The Boondocks: Adult Swim’s Edgiest Series Returns!

The Boondocks TV Review

When the second season of The Boondocks premieres tonight [Adult Swim, 11:30/10:30C], there will be a few cosmetic changes. The animation is noticeably improved and the sound is better. What hasn’t changed is the way that stories written over a year ago will still seem as if they were ripped from today’s headlines.

The Boondocks follows the adventures of Huey and Riley Freeman, brothers who have been spirited from their ‘hood to the suburbs [a.k.a. The Boondocks] by their granddad, Robert Freeman – who thinks he’s saving them from the urban jungle without realising that the suburban jungle may be subtler, but it’s still going to be a battle…

Tonight’s episode, Or Die Trying…, finds the old school Granddad Freeman [John Witherspoon] taking his grandsons Huey and Riley [both played by Regina King] to see Soul Plane 2 at the local megaplex.  In an instance of bad luck for her, their neighbour, Jasmine [Gabby Soleil], happens to stop by and accepts an invitation to join them – despite Huey’s warning that “this will be the worst day of your life! You see, Granddad’s idea of going to the movies involves sneaking in, smuggling in a camcorder and bringing treats from home. What could possibly go wrong? Besides… everything!

It’s interesting to note that in the week before Or Die Trying… premieres, we’ve received news of a woman whose children illegally downloaded songs on her computer being fined $220,000. So the piracy issue just happens to flare up in the public eye just as Granddad gets Riley to record Soul Plane 2. Just part of the Boondocks’ synchronicity – which I’m sure we’ll see several times before the season ends.

The Boondocks TV Review

The ep opens with the TV spot for Soul Plane 2, and it looks to be a modern blaxploitation flick – filled with virtually every negative black stereotype there is – though only Huey appreciates how wrong-headed the film is. In the theatre, there are back-to-back public service announcements about the illegality of stealing movies – resulting in Jasmine feeling guilty.

From there the ep speeds through concepts like unionizing, downsizing and more. It’s a fast-paced piece that has a lot to say in a very short time and scores points on every target at which it aims. The script is brightly nasty in all the right ways and the character voices are excellent. While The Boondocks maintains a lot of what worked in the comic strip, animation and the freedom to tell much more involved stories [and subject matter that would’ve gotten the strip censored] have opened things up considerably.

Happily, that means sharply drawn characterizations, surprisingly intricate plotting and gags that range from subtle to slapstick. It also means that The Boondocks is currently the best show on the Adult Swim schedule  – and that’s saying a lot! If the premiere is any indication, this season may even surpass the show’s inaugural outing. Brilliant!

Final Grade: A Review by Sheldon Wiebe

Originally Posted 10/08/07


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