Western Animation: The Boondocks

"I am the stone that the builder refused
I am the visual, the inspiration, that made Lady sing the blues
I'm the spark that makes your idea bright
The same spark that lights the dark so that you can know your left from your right
I am the ballot in your box, the bullet in the gun
The inner glow that lets you know to call your brother 'son'
The story that's just begun
The promise of what's to come
And I'ma remain a soldier till the war is won
Judo flip! Chop chop chop! Judo flip! Chop chop chop!"
Asheru, Opening Theme

The Boondocks is an animated TV series that aired intermittently on [adult swim] from 2005 to 2014, running for a total of 4 seasons with 55 episodes. It was adapted from the comic strip of the same name that was created by Aaron McGruder.

Like the comics, this show focused on the lives of the Freemans, a black family from inner-city Chicago, Illinois who move into the mostly white suburb of Woodcrest, Maryland. The main protagonist and narrator is Huey Freeman (Regina King), a preteen radical-leftist activist who despite his extreme politics, is usually depicted as the lone voice of reason. His younger brother Riley Freeman (Regina King) is a trouble-making delinquent who idolizes gangsta rappers. Their grandfather Robert Freeman (John Witherspoon) is a grumpy old man who is quite likely too senile for his own good, and can usually be found chasing younger women.

Other important characters include Uncle Ruckus (Gary Anthony Williams), an old black man who has a deep hatred of his own race. Also returning is Tom Dubois (Cedric Yarbrough), a very friendly yet hapless black lawyer with a white wife Sarah (Jill Talley) and a mixed daughter Jazmine (Gabby Soleil). Compared to the comic, there's a considerably larger cast of strange and colorful characters, both recurring and one-time.

Like the comics, this show satirizes many issues about African-Americans and the United States in general, but takes a different approach to it. Rather than just overt social commentary, the show's brand of humor is far more over-the-top, with the Freeman family constantly getting into wacky misadventures with weird people, along with some occasional martial arts action scenes.

The first three seasons were made with McGruder's input. The fourth was not, and was largely regarded as mediocre. Since Season 4 (2014), there has been no confirmation of any continuation of this series, as McGruder is focused on a new live-action series called Black Jesus. There were aborted plans to give Uncle Ruckus a spin-off live-action film via Kickstarter, however it failed to receive enough funding.

It now has a Best Episode Crowner. Not to be confused with The Boondock Saints.

Tropes used in the animated series:

NOTE: Only list tropes here if they apply to the series as a whole, or contain examples from multiple episodes. Otherwise, move excess tropes to the characters page or episode recaps to reduce overcrowding.

