The rough edges of Aaron McGruder’s popular and highly controversial comic strip, “The Boondocks,” have been smoothed out – unfortunately – for its animated incarnation.

Like the strip, the new addition to Cartoon Network’s popular Adult Swim lineup revolves around two young black kids who move with their grandfather to a mostly white suburb. But unlike the strip, the show doesn’t make any kind of original statement. Joking that white people can be pacified by offering them cheese is hardly bold or socially relevant comedy.

Like its Adult Swim counterparts, the show features a fair amount of mature humor. In one episode Granddad begins a relationship with a gold-digging “ho.” This development provides ample screen time for a scantily clad animated woman and numerous references to prostitution. Whether it’s funny or not, this isn’t something you’d see on a Saturday morning children’s cartoon.

The highlights of the show may be few and far between, but “The Boondocks” does feature futuristic, anime-inspired animation style and a few funny moments. One episode uses a hilarious flashback of Granddad missing a civil rights rally because he went to get a rain coat in anticipation of the fire hose that would inevitably be turned on the protestors. An impressive soundtrack also makes the show enjoyable; music used on the show includes songs from both Curtis Mayfield and Kanye West.

The show has its moments, but it simply does not live up to the comic strip. While searing commentary caused readers to either love or hate the strip, the show’s bland rendition of the original “Boondocks” just falls flat.


Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5 stars

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