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Freeman Family

    In General 
Three members of an extended African-American family, who moved from the South Side of Chicago, Illinois to the affluent suburban city of Woodcrest (implied to be located near Baltimore, Maryland).
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    Huey Freeman 

Huey Freeman

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/95ff1e5b_94ae_4b08_9fa0_a998e8b14aeb.jpeg
Voiced by: Regina King

A little boy who is very intelligent yet pessimistic for his age, he is a radical left-wing activist and an alleged "domestic terrorist".


  • The Ace: Huey is incredibly, often super-humanly good at just about anything that doesn't involve social interaction. He's one of the best martial artists in the series, can play kickball with wuxia super-soldiers, infiltrate military bases, appears to know just about everything, never loses his cool, is a scientific genius, and is also fluent in Chinese. This is eventually acknowledged by other characters in the series, but usually for the comedy value of them still not listening to him despite knowing he's always right.
  • Acting Your Intellectual Age: Huey is very intelligent and mature for a 10 year-old child. He has demonstrated a depth of understanding topics that would seem to surpass his young age such as: politics, religion, the media, businesses and corporations, African-American culture, and American society as a whole.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the comics, Huey's martial arts skills are an Informed Ability. In the cartoon, not so much.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: The negative aspects of Huey's personality are less pronounced in the show than in the comics. Justified since the animated Huey is a mix of his comic incarnation and that of Caesar, his best and only real friend (and the more sensible of the two).
  • Adorkable: Believe it or not, Huey can fall into this trope if the plot calls for it, especially when it comes to his loony conspiracy theories and especially the rare occasions of him actually being in a good mood.
  • Adorably Precocious Child:
    • Early in the comics, Huey rants at a little old white lady for thinking that he's adorable, but she ignores his points.
    • In "The Garden Party", Huey is annoyed that the rich white guests at Wuncler's party find his political rants and conspiracy theories to be cute instead of offensive.
  • Afro Asskicker: He's a preteen badass variant of this trope.
  • All Issues Are Political Issues: Especially in the newspaper comics. Huey won't stop talking about politics, controversies, and other stressful thoughts, even at the most awkward of times. He wants to attach political or philosophical meanings to just about everything. He won't even give himself a break on holidays and vacations.
  • Angry Black Man: Rather, Angry Black Boy. Especially in the comic, though McGruder has been known to use him to criticize the concept.
  • Anti-Hero: He has a cynical and pessimistic demeanor, but he's a good person beneath it and tries his best to improve society and the world.
  • Aside Glance: He has done this multiple times (especially in the first season) to get his cynicism or disapproval across.
  • Badass Adorable: He can kick ass despite being a preteen kid.
  • Badass Bookworm: He's very well read and has an interest in politics.
  • Berserk Button:
    • In the comics, Republican politicians and annoying black celebrities bothered him to no end, to the point that they're on his mind nearly 24/7.
    • In "The Red Ball", he tells the Chinese kickball team that "I do not like being laughed at", and teaches them the hard way.
  • 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.
  • Birds of a Feather: Huey became best friends with Caesar because of their common political views. Or, it was more because they were the only black kids in Woodcrest (besides Riley) and could relate. While he often agrees with Huey, Caesar is generally much less interested in politics and occasionally gets annoyed that it's all Huey ever seems to talk about.
  • Black and Nerdy: Besides being very intellectual for a kid his age, Huey is also a fan of Star Wars and martial arts movies. His brother even mockingly calls him a "nerd" in the comics.
  • Break the Cutie: Sometimes, we do see more of Huey’s human side and whenever it we do, it’s pretty sad.
  • Brutal Honesty: Due to his cynical and pessimistic personality, Huey is not one to mince words about harsh truths, especially when it concerns the world.
    Huey: There ain't no such thing as a Tooth Fairy.
    Jazmine: Then who leaves the money?
    Huey: Probably your parents. They have both the cash and the access to your room.
    Jazmine: Why would they lie to me?
    Huey: Because the truth hurts, Jazmine. The world is a hard and lonely place, and nobody gets anything for free. And you want to know what else? One day, you and everyone you know is gonna die.
    (Jazmine runs away crying)
  • Butt-Monkey: He's often ignored and ridiculed whenever he tries making a point, especially by Riley and Granddad.
  • The Cassandra: Riley and Granddad often ignore his advice, frequently to their own detriment.
  • Cavalier Competitor: Over the kickball game. At least until Ming makes it personal.
  • Characterization Marches On: In the first season, Huey tends to be considerably angrier and perhaps more of a conspiracy theorist. In the following seasons, his politics are focused more on critical observations and critiques and he functions as a voice of reason amongst his family.
  • Character Check: He starts quoting Malcolm X in Season 4, and he is not too far off from his character from the comics in some episodes, such as "Freedomland".
  • Chaste Hero: Huey doesn't get romance, nor does he want to.
  • Child Prodigy: Which annoys his teacher.
  • The Comically Serious / The Stoic: He usually keeps a neutral (yet a bit pessimistic) expression on his face, and only a few times has he shown anything else.
    • Not So Stoic: Occasionally you can see Huey look very visibly distressed, such as when his former friend Cairo rejects him. Even rarer, he can be seen in a better mood.
  • Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch: In-Universe, he does this when he says that the first Soul Plane was as funny as a lynching. He justifies it by saying that he's also never seen a lynching, but he knows they're not funny. (Granddad tries to argue that he knows of a funny lynching, but that's neither here nor there.)
  • Composite Character: The animated Huey is a combination of comic Huey's cynicism and radicalism, with Caesar's Only Sane Man attitude.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Especially in comics, and it's often lampshaded. Huey is a left-wing radical after all. He believes that racists, corporations, and governments are all scheming to keep the working classes (blacks especially) under their feet. Likewise he also fully bought into Y2K, up to believing aliens would invade.