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    A-G 
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Robert Freeman uses his belt rather liberally to discipline his grandsons, especially Riley. Granted though, Riley is very poorly behaved most of the time, but you can't help but think that his Granddad still overdoes it.
    • Luna grew up with an abusive father. This would later be mirrored by Luna's relationships with abusive boyfriends. This all explains why she's so crazy.
    • This is the reason that Lamilton Taeshawn's grandmother gives for her grandson's sociopathic behavior, saying that he comes from a family where everyone is an alcoholic and abuse each other. Unlike Uncle Ruckus' situation, this all bores Huey and Granddad.
    • Uncle Ruckus' father and paternal grandmother. They were grade-A assholes who took out life's frustrations on their own children. Ruckus was savagely abused by his father, who in turn had learned it from his own mother. Uncle Ruckus was so emotionally scarred that combined with copying his mother's extreme love of white people, he learned to hate most black people.
  • Action Girl:
    • Luna, a champion martial artist who once ripped out a man's heart during a fighting tournament. When Robert becomes too scared to continue dating her, she has a mental breakdown and proves him right!
    • Thelma. In all three versions of the Catcher Freeman story, she participated in a deadly slave revolt against Colonel Lynchwater; although in Robert's and Ruckus' versions of the story, she was mostly a distressed damsel and a femme fatale respectively. In the true and final version of the story, she was the rebelling slaves' leader, who actually fought a sword duel with Lynchwater.
    • Ming Long-Dou is surprisingly deadly with her kickball skills. It should be noted that the kickball game is played out like a brutal brawl with lots of beatings and fighting.
    • Esmeralda Gripenasty, who is an elderly example; along with her equally old male accomplices, they are surprisingly fast and strong, and cause a lot of trouble for our protagonists.
  • Actual Pacifist: The Freedom Riders in "Freedom Ride or Die" are taught and pledged to be this in their efforts to show their moral superiority over the racists in the '60s. Their leader, Sturdy Harris, is more of a Martial Pacifist. Robert himself rejects their pacifism, believing it is better to either flee from or fight back against the angry racist mobs.
  • After the End: "The Fried Chicken Flu". It appears that most of the world is dead, society is breaking down and the Freeman house may be the last safe place, all thanks to a mysterious virus caused by fried chicken. It turns out that the media blew things out of proportion. No one's actually dead and the "flu" is just salmonella. It's also shown that Ruckus and his group are the only ones dressed in that Mad Max gear, which Thugnificent points out.
  • All Just a Dream: Several episodes begin with a dream or nightmare.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version of the show has a different opening theme.
  • An Aesop: Many episodes have some kind of message.
  • Animated Music Video:
  • Animation Bump: The overall visual quality of the Season 1 animation is absolutely nothing compared to the Season 2 or 3 animation, which makes it hard to re-watch old episodes at times...
  • Animesque: McGruder specifically ordered the TV series to be made with an anime-inspired design, right down to hiring the South Korean animation studios Moi Animation (owned by the Japanese studio Madhouse, who did some uncredited work) and Dong Woo Animation (owned by Studio Gallop) to help animate the series.
    • Especially notable is that mouth movement is not smooth in the series, unlike most Western Animation.
  • Applied Mathematics: Nigga Moment (perpetual conflict between niggas over trivial or ignorant things) + Nigga Synthesis (perpetual bond between niggas over trivial or ignorant things) = complete disaster.
  • Armoured Closet Gay:
    • The gangsta rapper Gangstalicious denies his homosexuality, despite increasingly obvious evidence that he is.
    • Also the play/screen-writer Winston Jerome (an expy of Tyler Perry).
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • When Uncle Ruckus came to the Freeman household to exorcise Tom, who is possessed by the spirit of Stinkmeaner, he used the following tools: a whip, a noose, a night stick, a branding iron and a job application. According to the self-hating Ruckus, these are the things that the black man fears the most.
    • "She called me obsessed... disturbed... icky." Said by the obsessed counselor in "Smokin' with Cigarettes"
    • A visual example in "The Color Ruckus", when Uncle Ruckus is telling the story of his childhood. When his father is throwing him out of the house: he steps on a rake, which hits him in the face and gives him his trademark bulging eye and broken teeth; he steps in a bear trap, giving him a limp; and he... gets wet paint from the fence on his shirt. His mother cries it'll need a presoak to get out.
  • Art Evolution: Much like The Venture Bros., season 3 improves the animation overall.
  • Ascended Meme: In "Mr. Medicinal", Riley states that he's going to challenge Jaden Smith to a fight if he moves to LA. This is a reference to many popular pictures comparing Riley to the new Karate Kid.
  • As Himself: Ghostface Killah. As an actual ghost.
  • Ass Kicks You: Tom uses this to escape from the Booty Warrior.
  • As You Know: Grandad even says "Look, nobody needs to be reminded of that tragic day you gave that girl a permanent severe limp" right before telling the story.
  • Audience Surrogate: Ebony Brown, who deconstructs Uncle Ruckus's appeal, leans on the fourth wall, and expresses a desire to be a part of the main characters' wacky adventures. The fact that she's mind-bogglingly attractive and practically a saint suggests that McGruder is either playing around by making an in-universe Mary Sue fanfic in his own show, or he really, really appreciates his audience.
    • She also might be McGruder's reply to black feminists who criticized him for not having a black woman as a regular on the show. He's basically saying this is the only character black women would be happy with, but there's no way she's going to be in the cast.
  • Author Tract:
  • Awesome but Impractical: Your watch may be too bling if...you can't read the time in direct sunlight.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Every once in awhile the Freemans will have a moment that demonstrate that deep down, they care about each other's well being. It's often one-sided and understated, but with the way characters usually act in this show it still says a lot.
  • Bald of Evil:
  • Berserk Button:
    • Laugh at Huey. Please.
    • You can't have Tom's wife or his booty.
    • Try not to throw any chairs when a large amount of black people are present.
      • The "Nigga Moment" phenomenon as a whole occurs when two or more black people get into an altercation because one party regards a petty slight as a Berserk Button. The two individuals involved don't even need to be actual niggasnote  for a Nigga Moment to occur; two otherwise intelligent black people can start a Nigga Moment simply because one of them won't let the issue go.
    • Don't try to shorten A Pimp Named Slickback's name when you address him.
      A Pimp Named Slickback: A Pimp Named Slickback! It's like A Tribe Called Quest, you say the whole thing!
  • Big Damn Heroes: Thugnificent and his crew rescuing the Freemans and DuBoises in "The Fried Chicken Flu".
  • Bilingual Backfire: Huey. High-stakes kickball. "I don't like being laughed at."
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: "You better not be watching any of that [adult swim]!"
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Bitches to Rags" leaves Thugnificent bankrupt and forced to sell his home. However, he sort of manages to make a comeback as a UPS delivery man, realizing the "rapper lifestyle" wasn't going to last forever and that he had to move on.
    • Although he is making a reality TV show based on his post rap career.
  • Black Comedy: This show has a very cynical sense of humor. Corrupt authorities, racial stereotypes, and violent crime are all Played for Laughs.
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    • This show managed to take a horrible crime and make fear of said crime hilarious in "A Date with the Health Inspector".
    • Ditto for "A Date with the Booty Warrior", especially the opening with Chris Hansen.
  • Black Sitcom: Obviously.
  • Bland-Name Product: The store where Lamilton beats up his grandma is called Walli-Mart. What makes this strange is that Wal-Mart was actually mentioned by name in another episode.
  • Blunt "Yes":
    • After Stinkmeaner collides his car into Robert's:
    Granddad: You ran into our car! Are you blind?!
    Stinkmeaner: YES... I... AM.
    • Another time, Robert's fed up with the fact that all of his internet dates are ugly women who used fake pictures on their profile. He complains to one of them about it.
      Date: Is that all you care about is looks?
      Robert: YE-ES!
  • Boomerang Bigot:
    • Uncle Ruckus, who'd join the Klan if he wasn't black. The irony is that he has the darkest skin out of all the cast. He claims to have "re-vitiligo", the opposite of what Michael Jackson's got.
    • Colonel Stinkmeaner says that he hates everyone, but black people especially.
    • The BET TV network executives despise their own audience, so they make sure that their programming keeps black people dumbed down.
    • We learn that Uncle Ruckus partly learned his behavior from his mother, who wasn't exactly hateful of black people like he would be, but still thought that white people are better.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In the episode "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show", when Ruckus learns that he is 102% African, and subsequently quits all his jobs.
    Ruckus: Don't know how I'm gonna pay the bills. Probably have to start selling crack. Or rapping. Or rapping about selling crack.
  • Brick Joke:
    • From "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy":
    NIGGA MOMENT + NIGGA SYNTHESIS = COMPLETE DISASTER
    Stinkmeaner: Remember this equation. You'll need it later, nigga!
    • What happens later? The "complete disaster" is the Hateocracy killing Bushido Brown.
    NIGGA MOMENT + NIGGA SYNTHESIS = COMPLETE DISASTER
    Stinkmeaner: It's a beautiful day to fuck shit up! (Evil Laugh)
    • "Pause" had a scene where Riley explains to Granddad about saying "No homo" after saying something that could be taken into gay subtext. Cut to the next episode "A Date with the Booty Warrior".
    Tom: Don't you see honey? If I'm afraid to live my life, then the anal rapists win. My anus is going to be fine, and I'm going to make sure those young boy's anuses are just fine too!
    Beat
    Sarah: Pause.
  • Bring My Brown Pants:
    Uncle Ruckus "Say that again? I couldn't hear you over the sound of me sh***in' myself."
  • Broke Episode: "Bitches to Rags". A rare permanent example for poor "Thugnificent" Otis Jenkins.
  • But Not Too Black: Huey points out that the typical virtuous, love interest in a Winston Jermone movie will always be lighter then the ungrateful, Jesus-hating husband.
  • Card-Carrying Villain:
    • Stinkmeaner and the Hateocracy bully other people for no reason other than having some evil fun.
    • Likewise, Lamilton Taeshawn has the same motives for his crimes as well.
    • Deborah Leevil is a cackling and scheming supervillainess who plans to destroy black people. She insists that BET doesn't stand for Black Entertainment Television, but Black Evil Television.
  • Cassandra Truth: Played depressingly straight with Huey in the cartoon, as far as everyone hitting him, cursing him out, or fiendishly mocking him whenever he speaks the truth about the world around him.
    • In the "The Fundraiser", Riley actually recognizes that everything Huey says comes true. However, he just decides not to listen, because he doesn't like spoilers thinks things go wrong because Huey talks about them.
      • However, Riley makes an exception when Huey gives him a bulletproof vest, and makes the smart move of constantly wearing it. It ends up saving his life.
    • In "The Fried Chicken Flu" this becomes a major plot point, since Huey has been preparing for the end. Hell, his survival plan is even titled, "I Told You So." They have enough food, supplies, and backup power for 4 people. Unfortunately, no one but Jazmine read Huey's plan, and because Riley and Granddad refused to listen to him for their own selfish ends, 9 people occupy the house, the power goes out, and food becomes scarce. It all goes to waste however; everyone in Woodcrest mistakenly thought the world was ending, when in fact the "killer fried chicken flu" was just an outbreak of salmonella.
    • In the Season 3 finale, Granddad lampshades this at the very end.
      Granddad: Wow, Huey. You were totally right this time. Just imagine all the problems we could avoid if we just listened to you. Oh well.
  • Catch Phrase: Several characters have at least one. Also most black characters say "nigga" to the point of it being a Verbal Tic.
    • Riley:
      • "Nigga, you gay!"
      • "Pause."
    • Robert:
      • "Boy, where's my belt?!"
      • Not really a phrase, but Granddad has that little tune he sings constantly with the words being just about anything on his mind at the time.
        "New shoes, New shoo-oo-oo-oo-ooo-oes!"
        "Good food, Good foo-oo-oo-oo-ooo-ood!"
        "Soul Plane, Soul Pla-aa-aa-aa-aaa-ane!"
    • Uncle Ruckus:
      • "Uncle Ruckus, no relation."
      • "I've got re-vitiligo (it's the opposite of what Michael Jackson's got)."
    • Colonel H. Stinkmeaner: "BITCH-ASS NYUKKA!"
    • Ed Wuncler III: "(What the) fuck y'all looking at?"
    • A Pimp Named Slickback: "I'm A Pimp Named Slickback."
    • Thugnificent: "No homo."
  • Celebrity Paradox: Robert Freeman is voiced by John Witherspoon, yet both Friday and Soul Plane exist in the show.
