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 the fourth season (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 cartoon:

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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.
    • 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.
  • The Ace:
    • Ebony Brown. She is athletic, beautiful, kind, smart, and successful. Huey, Riley, and even Ruckus couldn't find genuine fault with her.
    • Sturdy Harris. He is a graduate student from Fisk University, captain of its football team, charismatic to his followers, and a huge man who is built like a tank.
  • Accentuate the Negative: Here's an example from Uncle Ruckus' white people-loving mother.
    Little Ruckus: Mama, who was George Washington Carver?
    Bunny: He's the man responsible for more peanut allergy deaths than anyone who ever lived.
  • Action Girl:
    • Luna from "Attack of the Killer Kung-Fu Wolf Bitch". She's 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!
    • Also Thelma from "The Story of Catcher Freeman". In all three versions of the story, she was a participant in a deadly slave revolt on Colonel Lynchwater's plantation; although in Robert's and Ruckus' versions of the story, she was mostly a Damsel in Distress and a Femme Fatale respectively. In the true and final version of the story, she was the rebelling slaves' leader, indirectly inspiring the "Catcher Freeman" myth.
  • 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.
  • Adam Westing:
    • Averted, ironically, with Adam West himself, who plays R. Kelly's attorney in "The Trial Of R. Kelly."
    • Werner Herzog spends an episode playing a parody of himself.
    • Jimmie Walker who played JJ on Good Times, plays a older and angrier expy of himself with JJ's trademark hat.
  • Adaptation Exaggeration: The point of the show is relatively different than the point of the comic. The comic was more political satire, while the show leans more towards social satire, in particular it lampooned and attacked ignorance in today's society. Because of this, many of the characters' ignorant traits were exaggerated to exemplify this: Riley's thuggishness and hypocrisy, Granddad's greed and self-delusion about how important he is, Tom's middle class "sheep" mindset, even the reactions and actions of regular people, etc. In contrast, Huey's more negative traits were downplayed in order to enhance his Wise Beyond His Years qualities, and make him more of a foil for the pretentiousness of the world at large.
  • Adapted Out: Michael Caesar - a popular major character introduced a few years into the strip's run, absent thus far from the animated series. As Caesar was Huey's only truly close friend in the comic, his absence emphasizes his isolation in the show quite a bit. On the other hand though, this leaves enough room for Jazmine to fill in as Huey's best friend, even though he didn't get along with her at first.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • At the end of "The Fundraiser", Riley is offered an opportunity back into the candy business and recalls all the crap he went through near the end of the episode. He then smiles deviously and the credits roll.
    • Lampshaded (or perhaps exaggerated) by Granddad at the end of the third season:
      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.
    • At the end of "The Story of Jimmy Rebel," Jimmy admits that he's just not as racist as he once was and wants to sing about things other than black people, like "friends, good times, beer, love, all kinds of shit." Cut to the next scene, where Ruckus and Jimmy are singing a song that's just as racist, but against Mexicans.
  • Affably Evil: Subverted with Ed Wuncler I, who's really Faux Affably Evil. On the other hand, his Chinese rival Mr. Long-Dou is more of a genuine gentleman, even if he's just as shady.
  • Affectionate Parody / Homage / Shout-Out: See Shout Outs for more information.
  • Afro Asskicker: Bushido Brown is this entire trope personified.
  • 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.
  • A Hell of a Time: At least this was the case for Stinkmeaner, who declared that he was having the time of his life there and used the opportunity to train himself and generally cause havoc, so you can see why. He's also glad that he's in Hell rather than the (apparently worse) fate of jail.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • "Return of the King." The episode is a "what if?" in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, but instead of dying, he fell into a coma and woke up decades later in 2000.
    • The Cold Open of "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy," which pays homage to 28 Weeks Later.
  • All Part of the Show: Gangstalicious gets shot on-stage, with the audience thinking his cries for help are lyrics to his song. The song? "I Got Shot". No one thought to call an ambulance until 45 minutes later.
  • All Persons Fictitious Disclaimer: A humorously exaggerated one in "The Story of Gangstalicious."
    "The following is a completely fictional work of satire. Any similarities with actual rappers it totally, completely coincidental. Also, I ain't dissin' nobody's city, or region, or... whatever geographic affiliation you got. I love everybody. Seriously, I don't want any of you niggas running up on me at the club. I don't have no crew, and they don't pay me enough for bodyguards. I know how ya'll niggas do. It's just jokes, man. Dictated. Not Read: The Management."
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version of the show has a different opening theme.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Riley becomes ambiguously Gayngster when he copies Gangstalicious. When these tendencies are actually pointed out to him, he tends to react with horror.
    • Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy's relationship. Lampshaded by Riley in one episode.
  • An Aesop:
    • Don't perpetuate negative stereotypes about your own people. (Many episodes, but especially "Return of the King".)
      • BET and other low-brow media are the downfall of African-American culture. ("The Hunger Strike" and "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show".)
