YMMV / The Boondocks

  • Acceptable Targets: The show regularly takes shots at right-wing politics (and sometimes left-wing politics as well). And it also makes use of N-Word Privileges to satirize African-American culture, if not American culture as a whole.
    • In "The Itis", the film Soul Food, which was considered a family film and a critic's choice, by pointing out how the family still eats the same food that killed their matriarch.
    • Also, someone on the writing staff really has it in for Soul Plane.
    • BET, which they outright claim is evil.
  • Adaptation Displacement: The original comic strip was displaced by the animated television series. It doesn't help that the overall tone and subject matter are very different, with the comics being more mundane, while the show is more outlandish.
  • All Adult Animation Is South Park: Subverted. Critics did compare it to South Park, but more for its unapologetic biting social commentary than its vulgar humor.
    • While The Boondocks is not a gross out show, and never really uses toilet humor (with a few exceptions like "The Trial of R. Kelly", where urination was a major plot point); there's still a lot of sexual humor, some occasionally bloody violence, and of course loads of swearing.
  • Anvilicious: The comic strip was a vehicle for Aaron McGruder's political views, though fortunately there was enough self-deprecating humor to balance it out. The show has distinct political overtones as well, but is more subtle about them... usually.
    • Every single mention of BET, up to and including outright saying that they are evil.
    • "Freedomland" (which ironically, was part of the fourth season that didn't have McGruder as executive producer) makes no attempt to hide its "Middle class is slavery and the rich are keeping the poor and middle-class down" message.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Even though the show does have its fanbase, several of the elements will likely drive one type of audience or another away from it.
    • On one hand, the show's politics mostly lean to the left-wing, and it satirized aspects of the War On Terror, which a lot of right-wing Americans would disagree with.
    • On the other hand, its heavy use of racial slurs and stereotypes have attracted criticism from some African-Americans who aren't fond of N-Word Privileges or Uncle Tomfoolery.
  • Author Avatar: Some fans accuse Huey of being this (especially in the cartoon), although McGruder denies this and has stated that he doesn't share most of Huey's political beliefs. That was one of the reasons Michael Caesar existed as both Freemans' foils.
  • Awesome Art: The TV series, with its animesque art and animation style, which improved greatly with every season. For an animated comedy show, it looks quite stunning.
  • Base Breaker
  • Broken Base
    • Was this show a worthy adaptation of the comic or not? If it wasn't, was it because it went too far in its satire (like what happened with Chappelle's Show) or did it play things too safe?
    • The way multiple characters were written changed as the series went on, especially from Season 1 to Season 2. Fans were torn about liking the Character Exaggeration or not.
    • Reception is also somewhat split over when and where the series was at its best/worst - mostly between those who think the second series both improved its stride and found its particular comedic style in the second season, and those who think that the second season lost some of its earliest energy, symbolism and characterization. There's also a minor debate over whether the emphasis on the various characters was handled well and caused them to be more distinctive and endearing, or whether it was handled poorly and caused them to become too exaggerated and flanderized.
    • Even among the show's fans, there are those who consider the Martin Luther King episode to have overstepped the boundaries of good taste.
    • The base has splintered again over season four, partly because Aaron McGruder was not involved in its production in any way. Detractors say that the show's characters were too exaggerated and the sharp satire was starting to wane while fans say that, while the season wasn't nearly as good as the previous and [adult swim]'s treatment of it is a classic case of Screwed by the Network, there were some enjoyable episodes.
  • Better on DVD: The DVDs are uncut, don't have the offensive language bleeped out, and include the four episodes ("The Hunger Strike", "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show", "The Story of Jimmy Rebel", and "Pause") that have been banned from [adult swim] reruns and (American) Netflix. note 
  • Crazy Awesome: There are several contenders: Bushido Brown, Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy, and Riley's (unnamed) art teacher from the first season all have qualities of the trope.
  • Creator Worship: Aaron McGruder seems to get quite a lot of this from fans, who praise him for all the witty comedy and satire in the show. The main complaint against Season 4 was that he was not involved in any of it.
    • Oddly enough, whenever people complain about Season 4, they rarely bother to even refer to the new show-runner (Angela Nissel) by name, and thus they don't usually blame her specifically.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Uncle Ruckus does this every time he talks about black people. As an African American white supremacist with a severe case of Gonk (due to child abuse from his racist father), his very existence crosses the line about 3 times. Speaking crosses it a 4th time.
    • A Pimp Named Slickback does this every time he talks, period.
    • The entirety of the Catcher Freeman episode.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Michael Caesar in the comic strip. Sadly, he was omitted from the show because McGruder couldn't find the right voice actor for him.