    • In the comics, he often accuses his teacher Mr. Petto of intentionally brainwashing his students on behalf of higher powers. Though really, it seems that Petto is just trying to do his job.
    • Also in the comics, during one winter break, he formed a convoluted theory that Santa Claus is an agent of the Illuminati. Oddly though, he dismissed Santa as being a childish fairy tale until he incorporated him into his paranoid conspiracy fantasies.
    • At one point in the comics, Huey is reluctant to get vaccinated, as he's afraid that the government wants to inject microchips in people.
    • Huey is introduced in "The Garden Party" by claiming that "Jesus was black, Ronald Reagan is the Devil, and the government's lying about 9/11." Either he really believes all of this, was trying to anger/troll a rich white audience, or probably both.
    • Later in "The Real", Huey thinks that the government is spying on him, through a secret agent he calls "the White Shadow". He can't decide if the Shadow is real or an illusion.
    • In "The Block Is Hot", Huey is seen distributing fliers claiming that the government wants people to die early, so that they can't collect their Social Security benefits.
  • Crazy Survivalist: A rare far-left example. As a paranoid conspiracy theorist, Huey hoards a lot of emergency supplies in his house, as he is expecting an epic disaster to strike the world at any moment.
    • In the comics, he totally buys into the Y2K scare to a ridiculous extent, to the point of running drills, asking his grandfather to buy a generator, and (perhaps jokingly) expecting irradiated zombies or space aliens to invade. This results in him totally freaking out when Granddad pulls a prank on him by cutting the lights just as the New Year hits.
    • Later in the comics, he was certain that the bird flu epidemic would destroy America, and stockpiled 18 months' worth of food to prepare, saying he wouldn't even share with his brother when it happened. (Given that the bird flu had no cases outside of Asia, you can only find this rather absurd now along with much of his paranoia.)
    • In the episode "The Fried Chicken Flu", he hoards a lot of supplies to prepare for a great disaster, such as the fried chicken flu epidemic. Though it all goes to waste, as the so-called "fried chicken flu" is really an outbreak of salmonella that was exaggerated by the media to be far deadlier than it actually was.
  • Creepy Child: Even though Huey is a little boy, he never smiles or laughs, and he's also a (wannabe) militant political activist / "domestic terrorist" (and he fully expects to be imprisoned for it some day).
  • Cry Cute: When Huey is actually expressing his true feelings and insecurities, it’s really adorable.
  • Cunning Linguist: In the episode "The Red Ball", he has shown to understand and speak fluent Mandarin Chinese.
  • The Cynic: He's the master of negative thinking. No matter the occasion, he will express his unpleasant thoughts about it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It helps that Huey does in fact have a deadpan personality, and has a penchant for both sarcasm and bluntness.
  • The Determinator: This applies to the first season only, as later seasons show him to be much more apathetic.
  • Dirty Communist: Huey Freeman seems to be some kind of anarcho-communist / black nationalist / vegetarian. This has gotten him some negative media attention from right-wing politicians, and he's under constant surveillance by federal government agencies.
  • Disappeared Dad: Along with Missing Mom. It's implied that his parents are deceased.
  • Disapproving Look: The boy is famous for it. Just look at his character image. Particularly noticeable in the show, which is less dialogue-heavy and has more moments of Huey just looking at people to get his skepticism or disapproval across, but even in the comic, the Beat Panels of Huey just looking at someone who is being ignorant or foolish are common.
  • The Eeyore: He sometimes crosses over with Grumpy Bear. His endless war against The Man has left him without the ability to take much enjoyment from things. Naturally, his being a constant downer causes Caesar no shortage of annoyance, ostracizes him from what friends he has at times, and every once in a while results in him being called out on it.
  • Enemy Mine: Thrice in Season 3, Huey has reluctantly worked alongside some personal enemies (twice with Uncle Ruckus, and once with Ed Wuncler I).
    • In "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman", Huey's apathy and Ruckus' hatred for Barack Obama provokes an angry reaction from a crowd of Obama supporters. As they no longer feel like they belong in America, the two decide to drive up north to Canada together, but this plan is aborted when Ruckus is arrested by the Secret Service.
    • In "The Red Ball", Huey has no choice but to accept Wuncler's offer to become the captain of the Woodcrest kickball team and recruit other players, as Wuncler betted most of the real estate in Woodcrest (including the Freeman house) to his business rival Long-Dou from Wushung, China.
    • In "It's Goin' Down", after a confused counter-terrorism operation gone wrong (Jack Flowers mistakenly believed that Huey and Ruckus were terrorists), Jack convinces Huey and Ruckus to help him out by evacuating Dan Stuckey from the Wuncler Tower before a bomb destroys it.
  • Funny Afro: There's a running gag in the comic series about Granddad demanding that Huey should get a haircut.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He dreams of a better society, but is not very tactful about it.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Huey seems to hate everyone and everything. In the comics, he once tried to write a book about people he hated, seeing as he was so good at hating. But he didn't include Osama bin Laden, because as he explains, "He's so EASY to hate. I'm trying to challenge the reader to expand his or her hate horizons." He did however, include Lucy from Peanuts, because of "the whole pulling-the-football-away thing."
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the comic. Caesar is usually responsible for calling him on it.
    Huey: Most people don't have the time or the energy to follow politics, and the government takes advantage of that. This country needs to keep a closer eye on Washington! We need to start holding our elected officials responsible for this mess!
    Caesar: Wow... So who is our Congressman, Huey?
    Huey: Who knows... Some punk...
  • Ignored Expert: Yes. He uses his knowledge of the actions and the personalities of the people involved to know roughly of what is going to happen in the future. Not that anyone listens to his warnings.
    • For example, in "The Fundraiser", Huey accurately predicts what will become of Riley's candy-selling racket, going so far as to give him a bulletproof vest, which eventually turned out to save his life.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: No explanation is given for how Huey learned martial arts.
