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Recap / The Boondocks - S1 E9: "Return of the King"

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"Return of the King" is the 9th episode of the 1st season of The Boondocks. It originally aired on January 15, 2006.

In this imaginary tale, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. survives an assassination attempt in 1968, but he is reduced to a comatose state. King wakes up 32 years later in 2000, only to discover that the 21st century world is nothing like he hoped it would become in his "I Have a Dream" speech.

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Tropes:

  • Actual Pacifist: MLKJ, of corse.
  • All Just a Dream: The entire episode is implied to just be Huey's dream or imagination.
  • Alternate History: Within Huey's dream, he imagines what would happen if Martin Luther King Jr. didn't die in 1968; but instead he's just unconscious for 32 years, and then he wakes up and reacts to the modern world...
    • The angry rant creates a new wave of activism across America. Oprah Winfrey becomes president, BET apologizes for its existence, and MLK dies in the year 2020.
  • An Aesop:
  • Been There, Shaped History:
    • Since 1959, Uncle Ruckus has tried throwing bricks at Martin Luther King Jr, but he kept missing every time.
    • Robert remembers when he participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He sat alongside Rosa Parks in the same bus, however he wasn't recognized for his role, much to his embitterment.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Obviously, King has still yet to get used to a different world over three (nearly four) decades later.
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  • Full-Name Ultimatum: "Doctor Martin Luther King Junior! You get out of that room and continue to fight for freedom and justice this instant!"
  • Generation Xerox: One of the men guarding Dr. King in 1968 looks identical to the bouncer who stops Huey and King from going into the VIP area.
  • Historical Domain Character: Take a guess who. Also, Rosa Parks gets a cameo, while Malcolm X is only mentioned at least once.
  • Holiday Episode: This was meant to be a Martin Luther King Day special.
  • N-Word Privileges: MLKJ manages to seize the attentions of an entire crowd full of annoying partygoers with a Precision N-Strike, followed by a Cluster N-Bomb. Read the speech below for more info.
  • Precision N Strike: How Dr. King gets the crowd of ignorant young African Americans to finally shut up listen to him before launching into his "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
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  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech / Take That, Audience!: Martin Luther King Jr, who has grown cynical and disillusioned, delivers a very scathing rant to the African-Americans who have embraced BET and nigga culture:
    Is this it? This is what I got all those ass-whoopings for? I had a dream once. It was a dream that little black boys and little black girls would drink from the river of prosperity, freed from the thirst of oppression. But lo' and behold, some four decades later, what have I found but a bunch of trifling, shiftless, good-for-nothing niggas. And I know some of you don't want to hear me say that word — it's the ugliest word in the English language. But that's what I see now — niggas.

    And you don't want to be a nigga. Because niggas are living contradictions. Niggas are full of unfulfilled ambitions. Niggas wax and wane. Niggas love to complain. Niggas love to hear themselves talk but hate to explain. Niggas love being another man's judge and jury. Niggas procrastinate until it's time to worry. Niggas love to be late. Niggas hate to hurry! [...]

    Black Entertainment Television is the worst thing I've ever seen in my life! [...] Usher, Michael Jackson is NOT a genre of music! [...] And now I'd like to talk about Soul Plane. [...] I've seen what's around the corner. I've seen what's over the horizon and I promise you, you niggas have nothing to celebrate! And no, I won't get there with you. I'm going to Canada.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: King fulfills his vow at the end of the above speech, so he spends the last years of his life in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: In the ultimate critique on just how cynical and war-crazy America had become at the Turn of the Millennium, Martin Luther King Jr.'s legendary civil disobediance, which famously changed the country for the better in the 1960s, is considered treason post-9/11.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Unusual for a show that's already pretty cynical, but the story illustrates how pessimists ignore the benefits of idealism.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: MLKJ's rant. Despite angrily using profanity, he remains just as articulate and eloquent.
  • Special Guest: Kevin Michael Richardson as Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Strawman News Media: Twice, Fox News accuses King of being unpatriotic, for continuing to be a pacifist after the 9/11 attacks. This causes a major blow to King's public reputation.
  • Waxing Lyrical: The rhyming portion of Dr. King's speech is lifted wholesale (with permission) from the song "Niggaz" by Asheru, the same rapper who performs the theme song.
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