    • Uncle Ruckus, due to his ridiculous self-racism, and providing too many funny quotes and video clips.
    • Colonel Stinkmeaner, for similar reasons as Ruckus, and being the source of quite a few memes as well.
    • Ed III and Gin Rummy, an iconic duo of dumb criminals who have their own wacky misadventures together.
    • Grandmaster Bushido Brown, "the greatest black karate man to ever live". His badass combat skills are highlighted by his fights with Huey Freeman, and later the Hateocracy.
    • Cindy McPhearson. Even though she only appeared in the first few years of the comic, and only appears in four episodes of the show, she is a fan favorite.
    • The show's portrayal of Ann Coulter from "The S-Word" as a ghetto, shit-talking lady who acts conservative just to get money is pretty popular.
    • Ming Long-Dou from "The Red Ball". Even though she was only a one-shot antagonist, quite a lot of fans noticed her.
    • Jack Flowers from "It's Goin' Down", due to being a parody of Jack Bauer.
  • Fanon Discontinuity and Old Shame: Most viewers (and [adult swim]) like to pretend that there was never a season four of the show and that the series ended with the season three episode "It's Goin' Down." Granted you can still find the season on DVDs and Netflix but that's just out of obligation from the networks (making the show wasn't cheap after all).
    • [adult swim] and the American feed of Netflix also like to pretend that they never aired "Pause" or "The Story of Jimmy Rebel," even though, much like season four, it is readily available on other media (namely, the complete series DVD and Canada's Netflix feed).
  • Foe Yay: Huey and Ming in "The Red Ball".
  • Follow the Leader: Inverted with the strip. McGruder has stated that what drove him to take the book into a hardline left political direction was a conversation he had with Garry Trudeau over the issue of the September 11th Terrorist Attacks. Trudeau told McGruder that he was going to wait until around December before he would begin incorporating the terrorist attacks and the political fallout the attacks would have upon America. This led to McGruder deciding to immediately incorporate 9-11 and the political fall-out into the comic strip, since no one else was doing this.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Back in 2006, the Season 1 episode "The Real" had Granddad defend his use of sunglasses by saying it was inspired by Bill Cosby, as "Cosbyness is next to Godliness". Taking into account what was discovered about Bill Cosby nine years later...
      • Considering how Cosby was mocked in The Boondocks for his preachy moralizing, it makes one wonder how they would treat the rape allegations against him, if the show had continued after Season 4.
    • The Winston Jerome jokes about him being gay have strayed into this territory, after Tyler Perry confessed that he was molested in his childhood.
  • Growing the Beard: The show doesn't really come into its own until season two (season one was pretty much middle-of-the-road. There were people who liked it and people who hated it), at which point the art and animation quality receive a considerable boost and the idiosyncrasies of the characters and oddball supporting cast members come into the limelight.
    • Season 4, which was somewhat rough without Aaron Mcgruder, starts to do this with "Freedom Ride or Die", where the quality takes an uptick, and cements it with "Grandad Dates a Kardashian" and "Freedomland." Sadly, due to budget cuts, the show was canceled before season four could really show that it wasn't the point that the show Jumped the Shark and now the only place to find season four is on DVD and Netflix, since [adult swim] refuses to air those episodes.
  • He Really Can Act: Adam West, best known nowadays as a complete caricature of his former self, uses his over-the-top campiness to great effect to create a hilariously loathsome character.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Numerous examples here.
    • This comic strip, thanks to the TV show.
    • From "The Garden Party" and "A Huey Freeman Christmas", Huey's claim that "Jesus was black" is an example, due to Aaron McGruder's new show Black Jesus.
    • In "Let's Nab Oprah", when Ed and Rummy mentioned that they were once in the US Army special forces, Riley quips that they should've been in the Special Olympics because of their stupidity. Ironically in the last episode "The New Black", Robert and Rollo lie that Riley is mentally disabled, and force him to participate in the Special Youth Olympics.
    • Bushido Brown heavily resembles a couple of other characters:
      • He bears a strong resemblance to Afro Samurai, who would become an anime icon two years after Bushido Brown's debut in "Let's Nab Oprah". note 
      • In Bushido's second appearance in "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy", he is voiced by Michael Jai White, who has also played the similar character Black Dynamite.
    • In "Wingmen", Granddad is revealed to have been a Tuskegee Airman, and his former best friend was a cocky and reckless pilot nicknamed Moe "Guns". Aaron McGruder would later go on to write the screenplay for the Tuskegee Airmen movie Red Tails, which also featured a cocky and reckless pilot as one of the characters (another was nicknamed "Ray Gun").
