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Boondocks on BET

Did you hear the one about the episodes of Aaron McGruder’s “Boondocks” that ripped up BET heads Debra L. Lee and Reginald Hudlin and subsquently got ditched from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim? That’s been running around the web for a while now, but I just recently stumbled across the videos online today on Liz Burr’s blog.

While I quasi fell in black nerd love with McGruder when “Boondocks,” the cartoon strip, first debuted, I’ve been reluctant to watch much of the Cartoon Network reincarnation. While I was able to laugh and cringe my way through “Chappelle Show,” on Boondocks I mostly just cringe. It was bad enough when the strip became less character driven as McGruder grew weary under grueling newspaper deadlines, but this show just pushes so far to be provocative that what good there is of it is negated in the fact that the message gets lost in a flurry of expletives, n-bombs and risque sexual humor. I’m not saying that black people can’t make edgy, provocative art. We have a tradition of such but there is a point where your message becomes so subversive that it pretty much ceases to exist.

Much like how BET was originally created to be all things to black people — to both entertain and inform — “Boondocks” used to be about humor and political insight. I’m not saying that “Boondocks” and BET are on parallel planes. For one, BET is viewed in far more households and has next-to-nil substance. But I could see how someone not attuned to racial politics wouldn’t see a difference. Nudity without context is pornography. “Boondocks” starting to suffer from a severe obscuring of context.

That said, here are the “banned” episodes below.

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6 thoughts on “Boondocks on BET

  1. dang, snob. you really are like my sistren. i too feel in love w/the boondocks strip circa 2000. i remember it started running in my paper in april, i thought it was like a birthday present for me. loli’ve literally sat through about one episode of the show. and cringe is an understatement. people go on and on about how hilarious it is, but i feel like it lost its message in translation. in all honesty, i hardlay even read the strip anymore and i used to get it emailed to me every day.

  2. fantastically misunderstood me: I know. The show is way too vulgar and I don’t find it funny. At all. And I loved Boondocks. Especially up until 2004 when Kerry lost and McGruder became ever more prickly as he was super invested in the campaign and felt horrible when Bush was re-elected. Not that one caused the other, but after 2004 he seemed disengaged and the strip was less dynamic.Plus, he became all obsessed with the TV show, which both of us were very disappointed in. I only posted thinks vids because of the “attack” on BET. God knows if anything deserves to be assailed it’s BET, but I think McGruder is using up a lot of his black nerd cred on me with this show. It’s really ruined almost all the characters for me and I loved all the characters, save Caesar because when he showed up Jazmine and even Riley sometimes disappeared from the daily strip and it became “the Caesar and Huey talk about random shit” show.Other than trashing Vivica Fox, which I didn’t have an opinion on, Caesar never had much to say.

  3. dewfish says:

    Right again on this one. As a huge fan of the boondocks strip (the only comic strips I would put above it are Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes), this show has been huge disappointment. It’s “controversy for the sake of controversy”. I can relate to the messages of the show, but the way its done is so over-the-top and tasteless, I feel dumber for watching it. I guess if there is any close comparison to this show, it is South Park. Yes, South Park is outrageous and over the top as well, but the characters aren’t calling each other “cracker” every other second either. I think the number one issue with Boondocks is that overuse of the N-word takes away from any message the how is trying to get across. Even though South Park leans more toward gross-out gags rather than racial slurs, they don’t overdo it to the point of missing the entire message of the show.

  4. dewfish: South Park at least seems to know how to frame up a story where you can feel compassionate and grossed out at the same time. Like I watched their Britney Spears episode which was sad, gross, funny and guilt baiting all at the same time.It was basically a 22 minute advertisement to never watch E! or Headline News’ entertainment show again.I just don’t think you need to drop that many N-words to make a point. My father and uncle use the N-word but not nearly at this high a frequency. Maybe the kids pop it off like that nowadays, but I’m even skeptical of 13-year-old busting it that much. Maybe I went to a saddidy high school, but even the gangbagger/rapper wannabes with the designer clothes their mommies and daddies bought them (and my mommies and daddies, them mofos came from two parent homes just like I did) didn’t use it that much.And they were trying to be “hard.”

  5. dewfish says:

    I’ve known dudes that really were from the “hood”, and they didn’t use the word that much. I mean, yeah if the situation called for it, then the word was used, but not just repetitively like on the Boondocks.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I had been saying that I love the show, except I want them to lose the n- word & to tone down some of the cursing. Aaron’s point would still be made with these ommissions. The “you gon’ pay me what you owe me” line with Santa Claus is priceless and should go down in “Famous TV Quotes” history.

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