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The Boondocks is an American animated series created by Aaron McGruder for the Adult Swim block of Cartoon Network, based upon McGruder's comic strip of the same name.
The Boondocks takes place in the same place and time frame as its comic counterpart. The Freeman family, have recently moved from the South Side of Chicago, Illinois to the peaceful, fictional suburb of Woodcrest, Maryland (a parody of Crestwood, Illinois) and tr to cope with the new setting.
The show premiered on November 6, 2005. The 15-episode first season ended on March 19, 2006. The second season premiered on October 8, 2007 and was, according to McGruder's MySpace page, pared to 13 episodes; however, 15 episodes were created. Series creator, Aaron McGruder, states that a third season is currently under production due to air early 2010.
The Boondocks began its life as a comic strip in The Diamondback, the student newspaper at McGruder's alma mater, University of Maryland, College Park. The strip later found its way into The Source (magazine)|The Source magazine. Following these runs, McGruder began simultaneously pitching The Boondocks both as a syndicated comic strip and as an animated television series.
In the meantime, development on a Boondocks TV series continued. McGruder and film producer/director Reginald Hudlin created a Boondocks pilot for the Fox Network, but found great difficulty in making the series acceptable for network television. Hudlin left the project after the Fox deal fell through, although McGruder and Sony Television are contractually bound to continue to credit him as an executive producer.
The opening theme song used in the series (slightly remixed for the second season) is performed by Asheru.
The series has a loose connection with the continuity of the comic strip, though during the final year of the comic strip McGruder made a point to try and synchronize both. He introduced Uncle Ruckus into the strip, and the comic strip version of Riley's hair was braided into Cornrows to match the character's design in the series.
Huey Freeman is the series' narrator (with rare exceptions). He is an intelligent ten-year-old boy who is portrayed as the voice of reason and a spokesperson for contemporary Afrocentrism. However, he is constantly being verbally browbeaten and generally mocked by his grandfather and younger brother Riley, neither of whom shares his beliefs. While Huey makes a point to try to support black causes, he is openly contemptuous of black pop culture popularized in the media for glamorizing superfluous extravagance and ignorance. Huey rarely smiles, unlike the other characters, although in the episode Let's Nab Oprah, he smiles after his duel with Riley. He also smiles when Riley begans to succeed in winning basketball games in Ballin'.
Riley Freeman, Huey's trouble-making eight-year-old brother. Unlike his brother, Riley is heavily influenced by rap culture and black pop culture. Though he is otherwise clever and artistic, he maintains loyalty to those causes even in the face of impending disaster. The bulk of the episodes of the series focus on Riley's misadventures (most of which are fueled by his love for gangsta rap and desire to emulate other street characters in the media or his various wild schemes involving his grandfather.
Robert Freeman aka Grandad, is the grandfather and legal guardian of Huey and Riley. While he loves his two grandsons, he sometimes gets bent out of shape in response to the constant schemes, misadventures and commentary the two provide on life. Robert himself is no stranger to weirdness; his eager dating pursuits invariably attract strange or dangerous women.
McGruder has defended the show's heavy use of the word "nigga", by arguing that the large-scale usage of the word provides the show with a level of realism, due to the word being commonly used in the everyday conversations of many African Americans.
In 2006, Reverend Al Sharpton protested Martin Luther King, Jr.'s use of the word "nigger" in the episode "Return of the King". Sharpton felt it defamed the name of King, and sought an apology from the series producers. The controversy was later referenced in the cartoon strip five times and in the TV episode "The Block is Hot" in the form of a morning radio announcement.
Seasons 1 & 2 were released on DVD.