  • Insufferable Genius: Particularly in the comic. For example, one year for Christmas, he gave everyone he knew free coupons for hour-long lectures from him on a flaw of theirs of his choice.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Huey has very few friends. He scares everyone off except for Caesar and Jazmine (especially in the cartoon, due to Caesar's absence).
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Tom, and also with the White Shadow to an extent.
  • I Warned You: Writer of "I Told You So: Emergency Household Protocols For Catastrophic Scenario".
  • Jerkass: In the comics, Huey is very arrogant and condescending to just about everyone. Downplayed in the show, where he's just simply cold and aloof towards others.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In "Guess Hoe's Coming to Dinner", he makes a good argument that most young women would never date men around Granddad's age unless they had a hidden motive. This is why he and Riley disliked Cristal.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: But underneath his cynical elitism and detached stoicism, he does care about the well-being of his family and friends.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: He plays it straight and also subverts it when he gets in a fight with Riley.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Is often bitter and cynical about how little effect his work actually has on the world, and the small chance of him making any sort of difference whatsoever, but still does what he feels needs to be done.
  • Lack of Empathy: In the comics, he can sometimes be a rare heroic example. Though he does care about people, he often has little tolerance for other peoples' feelings, emotions, and problems, especially in comparison to what he thinks their feelings, emotions, and problems ought to be.
  • Meaningful Name: Named after Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party.
  • Mundane Utility: In the comics, he often tries to use his skills at revolutionary rhetoric and great berth of knowledge of black history to, among other things, get out of mowing the grass. It always fails.
  • The Narrator: In various episodes, especially in the first two seasons, Huey narrates the story and provides commentary. However, some episodes are narrated by other characters; including Riley, Robert, Ruckus, and even Stinkmeaner.
  • Nerves of Steel: He didn't even flinch at the end of the "Attack of the Killer Kung-Fu Wolf Bitch" episode when Luna killed herself with a grenade or when he and Riley pointed the airsoft's at each other's faces. Riley's hand shook and trembled; Huey's was still as stone.
    • Subverted at the end of "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy". When Bushido Brown's head gets cut off, Huey winces just like everyone else; His reaction is just more subtle than the others.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe. For a while in the comics, he's unable to live down the extreme extent to which he bought into Y2K.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: A relatively noble one.
  • No Respect Guy: To pretty much everyone in the TV show, increasingly as the series goes on. Jazmine is the sole consistent exception, being the only character (outside the comics, at least) shown to genuinely listen to and care about what he has to say.
  • No Sense of Humor: Beyond his sarcasm, he really doesn't seem to have an interest in comedy. A running gag in the comic has Caesar either pointing it out, failing to tell him a joke, or trying and failing to get him to say something funny. One mini-arc even has him trying to teach Huey to tell "yo momma" jokes, with disastrous results.
  • No Social Skills: Sometimes, not that he cares. He doesn't really have time for tact, hates most things, doesn’t get people at all, and is especially hard on ignorance, which everyone around him has in spades. He doesn't have many friends, but then that doesn't matter to him either. Because of this, characters rarely approach him in a social setting, so this only comes out occasionally. Poor Jazmine...
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Huey, like all the other children, isn't shown to be aging. This is especially confusing in the comics, as he regularly discussed then-current events; this was lampshaded when Caesar commented how the previous US presidential election (four years before that particular strip) felt just like yesterday.
    • The show runs for a total of 9 years (including the awkward hiatuses in-between the 4 seasons). Although the only events that could be dated down was the election and inauguration of Barack Obama in 2008-2009.
  • Not So Above It All: In the comics, Huey thinks he's an Only Sane Man, but he doesn't realize how extreme his viewpoints are, or that in the end he's still just a little kid who can't change much about the world. Downplayed in the show though.
  • N-Word Privileges: He says "nigga", but not as much as Riley or Robert do.
  • Oblivious to Love: Sometimes. Jazmine occasionally implies that she has some kind of crush on him, to which he's usually as brusque as ever, sometimes even more so than usual. For instance, at one point in the comic, Jazmine gives him a Valentine. When she asks if he has one for her, he tells her he does and that that he'll be right back with it. He then shuts the door in her face and leaves her waiting outside. For two hours, until someone shouts at her to go home.
  • Occidental Otaku: Huey knows karate, owns a katana sword, and watches samurai movies.
  • Only Sane Man: In the TV show, due to the exaggerated and flanderized stupidity of many characters, especially compared to Riley (not surprisingly), and even his Granddad (who is much dumber than his comic counterpart).
  • Out of Focus: In the first season, Huey was a lot more outspoken and would actively try to prevent whatever disaster is happening due to the actions of the other characters. In the later seasons, Huey is a lot more apathetic, and his role in many episodes is to offer a few pointed comments and warn the other characters that whatever they're doing is going to blow up in their face, and he mostly lets them deal with the consequences when they don't listen to him.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Almost always seen with a frown to emphasize his cynical and pessimistic personality. According to Aaron McGruder, the animators are contractually obligated never to depict Huey smiling or laughing, ever.
    • When He Smiles: Rarely though, you can see Huey in a better mood. And it's actually quite nice. Although it has been stated that those instances of him being happy are animation errors, it works for his character as those particular moments of uncharacteristic happiness have something to do with what's happening or who he is speaking to.
      • He smiles when he set up a soapbox and sees Jazmine across the street with her lemonade stand.
      • He smiles when he asks Jazmine to go and assist him on his plan to bust out a wrongfully convicted prisoner. Although this was temporary when Jazmine stated that she could not go.
      • He smiles twice when Riley starts having success during the basketball game.
