- 4 Seasons
Originally a comic strip in The Diamondback, a student newspaper at the University of Maryland, The Boondocks has become one of its host network's greatest successes and has won a number of awards. The source of a great deal of controversy, even being listed at #5 on Time magazine's "10 of the Most Controversial Cartoons of All Time," the show has ballooned in popularity and has already achieved something like the reverence normally reserved for aged cult classics. All of this despite only having aired for three seasons. A recent YouTube interview with John Witherspoon, one of the voice actors, has suggested a fourth season will soon be made. The show follows the lives of its three main characters and members of the Freeman family: Huey, Riley, and Robert. Both of the brothers, Huey and Riley, are voiced by Regina King. Despite their kinship they have strikingly different personalities. Huey is highly intelligent, reasonable, and concerned with issues like social justice. Riley, on the other hand, wants to be a gangster and is absorbed in rap culture and media stereotypes. The boys' grandfather is a fairly traditional man who seeks to maintain the values of the older generations of African Americans. The three of them make up the Freeman household, and the show follows them as they live their lives, get into trouble, and make it through life together as a family. The reason the show has been so controversial is because it offers an unflinching look at contemporary social issues concerning race, social justice, media bias, corporate dominance, and much more. And it does this through the lens of a modern African American family, who explore either via themselves being near-archetypes of some stereotypes or by interacting with people who represent different stereotypes or ideological thinking the way the pop culture's representations of these things interacts with the reality. Two episodes from the second season were even banned from airing on TV, apparently due to being heavily critical of another station. The parent company of that station even threatened to sue if the two episodes were ever aired in the United States. They were, however, released on DVD. Despite all the controversy, The Boondocks has generally been very warmly received. In 2006, the show was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series at the NAACP Image Awards, and also won a Peabody Award. It has also been frequently praised by writers of major publications, and was named 94 on a list of the best animated series by IGN. The show is controversial, to be sure, but it's never callous or vainglorious, but rather teaches through the controversial and makes people think. The show's creator, Aaron McGruder described his goal with the show and the need to at times be over-the-top, saying "I just hope to expand the dialogue and hope the show will challenge people to think about things they wouldn't normally think about, or think about in a very different way."