[Dwayne Betts] First you have to get that Aaron McGruder is a satirist. Maybe all comic strips satirize reality in some way or another, but I think The Boondocks hit its stride when McGruder took off on Bush and made The Boondocks as much political commentary as comedy. He says so himself in the intro to "A Right to Be Hostile" Whatever the case, my expectations for the Boondocks were built around quips like Riley saying, "Hey C-Murder's lawyer says he is 'absolutely not guilty' of murder" and this back and forth between Caesar and Riley:


Caesar: I keep getting this forwarded email saying the Voting Rights Act will expire in 2007, and black people won't be able to vote anymore. Is that true?

Huey: That's ridiculous. The Voting Rights Act was a means to enforce the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which is what actually gives black people the right to vote.

Caesar: Oh. So when does the 15th Amendment expire?

Huey: That expired November 7, 2000

Then you have to understand that what I now see on The Boondocks makes me fear that the reason why Chappelle left his show was the fast approaching point where there will be no more clever, insightful jokes to make either about black people, poverty, the revolution, black folks' relationship to fried chicken, black folks' relationship to white people, the post-racial era, minstrel show-type rappers, watermelon, cornbread, the propensity for black boys to allow their jeans to lose a battle with gravity, single-parent households, etc., etc., etc.

Disclaimer: I came to Chappelle's Show late, after it was already out on DVDs. This meant I could waste long hours of the night sitting on a sofa watching episode after episode, rewinding the piece on the perils of keeping it real, and generally integrating for too much of his sketch work into my rhetoric. The same can be said for my relationship to the Boondocks. Catch on late, then tell everyone who'd listen about how good it was, like McGruder was my cousin. My problem now is that while I don't pretend everything Chappelle was doing seemed new, he put his foot into it. The Black Clansmen? The Race Draft? Ashy Larry? The Lil Jon skits?

Now check out the new Boondocks: You find thugnificient getting his mansion foreclosed on, his boy supporting him with a job at McDonald's; You get Huey refusing to comment as the we have overcome chants dominate an episode about Obama's candidacy and election; And, you find Riley running a criminal chocolate selling enterprise. I admit I chuckled when Riley and his crew moved their operation to Tony Montana's hotel room, with the added touch chalked out body outline being vacuumed. But Scarface is such a played-out cliche in everything black and gangster that it alone should make you turn the channel, stop the track, walk out of the room.


Maybe it's all context. If I hadn't seen the earlier shows, the earlier strips, my expectations wouldn't be so high. Whatever it is though, it makes me figure Chappelle got out just in time.

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