      • He seems genuinely happy to see Granddad return from his Costa Rica trip.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Huey is a far-left-wing activist who dreams of becoming a militant revolutionary, although he never actually gets to commit any crimes (there was an attempted prison break-out and an attempted assassination of Ed Wuncler II, although both of these plans failed before Huey could even execute them). Nevertheless Huey gets a lot of media and government attention, and he's been branded as a domestic terrorist.
    • He did manage to (somewhat accidentally) successfully blackmail a politician in the course of a separate hail-Mary attempt at the aforementioned prison break-out.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Particularly in the comics, at least at first. Huey is a black nationalist, so he tended to treat white people with some disdain.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: His (half of the) room is neat with a full bookshelf, a computer and posters of Che Guevara and Malcolm X.
  • Power Fist: The "Black Power Fist". He builds one with instructions from the Internet.
  • The Quiet One: He's generally very calm and reserved, especially after Season 1.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Not prone to overt anger (his rage is usually more calm), but after Bush gets re-elected he spends two weeks holding it in and then explodes pretty much at random. Caesar has to physically restrain him from ranting himself off of a cliff.
    Huey: "It's like middle America called a meeting and said, 'what's the best way to crush Huey's hope for the future?' ... MISSION ACCOMPLISHED B***CHES!"
    Caesar: "Healthy... getting it out is healthy..."
  • Raised by Grandparents: He and Riley are raised by their grandfather Robert.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: He's usually very calm, even in frustration, but when he's in a foul mood watch out. One arc in the comics had him sulking in a particularly drawn out bad mood, and Jazmine tries to cheer him up by giving him a card... which was unfortunately covered in cherubic looking white children. When he sees this, Huey explodes on her so badly that she starts crying and he immediately apologizes.
    Jazmine: I thought it was the thought that counts!
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Riley's and Caesar's red. Red to Tom's blue.
  • Retired Badass: As early as Season 3, he claimed to be retired from revolutionary activism (or "domestic terrorism" depending on one's views).
  • Ridiculous Procrastinator: Huey gets an entire comic arc about how he can't get himself to just mow the grass. Even afterward, him doing absolutely anything he can to avoid doing it becomes a Running Gag.
  • Serious Business: The nerd in him will quote Obi-Wan Kenobi and he's repeatedly overreacted when he's given news of bad black movies etc. by Caesar.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: He's often at the receiving end of this. Granddad outright him asks him how making himself miserable will help bring any real social change.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Played with. While Huey isn't so concerned with self-image like Riley is, he does have some traits of this due to being a self-described revolutionary activist, believing he could change the world (despite not doing much besides complaining all the time). Whether he's far less significant than he thinks, or whether he really is a well-known revolutionary, depend on the joke the strip or episode is trying to tell, though the show did skew more to the latter more often.
  • Soapbox Sadie: In the episode, "The Block is Hot". However, that is still a natural element to his character.
  • The Spock: He's smart yet stoic.
  • Straight Man: Especially towards Riley. In the TV show, he serves this role to his Granddad as well.
  • Straw Character: Huey is a far-left radical who preaches socialism and black nationalism. It varies greatly whether he's a strawman of a fringe extremist.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Huey is stoic and often blunt, but when the chips are down, so is his personal barrier.
  • Supporting Protagonist: He's the main character and Straight Man to his brother and granddad. Most of the show focuses on the schemes of his brother and his granddad though.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Where do we begin? Huey owns a real sword and an electric shock glove, has planned a prison breakout, brought nunchaku to a cinema, kidnapped Ruckus and hijacked his school bus, and he created a bomb with the intent to assassinate Ed Wuncler II (although in Huey's defense, Ed II is a loan shark who isn't above murdering people).
  • Übermensch: Deconstructed. Initially, he was something of a milder case. But as the series progresses, he has his faith challenged in ways that force him to accept there are forces he can't understand and sometimes he can't make a difference. As the series progresses, Huey starts to become more and more hopeless to the point of eventually giving up on society and accepting that his outlook is not enough.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: No matter what Jazmine does for him, he just keeps mistreating her. In one comic strip, when she gives him a card to cheer him up, he yells at her just because the card she gave him had a white angel on it (he does feel a bit bad about this and try to apologize, however).
  • The Un-Reveal: We never get to find out who his parents were.
  • Unreliable Narrator: In "Attack of the Killer Kung-Fu Wolf Bitch", though he corrects himself. Huey thinks that Luna has finally moved on from her personal troubles — until she commits suicide with a hand grenade, which he then points out.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: He does care, just in an aloof, depressing, cynical way.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: He strongly believes this.
  • Weekend Inventor: He creates an electric shock glove (called the "Black Power Fist"), an emergency power generator (during an outbreak of salmonella), and chemical explosives (he considered killing Ed II).
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Huey, who is known to be a far-left radical, is actually on the federal government's watchlist of suspected "domestic terrorists". While Huey is sometimes shown to be engaging in illegal activities, he never actually (has the chance to) do anything terroristic.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: In the cartoon he certainly acts like this, but the reality is that it's just that: an act. In truth, he just has more common sense than Robert or Riley. He certainly is very mature for his age and he has plenty of knowledge, but he doesn't have all of the intelligence to back it up.
  • The Worf Effect: While a skilled martial artist, he is often the one kissing concrete when he gets into fights, though to be fair, a lot of his opponents are adults and elite badasses. The only fights he has won or at least, had the advantage in, were against either those in his own age group, or just Mooks.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: In a one-sided way with Jazmine, who is much nicer to him.

