Some called it a disappointment. Some believed that it wasn’t as good as the first two seasons. However, there’s one thing that’s certain about season three of “The Boondocks”: It kept people talking.
Aaron McGruder’s creation had already achieved cult status by the time the third season rolled around and many were excited at the prospect of the show taking on a post-Barack Obama America. And many didn’t like what they saw. The first episode of the season (“It’s A Black President, Huey Freeman”) rubbed some people the wrong way (including some Black commentators), who called it a much too cynical look at the wave of enthusiasm during the 2008 presidential campaign.
In reality, McGruder always takes the pitchfork to everyone, and fans of the first two seasons thought this process was funny until he tackled individuals and subjects that they liked. Tyler Perry was said to have been particularly perturbed at the episode lampooning him (titled “Pause”) and McGruder ended up drawing more critics to his work this season with an increasingly cynical tone. Yes, the season did take on an increasingly cynical tone, but to play devil’s advocate, McGruder’s cynicism could be a reaction to the immediately positive vibes set off by the political atmosphere in between November 2008 and January 2009.
Nevertheless, the best episode of season three dove back into the origin of its most controversial character: Uncle Ruckus. “The Color of Ruckus” could easily be called “The Origin of Self-Hate.”
Tracking his childhood and family issues, the Ruckus episode can make anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, uncomfortable at the series of events that can lead to self-hate and lies. While some felt that season three just failed to deliver on the laughs, and that may be true, it wasn’t without fierce, brave social commentary and controversy, which have become the stock and trade of “The Boondocks.”
“What’s the point of talking if nobody learns?” stated Huey Freeman at the end of the Obama episode. Maybe the harsh tone of season three, set by episode one, was McGruder’s way of reminding people that this world remains cruel and harsh, and he’d rather not escape that reality.
“The Boondocks: Season 3” is out now on DVD.