I can say without qualification that last night’s television debut of The Boondocks was…good. I say that mainly because I don’t want to gush. Be warned, THERE ARE SPOILERS TO FOLLOW. If you haven’t seen it yet and you don’t want to know what happens, read no further.
As pointed out in the Washington Post, the series won’t be covering current events because it took 18 months to get the 13 episodes together. But from what I saw last night, Aaron McGruder hasn’t let a lack of timeliness dull his sensibilities. Last night’s episode had Grandpa and the boys being invited to a garden party by the president of the bank that owns grandpa’s mortgage (a surprising guest appearance by Ed Asner), which featured a audience of wealthy whites who’s only response to Huey’s attempts at enlightenment (“Ronald Reagan was the devil,” “Jesus was black”) is to applaud more.
But the master stroke last night was the appearance of the banker’s nephew — a jive talking, Iraq veteran just returned from the war, who crapped his pants every time he was in battle, comes across as dumb as a box of rocks, sports a big gold “W” on a chain around his neck, and bears more than a passing resemblance to our “Dear Leader.” Oh yeah, Riley shoots him and later his uncle says of him “In 30 years that boy’s gonna be president, and he’ll still be an idiot.” (BTW, Grandpa scores the best quote of the episode with “How many times have I told you, don’t even dream about tellin’ white folks the truth!”)
The only thing that took some getting used to was hearing the characters speak for the first time. For Huey and Riley it was particularly jarring. For some reason, I’d imagined them with somewhat raspier speaking voices, but then I remembered they are kids and I’d thought of them sounding a bit more grown up. Regina King does a good job voicing them, and about 5 minutes or so into the show, I got past any issues I had with the characters’ voices.
Like I said above, I don’t want to gush, but if last night’s episode is any indication, things are off to a good start. I’ll keep The Boondocks on Tivo, definitely.