There’s always talk about white television shows that ought to have black faces, but many of these same critics tend to overlook the reality that programming in general could stand to diversify, too. Diversity comes in many shades – most of which go beyond color. To that end, while it’s lovely to see so many shows strive to show the more “positive” aspects of black life, more often than not it appears to come at the expense of offering our perspective as it relates to race, class, and pop culture on the airwaves.
The only predominately ‘black show’ I can think of that offered something a bit different in terms of voice and edge was Aaron McGruder’s animated series, The Boondocks, based on the popular comic strip. Many — myself included — were disappointed that, after only three seasons, the Adult Swim series was coming to an end. However, there was talk only a few months ago that the show would be returning.
Regina King, who voiced the roles of Huey and Riley Freeman, told Shade 45 and MTV’s Sway, “I talked to Aaron and it looks like they’re working things out. I’m trying to be positive. But you know you say one thing and the next thing you know it just fell apart. But it looks strong like we’re coming back.”
Yesterday, Adult Swim uploaded a graphic announcing that there will indeed be a season four of The Boondocks.
Not much else has been given in the way of details as to exactly when the show might be coming back, but I’d encourage patience among longtime fans. McGruder has noted in the past that the show’s animation takes place in Korea. So, if you’re itching for Huey’s commentary on this year’s presidential election, you’ll probably get it around the time Malia Obama throws a sweet 16 party. Nevertheless, if you’ve seen past episodes, like the one which imagined a world where Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t die or the one which lampooned over-the-top Obama post-election euphoria, you know it’s worth the wait.
As happy as I am to hear about the show’s return, though, I’d be a bit remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the third season of the show was a bit disappointing. Yes, there was the now infamous episode eviscerating Tyler Perry, but that episode, along with ones such as “A Date With The Booty Warrior,” were often uncomfortable to sit through. The show seemed to regress from its early instances of brilliance to rely on some of the very gimmicks it once targeted with aplomb — namely lazy homophobia.
Still, at this point even a weaker Boondocks is far more interesting to watch than a bunch of one-dimensional black characters hugging their way through a mundane issue in a fashion eerily similar to episodes of sitcoms that aired 20 years ago. Yes, it’s great to see any black show on air, but it’s better to have that notion broadcasted with variety.
There are plenty who miss the satire, social and political commentary, and other instances of the kind of acute humor found in shows like The Boondocks and Chappelle’s Show. That kind of humor, for the most part, can only be found in shows largely scripted and conceived by whites like The Daily Show, or even Family Guy and The Cleveland Show. Those shows are great, but still come from a separate point of view.
And I don’t want to just see black faces on white shows (some, not all of the aforementioned). I want to see and hear myself. And hopefully, this newly announced return of The Boondocks might be the beginning of more chances for that to happen.
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