    • Don't fight with people over stupid or trivial reasons. (Any episode involving Stinkmeaner and Nigga Moments.)
    • Don't trust banks and big business in general. (Any episode involving Ed I or Ed II.)
    • If you try (online) dating, you'll probably meet a lot of weird or crazy people. (Any episode about Robert's love life.)
    • Eat healthy. Not only will eating junk food turn you into a fat blob, it's also as addicting as drugs. ("The Itis".)
    • While the show usually depicts the police force as being corrupt and incompetent, it admits that sometimes it may still be necessary to call them.
  • Animated Music Video:
  • Animation Bump: The season one 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 had the cartoon be made with an anime-esque design, right down to hiring 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: Gangstalicious. Also 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.
  • Aside Glance: This gag occasionally shows up in the show as well, such as when Huey shrugged at the camera when Uncle Ruckus showed off his Nunchaku skills or his "you've got to be kidding me" look when Granddad tries to justify N-Word Privileges to him.
  • 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:
  • Avenging the Villain: Subverted with the Hateocracy, as they're Blood Knights who only use Stinkmeaner's death as an excuse to attack the Freemans rather than someone random.
  • 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.
  • Backhanded Apology: Riley to Mrs. DuBois.
  • Badass Crew: The Hateocracy
  • Badass Family: The Freemans
    • Badass Adorable / Badass Bookworm: Huey looks like a typical ten year old with an afro that may shock you with his intellect and his demeanor being Wise Beyond Their Years and all, but make no mistake. He will try to fuck you up fifty ways to Sunday if you try getting in his way, harming him or the ones he cares about, or, even worse, laughing at him. And he'll likely succeed, as he is knows kung fu at an expert level.
    • Badass Grandpa: Robert "(Mo') Bitches" Freeman. He's turned belt whipping to an art form.
    • Riley, though less effective than Huey, is a stubborn street brawler who can back up his smacktalk on occasion. He's Made of Iron, even more so than his technique-oriented brother.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: What few police in this show aren't being paid off by Wuncler Sr are astoundingly incompetent, probably best seen in Season 4 where they arrest Pretty Boy Flizzy for a crime he didn't commit (it having actually been staged by Flizzy with the help of a professional film crew and the consent of the "victim"), because they couldn't be bothered to watch the surveillance footage two seconds past the alleged crime.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Itis. Ed Wuncler, Sr. wants Meadowlark Park so he gives Robert his dream of a soul food restaurant. The restaurants's highly addicting food causes unemployment for many of its customers, an increase in crime rate, and lowered property values so that way it will be easier for him buy it despite being more than rich enough. Although the restaurant gets shut down because of a lawsuit, he gets what he had planned on: the deed to the nearby Meadowlark Park so he could develop it.
  • Bald of Evil:
    • Esmerelda Gripenasty
    • Stinkmeaner also count.
    • Ed Wuncler Sr.
    • The Brown Skinned Bald Dude from Law and Order, as mentioned in "Pause"
  • Been There, Shaped History: Grandad. Sat next to Rosa Parks, who stole his thunder.
  • 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 Bad: Ed Wuncler Sr. is the closest the series has to one.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Huey is patient and protective of Riley, even though his brother often doesn't appreciate it. He also tries in vain to dissuade Riley from his bad ideas (which are most of them).
    • Huey will occasionally take it upon himself to discipline his little brother. Riley, anti-authoritarian by nature, resists every step of the way.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Thugnificent & his crew rescuing the Freemans in "The Fried Chicken Flu"
  • Big Eater: Cristal (like the champagne), who packs it away at the Red Lobster and then asks for more food when she gets back to the Freeman house.
  • 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's satirical humor has the themes of corruption, racism, stereotypes, and violent crime all Played for Laughs.
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    • This show managed to take a horrible crime and make fear of said crime hilarious in "Date with the Health Inspector".
    • Ditto for "Date with the Booty Warrior," especially the opening with Chris Hansen.
  • Black Sitcom: Obviously.
  • Blah Blah Blah: Granddad's response to Huey's explanation of Christmas in the episode "A Huey Freeman Christmas". To the audience however, this is very much justified.
  • 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.
  • Blatant Lies: Riley is fond of this trope.
  • 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: "Remember this equation. You'll need it later, nigga!"
    • 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 a few episodes later with 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: Tom describes himself as more of a caramel shade.
    • Huey points out that the typical virtuous, love interest in a Winston Jermone movie will always be lighter then the ungrateful, Jesus-hating husband.
  • Butt Monkey: Tom DuBois. He's black, his wife's white, and he desperately tries to distance himself from Ethnic Scrappy stereotypes. The rest of the cast members love to make fun of him. He's not a bad person, just a dope, or as much as a successful lawyer can be, anyway.
    • When it comes to problems that affect most people of any race (dating, health, drugs), Granddad is frequently the target.
    • Also Riley, considering how many times he gets beaten up.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Uncle Ruckus did this to his "adopted" father during his grandmother's funeral. Just before his father threw out his back trying to hit him, falling into an open grave and breaking his neck which kills him.
