The Boondocks (TV series)

The Boondocks (TV series)
The Boondocks
The main characters of The Boondocks
From left: Huey, Riley, and Robert Freeman
Genre Animated comedy, Sitcom
Action, Satire, Dark comedy
Created by Aaron McGruder
Voices of Regina King
John Witherspoon
Cedric Yarbrough
Gary Anthony Williams
Jill Talley
Gabby Soleil
Theme music composer Asheru
Country of origin United States
South Korea
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 45 (2 unaired in the U.S.) (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Aaron McGruder
Rodney Barnes
Producer(s) Brian Ash
Seung Eun Kim
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Sony Pictures Television
Adelaide Productions
Rebel Base
Dong Woo Animation
JM Animation (2010-present)
Original channel Adult Swim
Picture format 4:3 SDTV (2005-2009)
16:9 HDTV (2010-present)
Original run October 6, 2005 (2005-10-06) – present (present)
External links

The Boondocks is an American animated series created by Aaron McGruder on Cartoon Network's late night programing block, Adult Swim, based on McGruder's comic strip of the same name. The Boondocks is a social satire of African American culture and race relations revolving around the lives of the Freeman family: ten-year-old Huey, his younger brother, eight-year-old Riley, and their grandfather, Robert. The series is produced by Rebel Base and has finished airing its third season on Adult Swim. In a 2011 interview, cast member, John Witherspoon announced that the series has been renewed for a fourth season, which will consist of 20 episodes.[1] Voice casting director Andrea Romano stated at Comic Con 2011 that season four is headed into production.[2]

The Boondocks takes place in the same place and time frame as its comic counterpart. The Freeman family, having recently moved from the South Side of Chicago, Illinois to the peaceful suburb of Woodcrest,[3][4] find different ways to cope with this acute change in setting as well as the drastically different suburban cultures and lifestyles to which they are exposed. The perspective offered by this mixture of cultures, lifestyles, and races provides for much of the comedy in this series.

The series premiered on November 6, 2005. The 15-episode first season ended on March 19, 2006. The second season premiered on October 8, 2007. (Two of its 15 episodes, "The Hunger Strike" and "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show," were not aired, but they appeared on the DVD release.) The third season began airing on May 2, 2010 and concluded on August 15, 2010. On May 9th, 2011, an interview with Witherspoon was uploaded to YouTube, in which he stated that a 20-episode fourth season will be made.[5]



The Boondocks began its life 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 as an animated television series.[6] 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 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.[7] 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 and 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 comic 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 the series' first season, McGruder put the strip on a six-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.[8]

The opening theme song used in the series (slightly remixed for the second season and again for the third season) is performed by hip-hop artist Asheru.


  • Huey Freeman is one of the three main characters. He is each episode's primary narrator (usually), the voice-of-reason and moral compass of the family, and a spokesperson for contemporary Afrocentrism. He is an intelligent, wise-beyond-his-years ten-year-old who is an avid reader and knowledgeable about a variety of subjects. He is heavily influenced by the theories of various left-wing social movements and social justice leaders. He is constantly ridiculed and underestimated by his family, who thinks he is a fool for having goals and values that aim higher than those of the lower class environment from which they came. While Huey promotes various social causes, he is openly contemptuous of African-American pop culture as portrayed in mainstream American media for glamorizing wasteful extravagance, self-defeating lifestyles, and ignorance. Unlike the other characters, Huey rarely smiles; although, in the episode "Let's Nab Oprah", he smiles after his duel with Riley. He also smiles when Riley begins to succeed in winning basketball games in the episode "Ballin'".
  • Riley Freeman is Huey's trouble-making, eight-year-old younger brother. Unlike his brother, Riley is an enthusiastic follower of contemporary African-American pop culture. Though he is otherwise charming, clever, and artistically gifted, Riley maintains loyalty to those pop culture ideals, even in the face of their self-destructive consequences. In the episode "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' episodes focus 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 assists in. Despite his wild nature and attempts to appear tougher than he actually is, Riley occasionally shows a softer, innocent side.
  • Robert Freeman, a.k.a. "Granddad," 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 the constant schemes, misadventures, and wise-cracking observations they have brought into his life. Robert himself is no stranger to this; for instance, his eager, misguided dating pursuits invariably attract bizarre or dangerous women. According to the Season 3 episode "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman", "Nobody knows exactly how old Robert Freeman is -- not even Robert Freeman himself. A big believer in the values of a long-gone generation of African-Americans, Robert often threatens to discipline on his grandsons through Three Stooges-style corporal punishment. He generally uses his belt for this purpose and has developed a remarkable degree of speed and dexterity in wielding it.


Both the comic strip and the cartoon named after it were influenced by McGruder's love of anime and manga.[9] He cites Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo as sources of inspiration for the series' fight scenes. The opening sequence of season 1 is also remarkably similar to that of Samurai Champloo, and the opening to season 2 was rather similar to the intro of Cowboy Bebop, using a trumpet as part of the opening theme mix (The trumpet is a prevalent instrument in jazz music, which was the primary style of music performed in Cowboy Bebop's theme and soundtrack). The season one intro used a record scratching sound effect in the opening theme as well (Record scratching is commonly used in hip hop music which was the main theme for Samurai Champloo) Some of the humor is based on the characters' anime-style movements.[10] The second and third seasons features segments animated by Japanese animation studio Madhouse.[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. Season 3 began airing on May 2, 2010.


