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YMMV / The Boondocks

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  • Acceptable Political Targets:
  • Acceptable Targets:
  • Advertisement:
  • Accidental Innuendo: Lampshaded in the DVD Commentary: R. Kelly's stretch limo which he arrives at court in appears to be colored a darkish yellow, which resembles the color of urine.
  • Adaptation Displacement: The original comic strip was displaced by the animated series. It doesn't help that the overall tone and subject matter are very different, with the comic strip being more mundane, while the show is more outlandish.
  • All Adult Animation Is South Park: 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, there's still a lot of sexual humor, some occasionally bloody violence, and of course loads of swearing.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Given that he has been raised by two consecutive generations of loathsome people, it is very possible to view Ed Wuncler III as a product of his upbringing, rather than just a dangerous loony, especially since he forms a genuine friendship with Riley.
  • 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 usually more subtle about it.
    • Every single mention of BET, up to and including outright saying that they are evil.
    • "Freedomland" makes no attempt to hide its "middle class is slavery and the rich are keeping the poor and middle class down" message.
  • Awesome Art: The TV series, with its animesque art and animation style, which improved greatly with every season. For an adult animated comedy, a genre notorious for relying on deliberately cheap or shitty animation, it looks quite stunning.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Better on DVD:
    • The DVDs are uncut, don't have the offensive language bleeped out, and include the four episodes that have been banned from reruns ("The Hunger Strike", "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show", "The Story of Jimmy Rebel", and "Pause"). Digital storefronts such as iTunes also used the uncensored DVD version as well.
    • Averted when the show used to be on Netflix (American feed; the Canadian version had the series uncut, uncensored, and with the missing episodes) and Hulu, as not only that was it the censored Adult Swim version (where the language is censored and the four banned episodes aren't on there), but also uses the incorrect aspect ratio that Adult Swim used for the first two seasons.
    • Zigzagged with the HBO Max version. Most of the episodes are available and are uncensored. However, due to fears of complaints over racist content, "The Story of Jimmy Rebel" is not available.
  • 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 this.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In "...Or Die Trying", it is revealed that Uncle Ruckus is some kind of martial arts master with nunchaku mastery and the ability to fight on Huey's level. Huey indicates "whatever, just roll with it", as shown by his shrug to the camera when Ruckus shows off. This was never hinted at before and never occurs again and is quickly forgotten. This becomes very noticeable when Ruckus is attacked by The Hateocracy but shows none of his prior fighting abilities.
  • Broken Base:
    • Was the show a worthy adaptation of the comic strip or not? If it wasn't, was it because it went too far in its satire or did it play things too safe?
    • Even among the show's fans, there are those who consider the Martin Luther King Jr. episode "Return of the King" to have overstepped the boundaries of good taste.
    • 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 somewhat split over when and where the series was at its best/worst - mostly between those who think Season 2 both improved its stride and found its particular comedic style, and those who think that Season 2 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.
    • The base splintered over Season 4, partly because 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, and [adult swim]'s treatment of it is a classic case of Screwed by the Network, there were some enjoyable episodes.
  • Creator Worship: 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 wasn't involved in any of it.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Uncle Ruckus does this every time he talks about black people due to him being an African American white supremacist.
    • A Pimp Named Slickback does this every time he talks, period.
    • The entirety of "The Story of Catcher Freeman":
    • Luna's tragic background plunges straight through domestic abuse into the sort of absymal Woobie background one would expect:
    • The Booty Warrior's Establishing Character Moment scene at the start of "Date with the Booty Warrior".
    • This song by Thugnificent.
    • Shabazz's wrongful arrest and conviction for killing a police officer crosses from tragic to hilarious with the utterly absurd mountaing of exconerating evidence, including several eyewitnesses, murder weapon with clear fingerprints in chocolate stains, a spoken confession from the real killer, and a stenographer who happened to be present to write it down and had it signed by the killer.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Michael Caesar, the deuteragonist from in the comic strip. Sadly, he was omitted from the show because McGruder couldn't find the right voice actor for him.