  • 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.
  • Carnival of Killers: Gin Rummy tells the tale of Bushido Brown fending off a group of these hired by the beef industry to take out Oprah Winfrey, including pastiches of Walker, Texas Ranger and Billy Jack.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Despite his old age and fat belly, he never stops chasing after young women. Though something is usually wrong with the women he dates...
  • 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.
  • Casting Gag: Snoop Dogg as Macktastic, Busta Rhymes as Flonominal
  • Catapult Nightmare: "Ya soap dropped, nigga."
  • 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.
        Good food, Good foo-oo-oo-oo-ooo-ood!
        New shoes, New shoo-oo-oo-oo-ooo-oes!
        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 Ted Baxter 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 whole show is a giant Cluster N-Bomb. According to this video, there are approximately (give or take) 1,298 uses of "nigger", "nigga", and all the derivatives of it.
  • 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:
    • R. Kelly's lawyer convinced a jury full of his fans that the trial was all about racism.
    • Uncle Ruckus claims to have served on a mostly white jury, where he convicted a blind black man of shooting 3 white women.
    • Black Panther Shabazz K. Milton Berle was sentenced to death, 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: Its safe to say that the series is rife with these.
    • The Cold Open from "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman" contains the very first thing Huey said in the Cold Open for the Pilot, and later his plan is foiled because he can't get a ride, which is what happens in the season 1 finale.
    • When Huey and Riley hear that Granddad has a new date, the boys remember Granddad's past dating experiences and they freak out.
    • Riley has kept his graffiti habit and Huey has been humbled since that sad Season 1 finale.
    • In "Let's Nab Oprah", Huey emphasizes his reasons for being against Riley hanging out with Ed and Gin Rummy to Granddad by reminding him of their various acts in previous episodes.
    • In "Shinin'", Thugnificent makes it clear that if this rap thing doesn't work out, 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.
    • In "Good Times" one of the people who Ed Wuncler Jr. rents the Freeman house out to threatens to have a Nigga Moment with Robert over use of the bathroom.
  • 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.
    • 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 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!
  • Creepy Child: Lamilton
  • The Danza: In-universe example, as 50 Cent stars in Soul Plane 2 as "Air Marshal 50 Cent!"
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Luna from "Attack of the Killer Kung Fu Wolf Bitch" was simultaneously raised in a broken home and among wolves. When she turned 18 she started going through a series of abusive relationships that covered just about every type of abuse imaginable, which is meant to excuse her borderline psychotic behavior.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Uncle Ruckus's mom, Bunny Ruckus. She dyed her hair blonde. She eventually got blue eyes to match.
  • 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: Riley's first clue that Lamilton is crazy.
    • Huey may glares 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.
  • 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:
    • In the "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 a dream, Robert's behavior in the intro to "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy" is especially despicable and cowardly.
    • He tells Tom to leave Sarah behind, coldly remarking "You'll find another white woman!",
    • He throws both Jazmine and Tom Dubois to their deaths (the former being a 10 year old little girl) to slow down the Stinkmeaners,
    • He leaves his grandchildren to their deaths, as they are calling for help, and
    • He hijacks Uncle Ruckus' motorboat and throws Ruckus overboard to his demise (the boat could have 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 about 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 essentially covering the ambiguous reasons and justifications of the Invasion of Iraq. It even has Gin Rummy(Donald Rumsfield parody) restate the infamous "known unknowns" speech.
    • "The Block is Hot" is actually about the music industry.
      • Based on Corporations using Child Labor in third world countries and when they get caught, they suffer little to no repercussions.
    • "The Itis" is actually about the effects of drugs on neighborhoods.
      • And the unhealthy effects of the food that black culture glorifies.
    • "Lets Nab Oprah" is actually about the invasion of Iraq.
    • Huey is a parody of William Ayers in "It's A Black President, Huey Freeman", though the worst thing Huey has done was building an electric glove. He also claims to have started several underground organizations, though his level of involvement in them is unknown.
    • "The Fundraiser" is actually about drug dealing, although this one is much less subtle than the others and references Scarface heavily.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Granddad always does this to Riley whenever he's out of line. Even in "Guess Ho's Coming To Dinner", he encouraged a mother to use his belt to beat her disobedient son in the grocery store. And the crowd reacted with applause.
  • 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 Grandad 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 "Shining" 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 Jasmine.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Riley may have a eye for causing trouble but even he is disturbed by Lamilton's flatout 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.
    • 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.
  • Everything Is Racist: Huey ties everything to "the white supremacist power structure", including high-fructose corn syrup. Toned down slightly in the cartoon. Slightly.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Hateocracy and Ms. Von Hausen.
  • Expy: Bushido Brown is based on Jim Kelly. He also takes a few pages from The Dragon himself. During his fight with Stinkmeaner's crew, Bushido Brown literally curbstomps Esmerelda Gripenasty's ribs, belting out a several seconds-long Kiai and twisting his legs to further injure her, reenacting this scene from Enter the Dragon.