    • "Grandad, you didn't live that, that's from that movie Friday."
    • The faux trailer for Soul Plane 2 states that it stars Witherspoon, as well as Gary Anthony Williams, who voices Uncle Ruckus.
    • Also, in the music video for Thugnificent's "Eff Grandad", Robert notices that "he" is played by John Witherspoon.
  • Character Development:
    • Tom. He starts out as a hypocrite and, for lack of a more poignant term, a pussy. His main fear was being anally raped in prison, and yet, as a prosecution attorney, he sent many young men to that same fate. He realizes his hypocrisy, and decides to become a defense attorney, and goes to therapy to get over his phobia. He does well, and decides to test himself by chaperoning a "scared stiff" program, where boys are shown around a prison to scare them straight. He freaks out and leaves them at the mercy of the rioting prisoners, then realizes what a horrible thing he did. While on the rescue mission, he is confronted by a naked prisoner in the shower, who attempts to rape him. Tom actually stands and fights against him, and comes out victorious.
    • Uncle Ruckus. He starts as just a self-hating, bitter, black man who works 47 jobs and claims to have "re-vitiligo," a made up disease that makes him black. It is revealed in the episode "The Color Ruckus" that he hates black people because he was actually brought up in a black family in which his father and grandmother were terrible to him, and his mother, who was very nice to him, would teach him all about how great she thought white people were. He probably was not adopted and does not have re-vitiligo, even if he still thinks so. At the end of the episode, he decides that he shouldn't hate black people, but rather, feel sorry for them. This isn't much of an improvement, but it's probably better than hating them.
    • Riley. Even being a stablished main character, the first season only has three episodes focused on him. And only "Rilery Wuz Here" has a real conflict and development. Season 2, on the other hand, has half of the first 10 episodes about him and his development as a person.
  • Characterization Marches On: In season one, as per the comic the show is based on, Huey was much more of a reserved black nationalist and conspiracy theorist, as his opening lines in the first episode show. But in the later seasons he becomes more sane and normal to balance out Riley and Granddad's wackiness.
    • It happens in general in the show compared to the comic - the show is more social commentary than political, and thus focuses on the ways people can be ignorant. As a result, the characters are changed to reflect that, with Huey being the Only Sane Man who exists to balance out the foolishness of the world around him.
      • Granddad, who is in the comic a wise but weary man who just wants to enjoy his golden years, becomes self-centered, greedy, and obsessed with appearances.
      • Riley is more of an exaggeration of himself - he is even more "thug-life" than he was in the comic, but in addition becomes a Small Name, Big Ego and loses much of his "clever but willfully Book Dumb" traits.
      • Huey himself becomes less extreme, less aggressively opinionated and becomes wiser - basically, his Jerk with a Heart of Gold activist traits are traded for amplifying his Only Sane Man traits. This, in turn, leads him to not quite need a foil to mellow him out and point out when he's being hypocritical, which resulted in Michael Caesar not needing to make an appearance.
      • Nearly every character from the comic gets some kind of alteration: Tom's foppish traits become the entire basis for his character, as well as his marriage problems. Jazmine's problems with racial identity are downplayed in favor of her extreme naivete. But nobody gets this greater than Cindy McPhearson, who is a completely different character: a racially ignorant ditz in the comic, an even crazier version of Riley in the show.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
  • The Chew Toy:
    • Tom, frequently, generally when he is a pivotal character in the episode.
    • His daughter sometimes as well.
  • Colliding Criminal Conspiracies: The end of "The Fundraiser".
  • Comedic Sociopathy:
    • Ruckus and how he treats other black people.
    • Mr. Wuncler in how he uses illegal immigrant and/or child labor is also often played for laughs.
  • Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Played with. The Hateocracy consists of Lord Rufus Crabmiser, Lady Esmerelda Gripenasty and Mister George Pistofferson. Their designs are based on Redd Foxx, Lawanda Page and Jimmy Walker, respectively.
  • Comic-Book Time: The characters don't age despite the fact the series takes place in the "present day". Huey should now have been far older than ten when Obama was elected, for example.
    • Subverted, in a way. They may be canonically the same age as they were in the beginning, but they're actually drawn to look older with each season. (compare season 1 Huey and Riley to their season 3 counterparts, who are somewhat taller and not as baby-faced.) How this works is anyone's guess.
  • Common Nonsense Jury:
    • In "The Trial of R. Kelly", a jury full of R. Kelly fans are easily convinced that the trial was all about racism against the defendant. Never mind that there's a lot of damning evidence against R. Kelly.
    • From the same episode as the above, Uncle Ruckus claims to have served on a mostly white jury, where he convicted a blind black man of shooting 3 white women. (Though if this story was true, then how did the black Ruckus get around the segregation? Even if he does hate other black people, he still probably would've been barred from jury duty.)
    • In "The Passion of Reverend Ruckus", Shabazz K. Milton Berle was sentenced to death for the murder of a cop, even though the real killer shouted to everyone that he did it, and left all the evidence at the scene.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Ruckus has a seething hatred of black people and everything about them despite not only being black, but being one of the darkest skinned characters in the series. He insists he has "that thing Michael Jackson had, but in reverse."
  • Conflict Ball: "The Nigga Moment" is essentially this In-Universe. It describes a moment when ignorance overwhelms the mind of an otherwise logical black man, causing him to act in an illogical, self-destructive manner, such as getting into a shoot-out over a guy brushing against your shoulder on the street.
  • Continuity Nod: It's safe to say that the series is rife with these. Including several episodes that were (very loosely) adapted from the comic strips.
    • The Season 1 opening prominently features a profile of Huey seen from the side, reminiscent of how he appears in the comic.
    • In a few episodes, Huey can be seen near a tree on a hill, an iconic stock setting from the comic.
    • "Granddad's Fight" gets three sequel episodes, forming a tetralogy (one episode per season), all of them about Robert's Nigga Moment with Stinkmeaner, and how it keeps coming back to haunt him.
    • "A Huey Freeman Christmas" features Riley having a vendetta against Santa Claus, and assaulting two Mall Santas (one of whom is Uncle Ruckus), which was originally in the comic.
    • In "Let's Nab Oprah", Huey emphasizes his reasons against Riley hanging out with Ed and Rummy to Granddad, by reminding him of the mini-mart robbery from "A Date with the Health Inspector".
    • "Riley Wuz Here" combines two plots that were originally from the comic; the main plot is about Riley committing a graffiti spree throughout the neighborhood (though his modus operandi is different), while the side plot is about Huey experimenting with only watching TV shows about black people for 2 weeks straight.
    • "The Block Is Hot" adapts and expands one comic strip about Jazmine running a lemonade stand, complete with a scene where Riley and Robert ask her stupid questions about the lemonade.
    • "Tom, Sarah and Usher" alludes to a story arc from the comics about Tom staying with the Freemans after Sarah kicks him out, although the reasons for their split are completely different.
      • "Pretty Boy Flizzy" shows Sarah kicking out Tom yet again, but an annoyed Robert decides to keep Tom out of the Freeman house this time.
    • In "Shinin'", Thugnificent makes it clear that if his rap career fails, he and the rest of the Lethal Interjection Crew will turn to crime - with Flonominal specifically mentioning crack dealing. The exception is Leonard, who thinks he'd be fine working at Wendy's...
      • In "Bitches to Rags", the jig is up, and Thugnificent is being supported by Leonard, who really did get a job at Wendy's, until Thugnificent decides to just sell crack.
    • "Invasion of the Katrinians" also adapts a comic arc about Robert's relatives from New Orleans seeking refuge at his house after Hurricane Katrina, although it plays out very differently.
    • "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman" contains the very first line Huey said in the intro for "The Garden Party", and later his plan is foiled because he can't get a ride (which is what happened before in "The Passion of Reverend Ruckus").
    • "The Story of Lando Freeman" starts and ends with the lawn needing to be mowed, with a mention that whenever Ruckus doesn't do the lawn, it's always Huey who has to do it. A running gag from the comic strip involved Granddad forcing Huey to mow the lawn.
    • In "The Lovely Ebony Brown", when Huey and Riley hear that Granddad has a new date, the boys remember Granddad's past dating experiences and they freak out.
    • Oddly in "Breaking Granddad", there's a passing joke about Jazmine's insecurity with her curly afro hair, which was a running gag in the comic strip.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Ed Wuncler I and his son Ed Wuncler II use their money and power to accumulate even more wealth through unethical and and unlawful means. They get away with all of this because they've been outright deemed above the law.
    • Deborah Leevil and Wedgie Rudlin run BET with the intention of keeping African-American viewers in a perpetual state of stupidity. Deborah outright calls herself evil and even murders two members of her of board of directors.
    • Ed Wuncler I's business rival, Mr. Long-dou of Wushung, China, is a gambler who decides to bet Wuncler's debt to him over a kickball game, and even bribes the referee to allow the Chinese team to cheat.
    • The UK-based World's Ultimate Chocolate company is run by Alistair Rigby, who treats chocolate fundraisers like drug trafficking. He even hires thugs to harass children for competing against him.
    • Boss Willona knowingly sells poisonous and explosive hair products to desperate black women with nappy hair. Like Rigby, she treats an outwardly legitimate business like it was organized crime.
  • Crapsack World: African-American stereotypes are rampant, corrupt rich white people get away with everything, and any world where Uncle Ruckus isn't locked inside an insane asylum is a bad one.
    • Crapsaccharine World: Woodcrest may be a mostly upper-class and middle-class suburban city, but it's anything except quiet and peaceful, as the Freemans will learn. In "Good Times", Granddad considers moving out because their lives haven't been any easier in this town.
  • Crazy-Prepared
    Granddad: Ooooh, noooo! Huey, grab my shotgun!
    Huey comes back with the shotgun.
    Huey: Granddad, what's going on?
    Granddad: Lamilton Taeshawn escaped. Go grab my pistol with the silver bullets.
    Huey: He's not a werewolf, Granddad.
    Later ...
    Granddad: Huey, grab the wooden stake. And my holy water!
  • The Danza: In-universe example, as 50 Cent stars in Soul Plane 2 as "Air Marshal 50 Cent!"
  • Darker and Edgier: The TV series isn't as restricted by censorship as the comic strip was, and thus gets away with a lot of violence, profanity, and sexual humor.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Huey.
      Ed Wuncler: (After showing off his impressive team of mercenaries and Dominican children) Tell me that you don't want to be part of kickball history.
      Huey: (Without so much as changing the expression on his face) I don't want to be part of kickball history.
    • A Pimp Named Slickback concerning Tom's Wouldn't Hit a Girl attitude.
      A Pimp Named Slickback: Has not hitting the bitch been working? I mean scientifically speaking, has not hitting the bitch achieved the desired result?
    • And later, as one of his bitches beats on Tom.
      A Pimp Named Slickback: See that? Bitch has no problem hitting you. You're definitely allowed by law to hit her now, Thomas. Self Defense. Sweetest Taboo, you are in rare form.
  • Death Glare:
    • Huey may glare 90% of the time anyways, but those select glares he saves for those who have really pissed him off or who have done something he considers reprehensible are very, very vicious.
    • Likewise, Granddad - the look he gives A Pimp Named Slickback when he tries to hit Cristal in his presence, for instance.
    • Riley's first clue that Lamilton is crazy.
  • Death Seeker: According to Robert, Sturdy Harris was this, claiming he cared more about dying for the cause than for the cause itself.
  • Decomposite Character: This ends up being the case in Granddad and Ruckus's versions of the story of Catcher Freeman.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Huey, so that we can get more of Granddad's wacky adventures in dating and Riley's thuggery! because Huey was basically the tool McGruder used to comment on current events. Current events are much more suited to daily strips because... they're daily. If he tried to use current events in an episode that takes months to make, it wouldn't be current anymore.
    • Neither Jazmine nor Gin Rummy had any lines for the first half of the third season.