    • 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 strip, 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's 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.
    • Lamilton Taeshawn heavily counts because he loves doing bad things.
    • Rollo Goodlove, for always proving himself to be a delightful Magnificent Bastard in his three appearances.
    • Hiro Ottawa, another comic-exclusive character. He is Huey’s Japanese-American friend who loves to DJ. Despite being only present in the Diamondback versions and in art for the syndicated strip, he has gained quite a following amongst fans. You’d be amazed at how many people wanted him in the show.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Most fans like to pretend that Season 4 never existed, and that the series ended with the Season 3 episode "It's Goin' Down".
  • Foe Yay: Huey and Ming in "The Red Ball".
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • One of the show's early episodes, "The Trial of R. Kelly", (in)famously satirized a real-life legal scandal about R. Kelly allegedly sexually molesting a teenage girl. More accusations of the same crimes came out in 2017.
    • Back in 2006, the Season 1 episode "The Real" had Robert and the White Shadow wearing sunglasses, with both saying they were inspired by Bill Cosby, as "Cosbyness is next to Godliness". Taking into account what was discovered about Cosby nine years later... Also in the same episode, it's revealed that the reason why Robert's wearing sunglasses in the first place is to pretend that he's blind as part of a scam against two reality shows. Not long after the rape accusations against Cosby came forth, the man would soon reveal that he became blind from keratoconus.
    • The plot of "Mr. Medicinal" is kicked off by Granddad suffering from various health problems, including a near-fatal stroke caused by his stressful life. In 2019, John Witherspoon, his voice actor, died of a heart attack at age 77, which also unfortunately happened well before the scheduled 2020 premiere of The Boondocks reboot series where he was set to reprise his role.
    • Looking back on "The Fried Chicken Flu" episode from 2010, which was a satire based on the then-recent swine flu pandemic, it's hard not to draw some parallels between that episode's plot and all the news about the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020; which has rapidly spread to the point where countless places around the world have been enforcing lockdowns, quarantines, and delays at worst and mask-wearing and social distancing at best.
    • In "Return of the King", an elderly Martin Luther King Jr. inspires a political reawakening among the African American community, which eventually results in a large crowd of protesters angrily surrounding the gates of the White House. The George Floyd protests of 2020 saw nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice, including a demonstration in which protesters surrounded the White House.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The show doesn't really come into its own until Season 2, 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 starts to do this with "Freedom Ride or Die", where the quality takes an uptick, and cements it with "Freedomland" (though if you're like most fans and you hate Season 4 of The Boondocks, then these episodes may as well be the only ones that weren't considered terrible).
  • He Really Can Act:
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Has its own page.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy, a pair of Ambiguously Heterosexual Life-Partners. This is lampshaded by Riley, who mockingly calls them "gay".
    • The friendship between Uncle Ruckus and Jimmy Rebel is very humorously bromantic.
  • 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 is based on the characters being ignorant rather than just stupid.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
  • Love to Hate: Many of the antagonists are very loathsome, yet also hilarious:
    • Uncle Ruckus, despite being the darkest-skinned character on the show, is intensely anti-black and never passes up an opportunity to praise the white man or denigrate black people.
    • Colonel Stinkmeaner. He's not so much anti-black as anti-everyone, and uses his limited screen time to insult people and generally make everyone else's life miserable.
    • A Pimp Named Slickback. He's a sexist, abusive, controlling pimp who never suffers any consequences for his actions. Yet he is adored by the show's fans for his over-the-top, eccentric personality.
    • Ed Wuncler I for being a Corrupt Corporate Executive bar none. While he's never explicitly expressed any anti-black sentiments, he's incredibly greedy and not above manipulating anyone and everyone to get what he wants, and generally regards anyone who isn't as rich as he is (everyone, in other words) with disdain.