  • 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.
  • False Friend: Edward "Eddie Jr." Wuncler II. He comes across as everyone's friend, even though he fully plans to manipulate them to the max. He often acts disappointed when his "buddies" fail, when he secretly has planned for things to go this way.
  • Fan Disservice: Multiple penis shots of Granddad.
  • Fanservice:
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Stinkmeaner considers jail to be worse than Hell.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Ed Wuncler I and Ed Wuncler II. As crooked businessmen, they can be polite and friendly when they need to be, but will quickly throw off the gentlemanly facades and show their nasty true colors a minute later. Just see the way that Ed I manipulates Jazmine in "The Block Is Hot", or how Ed II does the same to Robert in "Good Times".
  • 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?!?!
  • Financial Abuse: Robert spent his grandsons' inheritance on a very large house in an upscale neighborhood, justifying it by claiming he was "owed" it for having participated in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • 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".
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Uncle Ruckus' vision of "White Heaven".
  • 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).
  • The Fun in Funeral: Subverted in Wingmen, as Huey finds himself a pariah amongst his old friends, and Robert can't get past his grudges with his dead friend Moe.
    • Invoked by Moe, however, as he'd used his funeral as a means to give several final insults to Robert. Among them, he willed to Robert a jar of peanuts named "Deez Nuts!" Robert takes it in stride, and displays the jar in his room of memories and experiences.
  • 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 Excuse : Uncle Ruckus, he was raised for seven years by an abusive father and a Mother that loved white people more than her own race.Then he was kicked out onto the street beleving it to be because of a condition that his mother made up.
    • And even his dad had an Excuse with a Mother that obviously hated him and at his job he was constantly discriminated against by the white people he worked for.
  • 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!
  • Full-Name Basis: Bushido Brown
  • Gag Penis: The "Health Inspector." On the DVD, it's even WORSE.
  • Gangsta Style: Hilariously lampshaded in "The Story of Gangstalicious," where Gangstalicious's ex-lover and his crew (total four guns) all miss their aim.
    Gangbanger: I can't believe this man, we suck.
  • Gang Bangers:
  • Gayngster:
    • Gangstalicious, much to Riley's horror and dismay. He flat-out refuses to believe it, even with the preponderance of evidence.
    • Boss Willona's henchman, who dresses in pink clothes and uses women's hair care products.
  • Generation Xerox: In the episode "Return Of The King" one of the men guarding Dr King in the 60's is identical to the person that stops Huey and MLK from going into the VIP area.
  • 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.
  • Girl Scouts Are Evil: When you have Cindy McPhearson working for them, it's no surprise they defend their territory like drug runners.
  • Girls with Moustaches: It's Maybell-INE, nyukka!
  • Gonk: They only appear briefly, but Robert's internet dates in "Attack of the Killer Kung-Fu Wolf Bitch" are cartoonishly ugly.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Riley's fighting style is very much a dirty version of this trope... and yet it's inverted in every instance he uses it, as he is usually brutally beaten. Usually by Huey.
  • 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.
  • Groin Attack:
    • The Thugnificent song "Stomp 'Em In The Nuts".
    • Lionel Richie's wife punishes him for adultery by stomping him in the nuts (the above song doesn't play though).
    • Cindy punches a chocolate industry goon in his nuts in "The Fundraiser".
    • Tom hits the Booty Warrior in the groin when he tried to rape him.
    • Jack Flowers' preferred method of "enhanced interrogation". He does show some remorse for his actions.
    • Taking an example from Jack, Uncle Ruckus stomps a security guard in the nuts, while "Stomp 'Em in the Nuts" plays in the background.
    • Riley gets stomped in the nuts by a mob of angry retarded children in "The New Black", 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 Marriage Charade: Tom and Sarah Dubois. Tom is a good provider and an upstanding citizen, but he's also a total wuss. The rare times Tom shows some spine, it excites Sarah, but mostly she's rather bored with his milquetoast ways. Worse, Sarah seems to be attracted to the rough and tumble sort, which begs the question why she married Tom in the first place.
  • Happy Dance: Riley's "Celebratory Booty Dance" in "The S-Word."
  • Has a Type: Tom and Sarah DuBois. He's a black man who's only dated white women, and she's a white woman who's only dated black men.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy. In-universe anyway.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: "Stinkmeaner: Begun the Clone War Has" is based around this trope.
  • 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 he 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.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Apparently dialed Up to Eleven, as no explanation is given for how Huey learned martial arts except by watching TV and teaching himself. Which, given Huey's serious mind, and ability to apply himself, might be all the explanation we need.
    • Knowing Kung-Fu is the least striking thing about Huey, and if an explanation is needed, martial arts lessons aren't out of the question. Not when he's had enough time to become a retired infamous underground Black militant leader before the show's even begun.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: "Yo yo, man! Watch where you point that thing!"