  • Denser and Wackier: The tone of the comic strip was overall mundane and down-to-earth, mostly focused on everyday life and social commentary. The TV series is far more outlandish and over-the-top, with crazier situations and the addition of action scenes. And somehow, it keeps getting weirder with every season.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "They call me the fundraiser 'cuz that's what I do: I raise funds."
    • Riley also once said to Gin Rummy "It's a bad plan! You plan things badly!" To be fair, you can understand his frustration.
    • Werner Herzog asks Huey how he, as a "black African-American negro" feels about Obama's election.
  • Depraved Homosexual: The Booty Warrior.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • At the end of "The Passion of Reverend Ruckus", we have the lightning, that solved the two hopeless plots at once. Shabazz's execution has been thwarted, and Ruckus' sermon was disrupted.
    • At the end of "The Fundraiser", The Mafia come out of nowhere and shoot the British candy cartel boss trying to take over Riley's business. And then the FBI show up and gun them down as well.
  • Dirty Coward: Even though it turns out to be all just a dream, Robert's behavior in the intro to "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy" is especially despicable and cowardly.
    • He forces Tom to let go of Sarah while the Stinkmeaners drag her away, coldly remarking "You'll find another white woman!".
    • He throws Jazmine and kicks Tom downstairs in order to slow down the Stinkmeaners.
    • He leaves behind his own grandkids Huey and Riley, while the Stinkmeaners grab them and they're calling for help.
    • He hijacks Ruckus' motorboat and knocks Ruckus overboard to his demise (the boat could've easily accommodated them both). Although Ruckus was also planning to leave Robert to die.
    • He does all of this without a second thought, forsaking everyone in his life just to save his butt. To top it all off, he's not horrified when he wakes up, instead is proud that he was wily enough to make his escape.
  • Dissimile: This gem.
    Riley: (talking to Thugnificent) You're like Ray Charles or something, only without the piano skills or ability to sing or compose music.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Two of Jericho Freeman's kids in "Invasion of the Katrinians", apparently.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Many episodes are this.
    • "A Date With the Health Inspector" is a satirical allegory for the Invasion of Iraq. It even has Gin Rummy (Donald Rumsfeld parody) restate the infamous "known unknowns" speech.
    • "The Itis" shows the effects of junk food (also a metaphor for drugs) on poor neighborhoods.
    • "The Block Is Hot" is about corporations using child labor and when they get caught, they suffer little to no repercussions.
    • Huey is a parody of William Ayers in "It's A Black President, Huey Freeman", as both of them were used by Republicans to try to discredit Barack Obama.
    • The intro to "The Red Ball" satirizes American debt to the Chinese.
    • "The Fundraiser" is actually about drug dealing, although this one is much less subtle than the others, and references Scarface heavily.
    • "Good Times" and "Freedomland" overtly compares the recession to slavery.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "...Or Die Trying": revealed that the trod-upon movie theater employee Huey had talked into unionizing got the whole place shut down by the management and lost their jobs.
    • "Attack of the Killer Kung-Fu Wolf Bitch": Poor Luna got a new lease on life after a tension-filled standoff with the Freemans... only to kill herself just a few minutes later after being egged on by her friend (who ironically afterwards is heard saying words of encouragement).
    • "It's Goin' Down": Wuncler turns his usual Karma Houdini routine Up to Eleven and Huey, when encouraged by Agent Flowers that "They don't win until you give up", walks off as disillusioned as ever, echoing The White Shadow's line "You can't fight the future. Don't waste your life trying."
    • "Good Times": Granddad's excessive debt forces him to sell the family to what is essentially slavery to Ed Wuncler II and Uncle Ruckus. Though, whether this sticks or not is debatable.
  • End of Series Awareness: Later episodes such as "Mr. Medicinal" and "It's Going Down", the third season finale have Granddad make thinly veiled references to the end of the series, using wordplay that could be used to describe his old age.
  • Enemies Equals Greatness: Huey and Riley took a minute to discuss this trope in "Shinin'" where the latter is excited about receiving a chain from Thugnificent:
    Riley: "I can't wait for niggas to start hatin! I can't wait!"
    Huey: "So you judge your success by the amount of ill-will you generate from those around you?"
    Riley: "Hey, if niggas ain't mad at you, then you doin' something wrong."
    Huey: "By that definition then, you have a very bright future."
  • Enemy Mine: Huey and Uncle Ruckus plan to run away to Canada together when Barack Obama becomes president, Uncle Ruckus for obvious reasons and Huey because it's proof we've moved beyond racism.
    • Also, Huey and Agent Jack Flowers team up to stop a homegrown terrorist attack. Especially so, since Agent Flowers is a federal agent who previously held Huey under suspicion of planning to commit the very attack.
  • Enfante Terrible: Lamilton, and pretty much every named child in the series, save for Jazmine.
  • Equal-Opportunity Offender: Racism towards African-Americans is clearly the show's biggest target, but African-Americans who don't really make it easy for the rest of us are a close second.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Riley may have a eye for causing trouble but even he is disturbed by Lamilton's flat out sociopathy.
    • When taken hostage in a prison, Uncle Ruckus asks the sexually deprived inmates if they're going to rape the children. They respond "Hell no! Do we look like priests?!"
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: In this show, random fistfights and shootouts can break out at the slightest provocation.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai:
    • The Blind Nigga Samurai, from Huey's dream in "Granddad's Fight".
    • In Huey's play "The Adventures of Black Jesus", while we don't know anything about the plot, samurai were apparently involved as they are present at rehearsal, and one takes a bow at the end of opening night.
  • Evil Old Folks:
    • Ed Wuncler I, as the oldest patriarch of the Wuncler family.
    • Uncle Ruckus, who is old enough to proudly remember racial segregation.
    • Ruckus' father and grandmother are even older and worse than him.
    • Colonel H. Stinkmeaner is an unrepentant bully who owed his long life to his "love of hatred".
    • Stinkmeaner's associates, the Hateocracy. They terrorized a retirement home before getting kicked out, so they traveled around the world in search of more mayhem.
    • While Betty von Heusen isn't exactly evil, she's always depicted as a nasty jerkass.
  • Expy: A lot of characters are parodies of other people from other media or even real life:
    • Ed Wuncler I and his grandson Ed Wuncler III are parodies of Prescott Bush and his grandson George W. Bush.
    • Ed III's best friend Gin Rummy is a parody of Donald Rumsfeld.
    • Bushido Brown is based on Jim Kelly.
    • Riley's art teacher is based on Bob Ross, the famously laid-back white artist with an afro, who loved to paint landscapes.
    • Thugnificent is obviously based on Ludacris, with elements of Ice-T down to being from Georgia.
    • Rollo Goodlove is a parody of Al Sharpton.
    • BET CEO Deborah Leevil is a parody of the real CEO Debra L. Lee and Dr. Evil.
    • BET President Wedgie Rudlin is an extremely unflattering parody of the real President Reginald Hudlin... who happens to have originally been an executive producer of The Boondocks.
    • Two guesses as to who Dick O'Rushballs is a parody of.
    • Sgt. Gutter is Soulja Boy.
    • George Pistofferson, Rufus Crabmiser, and Esmeralda Gripenasty are based on JJ Evans, Fred Sanford, and Aunt Esther respectively.
    • Lamilton Taeshawn is based on 7-year-old Latarian Milton, who appeared in the news twice for taking a joyride in his grandma's car and beating on his grandma. He's also based on another fictional evil child named Henry Evans.
    • Lamilton's psychiatrist Dr. Doomis is based on Dr. Loomis.
    • Winston Jerome is Tyler Perry with elements of David Koresh and Jim Jones.
    • The Booty Warrior is a carbon copy of Fleece Johnson, a prisoner interviewed on an MSNBC documentary about prison life.
    • Jack Flowers is based on Jack Bauer.
    • Pretty Boy Flizzy is Chris Brown.
    • And then there's Kardashia Kardashian.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Psycho Star Wars Guy, is basically the only thing he was referred to as.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening changes both in its general presentation, and the clips it uses. The song remains the same, but it's remixed each time.
  • Fanservice:
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Stinkmeaner considers jail to be worse than Hell.
  • Fawlty Towers Plot: In "The Story of Jimmy Rebel", Uncle Ruckus records some racist songs for his equally racist country-singing idol Jimmy Rebel, but pretends to be his black slave instead after meeting him face-to-face.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: THEY RAN OUT OF FRIED CHICKEN?!
  • Five-Temperament Ensemble: Robert (choleric), Huey (melancholic), Tom (leuquine), Riley (sanguine), and Jazmine (phlegmatic).
  • Flanderization: While not fully given that much characterization when introduced, when Tom DuBois makes his debut in "The Trial of R. Kelly" he comes off as a regular, somewhat goody two-shoes of a lawyer, who was, among other things, left speechless in a debate with an eight year old. After that it just went downhill. He finally got some of his dignity back in "A Date With The Booty Warrior".
  • Foil:
    • Huey and Riley, while in the show he exists as the character representation of the show's point of contrast between wisdom (Huey) and ignorance.
    • Grandpa to Ruckus, as old-fashioned men with very different beliefs as to what old-fashioned wisdom and right is, a major reason why they are often played off each other as "friends," and the very point of one episode's subplot.
  • For the Evulz: Stinkmeaner and the Hateocracy lived this trope, according to his flashbacks. They were Jerkasses to an extreme level. His posse say that they "don't need a reason to fuck shit up."
    • This is also Lamilton Taeshawn's excuse for his sociopath-behavior, stating that "It's fun to do bad things."
  • Free-Range Children: This is lessened somewhat in the cartoon, as Granddad often attempts to restrain them from doing anything crazy, but as the show goes on they're able to get away with more and more anyway (at one point, for example, they're able to effortlessly sneak into a movie studio).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "I assure you, you'll be seeing a lot more of me."
    • In "The Story of Catcher Freeman" , during Grandpa's tale, their are several mentions of Col. Lynchwater's demise. Particularly how it happens in his story.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: See Five-Temperament above.
  • Freudian Threat: Jack Flowers' usual method of interrogation leads to a great exchange when he has to interrogate Huey.
    Jack: Do you know what kind of damage a steel boot can do to pre-pubescent testicles?
    Huey:...How would I know that?
    Jack: Tell me where the target is before I kick you in the nuts!
  • Gang Bangers:
  • Gayngster:
    • Gangstalicious, much to Riley's horror and dismay. He flat-out refuses to believe it, even with the preponderance of evidence.
    • Gangstalicious' ex-boyfriend was a violent drug dealer named Lincoln.
    • Boss Willona's henchman, who dresses in pink clothes and uses women's hair care products.
  • Genre Savvy: A prime example is when Huey knows how Riley's fundraiser scheme will end. Riley has an idea, but tells Huey not to tell him, believing that not knowing will allow him to defy fate. Riley even accuses Huey of spoiling.
  • Gonk: They only appear briefly, but Robert's internet dates in "Attack of the Killer Kung-Fu Wolf Bitch" are cartoonishly ugly.
  • Gratuitous English: A necessary instance of this happens in the Japanese-dubbed version of the show: Since the use of the Japanese-equivalent word for nigger (and similar slurs) is not allowed in both Japanese media and translations, the translators solves this problem by using the same words untranslated from English (and sometimes, from other languages like Spanish, like the Seņor Piņata insult, who was also untranslated in that dub)note 
    • This is not exclusive for insults and slurs: Some names and sometimes even honorifics remains untranslated: Both A Pimp Named Slickbacknote  and Uncle Ruckus'snote  are the same in English in the Japanese version, albeit in his case, Uncle is his name, not a honorific.
  • Groin Attack: Seems to be a sort of running gag.
    • The recurring Thugnificent song "Stomp 'Em In The Nuts" sometimes plays in the background.
    • "Attack Of The Killer Kung-Fu Wolf Bitch": While Lionel Richie was sleeping with a mistress, his angry wife punishes him by stomping him in the nuts (the above song doesn't play though).
    • "Ballin'": The fat white kid on the basketball team accidentally gets hit with one.
    • "Home Alone": While Uncle Ruckus babysits Huey and Riley, they shoot him in the groin with airsoft pellets.
    • "The Fundraiser": Cindy knees a chocolate industry goon in his nuts.
    • "A Date with the Booty Warrior": Tom hits the Booty Warrior in the groin, while the former almost gets raped by the latter.
    • "It's Goin' Down": Jack Flowers' preferred method of "enhanced interrogation" on captured terrorists is to kick them in the testicles.
      • Taking an example from Jack, Uncle Ruckus stomps Dan the security guard in the nuts, while "Stomp 'Em in the Nuts" plays in the background.
    • "The New Black": Riley gets stomped in the nuts by a mob of angry retarded children, while the same song plays.

