Watching the 10-episodes in the hot-off-the-presses two-disc Sony DVD release of the fourth and final season of the hilarious Cartoon Network Adult Swim animated series "The Boondocks" validates the conclusion of Time magazine that this series is one of the Top 10 most controversial cartoons of all time.
The following SPOILER-LADEN clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the Adult Swim trailer for the fourth season of "The Boondocks" shows how it earns the aforementioned honor. Any show that mines terrific humor from slavery, prostitution, and the drug trade cannot be all bad.
"The Boondocks" coming in at Number 5 places it above "Family Guy," which experienced the miscarriage (of course, pun intended) of justice regarding having to pull the infamous "Partial Terms of Endearment" episode due to the controversial nature of this perverse tale of a partially unwanted pregnancy.
"Boondocks" fans also have the option of buying the equally hot-off-the-presses complete series DVD set.
The premise of this highly stylized show based on the comic strip of the same name is that African-American Robert "Granddad" Freeman, voiced by John Witherspoon, is raising his young grandsons Riley and Huey in an upscale and mostly white "Suburgatory" suburb. Regina King provides the voices for both boys.
Diminutive Riley is a wannabe thug who views himself as a pit bull but cowers like a chihuahua on encountering any form of moderate threat. The slightly older and more politically oriented Huey is more grounded and even-tempered but retains a streak of violence.
This season starts strong with having mild-manned next-door neighbor/attorney Tom reluctantly defending a R&B singer who makes Justin Bieber look like a promise-ring wearing Jonas Brother. The initial charge relates to a brazen convenience store robbery and escalates to offenses that include coveting Tom's wife.
The numerous unbleeped f-bombs in this one both show that this "The Boondocks" ain't no Saturday morning cartoon and make a comment by Riley in the series finale that a character who is frustrated regarding being bleeped must wait for the uncensored DVD set especially hilarious.
The social commentary in the season premiere is also very typical of others in the season (and the series). In this case, the spotlight is on the actual motives for the criminal activities of singers who have a gangsta image to maintain. Lesser commentary on wigger society is thrown in for good measure.
A later (and classic) fourth-season episode uses a faux-documentary format to show flashbacks that reveal how Granddad is the Captain Paramenter of the civil rights movement in that getting on the wrong bus leads to his involvement in that effort. This episode being released on DVD on the same day that PBS premieres a documentary on the real Freedom Riders is a hilarious coincidence.
Many other fourth-season episodes focus on the mortgage crisis specifically and the horrible economy more generally. Granddad refinancing his home loan with an ARM creates a reversal of fortune that forces this retired elderly cantankerous man to seek work in a tough job market. The fact that he lists "pork chops" as his greatest weakness on an employment application provides a sense of his employability.
This new normal additionally provides the setting for hilarious parodies of other series. One episode has circumstances conspiring against the efforts of Granddad to convince the boys that they are not like the Evans family of the '70s Norman Lear series "Good Times." Another outing that focuses on a desperate money-making scheme is a great take on "Breaking Bad."
The series finale is a perfect end to a hilarious show. The family once again finding themselves the target of absurd public scorn relates to the backlash regarding a viral video of Riley commenting that an effeminate classmate who is flamboyantly dancing on a table in the school cafeteria is gay. Part of the problem is that young Mr. Freeman cannot understand the problem regarding remarking that something that clearly is gay is gay.
This triggers a fall-on-the-floor series of contacts from groups who express outrage to capitalize on the underlying event and subsequent fallout. A botched forced apology and a classic parody of Ellen DeGeneres are only part of the fun.
The extras in the fourth season set are separate special features on the music of the series and the muses behind writing the exceptional Emmy-worthy episodes.
The sad fact is that there likely will not be another series that gets its themes and humor as perfect as "The Boondocks." There is no risk of buyer's remorse if you get a DVD set.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "The Boondocks" is welcome to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.