    • Remember Robert's tale from "The Story of Catcher Freeman"? Anyone who has also seen Django Unchained will find it to be strikingly similar. And considering the number of times the word "nigger" is used, it would be no surprise if Quentin Tarantino did take inspiration from The Boondocks.
      • To be precise, these characters from The Boondocks are a lot like these characters from Django Unchained: Catcher (Robert's version) = Django, Thelma (Robert's version) = Broomhilda, Ruckus (appearance) / Tobias (role) = Stephen, and Master Colonel = Big Daddy (appearance) / Calvin Candy (role).
    • In "The Story of Gangstalicious Part 2", during the music video for "Homies Over Hoes", we see three female dancers; the girl in the blue dress resembles the titular character from The Legend of Korra. Also, this show was animated by the same South Korean studio.
    • In "The Hunger Strike", BET starts producing animated shows, and an employee is shown to be reading a Black Panther comic, which became funny when BET developed their own adaptation.
    • Tom DuBois is not supposed to be Barack Obama. True, Tom is a light-skinned black man, and also a highly liberal attorney who strongly wants to make a difference in the world, even though he often gets screwed over by others, but the character was developed way before Obama became a national figure. McGruder apparently noticed this and took full advantage of it in "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman":
  • Ho Yay:
    • Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy, a pair of Ambiguously Heterosexual Life-Partners. This was once lampshaded by Riley, who mockingly called them "gay".
    • Likewise, the friendship between Uncle Ruckus and Jimmy Rebel is also very humorously bromantic.
      • Look at how hurt Granddad acts after Ruckus starts hanging out with Jimmy. They bicker like an old married couple as it is.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • A great fraction of the conflicts in this show are caused by Riley, Robert, or other characters doing something really stupid.
    • Purposely done in the "Nigga Moment" tetralogy, although the plot was based on the characters being ignorant rather than just stupid.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Huey during the course of "The Passion of Reverend Ruckus" and "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman". He also counts in general considering the fact that his parents and grandmother are probably dead, his grandfather constantly ignores him, his brother is constantly getting into trouble, and he is Surrounded by Idiots.
    • Uncle Ruckus' brothers, Darryl and Darrell, who also suffered under their father and grandmother, albeit mentioning that Uncle got it the worst, seem to be the most well-adjusted of the family. They also recognize the abuse their own father experienced, and realize that while it doesn't really excuse his actions, they take comfort in the belief that in some twisted way, he was raising them to realize the harshness of the world.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Robert. He is somewhat abusive or neglectful towards his grandsons, but he does love them deep down, and it's implied that most of his family and friends are dead.
      • Also counts as this in Season 4, after Robert stupidly inflicts bankruptcy upon himself and his grandsons.
    • Riley has his moments of this, especially in "Riley Wuz Here" and "Smokin' with Cigarettes".
    • Luna has suffered every type of abuse possible, and just as she makes amends for tormenting the Freemans, her friend Nicole unintentionally convinces her to blow herself up with the same grenade she threatened to use earlier when she was with Tom and Robert (who were tied up at the time).
    • Uncle Ruckus in "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show", even though he goes back to being unlikable at the end.
      • He is especially a woobie in "The Color Ruckus". Although in this episode, Ruckus' usual jerkiness is downplayed, so we can see how he turned into the man he is now.
    • Even Uncle Ruckus' abusive and hateful father, Mister Ruckus, counts as a woobie; considering the abuse he suffered from his own mother and racist white men.
    • Jack Flowers. Every woman he ever loved, they were all brutally murdered by terrorists and criminals. As a secret agent who specializes in counter-terrorism, he has seen and done awful deeds that have also emotionally scarred him.
  • Love to Hate: Many of the antagonists are very loathsome, yet also hilarious.
    • Uncle Ruckus. Unless you're genuinely racist like he is.
    • Colonel Stinkmeaner as well.
    • Ed Wuncler I (see the next entry below).
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Ed Wuncler I, that despicable evil genius.
    • Rollo Goodlove and Ann Coulter, who are able to manipulate the public for their own ends, and are pretty slick at what they do.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: As with the comic strip, black audiences love this show, while Moral Guardians accuse it of taking too much liberty with its N-Word Privileges. Make of that what you will.
  • Minority Show Ghetto: A notable aversion, as the show proved to be quite a success with audiences, appealing beyond just the obvious black demographic.
  • Misaimed Fandom: The Boondocks as a whole can be considered this. A lot of people are unaware that this is a satire.
  • Moe: Jazmine.
  • Mondegreen: Lampshaded in "Bitches To Rags".