    Riley Freeman 

Riley "Escobar" Freeman

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/riley_0.png
Voiced by: Regina King

Huey's younger brother, a wannabe gangster and juvenile delinquent with an eye for trouble. He's determined to do anything stupid enough to build up his "reputation".


  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the comics, Riley originally had short hair. Much later on, he grows it out into an afro much like Huey's, before changing his hair into the cornrows that he has in the show.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Riley has a certain mindset of how the world should work, so any lessons that don't line up with it are immediately discarded.
    • Lampshaded at the end of "The Fundraiser", when Riley is offered an opportunity back into the candy business, and recalls all the crap he went through near the end of the episode (such as barely escaping a shootout between two rival gangs and the FBI). He then smiles and snickers deviously, before the credits roll.
    • Lampshaded again at the end of "A Date with the Booty Warrior". Riley has just went on a field trip to a local prison, which was intended to scare him away from a life of crime. Even after being taken as a hostage during a prison riot, Riley declares that he's not scared of jail, because it was filled with "bitch-ass niggas".
  • Ascended Fanboy: He's a huge fan of gangsta rappers and is friends with a few of his idols, including Thugnificent and Gangstalicious.
  • Badass Adorable: Sometimes, see the trope below.
  • Berserk Button: Getting his Lethal Interjection chain necklace stolen by Butch Magnus.
  • Blatant Lies: Riley is fond of lying.
  • Book Dumb: Depending on the Writer; In the comics, he uses Obfuscating Stupidity. But in the cartoon, he really is that stupid.
    • In the comics, he is exceptionally bright when he wants to be. He does poorly in school to protect his "rep".
    • In the first season of the show, Riley was more on the fence when it came to obfuscating stupidity.
      • For all the dumb things he did, the boy was a surprisingly good debater.
      • And he showed remarkable cunning in "Let's Nab Oprah", by misdirecting Oprah's bodyguards which included Bushido Brown, certainly more cunning than Ed III & Gin Rummy have ever shown.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: He frequently gets on the nerves of his big brother and granddad.
  • Butt-Monkey: In the cartoon. Ed III and Gin Rummy stole his pimped out bike he worked really hard on (though he completely deserved it); he got his ass handed to him by the local bully, who stole his chain on top of it; and Huey absolutely dominated him in the "Home Alone" episode.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Nigga, you gay."
    • "Pause."
  • Character Exaggeration: Becomes more of a Small Name, Big Ego in the animated series, and even moreso after the first season. Somewhat justified in that Riley is supposed to represent black youth stirred in the wrong direction, imitating rappers. During the time of the strip most rappers were known for how "hard" or "gangster" they were. Currently most rappers are known for how flashy and braggadocios they are.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite not having any actual training and just being a kid, Riley has little sense of fear, and will take on ANY opponent, adult or not, that he thinks have wronged him. He usually won't win, but he puts up a hell of a fight.
  • Cuteness Proximity: One of Granddad's crazy ex-girlfriends tried to kidnap Riley because of how adorable he was.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Riley is a total smart-ass, but he's generally more obscene than deadpan.
  • Delinquent: Well he is a wannabe gangster after all. He really believes that getting into trouble with the law will make him cool.
  • Determinator: He's not a very good fighter, but good luck on getting him to stay down.
  • Disappeared Dad: Along with Missing Mom. It's implied that his parents are deceased.
  • Enemies Equals Greatness: He's a firm believer in this trope, but unfortunately, this led Butch Magnus to steal his chain.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While Riley is very callous and uncaring, he generally draws the line at doing things that directly hurt people (usually).
    • It often depends on his role in the plot — if he's being an antagonist or a villain protagonist, then he'll be worse; but if the gag is that he's in over his head, he'll always have a line he won't cross.
      • In particular, Riley is thoroughly creeped out by Lamilton, and is often appalled at how extreme Ed and Rummy can be (not that it stops him from calling them).
  • Evil Laugh: His sadistic snicker.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: He's much less intelligent and responsible than Huey.
  • Freudian Trio: The Id to Robert's Ego and Huey's Superego
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Riley is a loud mouthed Jerkass who insults everyone, making him the least popular of the Freeman clan.
  • Fully Automatic Clip Show: Him calling things gay In "The Story Of Gangstalicious, Part 2".
  • Genre Savvy: He can predict the outcome of his Granddad's Catcher Freeman story, which sounds an awful lot like a cliched action/romance movie.
  • Girls Have Cooties
    (After Riley complains that he might never be able to have money and girls like the rappers on TV)
    Huey: Riley, you don't even LIKE girls!
    Riley: I DO SO! (beat) Just as long as they don't touch me...
  • 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.
  • The Grinch: While Riley doesn't hate Christmas itself, he does hold a grudge against Santa Claus, as he blames him for not giving him any gifts he wanted. So what does he do about it? He assaults a mall Santa at a department store.
  • Guilty Pleasures: He feels great shame when it's revealed he's a Lauryn Hill fan. This isn't because Hill is a regular guilty pleasure, as Huey explains; he doesn't see Hill's positive messages as compatible with his chosen "gangsta" lifestyle. He has an image and mindset to maintain.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: When he is introduced to something or someone that is or he considers to be gay, he will either criticize, state, or mention that he is straight.
  • Idiot Hero: Whenever there is an episode about him, it mainly involves Riley making stupid decisions.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: He's the definition of a "wannabe gangster".
