After dragging their heels for years, Adult Swim has finally pushed season 4 of The Boondocks into production… without series creator Aaron McGruder.
The series has always combined strong writing and McGruder’s relentless, unapologetic approach to satire with brilliant storyboarding, animation and art design. When Boondocks was funny, it was really funny, when they featured action scenes, the action was as raw and kinetic as any Hong Kong flick, and the visual style of the series took influence in equal parts from anime, Peanuts, and hip hop culture including rap video directors and graffiti artists.
With McGruder off the project, expectactions have lowered among hardcore fans of the series. In episodes like The Hunger Strike and The Story of Jimmy Rebel, McGruder turns an unblinking eye on problems afflicting African Americans in the 21st Century, issues that few White writers would be able to fully appreciate, and that few Black writers would be willing to speak out on.
McGruder handled explosive topics with a fine touch or a sledgehammer as needed, always displaying courage in his willingness to shout about issues that nobody else would even whisper of.
The exact ongoings of McGruder’s leaving the series are unclear right now. On the one hand, Adult Swim have a history of being relatively creator-friendly. On the other, Aaron McGruder’s apparent bewilderment at his dismissal would seem to imply that AS simply opted to move forward without so much as a heads-up to McGruder.
In any event, there’s no better time than now to pop in your season 1-3 DVDs and appreciate what a great show Boondocks was. There’s no telling who’s going to be involved with season 4, but chances are that Adult Swim is going to try to retain as much staff as possible in order to stick as close as they can to the look and feel of the first three seasons.
This means that award winning Korean animation studio MOI will probably keep producing the animation for the series, so we can still expect some slick action scenes and smooth animation. Storyboard artists like David Hartman have been integral in creating the look of the show, but there’s no telling who will stick around and who will quit the show in solidarity with McGruder.
Ultimately there’s simply a lot that isn’t going to come out in the press until the show gets underway and we hear more from both Adult Swim and McGruder.