    H-N 
  • Hair Trigger Sound Effect: During "Attack of the Killer Kung-Fu Wolf Bitch", chop-sockey sound effects punctuate every mention of the Kumate *HOOYAH!*
  • Happy Dance: Riley's "Celebratory Booty Dance" in "The S-Word".
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: A perennial part of Riley's character.
  • Here We Go Again: "Smokin' With Cigarettes" and "The Fundraiser" end with these. While the former is possibly subverted, the latter heavily implies it being played straight.
  • Heroic BSOD: Riley has one of these in "The Fundraiser" near the end during the shootout between the candy bar cartel, the mafia, and the FBI.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: "Stinkmeaner: Begun the Clone War Has" is based around this trope. It even opens with the Trope Namer quote from Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Good God, Uncle Ruckus. Granted it's sad in-series, but this gem says it all:
    Mister Ruckus: (To young Uncle) Nigga, did I just see you wanting to be shit when you grow up!? *Smacks him in the face*
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Uncle Ruckus is the main source of this because of his self-racism.
    • In "The Garden Party", Robert tells Huey and Riley that they shouldn't use the N word, even though Huey points out that Robert says it all the time.
    • And this moment from "Tom, Sarah and Usher":
    Riley: BOOOO! Hey Tom, shut the fuck up!
    Granddad: Boy, watch your mouth! Tom, shut the fuck up!
    • In "The Color Ruckus", Riley admits that Uncle Ruckus's story was sad, but said that he was not going to cry because that would be "gay". Later in the episode, after Ruckus continues to tell the story, Riley is seen sobbing like a baby.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: It seems that most people in this show are very bad at shooting even at close range, and almost no one gets harmed. There's quite a few examples from Season 1 alone:
    • "Granddad's Fight": Two gangsters are standing two feet away from each other, each shooting an entire clip at each other from point blank range, and neither one gets wounded... until the cops show up and waste them both with single shots.
    • "A Date with the Health Inspector": Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy shoot exactly one guy during the shootout at the convenience store, a bystander cop, who somehow lives.
    • "The Story Of Gangstalicious": Three gangsters, one of whom had two guns, run out of bullets without hitting one naked, blindfolded, and slowly-walking man.
    • "The Block Is Hot": The police attempt to shoot Uncle Ruckus with over a hundred bullets without success, and in the end resort to beating him with nightsticks.
  • I'm Taking Him Home With Me!: One of the batshit crazy women Granddad dated tried to run off with Riley.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: A good portion of the characters look exactly like their actors, in costume. Granddad even wears John Witherspoon's trademark white shoes.
  • Innocent Bigot: In the show, this is more of less the default portrayal of minor white characters, at least those that aren't more apathetic than anything.
  • Inter Generational Friendship:
    • Riley and his "niggas", Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy
    • Riley and the members of the Lethal Interjection Crew.
  • Ironic Name: Thugnificent's hometown of Terra Belle, Georgia.
    Thugnificent: You know, in Latin they say "Terra Belle" means "beautiful earth". But in Georgia, "Terra Belle" means "f**ked up place to live". Terrible Terra Belle.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Riley describes his plan in "The Fundraiser'':
    Riley: [voiceover] And that's when it hit me. The best idea I've ever had in my entire life.
    Huey: [To Riley.] That's the worst idea you've ever had in your entire life.
  • Its Pronounced Tro Pay: Subverted - when Robert Freeman gets pulled over, he assumes the cop's name is pronounced "Do-shay." It's really pronounced "Douche." Freeman thinks it's hilarious. Did we mention he's completely high at the time?
  • Jerkass:
    • Uncle Ruckus definitely counts here. Most of the time, he's cruel and antipathetic to other black people, and it's sometimes implied that his hatred can get violent.
    • Colonel H. Stinkmeaner could be considered a personification for hatred. He proudly despises everyone, and enjoys annoying the hell out of everyone.
    • Ed Wuncler I is the embodiment of the Corrupt Corporate Executive. He sees nothing wrong with doing downright illegal things in pursuit of the almighty dollar.
    • Moe Jackson is this in spades. Even from beyond the grave, he wants to have a laugh at the expense of Robert. This guy was a cruel practical joker of the worst kind.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Huey, Riley, and Robert. Their family relationship is dysfunctional, but they do care about each other deep down.
    • Even Uncle Ruckus very occasionally, such as in "A Huey Freeman Christmas" and "The Color Ruckus".
    • Pretty Boy Flizzy, although he hides it for his image.
  • Karma Houdini: There's several outrageous examples:
    • R. Kelly gets away with urinating on an underage girl, despite overwhelming evidence in the form of a self-incriminating video, because he was acquitted by a jury of his absurdly loyal fans.
    • The Ed Wuncler family line (I, II, & III) and their friend Gin Rummy. Despite all of their blatantly criminal activity, they have enough money and connections to be ignored by the authorities, from the local police to the federal government! Although it might possibly be subverted with Ed III and Rummy, who are detained by a rogue federal agent.
    • Jericho Freeman and his large family, who fled New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina stay at Robert's house. However they quickly take advantage of his hospitality by eating all the food, creating a huge mess in the house, refusing to work, and waiting on a welfare check to solve all of their problems. Jericho even lies about not receiving the check, and returns to New Orleans without repaying the debt.
    • BET CEO Deborah Leevil is able to get away with two murders; and along with her President Wedgie Rudlin, they continue to corrupt their African-American audience.
  • Kung-Fu Proof Mook: Winston Jerome's "glistening" stripper bodyguards.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "Good Times" opens with Robert lampshading the screwed up premise of the show to hell and back:
    "It's just been one ridiculous, stupid, bizarre episode after another!"
  • Large Ham:
    • Stinkmeaner, NYUKKA!
    • A Pimp Named Slickback. Y'all better make that G4 work and stop playin'.
  • Laughably Evil: As this is a black comedy show, there's more than a fair share of funny villains here:
  • Leitmotif: Very common in this show.
    • You'll hear a very ugly tuba (Jabba The Hutt's theme from Star Wars) play every time Uncle Ruckus makes an appearance in an episode.
    • The "Terrible Terre Belle" track from Thugnificent's "Mo Bitches, Mo Problems" CD becomes his leitmotif from Season 3 onward.
    • The appearance of Ed "Eddie Jr." Wuncler II often is accompanied by sleazy lounge music.
    • The Jericho Family has a jazzy rendition of "When The Saints Go Marching In."
  • Lighter and Softer: Subsequent seasons aren't qute as dark as the first one.
  • Man Hug: Several of the males on this show aren't afraid to hug each other. More often than not, Riley will be on hand to tell them it's gay.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: When Robert starts smoking weed in "Mr. Medicinal", the world begins to look a lot more bright and colorful for him.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Wunclers. As in, the Once-ler, the expansionist bigwig antagonist of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.
    • Also, Uncle Ruckus. A reference to Uncle Tom, Amos Rucker (a slave who purportedly wanted to stay a slave after the Civil War), and Uncle Remus.
    • Tom DuBois. Uncle Tom (again) and W.E.B. DuBois, founder of NAACP.
    • Luna is quite lunatic. It also invokes the Moon, and her fondness of wolves.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • This quote from "Let's Nab Oprah":
    • The eponymous character from "The Lovely Ebony Brown" spent the entire episode Leaning on the Fourth Wall, and got Granddad into it as well.
    • From "The New Black":
    Riley: Thank god for uncensored DVD's.
  • Mighty Glacier: This appears to be Butch Magnus's fighting style. He only has to land a few blows to bring Riley down during his fight with him.
  • Mockumentary:
    • "It's A Black President, Huey Freeman". With special parody emphasis on the narrator's ridiculous internal monologue.
    • Also, the mockumentary Rags to Bitches in "The Story of Thugnificent".
  • Multitasked Conversation: This trope is nearly the entirety of Rummy's interactions with Ed III in "Thank You For Not Snitching," due to Ed III's affinity for his new Bluetooth earpiece.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
  • Murder Is the Best Solution:
    • Robert in regards to the Hateocracy.
    "Yeah, let's kill them before they kill us! That's a plan that can't go wrong."
    • While Robert asks Rummy what to do about Lando, Rummy keeps suggesting to kill him, claiming that some problems can only be solved with murder.
    • In Season 4, Ed Wuncler II convinced Robert to sign himself into slavery in exchange for canceling the mortgage. Huey's solution? Kill Ed II with a homemade bomb. The plan never gets off the ground though, as Robert decides to sell the explosive chemicals that Huey made for the job as hair tonic.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast:
    • Implacable bully Butch Magnus Milosevic.
    • The Hateocracy: Colonel H. Stinkmeaner, Lord Rufus Crabmeiser, Lady Esmerelda Gripenasty and Mr. George Pistofferson.
    • The Booty Warrior.
  • Naughty Nuns: Invoked and parodied in "Granddad Dates a Kardashian". An old nun named Mother Maria, who is dying of an illness and offered a chance on reality TV if she spices up her tragic stories, lies that she "fucked Eisenhower" and almost died of syphilis.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Robert shows no mercy to the clone of Stinkmeaner when Ed Wuncler I arranges another fight between them to help pay off Robert's debts. It was a complete Curb-Stomp Battle, but Huey talked Granddad out to making the killing blow.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: In "The Red Ball", Ed Wuncler I hired Gin Rummy to kill the kickball referee by strangling him, throwing him off a bridge, and overdosing him with amphetamines, which Wuncler claims was self-inflicted.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Double Subverted. In "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back" Robert's date walks in on him, Huey, Riley and Uncle Ruckus (who's brandishing a whip) standing around a bed with Tom tied to it, and immediately guesses that they're performing an exorcism. And then dumps Robert over it anyway.
    • Actually, to make it funnier, she goes out of her way to point out that she's not dumping Robert over the exorcism; she's dumping Robert over the fact that he lied about it.
  • N-Word Privileges: And uses them liberally, nigga! Most of the black characters, and a few white characters, say "nigga" frequently. The DuBois family are an exception though, never saying the word once.
    • In "The Garden Party", Robert tells Huey and Riley that they shouldn't use the N-word, even though Huey points out that Robert says it all the time.
    • Lampshaded during Uncle Ruckus' "Don't Trust Them New Niggas Over There" song. After he finishes singing his horribly racist song for a bunch of rich white guests, one girl comments that she thinks it's okay for "them" to use the N-word, and then the audience applauds politely.
    • Lampshaded again, apparently it is used so much in the Freeman household, that Riley thought that was his name until he was three years old.
    • An entire episode "The S-Word" (based on a real story) is spent parodying and deconstructing this trope when one of Riley's teachers calls him the N-word and the media find out. The teacher's excuse was that Riley says the word all the time.
    • "The New Black" lampshades it too, along with a number of other taboo words, like "fag" (which was censored on TV) and "retarded", which both Riley and Rollo Goodlove used throughout the episode, the latter of whom points out that it's okay for him to say "nigga" on TV but not *bleep*.
    • This show's N-Word Privileges go beyond just profanity. It often plays offensive black stereotypes for humor; had it been created by a white guy, it probably would've been derided as racist.