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Gangstalicious and Thugnificient's Lethal Interjection Crew. Also friends with Ed III and Gin Rummy, except for that one time when they stole his bicycle.
  • Jerkass: Riley loves committing mischief and mayhem, and usually doesn't care about how his actions affect others (or himself).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In spite of his callous attitude and being a cowardly narcissist brat, we sometimes see that Riley does care about his brother and grandfather.
  • Kids Are Cruel: He's (usually) not really that bad, but he plays up the "schoolyard tough" act in school in order to build up his "rep". Though some strips imply that he doesn't really have to try that hard...
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Most prominent in the episode "Ballin' " where Riley arrogantly believes himself to be an expert basketball player just because he is black and can dribble, even going as far as to demand payment for his "services" when Tom tried to recruit him for his peewee basketball team and purposely skips out on practice thinking he doesn't need it and out of sheer laziness. On his first game, however, Riley has shown to be an incompetent player as he has no concept of teamwork and, as the announcer quoted, "can't shoot worth shit".
  • Large Ham: Definitely in contrast to his more reserved brother.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: While Riley never learns any lessons, he doesn't always escape consequences. He usually serves to be his own downfall, and often gets beaten by his grandfather if he pisses him off.
  • Lazy Bum: Riley never does any work at all either because he thinks it’s gay or just because he thinks he’s too cool for it.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • In the comics, Cindy finds out that Riley likes Lauryn Hill, so then she assumes that he has other effeminate interests.
    • In the show, Riley unwittingly copies the behavior of gay rapper Gangstalicious, up to and including wearing Gangstalicious' new clothes (Riley unknowingly looks like he's cross-dressing), so Robert and Ruckus are worried that he's also a homosexual.
  • Never My Fault: Whenever Riley does something that causes the problem of the episode (such as spending his and Huey’s food money on useless stuff), he always blames either Huey or Robert.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: The roguish one to Huey's noble one.
  • N-Word Privileges: Riley says "nigga" very casually. Lampshaded in "The S-Word", when Riley says the word to his white teacher Mr. Petto, who then copies him. Riley and Robert pretended to be offended so they could sue the school district.
  • Pint-Sized Kid: If the height chart in "Smokin' with Cigarettes" is to be believed, Riley is only 3'4; that's about a foot shorter than you'd expect a real 8 year old to be.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Due to his desire to be a macho manly man and tough guy, Riley is very sexist (he believes that all girls are hoes and sluts), homophobic ("gay" is his preferred insult for just about anything he dislikes), and even ableist (he has no qualms about calling mentally disabled people "retarded" to their faces).
  • Raised by Grandparents: He and his brother are living with their grandfather Robert.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Huey's blue.
  • Schemer: His schemes never go right, usually because they don’t make sense or are just plain dumb.
  • Shaking the Rump: Does this in "The S-Word" where Huey lampshades he's doing the "Celebratory Booty Dance".
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: He will insult anyone and will not care for whatever the response is.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Oh so much, Riley is very obsessed with proving himself to be an awesome gangster.
  • Spoiled Brat: In spite his (somewhat) easy lifestyle, Riley is never satisfied with anything and keeps demanding more.
  • This Loser Is You: Riley embraces every negative stereotype about black youth; he's an anti-intellectual and self-absorbed trouble-maker.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Riley finds a criminal lifestyle to be very appealing. He's already assisted local crooks such as Ed, Rummy, Lamilton, etc.
  • Too Dumb to Live: At times, such as "The Fundraiser" where he's too cocky and arrogant to realize that dangerous criminals are threatening his life and safety.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In Season 3, Riley performs badass feats, such as winning his first fight against Lamilton Taeshawn, who is a bigger kid. It is also notable that he is able to dominate Lando with wrestling moves, such as the moonsault and Boston crab. Keep in mind that Lando is a grown man. In Season 4, Riley is shown to be far more agile and spry such as doing impressive aerial flips.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Riley likes to associate with known criminals such as Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy, which Huey rightly chastises him for. Riley also starts to hang out with another juvenile delinquent named Lamilton Taeshawn, but he then regrets it later on.
    • And to a lesser extent, Riley's friendships with gangsta rappers such as Gangstalicious and Thugnificent's Lethal Interjection Crew. While they're all a bunch of dim-witted hedonists, they're also decent guys at heart.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Besides being very rude and foul-mouthed, he's also a willing accomplice to some of Ed III's and Gin Rummy's crimes.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: He seldom ever shows gratitude for Huey or Robert doing anything good for him.
  • The Un-Reveal: We never get to find out who his parents were.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Due to being the biggest Jerkass of the main trio.
  • Verbal Tic: He seems to have picked up a new one lately whenever he mentions something gay, no homo.
  • The Worf Effect: Even worse than Huey as he has no muscles, isn't trained, and his style is just straight up brawling. At the very least, he has some high stamina and can take a lot of punishment. But that just means he get tossed around like a ragdoll.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Riley twice tested out a toy lightsaber by smashing it over Jazmine's and Cindy's heads, disappointed that it wasn't real.

