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As the packaging on The Boondocks‘ third season set notes, this is the animated series’ “most controversial season yet,” and in a certain way, that bit of ballyhoo is entirely correct. Sadly, the hoopla is less over the show’s slaughter of social and political sacred cows and more in regard to its shocking drop in quality. The basic scenario is in place–pint-sized activist Huey Freeman (Regina King), brother Riley (also King), and his easy-to-anger grandfather (John Witherspoon) contend with all manner of outsized personalities, from the crazed Uncle Ruckus to rapper Thugnificent and the biracial yuppie Dubois family–but the sharp wit and keen intelligence of Aaron McGruder’s daily comics, on which the show is based, and the previous seasons have somehow gone missing. More often than not, what’s in its place are missed opportunities or ham-fisted movie parodies (“The Fund-Raiser,” which trots out the umpteenth nod to Scarface, and “Fried Chicken Flu,” which envisions the apocalypse emerging from a free chicken giveaway) as well as a few unnecessary bits of homophobic humor (“A Date with the Booty Warrior” and “Pause,” which falls flat in its attempt to poke fun at Tyler Perry). That’s not to say that there aren’t some bright spots, most notably the season opener, “It’s a Black President, Huey Freeman,” which sees Werner Herzog document the Freemans’ reaction to Barack Obama, and “The Story of Jimmy Rebel,” in which Grandpa learns the awful truth about his favorite country singer. Otherwise, it’s a mediocre season from start to finish, and one that can only be fixed by a serious overhaul or cancellation.
The extras occasionally surpass the episodes themselves in terms of actual laughs: voice cast members Cedric Yarbrough and Gary Anthony Williams provide humorous intros and outros for each episode, and join Witherspoon for some very funny commentary tracks on four episodes, including “It’s a Black President.” The Stink on the Street featurettes are throwaways, while the animatic is most likely of interest to animation fanatics. Audiences should know that all of the episodes are uncut and feature strong language. –Paul Gaita
The complete raw, uncut, and uncensored 3rd season of adultswim’s top-rated comedy hit series is now here in this DVD set packed with special extras. Laugh yourself silly at the hilarious and unpredictable antics of everyone’s favorite bad boys – Huey, Riley, and Robert (Granddad) Freeman. This 3-disc set contains all of Aaron McGruder’s outrageous Boondocks crew, a slew of irreverent bonus features and the special vocal talents of Bill Maher, Billy Dee Williams, and Charlie Murphy.