|Sunday, November 6, 2005
23:16 - First commercial break
How are you doing?
Hope you're liking The Boondocks.
Nick @ Nite's probably got some Andy Griffith showing right now.
That'll go down like milk & sugar.
You know, shows about paranoid delusional racist fantasies I can handle. But not this nauseating patronizing condescension.
Adult Swim, you're on thin ice with me. And it's only been seven minutes.
... And on the rebound after the commercials...
Dear Adult Swim,
I am one of those scary Republicans you hear about.
I happen to think it's NOT better to try to offend people like me with needless attacks on all things political.
Boondocks... is it really necessary?
Yes, it is necessary.
Your side controls the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the corporate world.
At least give us a 22-minute animated TV show.
I guess it's Andy Griffith for me.
UPDATE: Peter writes to point out that the bumpmasters might possibly have overplayed their hand here:
McGruder isn't advocating paranoid delusional racist fantasies. He's
presenting a parody of paranoid delusional racist fantasies.
Are Parker & Stone advocating Cartman's paranoid delusional racist
fantasies? No, of course not. Cartman is a parody.
Boondocks _is_ South Park, except that McGruder comes from the
angsty/black/urban side instead of the funny/white/rural side. I'm glad to
see his perspective.
People say McGruder is a left-wing kind of guy, but he says he isn't, and I
believe him. He doesn't like the Bush administration; well, so? I doubt
Parker & Stone like it either. McGruder's show is all that counts here, and
it isn't left-leaning; if anything, it goes too far the other way.
In the first episode, the most sympathetic characters-- the ones who are
friendly, honest, and cool-- are white, and the least sympathetic
characters-- the ones who are cruel, dishonest, and uptight-- are black.
If anything, I hope McGruder becomes a little more moderate in his treatment
of his lead characters in the show, as he is in the comic strip. Huey and
Riley need to seem just a little nicer, a little less like knee-jerk
radicals to give the TV audience a reason to care about them.
Other than that, I'm entirely satisfied with this show.
Well, the [as] guys sure seem convinced that the show is made for "their side", if those bumps are any indication. That's what really gets me: more than the show itself, the way it's being packaged is just abhorrent. Maybe that's because the bumpmasters are totally misinterpreting it; I don't know. But having followed the comic strip for years, I have a hard time convincing myself that Huey is being presented as an anti-hero rather than the author's voice. The shot of Huey as Che Guevara in the title sequence is in-character, true, but it's also in keeping with what the strip's presented over the years.
Maybe that just means McGruder's done a great job of building up a smokescreen over his true intentions. It seems to me the danger (to him) is that everyone will misinterpret him, rather than everyone giving him the benefit of the doubt.
In any event, I understand your observations, I've considered them myself since last night (I didn't get a lot of sleep), and I've tried to square those interpretations with the way the show is packaged. You can list off a lot of agreeable and refreshing developments: the Evil Cheney-esque Real Estate Guy finding common ground with Granddad at the end of the episode, for example. The obviously over-the-top, dystopic, and unsympathetic view of the world through the crosshairs of Huey's gun (the smiling cop seen as a step away from a Rodney King beating; the laser sight fixed on everyone and everything white). The silly thing about cheese. But I have to wonder how to reconcile the idea of the Real Estate Guy being a sympathetic character with the seemingly unchallenged description of the 9/11 conspiracy as "truth", or the back-from-Iraq son's moronic bombast, or all the garden-party attendees patronizing the kids with "You speak so well" (a joke lifted from Chris Rock talking about Colin Powell), or the self-hating black guy being given so much screen time in what feels like a venting of the author's rage at such people. And there's the general thematic idea—or at least this is how I interpreted it—of the shamefulness of "acting white", or of selling out one's identity for baubles like a nice house and financial opportunity. I get the feeling McGruder would rather America never become truly colorblind, because tribalism is more important to him than a shared set of national values, and he seems fetishistically fixated on the idea of a suburban America that's far more racist than I've ever experienced it to be. I think that's what seeps through the veneer of the show's various devices.
I don't know—the show's done a good job of making us have to second-guess it to figure out what it's really saying, and that's an achievement. But if Boondocks is really a masterful parody of the views its lead character espouses, either the [as] folks are drastically missing the point, or they know something we don't.
I submitted a tongue-in-cheek bump idea last night that plays on the "self-parody" angle, just to see if it could get a rise out of the bumpmasters:
Dear [adult swim],
Thanks to Boondocks, I've changed sides. I'll be voting Republican from now on.
If McGruder's insulting, paranoid screed is any indication of how Democrats view racial issues, it looks like the only way to achieve a colorblind, hate-free society is to vote against them.
Nice job, guys. And thanks for ruining this wonderful block with politics.
So undoubtedly there'll be a firestorm touched off in the boards, if nowhere else; but if you're right about Boondocks, the bumpmasters will have to realize they made a serious miscalculation.