Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Night The Boondocks Jumped The Shark...

Like most of AverageNation™ I used to stan for Aaron McGruder's comic strip The Boondocks, and followed suit when the cartoon made its transition to animated series. The show was cutting edge social commentary with humor and Negro Nonsense sprinkled in for good measure. Sure, there was the occasional episode that caught a brick (ie: that one where Robert was dating the psycho internet chick who ended up fighting the kids and destroying the house), but otherwise the first two seasons of this show were on-point.

And then came the hiatus.

I've yet to understand why the show didn't return last season, but it's becoming incredibly obvious that this season's episodes were intended to run about a year ago. Black America post-Obama, the Soulja Boy takeover, and the subsequent implosion of the music industry have all been explored this season, with increasingly diminishing returns. It's a classic case of too little, waaay too late. The chronically unfunny episode a few weeks ago about Uncle Ruckus becoming a country music singer didn't even last 5 minutes on my DVR. The kickball episode sucked royally. And then came this week's episode, which officially signaled this once great show's inevitable shark jump.

Seriously, who thought making a whole episode out of the long since outdated Latarian Milton viral video was a good idea? Why is turning the whimsical actions of a misguided 8-year old into a show a good idea? Even worse is watching a character based on the same real life 8-year old be pushed to his supposed death, and mimicked as Bishop from Juice.

This wasn't just un-funny, it was sorta sad.

Look, I'm not gonna pretend I haven't had a joke or two at young Latarian's expense here at I have, and plenty of them.

But this is still a real life child, one who's probably a bit too young to understand the reality that people are laughing at him, not with him. Seeing this same kid mocked as a psychopath, brandishing handguns, clowned for his physique, locked up, shooting animals, given the "horror movie killer" treatment, and channeling Tupac Shakur just doesn't seem right. I'm sure Latarian's seen this episode, and sees what people really think of him. I'm not saying this is a self-fulfilling prophecy in the making, but if this kid goes all Lionel Tate on us in another decade, nobody should be surprised. And yeah, I will partially blame myself for piling on, but this show just seemed like a bit much.

I totally get lampooning grownups, but a minor? Well, even The Boondocks should have some standards.

Question: Am I overreacting, or did The Boondocks go a bit too far this time? Should black bloggers exercise a bit more constraint when writing about things related to kids?

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