    O-T 
  • Odd Name Out: The Lethal Interjection crew has Flonominal, Macktastic, Thugnificent ... and Leonard. Oddly enough, he's the only one of the crew who wouldn't mind having a normal day job like flipping burgers at Wendy's.
  • Oh, Crap: Frequently. One scene in particular (A Crowning Moment of Awesome) features a team of Chinese kickballers insulting Huey, only for him to reply in Chinese, "I don't like being laughed at." One of the players can barely get out, "Did... he just..." before he's knocked out cold by Huey's pitch.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Used in "Smoking with Cigarettes", even if it's not actually Latin.
    LA-MIL-TON! TAE-SHAWWWWWWN!!
  • Orgy of Evidence:
    • In "The Trial of R. Kelly", there's mountains of evidence for R. Kelly urinating on a 14-year-old girl. He gets away with it, mainly because his lawyer uses some outrageous defense strategy, and the jury are all incredibly stupid.
    • A strange case in "The Passion of Reverend Ruckus". A black man, Shabazz K Milton Berle, who was interning for the Black Panthers, was arrested for the murder of a cop, which occurred just outside. Ridiculous amounts of the evidence, including a court stenographer present at the scene taking down the murderer's explicit confession and identification of himself (which he signed and dated) points to Shabazz not being guilty, but he's arrested anyway and sentenced to death after a few minutes of deliberation by the jury.
  • Oscar Bait: Ruckus' origin story as hilariously lampshaded by Huey.
    Huey: That's like Academy Award-winning sad.
  • Out of Order: Season 4 has an arc where Granddad tries to get out of debt. Looking at how the episodes were aired, it looks like the arc was never resolved because of the last episode ("The New Black"), but looking at the production orders, the arc makes a bit more sense. The arc is actually resolved in the fourth episode ("Early Bird Special"), where Granddad gets a girlfriend who ends up paying off his debt anyway.
  • Panty Shot: Winston Jerome's secretary has one from Grandad's POV as he's lying on the ground after being tackled by an obese female fan in "Pause".
  • Piss-Take Rap: Granddad's rebuttal to "Eff Granddad". Has to be seen to be believed.
  • Police Are Useless: The Woodcrest Police Department, or at least most of the cops anyway. They're usually brutal, corrupt, racist, or just plain stupid.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: The show as a whole is VERY politically incorrect. So it's no surprise that the subject of political (in)correctness was parodied and satirized in "The S-Word" and "The New Black".
  • Poor Communication Kills: In "It's Going Down."
    Uncle Ruckus: What's the password?
    Dan the Security Man: Eat my ass! [Gets kicked in the nuts about twenty times]
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: McGruder defends the cartoon by stating that delay times in making the show makes it impossible for the show to be topical as far as current events and cutting edge political satire.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy:
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • "LEMONADE - IS - A - DOLLAR!"
    • "FUCK - YOUR - COURT - NIGGA! FUCK - YOUR - COUUUUURRRRTTT!!!" Also a Shout-Out to the infamous Rick James sketch.
    • "DO NOT - LIE TO ME!"
    • "YOU - CAN'T - HAVE - IT!
  • "Rashomon"-Style: "The Story of Catcher Freeman" is told via conflicting historical flashbacks about a slave revolt on Colonel Lynchwater's plantation:
    • Granddad tells a cliched action movie plot, with escaped slave Catcher Freeman as a badass hero who rescues slaves from slavers; Thelma as a vapid but attractive Damsel in Distress and Love Interest; Master Colonel as the Big Bad; and Colonel's loyal slave Tobias, as a generally useless race-traitor house slave who wrote the world's first film script... before films were invented.
    • Ruckus tells a backward and racist story, with "Catch-A-Freeman" as a superhuman slave who captured runaway slaves; Thelma as an evil and promiscuous Femme Fatale who seduces Catcha; Master Colonel as a nice man who ineffectually tries to discipline ungrateful slaves who find Happiness in Slavery (which according to Ruckus was a jolly fun time where black people didn't have to work); and Tobias as Master's favorite slave, and most definitely not the Colonel's son and... a generally useless race traitor.
    • Huey finally sets both of them straight with the true version, from the internet, which reveals: The so-called "Catcher Freeman" was based on Tobias, Master Colonel's illegitimate slave son, a Fake Ultimate Hero who takes credit after he accidentally kills Master Colonel (he meant to shoot Thelma). Thelma was the real hero of the story, and Master Colonel was a fairly decent slave master, leaving Ruckus and Granddad in an agreement to disagree with each other, but more so Huey.
    • The episode ends while Riley tries to tell his own, intentionally inaccurate story.
  • Reality Ensues: Played straight in "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy". The titular group fought and killed Bushido Brown, an already established badass, and after a failed attempt to make peace with them, the Freeman family is about to be killed, how are these monsters stopped? The police are called, and the Hateocracy surrender without a fight.
  • Recycled Premise: Season 4 rehashed some plots, which was considered one of several symptoms of the Seasonal Rot.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Everywhere, but Uncle Ruckus is the standout example. An extremely over-the-top white supremacist. Who is black. He never misses an opportunity to extol the wonders of the white man or complain about everything that's wrong with black people.
  • Ripped from the Headlines / Truth in Television:
    • The plot of the episode "The S-Word" is based on an actual news piece.
    • The antagonist of "Smokin' With Cigarettes" (Lamilton Taeshawn) is a parody of Latarian Milton, a little boy who drove his grandma's car and shortly afterward, attacked her for not buying him chicken wings.
    • Likewise, the title character from "The Booty Warrior" is based on Fleece Johnson, a prisoner who also engaged in rape and sodomy.
  • Running Gag:
    • References to the film Friday in the TV series. Doubles as an Actor Allusion for John Witherspoon.
    • A few of Huey's schemes would have gone perfectly if he only had a ride. Though this joke stopped in the rest of the series when Huey stopped being the one going on zany schemes.
    • Gin Rummy hates meaningless gadgets, while Ed Wuncler III loves flashy things, and both are very vocal about it even if they're supposed to be focusing on other things. Near every episode where they appear has them having a conversation about whatever new phone, app or pager that Ed has bought this time.
    • The various stereotypical hip-hop songs that recur throughout the series, particularly "Booty Butt Cheeks," which consists of nothing but the title phrase repeated over and over.
    • Stinkmeaner's frequent run-ins with Robert get worse each time. Pretty amazing considering the first conflict ended in Stinkmeaner's DEATH. Even death and damnation can't end a Nigga Moment, it seems.
  • Sand In My Eyes: In "The Color Ruckus" Riley cries after hearing Uncle Ruckus's story. He claimed that he had allergies.
  • Sequential Symptom Syndrome: In "The Fried Chicken Flu", Huey explains to Jazmine the symptoms of the eponymous disease, while Tom suffers the symptoms of the illness right behind them, having eaten tainted buffalo wings.
  • Serious Business:
    • In "The Red Ball", Ed Wuncler I and a Chinese businessman bet the entire town over a game of kickball. Wuncler hires Blackwater mercenaries and Dominican Republic children for his team, only for the former to bail out and the latter to be deported. The Chinese team includes a prodigy who was trained since birth just to play kickball.
    • Also school chocolate fundraisers. When Riley tries to sell chocolate bars for his own profit, he draws the attention of real gangsters who treat chocolate fundraising like drug trafficking. Up to and including using intimidation and violence against their competitors.
    • And fried chicken. In Woodcrest and many other American cities, countless people wait through long lines and heavy traffic just to try out some new KFC fried chicken. When the restaurants have shortages of chicken, people go nuts and start riots! And even after a mysterious food-borne disease causes millions to become ill, a lot of people still want to eat the fried chicken.
  • Shown Their Work: In "Bitches to Rags", Thugnificent tries to make crack. He ends up burning it because he is cooking the mixture far too hot too quickly, a mistake commonly made by inexperienced crack cooks.
  • Side Bet: Eddie Wuncler bet his assistant Vanderbilt that he could get Robert Freeman to sign himself into slavery. He won.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Catcher Freeman. There are several different stories of his life, and in Robert's story, field slaves claim "He's 14 feet tall, got trapezist muscles... And he can fly. Underwater." Of course Huey googles the truth in the end. But, as per the usual "ignorance is bliss" motif, Robert and Ruckus don't want to believe it.
  • Side Effects Include...: The episode "Mr. Medicinal" brings us Zortafrinex:
    Commercial announcer: Women, pregnant women, and most men should not take Zortafrinex. Known side-effects include dry mouth, upset stomach, mild death, blindness, massive heart attack, difficulty breathing, and rectal fungus. Almost all men who took Zortafrinex experienced a severe loss in sexual performance. This is normal. Please stop taking Zortafrinex immediately if you feel mild discomfort on or in testicles as this can be a sign of a rare and extremely unpleasant side-effect known as Total Scrotal Implosion. If Total Scrotal Implosion should occur, call your doctor right away. If you cannot move or talk due to the debilitating pain of Total Scrotal Implosion, please have a loved one call your doctor. There is no cure for Total Scrotal Implosion. Zortafrinex: Always the right choice.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Many characters are very foul-mouthed, some more so than others. The only person who doesn't ever use profanity is Jazmine (though the closest she said was "a load of bull").
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Like the comic, this show is very much on the cynical side of the scale, perhaps even more so. Occasionally, it has an optimistic undertone (i.e., things are bad, but they can get better).
    • "The Return Of The King" is an illustration of this, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s peaceful protesting, which proved to be hugely effective in the 1960s, is seen as weak-willed and un-American in the 21st century post-9/11.
  • Sorry Ociffer: In "Mr. Medicinal", Grandad is high on marijuana when he is pulled over by an officer, Officer Douche.
  • So What Do I Do Now?: Huey's reaction to Obama's election in the 3rd season premier has shades of this. It's unclear if he's just ambivalent about Obama or if he simply feels useless now. His juxtaposition with Ruckus suggests the latter.
  • Special Guest: Many episodes have at least one guest voice actor.
  • Spell My Name with an "A": A Pimp Named Slickback. Like "A Tribe Called Quest", you say the whole thing!
  • Spoof Aesop:
    • Flonominal and the rest of the Lethal Interjection crew teach Riley that, contrary to what he thought, the entire point of being in a crew is so you never have to handle your own problems like a man.
    • Nearly everything A Pimp Named Slickback says is a ridiculously sexist Spoof Aesop.
      A Pimp Named Slickback: Scientifically speaking Tom, has not hittin' a bitch achieved the desired results?
    • "The Hateocracy" also ends with one (two depending on how you look at it).
  • Status Quo Is God: Often played straight, but sometimes defied.
  • Stealth Parody: While obviously a satire of modern black culture, the TV series also takes pride in mocking things that makes America in general look stupid, such as the overreaction of the bird flu virus and the Obama hype.
  • Story Arc: A couple of subtle ones.
    • One revolving around Granddad and Stinkmeaner.
    • Another revolving around Riley and Gangstalicious.
    • The most overt one is Huey becoming increasingly disillusioned that he can make a difference. By the end of the third season, he seems to have given up hope on changing anything.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Both this and the newspaper comic make regular use of this trope.
  • Straw Character: The series is loaded with these on both sides of the aisle.
    • Huey Freeman is used to represent far-left radicals; he's been described variously as a socialist or black nationalist. Though it varies whether he's a strawman, or is actually making a good point.
    • Tom and Sarah DuBois, though portrayed as decent people, are milquetoast establishment Strawman Democrats. Tom once tried to kidnap Ralph Nader for taking votes away from Al Gore. (Thus earning the title of "the first moderate liberal extremist".)
    • Uncle Ruckus is used to parody white nationalists (despite being black) and Tea Party Republicans.
    • "Wingmen" featured Dewey Jenkins, a fake Muslim who writes bad poetry because he's "down with the struggle". Huey, an actual leftist radical, finds him disgraceful.
    • Betty von Heusen is portrayed as an obsessed gun nut.
    • Rev. Rollo Goodlove, an Expy of Al Sharpton, is a self-serving black liberal hypocrite who intentionally attaches himself to bogus "struggles" for publicity.
    • Their portrayal of Ann Coulter: She appears on TV as a massively hateful ranter, but it's just an act for publicity. She's not even a real conservative.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: The Kumite.
  • Stylistic Suck: Granddad's "diss rap" in "The Story of Thugnificent". We may only hear about 20 seconds of it, but that's still enough to know epically bad it is. Watch it here (at the 1:00 mark).
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome:
    • In "The Trial of R. Kelly", when a female R. Kelly supporter derided the anti-Kelly protesters, who were prominent black intellectuals, as "uppity niggas" for having the temerity for not supporting a singer accused of urinating on 14-year-old girl, and stressing the importance of reading.
    • Huey got this from his old friends when traveling back to Chicago to attend a funeral, with Dewey mocking him for not being "down with the struggle" and moving to "Whitecrest". His other friend Cairo further insults him and Granddad, causing him to fight back.
  • Take That: Many shots will be fired, including at:
    • Soul Plane will be fired on with impunity whenever it comes up. Hell, even Martin Luther King Jr. took shots at it.
    • The most severe were probably "The Hunger Strike" and "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show" which attacked BET, which actually got banned from US broadcast.
    • The episode "Pause", AKA the Winston Jerome episode, is a sucker punch to Tyler Perry's plays and films. It was also banned for similar reasons.
    • To Barack Obama's speech patterns, throughout season 3.
      • The Season 3 premiere was a Take That at the "Obama Hype Machine" going into the election, and especially at will.i.am.
  • The Talk: Defied by Robert.
    Robert: Wait a minute, if someone talks to [Riley] about sex, maybe it'll straighten this whole thing out!
    Uncle Ruckus: So you're gonna talk to 'im?
    Robert: OH, NO, MM-MM, MM-MM. MM-MM!
  • Teach Him Anger: A Pimp Named Slickback tried to do so to Tom once. He partly succeeded, though not in the way he intended. Tom got what he wanted out of it, at any rate.
    • Not necessarily, since he believed that Usher was trying to take his wife away from him. She informed him that she was only there to get an autograph from him for Jazmine, and wasn't cheating on him. Tom got an ass-kicking from Usher and his bodyguards, and A Pimp Named Slickback seems to believe he slapped the wrong person and left Tom to his fate.
  • That Came Out Wrong: The best illustration is this dialogue from Season 3's "Pause":
    Granddad: I'm gonna really let him have it. Show him my stuff. Give that man everything I've got.