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Agent Jack Flower, three times over. Each time more over-the-top than the last.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: It seems that most people in this world are very bad at shooting even at close range. Almost every gun fight in the series tends to end with no one harmed.
    • The most egregious example is in an Imagine Spot from the episode "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.
    • Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy shoot exactly one guy for all their firefights combined; during the shootout at the convenience store, nobody is hit except for a cop, who somehow lives.
    • In "The Story Of Gangstalicious", three gang members, one of whom had two guns, run out of bullets without hitting one slowly walking naked and blindfolded man.
    • The police attempt to shoot Uncle Ruckus with over a hundred bullets without success and in the end resort to beating him with nightsticks.
  • Important Haircut: Thugnificent, once he loses his mansion due to bankruptcy and has to find a job.
  • I'm Taking Him Home With Me!: One of the batshit crazy women Granddad dated tried to run off with Riley.
  • Incest Subtext: Huey pretends Riley's getting slashy with him so he can get his own room.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: A good portion of the characters look exactly like their actors, in costume. Gramps 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.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • "It's A Pimp Named Slickback."
    • "Cristal. Like the champagne."
    • "Grandmaster Bushido Brown."
  • Inspiration Nod: In "The Red Ball," the weapons the Chinese team attacks the Tibetan player with are the same as the ones the American team attacked Jin with in Samurai Champloo's "Baseball Blues".
  • Interactive Narrator: Stinkmeaner, from the dead, steals Huey's narration on the Hateocracy's backstory.
  • 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
    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: [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?
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Robert
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Jack Flowers, an Expy of Jack Bauer, kicks terrorists in their testicles while interrogating them, sometimes with a steel boot and a running start!
  • Jerk Ass:
    • Ruckus definitely counts here. Even if you want to try to blame his personality on a Freudian Excuse, it still doesn't let him slide on the fact that he was willing to let Huey and Riley nearly get killed by being hit with a car, and then laugh about it solely because they are African American.
      • He was also willing to let Huey and Riley be violated by the prisoners in the jail that their class visited in order to protect the white children, so yeah, he definitely counts for this.
      • To be somewhat fair, he asked if they were going to violate any of the kids before he ditched Riley and Huey, and they answered with a no. But still, that doesn't excuse the fact that he left them alone with extremely violent and stupid convicts.
    • Stinkmeaner could be considered a personification for hatred.
    • Mr. Wuncler Sr. is the embodiment of Corrupt Corporate Executive.
    • Moe Jackson is this in spades. Even from beyond the grave he wants to have a laugh at the expense of Robert — from the jar of nuts inheritance (Deez Nutz) to the elegy (written solely to make Robert look like an idiot in front of everyone), this guy was a cruel practical joker of the worst kind.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Granddad and Huey.
    • Riley and Ruckus very occasionally.
    • Prettyboy Flizzy, although he hides it for his image.
  • Karma Houdini: There's several outstanding 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!
    • 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 and her fellow executives get away with two murders and the corruption of African-Americans.
  • Karmic Death: Uncle Ruckus's father in "The Color Ruckus".
  • Kavorka Man: While Grandad was a cute, geeky guy in his younger days, as an old man he seems to have no problem getting ridiculously attractive and younger women. Subverted since most of them turn out to be crazy or with ulterior motives.
  • Kick the Dog: While technically what LaMilton did was shoot the dog, this is the trope that describes the intended effect.
  • Kill Him Already: The therapist's logic in dealing with Lamilton.
  • Kind Hearted Simpleton: Leonard isn't too swift, but he is a rare character in this show who consistently puts the needs of others over his own.
  • Kung-Fu Proof Mook: Winston Jerome's "glistenin'" stripper bodyguards.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Season 4 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'.
  • Last Disrespects: In "Wingmen", everyone at the funeral acts as if Moe is the best at everything at first. He is being given credit for things Robert did in World War II, all the women swoon for him, etc. Robert finally breaks all the lies by announcing how much of a jerk Moe really was. Everyone else then starts agreeing and pointing out how he owed many of them money and other negative aspects about him.
  • Laughably Evil: Ed Wuncler the Third and Gin Rummy aren't very good at what they do. It's a wonder how they're even still alive.
  • 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.
  • Like a Badass out of Hell: Stinkmeaner, who Satan himself called "the baddest motherfucker Hell had ever seen".
    Satan: He was so bad, he even called me, the devil himself, a-
    Stinkmeaner: BITCH-ASS NYUKKA!
  • Little Miss Badass: Cindy McPherson, who can control Girl Scout Troopers and their territory like a gang leader.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Dewey Abbado "Mamma-say, mamma-saw, mamma-ma-cu-saw" Jenkins, one of Huey's old friends back in Chicago.
  • 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: The eponymous character in "Lovely Ebony Brown" spent the entire episode Leaning on the Fourth Wall, and got Granddad into it as well.