    • Lamilton Taeshawn, all because he, in his own words, is a bad kid who loves doing bad things.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Reverend Rollo Goodlove is a straw liberal activist whose motivations behind his multiple causes are money and publicity. First appearing in "The S-Word", Rollo convinces the Freemans to sue Mr. Petto for using a "racial slur" on Riley, and prolonging the issue by collaborating with Ann Colter in orchestrating a political debate. In "The Hunger Strike" he convinces Huey to continue his hunger strike in the kid's efforts to boycott BET, only to abandon his cause once the network gives Rollo his own TV sitcom. Helping the Freemans once again in "The New Black", he manages to convince the public that Riley is a special needs child using the word "gay" to describe things he doesn't like, switching their ire to those who sued Riley for saying the slur. While the beliefs in his causes might not be genuine, his charisma and master planning are, making Rollo one of the most likable masterminds on the show.
    • "Riley Wuz Here": The "Art Teacher" is a former Shell-Shocked Veteran turned crook who moonlights as an educator. Upon overseeing Riley spray painting a house, he immediately takes a liking to him and takes him under his wing. Teaching Riley basic drawing before moving out a bigger canvas, he has Riley paint several beautiful murals on various homes. Proposing on the last night to paint someone who isn't in the picture anymore, he has Riley paint a mural of his deceased parents. When the police show up, the art teacher shoots their tires and takes off. Despite only appearing in one episode, the art teacher stood out as one of the most soft spoken antagonists and provided one of the most touching scenes in the show.
  • Memetic Badass: If the viewers are to believed, nothing and no one can stop the Booty Warrior (except for Tom, and even then only because of a dropped soap).
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own page.
  • 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.
  • 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 the series is a satire. As such, it 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 McGruder 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.
  • Moe: Jazmine is just as guileless and adorable as a regular little girl, stark contrast to the cynical Huey.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Even bit characters in this series tend to be rather colorful, to say the least:
    • Maybelline from "Wingmen", who only appears for about a minute but it ends up being one of the funniest minutes of the show.
    • The Hustler Preacher, who's only appeared in "Return of the King" and "Riley Wuz Here".
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Many fans don't like Season 4 because McGruder wasn't involved in its production.
  • 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.
  • Seasonal Rot: Most fans believe that Season 4 is the worst of the lot. Aside from McGruder 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. Even Adult Swim agrees, as whenever reruns are shown, the fourth season is conspicuously absent (though Adult Swim did end up airing the season as part of a marathon in May 2020 and the season is available on DVD, Hulunote , iTunes, and HBO Max)
  • Shipping: Many think that Huey/Jazmine and Riley/Cindy would make great couples, even though canonically, there has never been any romance between the kids.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • 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 Jr.'s speech in "Return of the King", 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", regarding the importance of healthy eating:
      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!
      • The episode also points out that the only reason soul food became part of African-American culture in the first place was because it was the only food accessible to plantation slaves and there was no healthier alternatives.
    • The "Nigga Moment" story arc with Colonel Stinkmeaner, that consisted of one episode per each season ("Granddad's Fight", "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back", "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy", and "Stinkmeaner: Begun the Clone War Has"). The overall message is "don't fight with other people over stupid and/or trivial matters", and it's better to just make peace with your enemies and let go of past conflicts. But "The Hateocracy" reveals that sometimes you just can't do that. Even if you want to, the other person can be so consumed and warped, if not just plain awful. It does have the equal aesop of "There's no shame in having the police involved in your affairs if your life is in jeopardy."
    • "Freedomland" is rather poignant (yet somewhat heavy) about its message concerning how the modern-day middle class is kept down by those above them on the socioeconomic ladder).
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • Gangstalicious' freestyle in "Thank You for Not Snitching" is this for MF DOOM's "Rap Snitch Knishes."
    • "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.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: When Ruckus' dad gives him a scathing speech about his origins, his personality, his entire being, many fans cheered. Ruckus later returns the favor to his dad in the climax.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: While both the comic strip and the show have always been critically acclaimed, there are numerous shifts that have caused division in the fanbase:
    • Although the comic 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. These fans feel that originally, the comic strip's appeal was its large cast of characters and most of the humor was derived from their interactions. They say that when the comic strip changed, the cast was reduced to just Huey and Caesar, and a lot of it boiled down to just Huey watching the news.
