This season of The Boondocks has earned mixed reviews. Some say it’s hilarious while others claim it’s not funny at all. Some say it sends a deep message and others say it’s pure ignorance. Today on Uristocrat, Jim Bean and Michelle Huxtable discuss season 3 being the last season of The Boondocks, Satire vs. Coonery, and Dave Chappelle.
On Season 3…
What is your opinion on Season 3 of The Boondocks?
JimBean: I think with a show designed at taking a look at stereotypes there are only so many things you can take a stab at. So with this season you see him focusing a lot more on current events. The problem with that is it takes so long to make the show that some of the events are dated, i.e. the Sgt. Gutter’ episode.
MichelleHuxtable: I agree on the relevance aspect of the show. I’ve always said I enjoy the comic strip more than the show and that’s one of the reasons. If an event happened one day, the very next week he would be making fun of it or critiquing it in some way. Do you prefer the show or the strip?
On the Show vs the Strip…
JimBean: That’s a tough comparison because he has hundreds of comics versus a few episodes of the show. In a perfect world, it would only take him a week to make a show. I prefer the show only because it’s 30 minutes vs a few panels but I wish Caesar made the show.
MichelleHuxtable: Me too! Him and his “BROOKLYN!” shout outs were priceless. For me, the TV show is much easier to laugh at. There are a lot more jokes and then you have John Witherspoon from Friday so it’s bound to be funnier. But the comic strip was smarter in my opinion. He definitely discussed a lot more politics in the strip than he does on the show. Overall I prefer the comic strip.
On the audience…
JimBean: Touché. Good points. So who do you think the audience of the show is?
MichelleHuxtable: I think the audience of the comic strip is slightly different for the show. I think the show’s goal is definitely to be funny while still pushing the message of challenging stereotypes like you said. The comic strip didn’t need to be as LOL funny so it was able to tackle less funny/more serious issues. Example: You wouldn’t see/hear that on the show:
JimBean: Yeah. He had to package his take on US/China relations in a ridiculous episode about kickball.
JimBean: I think the show is elitist to the core, which is where you have a lot of people getting offended. Since it is a cartoon, I think a lot of people outside of the target audience tune in and don’t get it. He’s laughing at, or making fun of a lot of people that think they’re laughing with him.
MichelleHuxtable: You think the people who don’t “get it” are offended?
JimBean: Yes, I do. Maybe that’s an elitist stance to take but there are a lot of people who think the show is demeaning to Black people where for me it’s a lighthearted way of saying #wegottadobetter
On writer Aaron McGruder…
MichelleHuxtable: So are you saying McGruder is elitist for laughing at black people or the show draws an elitist audience who thinks other people don’t get it?
JimBean: I’m saying McGruder is an elitist. There’s really only one socially aware person on the strip/show. Everyone else is aloof at best and I think a lot of people who are fans of the show/strip are elitist too. We make fun of people who watch BET all day, follow the trends of mainstream hip-hop and are unabashedly ignorant like, “Look at these coons”. By stripping the political focus away from the show, it really puts more of the microscope on black people.
MichelleHuxtable: I don’t know McGruder personally so I can’t vouch for his elitism or non-elitism but I definitely think the show has an elitist following. You see this in academic circles a lot. We sit around and discuss this “other” this “some people” that always shows up in conversation. “Some people” aren’t going to get this. “Other people” don’t analyze the show like we do. That said, I like to think McGruder isn’t so much elitist as fed up with what we as a people are doing to ourselves. And so he critiques it through comedy hoping we’ll see how foolish we can sometimes be.
JimBean: Well said.
On the goal of The Boondocks…
MichelleHuxtable: What do you think is the overall goal and message of the show?
JimBean:I think you nailed it earlier. Our behavior as a people has gotten out of hand. We need to do better. At the same time, I think McGruder is skeptical that that’s going to happen. This clip sums up the show’s message nicely.
MichelleHuxtable: I agree. I think that clip perfectly sums up anyone who’s ever felt fed up with the current state of Black America. At the same time I think he feels a comedic obligation and that can sometimes hinder that message. The episode I’m thinking of is “The Story of Jimmy Rebel”. There was a lot of debate on whether it was funny or intelligent.