    • This from "Let's Nab Oprah":
    • 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"
  • Moe Stare: Sarah DuBois and her daughter Jazmine.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Cristal, the prostitute and one-time girlfriend of Robert from the episode "Guess Hoe's Coming To Dinner" gets a mention.
  • 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."
    • In the fourth season, Ed Wuncler Jr. convinced Robert to sign himself into slavery in exchange for canceling the mortgage. Huey's solution? Kill Ed Wuncler Jr. The plan never gets off the ground, though, as Robert decides to sell the explosives that Huey made for the job as hair tonic.
  • My Beloved Smother: In "The Story of Thugnificent," Flonominal is extremely distressed when his mother calls to chastise him for his part in the "Eff Grandad" debacle.
  • Mythology Gag: Numerous.
    • The Season 1 opening prominently features a profile of Huey seen from the side, reminiscent of how he appears in the comic.
    • The episode about Lando 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.
    • The Christmas episode features Riley having a vendetta against Santa Claus and spending every Christmas trying to assault him, which was a Running Gag in the comic.
    • "It's A Black President, Huey Freeman!" begins with Huey watching the satirical news and silently giving the screen an Aside Glance - one of the most common gags in the comic strip.
    • Huey's Tree is where the White Shadow tells Huey that you cannot fight the future, although the tree is more colorful here.
  • 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 the Reality TV episode.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nice job getting your homey fired from his job, Thugnificent!
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Rufus Crabmiser of the Hateocracy gives a speech to Granddad to this effect.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Ed Wuncler and his grandson are parodies of Prescott Bush and his grandson George W Bush.
    • Wuncler III's best friend Gin "Rummy" is a parody of Donald Rumsfeld.
    • BET director Weggie Rudlin, who is an extremely unflattering parody of BET director Reginald Hudlin... who happens to have an executive producer credit on the show itself. It was an artifact of Hudlin's involvement with the series while it was being developed for Fox. He left by the time the series was on air.
      • BET's CEO, Debra L'Eevil aside from being a parody of Dr Evil, is also based on BET's real life CEO Debra L. Lee.
    • Rollo Goodlove, who is a parody of Al Sharpton.
    • Thugnificent is obviously Ludacris,with elemnets of Ice-T down to being from Georgia.
    • Sgt. Gutter is Soulja Boy.
      • "Thugnificent vs. Sgt. Gutter" parodies the "rivalry" between Soulja Boy and older musicians, like Ice-T, who think that Soulja Boy's appearance on the music scene is not a step in the right direction.
    • Two guesses as to who Dick O'Rushballs is a parody of.
    • Winston Jerome is Tyler Perry with elements of David Koresh and Jim Jones.
    • Riley's art teacher is based on Bob Ross, the famously laid back afro'd artist who loved to paint landscapes.
    • The Booty Warrior is a carbon copy of Fleece Johnson, a prisoner interviewed on an MSNBC documentary about prison life.
    • 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.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Poor Luna...
  • 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. Just... No" Reaction: Riley's reaction when he sees his idol Gangstalicious making out with another guy.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: The referee in "The Red Ball" was taken out by being strangled, thrown off a bridge, and overdosed with amphetamines, which Ed Wuncler, Sr. says he did to himself.
  • No Social Skills: Luna. She really had no idea how to deal with people, at all.
  • No Such Thing as H.R.: To build on the Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, there was logically nothing stopping Flo from contesting his termination due to the extremely flimsy guilty by association pretense.
  • 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.
  • Nutritional Nightmare:
    • In the season 1 episode "The Itis", when Ed Wuncler gives Robert Freeman (Granddad) his own soul food restaurant, every food he serves is pretty much this. His most notable creation is the "Luther Burger", which is a full pound burger patty covered in cheese with grilled onions and five stripes of bacon with two Krispy Kreme donuts as buns. The food was so tasty and addictive, it made people fat and drove them to rob others to feed their addiction. The restaurant was eventually closed down after a lawsuit.
    • Other terrible foods served during this episode were broccoli boiled in ham broth, and "Two pig knuckles glazed in honey; pig tongue marinated in butter for two days; chitlins'... soaked in hot sauce, drizzled in mayonnaise, and then set to harden on our back porch in three pounds of cheddar cheese."
  • N-Word Privileges: And uses them liberally, nigga!
    • See Robert's example in Hypocritical Humor above.
    • 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" (presumably the word was censored) 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 nigger 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 
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Pretty Boy Flizzy only acts like an idiotic jerk just so he can get higher up the ladder in the music industry and maintain his status among his fanbase. In actuality, he's a nicer guy and genuinely tries to help Tom in gaining Sarah's faith in him back.
  • 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.
  • Off with His Head!: Bushido Brown, with awesome absurdity and to remind people of what "Complete Disaster" means.
  • Oh, Crap: Frequently. One scene in particular (A Crowning Moment of Awesome) features a team of Chinese kickballers insulting Huey, only for him to respond with, in Chinese, "I don't like being laughed at." One of the players can barely get out, "Did... he just..." before he's knocked 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!!
