The Boondocks: The Complete Third Season goes on that long list of shows that I just did not appreciate when watched as it broadcast weekly nearly as much as I did rewatching the episodes successively on DVD. I suppose much of that is based on the fact that I was wrapped up in hoping it would live up to the promise of the first season.
I was immediately let down by the season opener where German documentarian, Werner Herzog (yes, the actual Werner Herzog!)follows the Freeman family from the election to the Inauguration of the country's first Black President. The entire episode teases with to reveal the true opinion of Huey Freeman (the conscience of the show) on President Barack Obama, only for him to ultimately say nothing. I now begrudgingly see it as a viable path to take, however unsatisfying at the time.
It’s also somewhat what indicative of the rest of the season. Too often the second season came off as desperate in its attempts to maintain the level of controversy of the first season. The third season of The Boondocks plays more off of what we already know about the cast of characters and delves more into Aaron McGruder’s love of anime and movie parodies, with all of its political statements more strategically placed. There’s a bigger ratio of episodes that work on a ‘fun to rewatch’ level rather than the “you guys gotta see this!”.
My standout favorites include:
"Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy"
Colonel H. Stinkmeaner ‘s old crew arrive in town to exact payback on the Freeman family. The crew is based on classic sitcom characters Fred Sanford, Aunt Esther and Jimmie “J.J.” Walker as kung fu assassins. The Freeman’s hire ‘Bushido Brown’ (a direct knockoff of Jim Kelly as ‘Blackbelt Jones’). Besides being one of the funniest, the entire episode is a non-stop fighting, loving homage to the old Saturday afternoon Kung Fu theater movies.
Riley organizes a fundraiser with Cindy McPhearson, Jazmine Dubois and other kids from Woodcrest, but the money isn't going to anyone in need. This story is epically told in the same fashion as classic gangster-rise-to-power movies like SCARFACE, GOOD FELLAS , AMERICAN GANGSTER, etc.
Granddad is cast as the leading man by mega-superstar of stage and screen, Winston Jerome, when the theater group turns out to be a homoerotic evangelical cult. This episode isn’t completely successful because the joke peaks early but it’s still enjoyable for the digs it takes at Tyler Perry.
"The Fried Chicken Flu"
When a virus erupts during a KFC special, the Freemans have to survive in the post-apocalyptic world. My ABSOLUTE favorite show of this season, it’s a hilarious commentary on the infamous free fried chicken debacle as told by way of the zombie apocalypse.
"The Color Ruckus"
Uncle Ruckus's family comes to town and Ruckus must settle some old business with his father. It's a tale of abuse, and triumph, and...actually no, it's just a tale of abuse.
What it is is the true origin of Uncle Ruckus which is a sad amalgam of the movies ‘PRECIOUS’ and ‘THE COLOR PURPLE’.
The final episode of the season (and rumor has it, the end of the series) is "It's Goin Down" - A parody of the TV show ‘24’ with super-agent Jack Flowers and recurring characters Ed and Rummy . It’s cool that this ep reunites Charlie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson and Ed Asner, but it ends up being to much of a straight episode of 24 but not much in the way of jokes.
Not the best way to go out if this is indeed “it”, but it’s easier to see how the show could pace itself to continue on for several more years.
Besides every episode having an introduction by voice actors Cedric Yarbrough and Gary Anthony Williams, the duo are joined by John Witherspoon to provide commentary on the episodes “It's a Black President, Huey Freeman”, “Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy” “Mr. Medicinal” and “The Fried Chicken Flu”. Where normally I dismiss commentary by actors because they seem to rarely have insight into the movie-making process, these three guys are all comedians and managed a steady stream of genuinely funny anecdotes and asides.
The Slink on the Street features- Dick” Ridin’ Obama” and “Who is Your Favorite Character?”- are obnoxious and short.
Of course with every animated TV series the DVD sets include an obligatory Animatic to Screen Comparisons and while this show could not exist without the fantastic artistry of Seung Eun Kim, the Sketch Photo Gallery is too slight to be worth navigating through.
The Boondocks: The Complete Third Season can be purchased here.