Today marks a historic event in the pantheon of black shows about black culture: The Boondocks, the brainchild of Aaron McGruder, celebrates its 10th anniversary.
As many know, The Boondocks started out in 1996 as a comic strip written and drawn by McGruder (and a small team of like-minded individuals). The show spent the next ten years gaining popularity, newspaper syndication, and causing controversy for McGruder's satirical voice, all filtered through three characters: Granddad, an older black man who saw the civil rights movement and is just trying to live in the suburbs with his two grandsons, Riley (the hip-hop-obsessed wannabe thug) and Huey (essentially, Boots Riley from The Coup)—although it further expanded its universe to include "Uncle Tom" (who was actually named Tom), a black guy who hates black people, a biracial girl who was confused af, and so many believable portrayals of the everyday black people we meet. Never afraid to skewer everything from social issues to the state of hip-hop, when word got out that McGruder selling the rights to The Boondocks for an animated show on adult swim, it was wildly known that it was going to be "that show." We'd lost Chappelle's Show in 2005, and were missing the informed voice on all of the fuckery facing black lives in America.
See, The Boondocks as a cartoon could do what shows like In Living Color couldn't: it was able to say things about current events and long-known struggles and situations in black America that some shows couldn't (although Dave Chappelle definitely got the closest). It covered issues like soul food, the war in Iraq, homophobia, "nigga moments," slavery, and so much more in ways that were as witty as they were real, in an anime style that allowed for some truly memorable sequences.
While it's a goddamn shame that a) McGruder left after three seasons of the show and b) the fourth season left a meh taste in the mouths of many, The Boondocks goes down in history as one of the realest shows about the black experience in America, even if its just a bunch anime(-influenced) characters spitting foul language and getting into fuckery. On its 10th anniversary, the collective Boondocks consortium here at Complex paired down the show's history into the 15 most fire episodes of The Boondocks.