Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Boondocks


as written over email:

As a person who was excited about The Boondocks show, I have thus far been disappointed in the lack of creativity Mr McGruder has put forward. To me, he basically animated Comic View's greatest hits. With the exception of a few episodes (i.e. The R. Kelly and Santa, "Pay what you owe" episodes), I have been left wanting more from it. Dr. King saying "niggas" was controversial, but it was done in a way (my opinion) that got his point across. Please, speak on it...let me know what you guys think...

6 comments:

Brother Lightness said...

Cutino, firstly, I'm glad to see you're using this powerful venue to share thoughts with your brothers.

On the point of Brother McGruder: admittedly, I don't have cable--haven't had it since I was 6 and my parents were afraid the gov't. would catch us middle-class black folk getting such a notable a hookup-- which prohibits me from viewing the Boondocks. This point aside, McGruder's talk at Williams in the winter of '03 was one the most insightful I have ever been witness to. The man speaks his mind and is intelligent in doing so. His message may not be one that we all accept, but his delivery leaves little to be desired.

Brother Smartness said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brother Smartness said...

http://blogs.sohh.com/videos/throwbacks/2006/01/the_boondocks_m.html

Peep the link. For the Nightline Interview with Aaron McGruder regarding the King comment.

I think the show went wrong in their choice of voice narration, specifically that of the protagonist. I was a little disappointed with the voice of Huey (the main character). Reading the comic strip, I always envisioned a bit more maturity in Huey's voice. That's what killed the show for me. Regina King, who I believe is a remarkable actress, plays Huey. Unfortunately, the show could do without the dynamic she brings to Boondocks with her voice. On a side note, however, Robert Jebediah Freeman as "Granddad" is one of the best voice-over casting jobs I've seen in years.

Let's move on to crux of your post (MLK Jr.) McGruder's writing was highly controversial. I would be lying to everyone, however, if I said I didn't laugh hysterically when I saw it. Therein lies the dilemma. If McGruder's objective is to get a point across, what good is it if I'm laughing hysterically at Dr. King's use of "nigga." The message is in many ways lost in the laughter. I come away from watching that show saying, "can you believe Aaron McGruder did that," instead of "Martin Luther King, Jr. would be upset if he were to come back and see the state of Black America."

Brother Darkness said...

I haven't seen any Boondocks episodes either but i can see where they are falling sort of such high expectations. Its very similar to season 3 of Chappelle's Show that will be airing 8 episodes of the incompleted season. Every fan wants to see the episodes but its clear that they won't live up to the expectations that we have for Mr. Chappelle. On the subject of Dr. King using the word "nigga," I think it was well done and like he said "Nobody uses the 'n' word on my show, he said nigga." It served a purpose and was only a big deal b/c it was Dr. King saying it. If it were Jesse Jackson, first of all we probably wouldn't even catch it b/c it would get lost in all his political jargon and secondly it just wouldn't surprise me if Jesse said "Nigga."

Brother Tallness said...

good looks on starting this blog.

If you want to catch the show without cable, you can download the episodes at http://www.3030media.net (it asks for donations, but that's optional)
or you can stream the upcoming episode friday nighst from adultswim.com between 11pm and 6am.

I ride with brother mobley on this one. The show has the potential to be good, and its gonna get a lot of laughs because there just isn't a lot of good black television out there. The show falls short of what it could be though. The little stuff like voice casting and poor comedic timing are definitely part of the problem.

The biggest drawback for me is how heavy handed the show is with the whole "black people versus niggas" theme. The show uses nigga a lot, and it isn't the actual word that's the problem as it's who its used to describe: blacks who fight to much, strippers, gangster rappers, obese black women--basically the black "underclass".

Not to say that black culture should be devoid of criticism. I laughed when Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle joked about the same subject but I feel they were more original, smarter, and funnier with their respective shows. They didn't just dwell on the fact that black people were fucking up either.

The show definitely has its funny moments and when he's at his best, Mcgruder is an equal opportunity offender who can unleash biting satire at everybody. So far the show has had more misses than makes. To me, if you're gonna be on that Bill Cosby, you have to be funny too.

Brother Lightness said...

As reference:

‘Boondocks’ King Episode Prompts Protest Threats from Rev. Al Sharpton
Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
By: Leonard Greene, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com

“Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder is in the midst of another controversy, this one over a Martin Luther King Day episode of the animated version of his hit syndicated comic strip in which the celebrated civil rights leader comes back to life and utters the N-word.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, said McGruder and the Cartoon Network, which aired the episode, desecrated King’s name, and threatened to launch a protest at the network’s corporate headquarters unless there is an apology and a promise not to air the show again.

“While I can appreciate Mr. McGruder and his achievements, this particular episode is over the line,” Sharpton said in a statement. “If we don't receive an apology, we will picket the corporate headquarters."

In the episode, entitled “The Return of the King,” McGruder depicts the civil rights leader emerging from a coma after 32 years to deal with post 9/11 America in which he quickly becomes “a despised terrorist sympathizer.”

A disillusioned King, a voting rights champion, awakens just before Election Day 2000 -- when George Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore in a controversial election that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court -- and is turned away from a polling place because of “voting irregularities.”

In one scene, Dr. King says, "Will you ignorant n***as please shut the hell up?!"

The episode aired on Cartoon Network Sunday, Jan. 15, King’s birthday, a day before the national holiday in his honor.

“This episode in no way was meant to offend or 'desecrate' the name of Dr. King,” the network said in a statement. “We think Aaron McGruder came up with a thought-provoking way of not only showing Dr. King's bravery, but also of reminding us of what he stood and fought for, and why, even today, it is important for all of us to remember that and to continue to take action.”

McGruder could not be reached for comment.

“The Boondocks” is based on McGruder’s successful comic strip about an eccentric suburban grandfather who becomes the legal guardian of his two grandsons and moves them from Chicago’s South Side to live with him.

McGruder’s groundbreaking strip -- which is syndicated in more than 250 newspapers -- has drawn fire over the years for its edginess.

In 2003, the Washington Post decided against running a strip that suggested Condoleezza Rice's single status may be contributing to the continuation of the War on Terrorism.

"Maybe if there was a man in the world who Condoleezza truly loved, she wouldn't be so hell-bent to destroy it," a character says.

The following year, a bunch of newspapers dropped the strip for a week when McGruder depicted a fictional Apprentice-like “reality” TV show called, “Can a N***a Get a Job?” hosted by rap music mogul Russell Simmons.

The comic strip has also mocked Whitney Houston’s drug problem, Martha Stewart’s criminal charges and BET’s oversaturation of rap videos.

The TV version made its debut in November, and has been widely criticized for its incessant use of the N-word. “The Boondocks” was all set to make a few jokes about Rosa Parks in an episode last year, but cut the references after the civil rights icon died.

But on the subject of King, there was no change of heart, prompting Sharpton to protest that McGruder and the network have gone too far. Sharpton said the Cartoon Network’s statement is not an apology, and is planning on “moving forward.”

“It's way over the line to do this to Dr. King,” Sharpton said in an interview. “I don't think they would have let him do that to an icon in another community. Why should we allow people to be so fast and careless with people in our community?”

“They wouldn't defame Lech Walesa,” Sharpton said of the network. “They wouldn't defame Golda Meir. They shouldn't defame Dr. King."