‘Boondocks’ exploits social issues with comedy

“Granddad, you can’t tame the white supremacist with cheese.”

For those who haven’t read the Boondocks, Aaron McGruder aired a new TV show based on his controversial comic strip Sunday night on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim.”

McGruder, who is the show’s executive producer, introduces the Freeman family in the pilot: Huey and Riley, two young black males who moved from Chicago’s inner city to live with their grandfather in the suburbs (the boondocks).

As a regular reader of the strip, I anticipated the new show, and McGruder did not disappoint.

Just like the hilarious strip, the characters spout shocking comments about race, politics and entertainment that make you laugh, think, and then grow quiet and wonder how long McGruder can get away with this.

Despite constant criticism and attempts at censorship, McGruder is the voice of those who are sometimes silenced-criticizing the Bush administration, the war in Iraq, black leaders and even BET.

“Jesus was black, Ronald Regan was the devil and the government was lying about 911,” Huey shouts at the beginning of the pilot.

The pilot centers around the family as the boys adjust to suburbia and Granddad tries to immerse them into the new atmosphere. The white owner of Granddad’s home invites him and the boys to a garden party and then chaos ensues.

During the party, Huey tries to create a riot among the rich white people, while Riley befriends the owner’s crazy “wigger” grandson who just returned from Iraq.

Huey is unable to rouse the rich, smiley-white people at the party who remain carefree despite his attempts. “Ronald Wilson Reagan. Each of his names has six letters. Coincidence? I think not.”

The amusing part of this scene is that they would have been appalled if they were actually listening to Huey’s language instead of just staring at him blankly and clapping. “He speaks so well,” one comments.

Although the main garden scene illustrates the characteristics of the Freeman family, more subtle parts of the pilot elicited laughter from me and my friends.

The pilot had a few negatives, but there were not enough to take away from the effectiveness of the show. The excessive use of the N-word was unnecessary and it seemed as if McGruder wanted to see how many times the characters could say it before the FCC pulled the plug.

Ultimately the cartoon pushes the envelope, and consists of a candid discussion of race. But it fits into the Cartoon Network’s racy late night Adult Swim well.

The comic strip’s content has led some newspapers to ban it, and others have moved it to the op-ed page.

At the beginning of the pilot, McGruder said the show will either be “a big flop or a massive hit.”

In response to conservative critics, McGruder said, “Your side controls Congress, the White House (etc.). The least you can do is give us a 22-minute program.”

Contact Ebonie Ledbetter at famuanlifestyle@hotmail.com