey reacts with extreme anger, firing all the kids. He decides to hire a casting director to help replace the kids, eventually deciding on such figures as Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett as replacements. He ignores all the protests from the PTA who object to their children not being involved.
Riley Freeman, meanwhile, rekindles an old grudge he has against Santa Claus. He attacks him with a chair and a golf club at the local mall before writing a letter threatening more action if Santa continues to refuse to "pay what he owe" (a set of rims he had wished for years ago and never received) — a threat he follows up on in the form of a later assault with airsoft pistols.
Near the premiere, Huey has a meeting with his school's principal regarding some of the contents of his script. Most notably, the Principal insists that Jesus not be portrayed as black, despite the name of Huey's play being "The Adventures of Black Jesus". Stymied and demoralized, Huey abandons the project the night before the play, giving Mr. Uberwitz the decision of whether to alter the play according to the wishes of the administration or to leave it adherent to Huey's original vision. He chooses the latter, a decision that costs him his job, and Huey's play goes on without one word being changed; regarding this decision, Huey calls Uberwitz "another irresponsible white person." This statement could be directly criticizing Uberwitz himself, or it could be critical of a society that would view such actions as "irresponsible" for a white person and also Huey warned him that this would happened at the beginning at the episode. Mr. Uberwitz wanted to see an African American version of Christmas in the first place. He's now teaching at an University.
The play winds up receiving outstanding praise from the viewing audience (only local critics) and the local newspaper; however, the PTA boycott prevented more than a few people from seeing it. Huey considers the show a success but sees the error in not allowing his classmates perform which Huey didn't think about this would be a problem and feels a little disappointed that so many people didn't want to see his vision. The play was never made into a TV special nor video release in which Huey thinks it's better since he doesn't want to look at his old work. Jazmine, who has lost faith in a black Santa imposter, (Uncle Ruckus) is told by Ruckus himself that Santa couldn't come this year because it was too unsafe with Riley's violent antics. Jazmine is content with the lie but Riley exacts his revenge on Ruckus by popping an airsoft pellet in his face. Jazmine attended Huey's play with Granddad and Riley, but she is the only member from the group to applaud Huey's play while Granddad and Riley slept throughout the play.
Curt Fields of The Washington Post deemed the episode "excellent," writing, "With a knowing spin on A Charlie Brown Christmas, the story is a laugh-out-loud take on the holiday, consumerism and earnestly liberal white folks."