    Robert Freeman 

Robert Jebediah "Granddad" Freeman

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Grandad_Robert_4504.jpg
Voiced by: John Witherspoon (old), Aaron McGruder (young)

The grandfather of Huey and Riley. He was a World War II fighter pilot and a Civil Rights Movement activist. He wants to live out his last days comfortably, but has to contend with his grandsons' antics, while his own pursuit of money and women get him into trouble.


  • Abusive Parents: Being an old-fashioned parental figure, Robert believes that beatings are a great way to discipline a bad child. He mostly beats up Riley, and rarely Huey.
  • Ace Pilot: He was a skilled fighter pilot in the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black unit of the US Army Air Forces, and fought in the European theater of World War II.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Compared to his role in the comics, Robert tends to act a lot more self-centered in the show. He also hits Riley even more frequently. He gets even worse in later seasons of the show, to the point he literally sold himself and his grandchildren to be slaves under Ed Wuncler II to keep his house; and he tried to sell Huey's explosive compound as hair gel to pay off his debts to the Wunclers, despite Huey's complaints that the gel would be lethal for whoever used it.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Much like Riley, Robert has trouble learning from his mistakes.
    • This is lampshaded (or perhaps exaggerated) by Granddad at the end of "It's Goin' Down":
    "Wow, Huey. You were totally right this time. Just imagine all the problems we could avoid if we just listened to you. Oh well."
    • This is again lampshaded at the beginning of "Good Times", when Huey remarks that his Granddad never learns any lessons. This is demonstrated not only by how Granddad's foolish decisions have bankrupted his family, but also how he repeatedly keeps falling for Ed Wuncler II's scams.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: For starters, Robert sometimes walks around the house with little to no clothes.
  • Angry Black Man: 'Cause he's a Grumpy Old Man.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Robert Freeman is known to have been a war veteran and participant in the Civil Rights Movement, though the exact details of his stories tend to vary.
    • In "Wingmen", it was established that he served as a Tuskegee Airman during World War II, a fact that is corroborated by how he attends the funeral of a fellow pilot. However, a throwaway line in "Breaking Granddad" implies that he fought in the Korean War as well.
    • Robert has claimed to have worked alongside Civil Rights figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson, etc., though we mostly have just his word for those claims. In "Freedom Ride or Die", a documentary interview seems to confirm that he did join the Freedom Riders... albeit against his will.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Riley's disobedience in general.
    • He doesn't take being told to butter his own popcorn very well.
    • Jimmy Rebel and his racist country music.
  • Blatant Lies: "I'm gonna go find myself a white man and lie to 'im right now."
  • Bumbling Dad: As Robert isn't very mature himself, he seems quite incompetent at raising his grandkids. Also see Manchild down below.
  • Butt-Monkey: Usually due to whatever stupid mistakes he makes, he often brings down a lot of bad luck upon himself.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Prone to this attitude, especially in the comics.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Despite his old age and fat belly, Robert never stops chasing after younger women. Although his dates tend to go horribly wrong.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Yeeeaaah, boy!"
    • "Boy, where's my belt?!"
    • Not really a phrase, but Granddad has that little tune he sings constantly with the words being just about anything on his mind at the time.
      "New shoes, New shoo-oo-oo-oo-ooo-oes!"
      "Good food, Good foo-oo-oo-oo-ooo-ood!"
      "Soul Plane, Soul Pla-aa-aa-aa-aaa-ane!"
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Robert may be a dirty old man, but he would not allow his prostitute girlfriend to be smacked by her pimp.
  • Confirmed Bachelor: Of the Casanova Wannabe variety. Even on the rare occasion when he finds himself in a relationship with a woman who seems into him, he shows no desire to marry. In the first episode of the animated series, he tells Ed Wuncler Sr. that he believes "all marriage is wrong", although he may have been joking or avoiding the question of his stance on gay marriage or both. However, he did confirm in Good Times that he planned on eventually finding an attractive financially desperate or sexually frustrated mother to settle down with.
    • Although there is passing reference about his (probably deceased) wife of many years.
  • Consummate Liar: One interpretation of his tall tales is that he's a pathological liar.
  • Cool Old Guy: More so in the comics.
  • Cowardly Lion: Robert has a bit of a cowardly streak, but he can stand up for himself and others when the situation calls for it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Granddad often makes dismissive replies to whatever Huey or Riley are yapping on about.
  • Deep South: He seems to have lived in this region in his early life. He got himself (in)voluntarily tangled in the political strife there during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Dirty Coward: This is at least implied when he has a nightmare about being chased by an army of Stinkmeaner clones. He abandoned and sacrificed all of his friends and family so he could save his own skin! Who knows if he would do the same in real life?
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Thugnifficent refers to him as "Old Nigga".
  • Fan Disservice: We frequently see him (semi-)naked.
  • Freudian Trio: The Ego to Huey's Superego and Riley's Id. His more seen following Riley's crazy plans for self-gratification while being brought back to reason by Huey when things go too far.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Granddad often pulls off his belt to whip Riley whenever he's out of line.
  • Got Volunteered: In "Freedom Ride or Die", an unwilling Robert Freeman was basically forced by Sturdy Harris to join the latter's risky and life-threatening crusade against segregation.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: During Robert's conflict with Stinkmeaner's clone, he slowly turns into another copy of Stinkmeaner (figuratively speaking) by embracing the hatred. Huey only manages to turn Robert back to normal, just before he could kill Stinkmeaner again.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Robert has a bad habit of dating women with low morals or sanity. His girlfriends have included a lazy gold-digging prostitute, several ugly women who pretended to be sexy online, a crazy and homicidal martial artist who nearly killed him, a Dominican drug boss who brought one of her armed henchmen to the dinner table, a crazy woman who kidnapped Riley because of his cuteness, a shady doctor who almost harvested his organs, a narcissistic reality TV star, etc.
    Huey: Your dating habits have been a serious threat to the safety of you, the people of this house...
    Riley: ...And really the entire neighborhood.
  • Hypocritical Humor: A true master.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Especially in the comics - a common gag is for Huey to point out how he's acting foolish or hypocritical, only for Granddad to agree, but reply that since he's in his golden years he doesn't care.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: In the comics, where he simply desires to live his golden years in relaxation.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: In the show, where he's big on appearances and often wants to live the high life.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Robert also frequently uses his belt for self-defense during fights, using it not only as a whip, but also as a lasso to bind an enemy's limbs.
