Monday, November 14, 2005
I figured I’d give The Boondocks two episodes before I blogged about it. For those who don’t know, The Boondocks is a new half-hour series on Cartoon Network based on the comic strip of the same name by Aaron McGruder. It features Huey and Riley Freeman, two small but precocious African-American boys who live with their grandfather.
I can’t say that I read the strip that often, but occasionally I do. The two boys bitch a lot and they never miss an opportunity to tear Condoleezza Rice’s ass at the slightest provocation, and that’s always funny. But I know that a lot of (majority) folks have a huge problem with the strip, so I was curious to see if McGruder would be forced to tone things down when bringing this into another media.
Silly me! He amped it up. And frankly, it’s crude.
The problem is, since the show’s on cable, I guess he felt that he could cut loose and have the boys speak the way they “really” would. This means that every other word is the “N” word. Now, there’s a time and a place for the “N” word. Coming from a gifted speaker or writer, it can be used to powerful effect (but you better know who your audience is, or don’t even go there). Coming from the mouth of a skilled comedian, it can be funny. But when flying non-stop out of the mouths of cartoon eight-year-olds, it can’t be anything but crass and completely gratuitous. All throughout episode one it was n*****, n*****, n*****, n*****.
With or without that distraction, the first episode was poor. It consisted of the boys misbehaving at a garden party and bad mouthing white people who somehow failed to understand that they were being insulted. Maybe that would’ve been remotely plausible fifty years ago, but neither side thinks the other side is stupid now, hence, there’s no humor in this scenario.
Episode two starts out with Huey giving a “n*****s are crazy” speech while the boys watch the news. They learn that pedophile R. Kelly is being tried in their town and they decide they want to go to the courthouse to support him. Again, there’s no humor here, because no one wants their teenage daughter around R. Kelly. The only thing vaguely funny about the episode was the defense lawyer for R. Kelly, who looked suspiciously like William Kunstler.
I’m dropping this cartoon. I suspect that Cartoon Network will be dropping it soon too.