On January 2006, The Boondocks was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series at the 37th NAACP Image Awards, alongside The Bernie Mac Show, winner Everybody Hates Chris, Girlfriends, and Half & Half. For the episode "Return of the King," the show won a Peabody Award in 2006. As of July 8, 2010, The Boondocks had a 72% rating on MetaCritic, based on 21 reviews.[12]

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."[13] It was named the 94th best animated series by IGN, who describe it as a sharp satirical look at American society.[14]

Mike Hale of the New York Times has considered The Boondocks among the top television shows of 2010, citing the episode "Pause" as a "painfully funny" satire of Tyler Perry being portrayed as a superstar actor and a leader of a homoerotic cult.[15]


McGruder has defended the show's heavy use of the word "nigga" by arguing that the large-scale usage of the word provides the show with a level of realism, due to the word being commonly used in the everyday conversations of many African Americans.[16]

In 2006, Reverend Al Sharpton protested the Martin Luther King, Jr. character's use of the word "nigga" in the episode "Return of the King". Sharpton felt it defamed the name of King, and sought an apology from the series producers. The controversy was later referred to in the cartoon strip five times and in the TV episode "The Block is Hot" in the form of a morning radio announcement.

According to an article in The Washington Post, references to Rosa Parks were removed from one of the series' completed episodes within a week of her death.[17] In the second episode, "The Trial of R. Kelly", Parks was originally outside the courtroom protesting Kelly when she was hit with a large piece of fried chicken. The scene appears as a deleted scene in the season one DVD set. She is nonetheless seen, unidentified, at the end of the episode being enthusiastically embraced by the woman who had assaulted her with the fried chicken. A bump before the episode originally aired said that Aaron McGruder removed it prior to airing but never said why.

During The Boondocks' second season, two episodes were banned from airing without any official word from the network.[18][19] Originally slated to air on November 16 and December 17,[19] "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 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 that they heard BET had been pressuring Sony (the studio behind The Boondocks) to ban the episodes and threatened legal action.[19] 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.[20] Further, the season 3 episode "Kentucky Fried Flu" was eventually renamed "The Fried Chicken Flu".

Time magazine named The Boondocks as fifth out of 10 of the Most Controversial Cartoons of All Time.[21]


The Boondocks airs on Adult Swim in the United States, Teletoon's Teletoon at Night block in Canada, and Season 2 has aired on The Comedy Channel (pay TV network) in Australia. Sony Entertainment Television (and later Sony Max) broadcasts the show in Africa on DSTV. It has also been aired on TV3 and TV6 in Sweden, on Comedy Central (part of SkyTV) in New Zealand, MTV Italy and Comedy Central Italy in Italy, and on 3+ in Denmark and Russia The Boondocks is aired on channel 2×2 under the name of Гетто (Ghetto in English),[22] and in France on MCM.

It also airs on Animax in Latin America, Germany, and in Hungary (under the name of A kertvárosi gettó (The suburban ghetto)). It also airs on Sony Entertainment Television (Latin America).

The Boondocks has also aired uncensored and uncut in the Middle East and North Africa on OSN.


All three seasons are available on DVD, with uncensored dialogue. Season 1 was also released on UMD.


  1. ^ John Witherspoon interview
  2. ^ "'The Boondocks' Season 4 Is In The Works.". Kofi Outlaw (Screen Rant). 2011-07-23. 
  3. ^ "The Boondocks archive". 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  4. ^ ""The Radical", The New Yorker". Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  5. ^ "John Witherspoon". Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  6. ^ Hutchens, Bill. "Aaron McGruder interview: Complete transcript". The News Tribune, 6 November 2005. (archived page)
  7. ^ McGruder, Aaron (2005-11-3). The A. V. Club. Interview.,13965/. 
  8. ^ "Return of 'Boondocks' comic strip delayed". CNN. September 25, 2006. [dead link]
  9. ^ McGruder, Aaron (2005-11-06). Interview with Bill Hutchens. Archived from the original on 2007-03-01. 
  10. ^ "Aaron McGruder - The Boondocks Interview". Troy Rogers. UnderGroundOnline. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  11. ^ "Madhouse in the Mix for Boondocks Season 2". Anime News Network. 2006-07-14. Retrieved 2006-07-20. 
  12. ^ "The Boondocks". MetaCritic. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  13. ^ "Combustible Celluloid film review of ''The Boondocks: The Complete First Season'' (2005)". 2006-07-09. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  14. ^ "94, The Boondocks". IGN. News Corporation. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  15. ^ "Top 2010 TV Shows - 'Boondocks,' 'Fringe,' 'Huge'". Mike Hale (New York Times). 2010-12-17. 
  16. ^ "Aaron McGruder defends use of N-word; L. A. community group to launch protest today". 2005-11-07. 
  17. ^ Tucker, Neely (2005-10-26). "Like It or Not, 'Boondocks' Will Finally Hit the Airwaves". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2005-10-28. 
  18. ^ Braxton, Greg (2008-06-04). "'Boondocks' to BET: !*%#!". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ required)
  21. ^ "Top 10 Controversial Cartoons". Time.,29569,1984966,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  22. ^ "Телеканал 2х2". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 

External links

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