  • Indentured Servitude: In Season 4, he signs a contract that forces him to work for Ed Wuncler Jr until he pays off the debt on the house.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Tom and Sarah. Eventually he also befriends Thugnificent.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: As seen during some flashbacks to his youth, he was a handsome fella in his day.
  • Jerkass: Robert usually places his own interests before everyone else, and is quick to avoid responsibility for whatever goes wrong.
  • Jerkass Ball: In "Stinkmeaner: Begun the Clone War Has", after a new Nigga Moment begins between Robert and Stinkmeaner's clone, Robert starts copying Stinkmeaner's behavior and becomes a full-blown bastard. Fortunately, he snaps back to normal in the end.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sometimes. He does love his grandsons, no matter how much of a pain in the ass they are.
  • Kavorka Man: Despite being an old, grumpy, balding easily-annoyed spendthrift with a notable gut, he still manages to convince attractive young ladies to go on dates and sometimes sleep with him, even if the relationships end up failing soon.
  • Large Ham: He's a master at overreacting to everything, whether it's justified or not.
  • Manchild: Especially in the TV series. You know that something's wrong with the Freemans' family dynamic, when preteen Huey acts far more adult-like than his old man.
  • Meaningful Name: His surname Freeman, which Ed Wuncler II acknowledges, albeit ironically when Robert loses his freedom to Wuncler.
  • Mentor: Of a sort to Huey in the comics, where his characterization is that he is Older and Wiser, but because he's retired he really doesn't want to have to care. Huey occasionally comes to him for deep conversation, though it's never guaranteed that Granddad will want to get into the situation.
  • Naked People Are Funny: At least when they're censored.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In "Stinkmeaner: Begun the Clone War Has", during the final fight against the Stinkmeaner clone, Robert decides to spare his life and make peace with him. The Stinkmeaner clone just reduces his harassment to just yelling at Robert from outside his house.
    Robert: This is what I get for doing the right thing? [...] I knew I should've killed your ass again!
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He does not even have as much as a welt on him in his final battle with the clone of Stinkmeaner.
  • N-Word Privileges: Lampshaded as far back as "The Garden Party", when Robert tells his boys that they shouldn't use the N-word, even though he says it all the time.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: He agrees to spare the life of Stinkmeaner's clone to finally gain peace of mind, only to have Stinkmeaner II pester him 24/7 outside of his house.
  • Refusal of the Call: In Season 4, it is revealed that Robert was drawn into the Civil Rights Movement against his will after accidentally getting on a bus full of Freedom Riders whilst escaping from a bus station attendant for using (and messing up) a white men's restroom. He was actually attempting to escape the South and return to Chicago. Once he was on the bus, despite his vehement protests, the protest leader wouldn't let him off, insisting that his people needed him.
  • Retired Badass: He was a Tuskegee Airman during World War II, and also a Civil Rights Movement activist (although his level of involvement in it is frequently questioned).
  • Riches to Rags: He was never super wealthy, but was implied to have enough savings and presumably a pension to live quite comfortably in the suburbs as well as constantly going on dates. In season 4, it turns out the Freemans are now bankrupt, and most of the episodes, so far, have involved Robert participating in a bunch of harebrained schemes in order to clear his debts.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Another interpretation of his tall tales is that he's suffering from the early stages of dementia. If true, it could also explain why he seems to grow dumber with every season.
  • The Scrooge: We don't know exactly how much he's good for, but he's incredibly cheap nevertheless. This is perhaps best demonstrated when he fired the only babysitter capable of handling Huey and Riley just because she left the lights on in the kitchen and used the telephone for five minutes.
  • Shipper on Deck: Granddad seems to ship Huey with Jazmine, and Riley with Cindy; either subconsciously (calling Jazmine Huey's "little friend", and dreaming of Jazmine instinctively hugging Huey when attacked by the swarm of Stinkmeaners), or intentionally (worrying that Riley might be gay, he invited Cindy to play with him).
  • Skewed Priorities: This is a common joke with him. For example, when the Stinkmeaner-possessed Tom is choking him, Riley tries to save him by breaking several vases over his head; but Granddad is just upset that Riley broke the vases. And later during that same night, Granddad is more focused on his date with a woman, than figuring out what to do with Stinkmeaner-Tom (who's been chained to a bed upstairs).
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Most of the Season 4 episodes are focused around Granddad, with Huey only getting a few lines each episode.
  • The Stoner: In "Mr. Medicinal", he starts using marijuana to relieve his stress. However he gets convicted twice for possession of it, leading to about a month or so of house arrest, and has to appear in an anti-drug PSA as community service, which all force him to stop smoking weed.
  • Technologically Blind Elders:
    • In the comics, Robert was browsing the Internet and was easily tricked into getting a computer virus.
    • In the episode "I Dream of Siri", he visited an Apple Store and couldn't tell the difference between iPhones, iPads, and Mac laptops.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In "Stinkmeaner: Begun the Clone War Has", Robert takes up some kickboxing training in order to defeat Stinkmeaner's clone in a rematch.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: While Robert seemed to have some common sense in the comics (except when it came to technology), in the show he's far more stupid and impulsive, a problem that seems to worsen with every season. Whenever there's anything involving money or women, he will jump into it without thinking of the consequences.
    • In the Season 4 episode "Good Times", Ed II keeps tricking Robert into increasing his own debt, until he makes Robert sell himself into indentured servitude.
  • 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!
  • Unreliable Narrator: It's unknown just how much of Robert's alleged involvement in the Civil Rights Movement (or most of his stories for that matter) actually happened. Werner Herzog theorized that Robert might be either a pathological liar, or in the early stages of dementia.
  • The Un-Reveal: We never get to find out who his wife or child was.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: He's a greedy womanizer and a frequent perpetrator of child abuse. His vices are often played for comedy.
  • Vague Age: How old is Robert anyway? It's not helped by the apparent Comic-Book Time used by this franchise. If he's a WWII veteran, he would probably be in his 90s (as of the 2010s), although he still has prepubescent grandchildren. Werner Herzog also had trouble estimating his age, and so he guessed a wide range between 80-120.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: With regard to parenting. Robert says this to a woman at a grocery store who was trying futilely to calm down her bratty son, before Robert loaned his belt to the woman so she could punish her son:
    Robert: You ever try beatin' his ass?
  • Where Da White Women At?: Although Robert is usually seen dating black women, he's not picky about skin color.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Even though Robert has no problems with hitting his grandsons, he finds it unacceptable to smack a grown woman. So Robert forbids Slickback from striking Cristal in the Freeman house.

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