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The The Boondocks - The Complete Second Season - animated DVD / children's and family DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Regina King, John Witherspoon, Gary Anthony Williams, Cedric Yarbrough, Jill Talley
Creator: Aaron McGruder   Distributor: Sony Pictures
DVD release: 10 June 2008   Feature runtime: 325 minutes
(3 discs)
Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 - English), Subtitles (English), Audio commentaries, Video introductions, Intro to "The Hunger Strike," Working on The Boondocks, Gary vs. Cedric, The Playas: Character Profiles

I fear I may be an interloper into the world of Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks; to be sure, that is why I was reluctant to review the second season. Most characters in the cartoon are black, and I'm as white as John Denver.

The Boondocks, for those who aren't in the know, is an anime-style cartoon about the Freeman family from the south side of Chicago, who move into the upscale suburb of Woodcrest: ten-year-old Huey, his eight-year-old brother Riley, and Granddad Robert.

Huey (Regina King) seems to be the calm, rational superego of the show. Look to him for an indication that things are about to go wrong. Riley (also voiced by Regina King) is a wannabe street thug. He's quick to follow the latest trend and as quick to latch onto rapper Thugnificent (Carl Jones) when he moves in across the street, though he tries to contain his eagerness. Granddad (John Witherspoon) lies somewhere between the two. He's quick to try to jump into a lawsuit when Riley is called the N-word by his teacher Joe Petto (Fred Willard), though Riley uses the word himself enough to desensitize Petto. Granddad knows when to pull the plug sooner than Riley, though not as soon as Huey.

The Boondocks seems to occupy a universe similar to Bloom County (though in a more profane neighborhood), in that children sometimes call press conferences. Huey, at least, is smart and opinionated beyond his years, like the children and animals in Bloom County. Indeed, The Boondocks started as a comic strip. I think Huey might enjoy some time on a dandelion-covered hill with Opus and Binkley.

It seems no topic is too taboo to be covered. Cable channel BET is vilified in a few episodes, one of which has Huey on a hunger strike to draw attention to the way BET promotes the destruction of black people. On another episode, "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show," BET gives neighborhood fixture Uncle Ruckus (Gary Anthony Williams) his own reality show. Ruckus is under the delusion that he's white but has the opposite skin condition plaguing Michael Jackson. He hates black people and has a Confederate flag hung proudly on his wall. When he finds out he's genetically 100-percent black, he quits all 32 of his jobs and does what his bigoted brain tells him black people do.

There is a fair amount of swearing in The Boondocks, so it's not for the kids. The N-word and every conceivable variation of it is bandied about willy-nilly (told you I was white), and more conventional expletives fly freely as well. There are bits of violence and bloodshed and a good amount of kung-fu action.

The Boondocks is a smart, irreverent, cartoon with biting satire and a good heart. It's worth picking up - even if you are white like me. If you're open to alternative cultures, give it a try. The Boondocks does not disappoint.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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