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Huey, as well as Tom to an extent.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Subverted. Uncle Ruckus' actual name really is "Uncle Ruckus".
  • 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, but looking at the production orders, the arc makes a bit more sense. The arc is actually resolved in the FOURTH episode where Granddad gets a girlfriend who ends up paying off his debt anyway, but the ending ultimately becomes a Status Quo Is God ending.
  • 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."
  • Parental Abandonment: Huey and Riley's parents died. Robert used their inheritance to move to a nicer neighborhood.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Huey almost never smiles. He puts on a small smile for about a second in one of the team shots cheering for Riley in the last game of "Ballin'." He also smirks for a second while holding a sword against Riley's cheek during "Let's Nab Oprah" and that is it. Lando tries to get him to smile. It doesn't happen.
    Lando: I know you smiling on the inside, huh. I can tell. I can tell. You can't fool your baby brother. You just as gleeful as a motherfucker.
  • Pet the Dog: Uncle Ruckus restores Jazmine's belief in Christmas and Santa Claus after Riley destroys it.
    • Prettyboy Flizzy ultimately gets one of these moments, as he provokes Tom to attack him and beat him up in front of Sarah, so that Sarah will not think Tom is such a wimp after all.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Granddad's rebuttal to "Eff Granddad". Has to be seen to be believed.
  • Police Are Useless: The Woodcrest Police Department. They're usually stupidly incompetent, use excessive force, ignore the Wuncler family's crimes, or they're racist against minorities.
    • But this is subverted in "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy". The police arrive just in time to arrest the Hateocracy before they could kill the Freemans.
  • 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]
  • The Power of Cheese: According to Robert, if you give the meanest white man a piece of cheese he'll turn into Mr Rogers. Huey disagrees.
    Huey: Grandad, you cannot tame the white supremacist power structure with cheese!
    Robert: Yes I can!
  • 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.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: Huey, at the climax of "The Passion of Reverend Ruckus"
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • MARTIN LUTHER KING JR, of all people.
      WILL YOU IGNORANT NIGGAS PLEASE SHUT THE HELL UP!?
    • All the time in the comic. Whereas in the show the characters curse all the time, in the newspaper comic they can't get away with that too often, so McGruder saved particularly strong words for particularly good punchlines, to great effect.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy:
  • Prison Rape: Tom DuBois's greatest fear. Not at all unjustified according to "A Date With the Booty Warrior".
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Riley's art teacher, who hates violence. Apparently shooting at the police doesn't count.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • FUCK! YOUR! COURT! NIGGA! FUCK! YOUR! COUUUUURRRRTTT!!! Also a Shout-Out to the infamous Rick James sketch.
    • "Lemonade. IS! A! DOLLAR!"
    • "YOU! CAN'T! HAVE! IT!
    • "DO NOT! LIE TO ME!"
  • Rags to Riches: The fictional MTV documentary Rags to Bitches in "The Story of Thugnificent", which details his rise from poverty to stardom. The reverse happens in "Bitches to Rags."
  • Raised by Grandparents
  • "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.
  • Riches to Rags: "Bitches to Rags" is all about Thugnificent going through this.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Siri from "I Dream of Siri" is a ridiculously human iPhone app.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The episode "Smokin' With Cigarettes" is a parody of the Latarian Milton incident, in which a little boy robbed his grandma's car and shortly afterward, attacked her for not buying him chicken wings. In true Refuge in Audacity fashion, he is treated as the "ultimate evil" in a Shout-Out to Dr. Loomis' speech in Halloween (1978).
    • Likewise, the episode "The Booty Warrior" is also based in part on a true inmate.
    • The Cold Opening for the episode "The S-Word" is based on an actual news piece.
  • Rogue Agent: Jack Flowers, who decides to go vigilante on the Wunclers.
    Chief: Sorry Jack, turns out some people are above the law. The Wunclers will not pay for what they did today, you have my word. Good work everyone, have a good weekend. And oh, no going rogue.
    Jack: I'm going rogue.
  • Rule of Cool: The kickball episode and its Charles Atlas Super Power.
    • In one episode, Robert actually floats from smoking weed!
  • 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.
  • Satellite Character: Flonominal, Macktastic, and Leonard are only seen as Thugnificent's crew.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Ed the Third and Gin Rummy. Rummy claims he's a criminal mastermind while he obviously isn't. This is also lampshaded.
    Riley: Y'all are lucky Ed's granddad owns the cops.
    • Um hello, Ed Wuncler Sr. When you can get the president to call off your arrest, you know you're loaded.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: At the end of Martin Luther King Jr.'s infamous speech, he basically declares "Screw this, I'm moving to Canada."
  • Sequential Symptom Syndrome: The Fried Chicken Flu episode has Huey explaining to Jasmine the symptoms of the eponymous disease while Tom suffers the effects of salmonella poisoning, 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.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Riley's art tutor is reputed to be a Gulf War vet who had a nervous breakdown.