    Riley: Pause.
    Granddad: Pause? Pause what?
    Riley: You said somethin' gay, so you gotta say "no homo," or else you's a homo.
    Granddad: What did I say gay?
    Riley: You said you was gonna give this dude everything you got, no homo.
    Granddad: That's not gay! I said I was gonna give the man everything I got!
    Riley: Pause, Granddad! If it sound gay it's gay, and you gotta say "no homo!" How I know you not a homo, Granddad, if you don't say "no homo?"
    Granddad: I'm not saying "no homo!"
    Riley: Ok, you wanna be a homo...
    Granddad: Stop calling your granddaddy a homo!
    Riley: Then say "no homo!"
    Granddad: I don't wanna say "no homo!" I'ma homo your ass if you don't stop saying "pause!"
    Riley: Pause.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: "Invasion of the Katrinians"
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Ruckus loves directing these to black people.
    • In "The Trial of R. Kelly", Huey gives a scathing speech to the jury who acquitted R. Kelly.
    • In "Return of the King", Martin Luther King Jr. gives the mother of all "the reason you suck" speeches to the African-Americans who have embraced BET and nigga culture.
    • In "The Color Ruckus", Ruckus' dad gives a scathing one to him. But Ruckus returns the favor later in the episode.
    Ruckus: No, no, keep talking, keep talking dad. Let it all out of your system, that's the proper eulogy this woman deserves. Oh, she did this to you, and now you're doing it to us, and it's getting old, it's getting real old, old man! So finish what you were saying, sit down AND SHUT THE FUCK UP!
  • Tonight Someone Dies: What COMPLETE DISASTER seems to imply.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tom in "A Date With the Booty Warrior", but only in terms of balls.
  • True Companions: Lethal Interjection crew
  • Troperrific: It's safe to say this series is awesome.
  • Tyke Bomb: Ming, who has been raised from birth to only play kickball for her team so that she wouldn't have go to the Glorious Force Rehabilitation Center.

