During the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, I usually load up on holiday stuff. Classics like A Christmas Story and Home Alone take up my regular viewing, alongside left field Christmas treats like Die Hard and Scrooged. Being a huge fan of Peanuts, I also have to consume A Charlie Brown Christmas (with live tweets!) like a batch of Christmas cookies. But in my taking in numerous holiday movies and television episodes, I find that one particular special is left out of many conversations about the best holiday program of all time. An episode of televised Christmas comedy that is part A Charlie Brown Christmas, part gross consumerism parody, part "let's got whip Santa's ass rn." One of the greatest episode of Aaron McGruder's animated [adult swim] series The Boondocks, "A Huey Freeman Christmas."
With everyone trying to stay "woke," why are we not praising the ultimate animated side-eye at the convoluted fuckery that is mainstream Christmas? We will praise James Brown for singing about Santa Claus needing to go straight to the ghetto, but don't remember Riley literally trying to bring the ruckus to Santa for not paying what he owes?
Hell, how many times have you felt like putting on a bandana, grabbing a golf club, and swinging for the fences on Santa's head? I don't know about you, but you can end up missing your January rent scrounging for dollars to buy gifts for family and friends, and for those who have nothing, it's hard to sit in front of the TV or look online at the litany of deals and sales for a holiday that should be more about spending time with your friends and family. If we're trying to really be woke about it. And hell, nothing says "woke af about Christmas" like Huey Freeman breaking down the true history of Christmas.
The other day, I was sitting at a bar having a conversation with a few people about having to say "happy holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas." We don't want to be non-PC, right? The question is, when does your "happy holidays" stop and your "Merry Christmas" begin? That convo reminded me of young Jazmine, who would have you believing that dear ol' Santy Claus really did get crucified for our gifts.
It's also ill to see Huey's teacher Mr. Uberwitz—who truly didn't know what he was getting himself into when he put Huey in charge of the annual J. Edgar Hoover Elementary School's Christmas play—try to stay super woke chanting "Harambee!" and get his Kwanzaa on, for the culture. I've been that lone black kid in class when the conversation gets shifted to something black; that "all eyes are on me" thing is the worst, so I feel that pain.
Keep in mind, the majority of this episode is Huey's work in trying to get his play, "The Adventures of Black Jesus," to premiere, complete with the likes of Quincy Jones (who lent his voice for this episode), Denzel Washington, and Angela Bassett to put on for the school play. It's a thing of brilliance that takes Charlie Brown's Christmas play and flips it firmly on its ear.
Recently, Dave Chappelle helped us forget that the world felt like it was coming to an end. In a world where we have a Cheeto-hued PEOTUS and more hands to block all of the racists and sexists on our timelines, we're in need of some truly woke, truly hilarious figureheads. Jerrod Carmichael gets it, and while NBC has granted his in-your-face, All In The Family-esque series a third season, we have a void to fill when it comes to our ability to tune into entertainment that isn't the usual schlock during this most wonderful time of the year. While most of our non-traditional Christmas viewing choices ultimately end up being "here's an action movie set during the holidays," it's important that episodes like The Boondocks' "A Huey Freeman Christmas" sit comfortably near classics like Seinfeld's "The Strike." It's laugh-out-loud comedy mixed with actual #facts regarding the hypocrisy and problems surrounding this holiday that's loved by all, even those of us who hate how broke Christmas makes us.
"A Huey Freeman Christmas" is the holiday shot you need to make it through the rest of the season. Harambee!