  • Ship Tease: Small moments between Huey and Jazmine in "The Block Is Hot", "The Wingman", "The Passion of the Reverend Uncle Ruckus", "A Date With The Health Inspector", and "The Fried Chicken Flu". Hell, in "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy", Granddad dreams of Jazmine instinctively hugging Huey in distress.
  • 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.
  • Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: Played for laughs when Uncle Ruckus is shot repeatedly and beaten by police for holding an orange safety-wallet. The city offers him 14 million dollars in compensation but he refuses to accept it, and instead accepts full blame, simply demanding to be hired as a police officer so that he can do the same thing to other black men.
  • 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.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: Ruckus. Depending on the episode, it's either played straight or subverted.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The show is overall cynical in tone, although Huey's cynicism prevents him from seeing the good side of life.
  • Slow Electricity: In the animated episode "The Passion of Rev. Ruckus", after Uncle Ruckus is struck by a lightning bolt the lights of the city to go out a section at a time.
  • The Sociopath: Lamilton Taeshawn, who takes pride in his actions.
  • 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).
  • Standard Evil Organization Squad: The Hateocracy
  • 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.
  • Stone Wall: Riley, considering how many beatings he takes from Huey, Granddad, and other people.
  • 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 "Ababaoo Mamasee Mamasay Mamakusa" Jenkins, a fake Muslim who writes bad poetry because he's "down with the struggle". Huey, an actual leftist revolutionary, 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.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Jack Flowers' girlfriends seem to do nothing but get killed off in increasingly, deliberately cartoonish ways.
  • 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).
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • Riley on Gangstalicious's homosexuality
    • Ruckus' claims to have "re-vitiligo"
  • 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:
    • The most severe was probably the TV episodes lambasting the BET, which actually got banned from US broadcast.
    • Soul Plane will be fired on with impunity whenever it comes up. Hell, even Martin Luther King took shots at it.
    • The episode "Pause," a.k.a. the Winston Jerome episode, is a sucker punch to Tyler Perry's plays and films.
    • To Barack Obama's speech patterns, throughout season 3.
      • The Season 3 premier was Take That at the "Obama Hype Machine" going into the election, and especially at will.i.am.
  • Take That, Audience!: "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman" comes off as an extended Take That at fans pestering McGruder for his feelings about Barack Obama. It was summed up in one word, "meh."
    • Martin Luther King's speech at the end of the special is one giant Take That to various parts of the Black Commuinity.
  • 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.
  • Tempting Fate: Uncle Ruckus: "Now, let us pray. Lord, I have spent my whole life hatin' you for makin' me black, and now I see I must hate myself, and all those like me, and cause them misery just like your servant Ronald Reagan did. And if ANY of my words don't come directly from the Almighty God himself, then may I be struck by lightning right this very instant. Halle-"
  • 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.
  • Too Much Information: Granddad does this to Huey and Riley a lot.
    Granddad: Boys, Lando will be living with us for a while, because supposedly it's the right thing to do. I hope you'll take this as a lesson that life can really suck sometimes, and that you should always wear a condom. I'm wearing a condom right now!
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tom in "A Date With the Booty Warrior", but only in terms of balls.
  • Training from Hell: Stinkmeaner goes to hell, and trains himself so hard he could actually defeat the minions of hell and insult the Devil himself. As a reward for his hard work, the Devil says he can return to Earth and have his revenge.
  • Troubled Abuser: Mister Ruckus, so very much.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Lamilton Taeshawn is a eight year old sociopath who wants nothing more then to really hurt somebody.
  • Truth in Television:
  • 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: Catcher Freeman probably didn't know that his owner Master Colonel was his real father, but their relationship echoes the more typical version of this trope. When Master Colonel calls Catcher "son", his eyes light up noticeably.
  • What the Hell, Dad?: Granddad has to be this, with one grandson who is a domestic terrorist and another one who is a wannabe gangster.
  • 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.
  • When Elders Attack: The Hateocracy.
  • 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.
    • There is also a deleted scene on the Season One DVD, where Granddad imagines the worst case scenario at the Wuncler party, Huey calling the host a "Cracker Devil", and Riley asking "Where all the white bitches at?" Though of course Riley is a little boy, so he has no real interest in girls yet.
  • Whip It Good: Robert's belt.
  • 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.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Uncle Ruckus. Subverted in that it turns out that he really works about 47 jobs simultaneously, while claiming that most black men can't even hold onto one job.
  • 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.
  • 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-Ray Sparks: Occurs in the episode "The Passion of Reverend Ruckus" when Uncle Ruckus is struck by lightning.
  • 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 to leave him alone.
    Stinkmeaner: Well, sure. All you have to do was ask. I'm just a clone of Stinkmeaner. I don't know you.
  • Your Mom:
    • This is how Riley gets under Cindy's skin during their Trash Talk duel in the middle of a basketball game.
    • Among the many insults Stinkmeaner spews during his 'exorcism' is, "Y'all ain't shit!! Your MOMMAS ain't shit!"
    • 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?