On Satire vs. Coonery…
JimBean: Yeah. I think the need for the show to be funny leads for it to be over the top. Which leads to my next question: Does The Boondocks sometimes cross the line from satire to coonery?
MichelleHuxtable: At times. I think that the satire on the rap industry is obvious. The scene where Gangstalicious is running away from some guys trying to shoot him and Riley asked where his G4 plane is from his music video or his fast car from the music video, he sheepishly admits that they were all rented. Quality stuff. Then you have him critiquing Black people’s blind faith via the R. Kelly Trial episode and the Obama episode. His critique of BET is just complete excellence. He hasn’t done as much commentary on the n-word as I would like but overall I give him an A- on balancing comedy and satire. Until Season 3. That’s when it all went out the window. When I say I didn’t think an episode was deep, someone says “Well it isn’t always gonna be deep. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.” If I say it wasn’t funny, someone says, “Well it isn’t always gonna be funny. Sometimes it’s deep. You didn’t get it.” Well to me, Season 3 hasn’t shown itself funny or deep.
JimBean: I don’t think the show has crossed into coonery. I just think he’s kind of run out of steam. The Obama episode was funny but he’s taken on Black people’s blind faith before. The 2nd episode on Obama was outdated and I don’t think the kickball episode was funny nor did it really get the point across. The Jimmy Rebel episode had a good message, but it wasn’t that funny.
MichelleHuxtable: What was the message of the Jimmy Rebel episode?
JimBean:I think there were a few messages. First, racists don’t really know why they hate us, they just do. Second, even when faced with a situation that completely destroys whatever notion their racism was built upon, the concept of being racist is so irrational that it doesn’t matter. Like when the racists found out Uncle Ruckus was Black, they still hated him even though he was singing about how much he hated Black people. Third, if hating Blacks becomes uncool, there’s always Mexicans.
MichelleHuxtable: I can agree that those were good messages but I doubt people walked away with the feel good message that racism is wrong.
JimBean:Do you think the show has been effective in getting the message across?
MichelleHuxtable:I don’t know. I feel like regardless of how good you are at sending your message, the people who want to receive it will, and the people who don’t, won’t. I think the show gets people talking and thinking. I know there was more talk of the pros/cons of BET after he went in on them.
I don’t know. I feel like regardless of how good you are at sending your message, the people who want to receive it will and the people who don’t, won’t.
I think it got people talking and thinking. I know there was more talk of the pros/cons of BET when McGruder went in on them.
On Dave Chappelle…
JimBean: So Chappelle’s Show has come and gone and The Boondocks will be done after only three seasons… what’s next? Will someone else step up and fill in that void?
MichelleHuxtable: I was wondering the same thing. I’m curious as to why shows that perfectly balance smart and funny like Chappelle’s Show and The Boondocks don’t last. In both those cases it wasn’t low viewership. It was the decision of the writers – Chappelle and McGruder – to end the show. Maybe it’s like Kanye said, “No one man should have all that power!” I think the stress gets to them. We as a people look to leaders for answers. When The Boondocks is funny, McGruder is funny. When Chappelle’s Show is cooning, Dave Chappelle is failing our race. It’s the nature of the beast. What’s next? I don’t know but we need something to fillt he void. We need our faces on TV. Animated or live.
JimBean:I think sometimes when you’re a writer, entertainer or whatever, you wonder, “What’s the point if people don’t get it?” And maybe McGruder is at that point. “People don’t get the show so whatever I’ll make it as funny and over the top as possible. I won’t touch on many issues.” I don’t know the man. I don’t know if that’s what he’s thinking, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s thinking something along those lines.
The Boondocks will definitely go down as one of my all-time favorite shows. While it sucks that this is the last season, I can respect him getting out before the show became really stale. Hopefully there are some more creative minds out there willing to push envelopes and make us laugh, think and scratch our heads at the same time.
MichelleHuxtable: While the show has been hilarious, I don’t know if The Boondockswill go down as one of my favorite TV shows of all time. However the legacy will definitely live on via the comic strip in my heart.
So Uristocrat readers, what do you think: Does the end of The Boondocks mark the end of an era? What will replace the show once it ends? Does McGruder sometimes cross the line or is his controversy helpful in sending a message?