Bootleg Classics: The Boondocks “Return of the King”

Bootleg Classics is a new feature I’m trying to start. It feature cartoons that are so great, so fantastic, so creative, and/or so inspirational, that they can’t help but be bootlegged.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I decided to start with this Bootleg Classic.

The Boondocks (animated series) “Return of the King” 

boondocks_s1e9

Background:

The Boondocks is an animated series based upon Aaron McGruder’s comic strip of the same name. The Boondocks is a social satire of American culture and race relations, revolving around the lives of the Freeman family,ten-year-old Huey his younger brother, eight-year-old Riley, and their grandfather, Robert.

The Episode:

This particular episode of the Boondocks explores the scenario  “What if Martin Luther King Jr. survived his assassination in 1968? Was in a coma for 32 years, and woke up and lived in our society today?”

What makes it a Bootleg Classic?

“Return of the King” begins with two quotes:

The 1st  “I want young men and young women who are not alive today to know and see that these new privileges and opportunities did not come without somebody suffering and sacrificing for them.”  -Martin Luther King Jr.

The 2nd  “Whatever, nigga.” – anonymous

These two quotes lay an analogous foundation for this episode. It begins the approximately 20 minutes of what I believe to be the best representation and portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideas and messages on civil and human rights…EVER. Not only that, but the episode is able to be a social commentary on how Dr. King’s message is lost in today’s world.

From the initial celebration of Dr. King’s revival, to his downfall in the American public due to his commentary on the Afghanistan War, to the conclusion when Dr. King steps up and delivers one final controversial speech, this episode was able to show that the same sentiments and feelings that Martin Luther King went through in the 1960’s were still around today. At same time it was also able to mirror Dr. King’s life as a civil rights leader from the 1960’s, from celebrated to denounced in the American public (Dr. King was very vocal against the Vietnam War), to his final days as a more “radical” civil rights leader (many people forget this). The clear message, “there is still work to be done.” The amazing thing, all this was done in 20 minutes.

I have read other reviews that have lambasted this episode as being too preachy. Or that it just wasn’t that funny or entertaining. It was also highly controversial since Dr. King’s speech at the very end is leeched with the dreaded “n-word.” So much so that even the reverend Al Sharpton got worked up about it and tried to get the episode pulled forever (I don’t think Al even watched the show, he heard the n-word and that’s it). My response: You just don’t get it.

Now, I hate saying the phrase “people just don’t get it,” because we are all grounded in different circumstances and have differing point of views. But I believe this episode was important in starting a dialogue that we, as a society, have a lot to do before we even start scratching the surface of Dr. King’s dream. Like it or not, this episode needs to be watched.

Watch a condensed version of this episode, with the 2 quotes,Dr. King’s speech at the end, and the ending:

To end (this has gone on way too long), there is much hope with Barack Obama being the first African American president. But we need to realize that we have not come full circle and that much work needs to be done. President Obama realizes this and iterates it constantly, and so does this Bootleg Classic.

<hit me up, if you want to watch the whole episode>

 

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2 thoughts on “Bootleg Classics: The Boondocks “Return of the King”

  1. Pingback: MLK Day: A Message to Animation Students…. « Art of the Cartoon

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