the-boondocks-season-4

Later tonight, Adult Swim’s animated adaptation of Aaron McGruder’s The Boondocks comic strip series kicks off its fourth and final season, albeit without series creator McGruder at the helm. While we’ve already gotten a “soundtrack” of sorts, I wanted to take a look back at how we got here, and how Huey, Riley, Tom DuBois, Granddad Freeman, Jazsmine, and Uncle Ruckus became some of the most memorable characters in modern animated history. Over the course of three seasons, McGruder toed the line between offensive, controversial, and thought-provoking, mingling sometimes harsh language with inside jokes related to Black culture and tongue-in-cheek references to current events.

So, before we begin the end of The Boondocks on Adult Swim, let’s revisit the best of what McGruder and company brought to us from 2006-2010.

10. The Fried Chicken Flu – Season 3, Episode 13

Remember that time Oprah partnered up with KFC and literally gave away coupons for people to get a free sandwich from the franchise? Remember how you – and me – and so many others tried to make copies of that coupon and redeem one every chance we got for a free lunch (or dinner… or late breakfast)? The Fried Chicken Flu lampooned that and stipulated on what might happen if a certain fried chicken place eventually ran out of chicken – that is, Black folks would go crazy. Ironically enough, back in 2010, LOTS of KFC franchises did report shortages during “coupon season” so it wasn’t all fictional.

9. Invasion of the Katrinians – Season 2, Episode 9

In “Granddad’s Fight,” Huey says that FEMA is one of the leading causes of Black people dying. It’s possible that he was prophetic here. Invasion of the Katrinians slightly spoofed the experience of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina having to move in with family while they waited to get their lives back in order and FEMA’s ineptitude through it all. Robert’s cousin Jericho and his family move in, eating all the food and making a general mess and not helping out with the day to day chores. Of course, once that FEMA check arrives, they chunk deuce immediately.

8. The Story of Gangstalicious, Part II – Season 2, Episode 13

If the first “The Story of Gangstalicious” hinted to how some of the “hardest” rappers might be on the down low, then Part II drove the point all the way home. It not only referenced an embrace of fashion trends that rappers might coin that seemed suspect at best – man bags and skirts. Hi, A$AP Rocky! – but also introduced one of the most hilarious dances of all times in “The Homie.” Poor Riley sadly remained in denial about his rapper hero.

7. “It’s a Black President, Huey Freeman” – Season 3, Episode 1

This was ultimately what we had been waiting for, or rather, hoping for – that The Boondocks’ newest season (after a year and a half hiatus) would tackle the recent election of President Barack Obama. Especially given that McGruder was quite vocal about how much he wasn’t a fan of Obama as a politician. But we couldn’t have expected all this. In one fell swoop, McGruder lampooned Will.I.Am’s “Yes, We Can” anthem (with “Dick-Riding Obama”), Black people’s perhaps blind allegiance in general to the politician, and more.

6. The Hunger Strike – Season 2, Episode 14

This is where the controversy began, especially considering that Boondocks executive producer Reginald Hudlin also worked for BET at the time. McGruder pulled no punches about his disdain for the network and its new president Debra Lee, going so far as to compare her to Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies and implying that BET’s mission was to set back the African-American community. The episode was apparently so controversial that it was never aired on TV and was only viewable on youtube and as a bonus episode on Season 2’s DVD release.

5. The Trial of Robert Kelly – Season 1, Episode 2

“America urinated on R. Kelly! And if you let them put R. Kelly in jail, America will urinate on each and every one of you.”

From the “protesters” outside of the courthouse – did you spot the one who looked like Cornel West? – to R. Kelly’s musical interlude in the courthouse, to our formal introduction to Don Lemon Lite lawyer Tom DuBois, “The Trial of Robert Kelly” remains one of the hallmark episodes of the series. To say nothing of its “recreation” of the infamous video. It has special significance now given R. Kelly’s recent legal troubles with underage girls yet again, given that “the extent to which n*ggas love R. Kelly” – to use Huey’s words – really did prevail back in the day when the video was circulating on the internet.

4. Pause – Season 3, Episode 8

So basically all those rumors and allegations about playwright-director-actor Tyler Perry were put on blast and compressed into one 22-minute cartoon, and you couldn’t help but die laughing. It not only lampooned Perry’s generally predictable story structure and the collapse of the character Madea by way of Winston Jerome, but also definitely made “pause” a common retort or addition to potentially questionable sentences between heterosexual males. Just like Cam’ron would have always wanted.

3. The Fundraiser – Season 3, Episode 7

The Fundraiser simply told the rest of America what Black people already knew – that World’s Finest Chocolate is essentially crack in candy form. For those of us who actually sold these back in elementary school, we know all too well how crucial it could get when you were trying to be the top candy seller in your classroom, much less trying to sell enough candy to get that top prize bicycle. The Fundraiser took it to another level, with Riley channeling The Wire and cornering the sellers’ market for the chocolate bars. Then, when his hustle was threatened by foreigners, Riley proceeded to dole out one of the greatest “America, Fuck Yeah!” speeches ever, one that’s especially convenient whenever we’re competing with Great Britain in anything ever.

2. Guess Ho’s Coming to Dinner – Season 1, Episode 3

“Game recognize game, Granddad. Game recognize game, and you lookin’ kinda unfamiliar right now.”

For introducing us to Robert Freeman’s continual struggles to find love. The episode started out with one of the greatest intros of all time, highlighting how young white kids in general can be disrespectful in public… and how a little butt whoopin’ can’t hurt nobody. It also introduced us to one of The Boondocks’ most unforgettable characters in A Pimp Named Slickback (Katt Williams in a hilarious cameo). It was sad to see Granddad be so obliviously seduced by someone that was so obviously a stripper but it was hilarious as well. Oh, and we were reminded of three things – 1) you should save the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits for someone special; 2) are all women hoes if you’re always paying to take them out to eat; and 3) never trust a woman who shares the same name as a bottle of liquor, much less says she’s “in Sales.”

1. Return of The King – Season 1, Episode 9

What if MLK hadn’t really died on that fourth day in April back in 1968? What if instead he’d just disappeared and returned to the public eye nearly 40 years later? Return of the King examines exactly that. It’s hilarious but also somewhat tragic as well, especially if you’re caught wondering how close – or far away – Martin might think we are now from his “dream.” And then of course, shit gets real at the “political party,” at which not only is the intent completely misunderstood (it’s not supposed to be a “party”) but MLK goes on an amazing rant. *Also, that cliffhanger – what if Oprah really DOES run for President in a few years?!*