    U-Z 
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: This show often plays offensive black stereotypes for humor, usually satirically. Despite this though, it often lambastes low-brow black shows and movies for heavily indulging in this trope.
  • Villain Episode: "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show", "The Story of Jimmy Rebel" and "The Color Ruckus".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Granddad and Uncle Ruckus are type 2.
  • Vocal Evolution: Huey and Riley's voices are slightly higher pitched in the first season than the subsequent ones. This is most noticeable when they're yelling.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Crazy wolf lady, vengeful ghosts, chocolate cartels, and a psychotic phone app. Let's face it, if it's weird, the Freemans are probably going to get involved.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Tobias probably didn't know that his owner Colonel Lynchwater was his real father, but their relationship echoes the more typical version of this trope. When the Colonel calls Tobias "son", his eyes light up noticeably.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Riley gives this treatment to Tom for abandoning them in "A Date With The Booty Warrior", even when Tom came back for them twice.
  • Where Da White Women At?: There seems to be a running gag that a lot of black men, especially (but not limited to) those with money or power, really want to score with white women.
    • Most notably, there's Tom and Sarah DuBois' marriage.
    • Robert has been seen dating both black and white women.
    • Uncle Ruckus enjoys white women as well. It's the main reason he tolerates the DuBoises.
    • Rollo Goodlove is seen flirting with Ann Coulter (the two were pretending to be enemies earlier).
    • In "A Date With The Booty Warrior", a prison gang of Scary Black Men are a little tired of anally raping the other inmates, so they demand that women (white ones especially) should be imported into the jail.
  • White Gang-Bangers
  • The Whitest Black Guy:
    • Tom DuBois acts as white as a black man can be. It helps that his name could allude to "Uncle Tom".
    • Uncle Ruckus, besides hating his own race, seems to have redneck-like traits: He lives in a dilapidated trailer, and is an avid fan of (racist) country music.
    • Granddad mocks Huey and teasingly calls him "white boy" for preferring healthy vegetarian cooking to the ludicrously unhealthy soul food dinner Granddad has made. This is ironic considering that politically, Huey is a black nationalist who is constantly suspicious of white people.
  • Wikipedia:
    • Huey looks at it as the only credible source to find out about Stinkmeaner's crew. At first, it looks exactly like TOW's real Stinkmeaner article, even the Merge Tag.
    • This is also Thugnificent's solution when he can't decipher the lyrics of a song on how to make crack.
  • The Worf Effect: Huey is supposed to be a master of kung fu, but he never won a kung fu fight, not counting Martial Arts Kickball. The only people he seems to be able to beat are his younger brother Riley and those few Mook guards in "... Or Die Tryin'". Justified, as the only people who have beaten him are much older masters of kung fu, who take him seriously.
    • Huey is never really shown to be a "master" so much as "well-trained for a kid", and as this trope would imply, not at the top of his game.
    • Bushido Brown is killed thanks to this trope.
  • World of Badass: Senior citizens, psychotic women, and even Uncle Ruckus can match Huey, martial arts expert though he may be.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Mr. Long-dou and Ed Wuncler, Sr.
    • It's also Ming's motivation for wanting Huey in the tournament, although her fake sob-story might say otherwise.
  • Wrestler in All of Us:
    • Riley. The kid dropkicks someone, gets on the couch and hits a moonsault. Then he transitions into a Boston crab submission hold. Chris Jericho would have been proud.
    • Ruckus did a back suplex to Dan the Security Man in "It's Going Down".
  • X Meets Y: It's South Park meets Samurai Champloo with black people.
  • Yandere:
    • Luna - she tries to kill Granddad because she thinks he's cheating on her, locks up Huey and Riley so they can't help him and kidnaps Tom when he comes to help the family.
    • Siri. After Robert buys an iPhone, Siri helps him out greatly, but after he declares his love for her, she goes completely yandere on him because nobody ever said that to her before. She does everything beyond her programming to ensure that Robert cannot leave her. She calls 911 on him when he threatens to smash the phone with a hammer, hacks his Facebook page and posts explicit content that Jazmine might have seen, controls his bank account, and just all around grabs his life by the balls. She even Photoshops his image into an Al Qaeda terrorist, copies his voice and threatens to nuke the U.S., and orders a drone strike on his position.
  • Yellow Peril: The Chinese team in "The Red Ball" are a pack of cheating, lying, manipulative brutes.
  • You Didn't Ask: When Robert finally asks Stinkmeaner's clone to leave him alone.
    Stinkmeaner II: Well sure, all you had to do was ask. I'm just a clone of Stinkmeaner, I don't even know you.
  • Your Mom:
    • Among the many insults Stinkmeaner spews during his 'exorcism' is, "Y'all ain't shit!! Your MOMMAS ain't shit!"
    • This is how Riley gets under Cindy's skin during their Trash Talk duel in the middle of a basketball game.
    • Sgt. Gutter actually RINGS Thugnificent's mom live on air so she can tell him off for his bad language during their rap feud.

...
Eh Eh. What'd you say, nigga?