    Thugnificent: Y'all send me stupid fuckin' messages online, but won't pay for my damn song? I hate y'all niggas, man. Hey, hey, Thugnificent, is it "Booty butt cheeks" or "Move them butt cheeks"? Nigga, who gives a fuck, it's a song about butt cheeks!
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Lamilton Taeshawn is not exactly a child you want to babysit, but he crosses the line when he outright threatens to shoot Riley simply because he doesn't want to hang out with him anymore.
    • Ed Wuncler I crosses it when he gets Ed III and Gin Rummy to set bombs in a populated building just to try and kill ONE man, for the sole purpose of profiting from his death, despite being rich enough to have connections to the President of the USA!
    • Uncle Ruckus trying to reinstate slavery, and succeeding with the Freeman family in the episodes "Good Times" and "Freedomland".
    • Ed Wuncler II crosses it in "Freedomland", when he tries to chop Huey's foot off with an ax, showing himself to be just as if not even more vile than Ed I.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • The implied fight between Huey and Uncle Ruckus at the end of "... Or Die Trying".
    • There was also an unseen fight between Huey, Riley, Butch Magnus, and four other boys at the beginning of "A Date with the Booty Warrior".
  • One-Scene Wonder: Even bit characters in this series tend to be rather colorful, to say the least. A good example is Maybelline from "Wingmen", who only appears for about a minute but it ends up being one of the funniest minutes of the show. There's also the Hustler Preacher, who's only appeared in "Return of the King" and "Riley Wuz Here".
  • Painful Rhyme: "DOOM comes like a vacuum! 'Cuz death sucks and smells like a raccoon, or a baboon!"
  • Poe's Law: As a satirical comedy, The Boondocks has come under fire for its sense of humor, and it has been accused of being racist against both black and white people. It doesn't help that while the show's creator has a low opinion of a lot of African-American media for indulging in Uncle Tomfoolery, The Boondocks itself frequently uses black stereotypes for jokes.
  • The Scrappy: Uncle Ruckus. Viewers who didn't find his racist antics to be funny anymore considered him to be very annoying.
    • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Many Uncle Ruckus-centered episodes didn't do much to develop his character outside of "comic relief bigot". "The Color Ruckus" changed that.
    • Take That, Scrappy!: When Ruckus' dad gives him a scathing speech about his origins, his personality, his entire being, some people felt sorry for him, many others cheered. Ruckus later returns the favor to his dad in the climax.
  • Seasonal Rot: Most fans believe that Season 4 is the worst of the lot. Aside from the show's creator not being involved, several voice actors had to be replaced, a lot of side characters were missing, and many felt that the new plots and humor had weakened greatly.
    • Some have even argued that this started as early as Season 2, which, while it still had some memorable episodes, relied much more on nonspecific gags and less creative plots, all this in spite of the two years it took to create.
  • Shipping: Many people think that Huey/Jazmine and Riley/Cindy would make great couples. Even though canonically, there has never been any romance between the kids.
    • But despite the lack of an actual love story to begin with, this hasn't stopped the majority of fan fiction writers from writing those kinds of stories.
  • So Cool, It's Awesome: Especially if you get all the inside jokes. Also, the fact that the season 3 premiere got over a million viewers.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: As that page mentions, the entire series exists largely to drop the anvils on the black community: 1. Apathy to your lot in life is a self-fulfilling prophecy; 2. Society is structured to disadvantage members of certain groups, usually focusing on the black community, but occasionally others.
    • Huey calling out the Common Nonsense Jury in "The Trial of R. Kelly".
      Huey: "What the hell is wrong with you people?! Every famous nigga that gets arrested is not Nelson Mandela! Yes, the government conspires to put a lot of innocent black men in jail on fallacious charges, but R. Kelly is not one of those men. We all know the nigga can sing, but what happened to standards?! What happened to bare minimums?! You a fan of R.Kelly? You wanna help R. Kelly? Then get some counseling for R. Kelly! Introduce him to some older women! Hide his camcorder! But don't pretend like the man is a hero!" (Beat) "...and stop the damn dancing! Act like you got some God damn sense, people!"
    • Martin Luther King's speech decrying the fact that the freedoms he fought so hard for are being taken for granted, even wasted, by the people on whose behalf he fought. Cartoon Network released an official statement in defense of it, in fact.
      "We think Aaron McGruder came up with a thought-provoking way of not only showing Dr. King's bravery but also of reminding us of what he stood and fought for, and why even today, it is important for all of us to remember that and to continue to take action."
    • "The Itis".
      Huey: Granddad, look what you did to the community.
      Granddad: It's not that bad.
