April has been a pretty exciting month for fans of the Adult Swim show The Boondocks. The Boondocks’ fourth and presumably final season started off with a big bang yesterday with the release of Tom vs Pretty Boy Flizzy. Like the season 3 episodes it sought to emulate, it was a satirical piece. In it Chris Brown was rechristened as Pretty Boy Flizzy, and his many legal troubles were juxtaposed with Tom’s festering marital problems. Tom & Flizzy availing themselves of each other’s services served as the main storyline and in the end, Tom helped Flizzy deal with his legal troubles and Flizzy helped Tom add some more spice to his marriage. While the show expended a considerable amount of energy trying to develop the relationships between the principal characters (i.e. Tom, Sarah & Robert), it was for the most part a Chris Brown bash-a-thon. Conceptually it wasn’t very different from previous celebrity bashing episodes like ‘The Trial of R Kelly’ (R Kelly) or ‘The Story of Gangstalicious’ (50 Cent). Overall, the episode isn’t really breaking any new ground but it’s a strong start to what will probably be a very interesting season.
Even though the fourth season has barely started, many have lampooned it for ‘selling out’. The criticisms that have been proferred have suffered from a lack of lucid articulation but at their core they amount to something like: ‘McGruder didn’t sanction this, this sucks’. McGruder’s presumed non-involvement with the show is something that should’ve never gotten out to the world given the amount of negative publicity it has attracted. Since it already has though, it’s best we critically examine the situation. How much input do you think McGruder had in the previous seasons? I don’t know if the average Boondocks fan even looks at the credits. To the ones that do, it should be readily apparent that most of the people who work on the show don’t even live in the country. Most of the show’s animation occurs in South Korea & Japan. Also, it’s a widely held belief among hardcore Boondocks fans that season 3 was the weakest of all three seasons even though that’s the season where McGruder’s hand was most felt. If you look at the writing credits you’ll see that a lot of the episodes in season 1 & season 2 had McGruder co-writing with someone else. Season 3 did not follow precedent in this regard. The episodes in season 3 were a mostly Aaron show, except for episode 11 (Lovely Ebony Brown) in which McGruder co-wrote the script with Rodney Barnes.
Knowing this, would you say that McGruder’s lack of involvement is a bad thing? Not necessarily. Back when The Boondocks first started, it was McGruder’s baby. A long time has passed, since that time (it’s almost ten years now). I know that a lot of people don’t want to acknowledge this but that baby has now grown up. It’s now out of McGruder’s hands. In any case, McGruder’s presumed lack of involvement is an issue that has probably been plaguing the show since it first started. I don’t see why it should be a serious issue now of all times. Also, the the new Flizzy episode is none too different from Boondocks episodes of yore. If people jumped off the hype train, slowed down for a bit and started thinking for themselves they would realize that the criticisms being directed towards the show are farcical and quite frankly without merit. If any judgement is passed on the show it should be done once the season is done, not when it’s just started and still trying to get into its groove.