    • The differences between the comic strip and the show caused arguments due to the social commentary being more indirect and not as frequent, along with several changes to the personalities of the characters.
    • Some fans hold Season 1 in higher regard due to the show becoming Denser and Wackier in subsequent seasons, 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 feel this way about Season 4 since McGruder wasn't involved.
  • 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 comic strip nor the show have ever bothered to explain what happened to Huey's and Riley's father, mother, and grandmother. This is especially odd considering that Uncle Ruckus, of all people, got an episode that explored his backstory and family.
    • Season 4 in general doesn't feel like much of a conclusive final season for the series.
  • Too Cool to Live: Bushido Brown.
  • Tough Act to Follow: While Seasons 2 and 3 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.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • The comic strip was very topical, and most of the humor revolved around the political news and popular culture of the time; it stands out as a product of the late 1990s and (especially) the early-to-mid 2000s, in the same way Bloom County's humor made it a product of the 1980s.
    • The music of Thugnificent and Gangstalicious is an element specific to the show that ties it to the period it was made, as the styles of rap that they parody (crunk for the former, snap for the latter, and more generally the "ringtone rap" era for both) were enormously popular in the middle of the decade, but were Deader Than Disco by 2009. Thugnificent's career decline can be seen as a nod to crunk's demise, but overall, their presence dates itself.
  • Values Dissonance: Riley's catchphrase "Nigga, you gay" would be considerd a lot more homophobic nowadays than it was in the early 2000s, where homophobic insults were a lot more common. Though this is somewhat subverted by the fact that his homophobia is supposed to be the joke, and that it's immature and ridiculous.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: One of the biggest complaints about Season 4 is the need to shove in current references to the likes of Breaking Bad and Her, and not in a way that feels natural for the series.
  • 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 Back the Crowd: After the show's original run ended with the heavily despised Season 4 back in 2014, news that the show would be returning with Aaron McGruder back at the helm has generally been received positively by fans.
  • The Woobie:
    • Jazmine sometimes took on this role in the comics, due to being insecure about her mixed ancestry, and also because of Huey's rudeness towards her. But especially in the episode "The Block Is Hot", where she falls prey to Ed I's ruthless scheming.
    • Tom frequently qualifies for this; whether it's all the disrespect he receives from his friends, and even from his wife, or his paranoid phobia of prison rape, which he almost became a victim of. It's especially hard not to feel sad for him during the episode "Tom, Sarah and Usher". First, Sarah starts flirting with Usher, on their anniversary, and leaves the table to take pictures with him. When Tom confronts her about it afterward, she gets defensive and leaves the car to walk home. Then, he gets kicked out when trying to assert his dominance as the man of the house and moves in with the Freemans. Finally, when he tries to assert his dominance, he slaps Usher, which provokes the singer and his bodyguards into beating him to a pulp. And if that wasn't enough, while he's getting pummeled, his own daughter apologetically cries, not for him, but for Usher.
    • Martin Luther King Jr. in "Return of the King". Even though his appearance was non-canon, it's still sad to see such an idealistic activist realize that his hopes and dreams really didn't turn out the way he wanted them to, becoming very disillusioned in the end.
    • Thugnificent in "Bitches to Rags", due to the end of his music career coinciding with his debt and bankruptcy. He seems to adjust well enough to his new blue-collar job though.
    • Thugnificent's friend Leonard, as the poor guy works non-stop at Wendy's to pay for Thugnificent's decaying mansion.
    • Uncle Ruckus' brothers, Darryl and Darrell, who also suffered living under their father and grandmother, but yet they seem to be the most well-adjusted of their family. They also recognize the abuse their own father experienced; and while that doesn't really excuse his actions, they take comfort in the belief that this was his twisted way of raising them for a harsh world.
  • 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.


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