      Huey: Not that bad? This place used to sit between a coffee shop and a day spa. Now there's a liquor store and a damn Foot Locker. This food is destructive.
      Granddad: This food is your culture!
      Huey: Then the culture is destructive!
    • "Freedomland", while noted under Anvilicious for its lack of subtlety, is rather poignant during the recession.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song
    • Gangstalicious' freestyle in "Thank You for Not Snitching" is this for MF DOOM's "Rap Snitch Knishes."
    • And "Homies Over Hoes" sounds a lot like D4L's "Laffy Taffy."
    • Uncle Ruckus' theme tune is sourced from Jabba's theme from Star Wars.
    • Sgt. Gutter's "Crank That Artichoke" is pretty clearly meant to be a take-off of "Crank That" by Soulja Boy.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: While both the show and the strip have always been critically acclaimed, there are numerous shifts that have caused division in the fanbase.
    • Although the strip didn't become widely known until it started regularly doing political commentary, there are some fans who feel that the shift to politics was detrimental to the strip. Those fans feel that originally, the appeal of the strip was it's large cast of characters and most of the humor was derived from their interactions. They say that when the strip changed, the cast was reduced to just Huey and Caesar, and a lot of the strips boiled down to just Huey watching the news.
    • The differences between the strip and the show cause arguments due to the social commentary being more indirect and not as frequent, along with several changes to the personalities of the characters.
    • Finally, some fans hold the first season higher than the rest of the series, due to the show becoming Denser and Wackier, the social commentary taking a backseat to more general plots, and Huey being Demoted to Extra and losing a lot of his passion in general.
    • Some people have been this way about season 4 since Aaron McGruder no longer works on the show, not to mention the shift in focus being on Granddad.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • This is more hypothetical, but it's quite likely that many fans have been left wondering why neither the comics nor the show have ever bothered to explain what happened to Robert's wife, or the parents of Huey and Riley. This is especially odd considering that Uncle Ruckus of all people got an episode that explored his backstory and family.
    • At the beginning of "Breaking Granddad", Huey reveals that he created an explosive compound for a plan to assassinate Ed Wuncler II, only for this idea to be rejected by Robert. It would've been interesting to see Huey try (though most likely fail) to kill Ed II with a bomb.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Huey Freeman is Huey Newton as a child on lithium.
  • Too Cool to Live: Bushido Brown.
  • Too Soon: Averted with the comic in regards to the September 11th attacks. Unlike the rest of America, which put its faith in the US government in wake of such an unprecedented and unexpected tragedy, McGruder published a comic criticizing the Bush administration's lack of integrity the day after it happened!
  • Tough Act to Follow: While Seasons 3 and 2 are still well-liked among fans, Season 1 is generally considered to be the most consistently good. Many even claim that it "spoiled" the later seasons by being too good.
  • What an Idiot: Grandad in "Good Times", who keeps taking Ed Wuncler, Jr.'s deals among other things to try and pay back his debt, when it actually drives him further into it.
  • Win the Crowd: Subverted; the season two episodes involving BET were supposed to be this to angry fans who were pissed off at the tonal change in adapting the strip to animation, but Adult Swim wimped out and banned them.
  • The Woobie:
    • Jazmine, especially in "The Block Is Hot".
    • This runs in the family, as her father Tom also frequently qualifies for this.
    • Leonard, poor guy works non-stop at Wendy's to pay for Thugnificent's decaying mansion.
  • Woolseyism: For obvious reasons, most of the humor was adapted in many foreign-dubbed versions:
    • The Mexican Spanish dub has a weird approach on this: While they avoided the Animation Age Ghetto by keeping the original expletives intact (and sometimes even adding extra expletives), on the other hand and due to an unexpected limitation of the Spanish language, the slur Nigger is translated as Negro (literally "Black" as both "Black color" or "Black people"). Normally the word Negro is not an insult by default in Mexico and many Spanish-speaking countries (though "negro" was once used in America as an adjective for black people and it was Fair for Its Day, but now it's not), and it's only an insult when you add an adjective on it. It's not the same saying in Spanish "Eres un Negro" (You're a Black guy) than saying "Eres un Maldito Negro" (You're a Damn Black guy) which is the closest thing to saying Nigger in Spanish. Sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn't.
    • The Japanese dub, on the other hand, avoids this, out for necessity, since many of the American slang and ethnic slurs used in the original English version remains untranslated from English, causing sometimes many characters to speak normally in Japanese and dropping N-Bombs in English. Basically, the Japanese dub is the inverted version of many Western fansubs and some dubs regarding keeping many of the original terminology untranslated.
  • X Meets Y:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheBoondocks