The Boondocks, Aaron McGruder‘s acclaimed (and controversial) society-skewing cartoon starring a 10-year-old Black radical and his 8-year-old menace to society of a brother, will be returning for a fourth season, according to Adult Swim.
When season three ended nearly two years ago, fans of the series were worried that they’d seen the last of Riley, Huey, Granddad and the rest of the show’s motley crew of characters. McGruder’s reputation as a meticulous (read: slow) worker lent credence to that concern. John Witherspoon, who plays Granddad, revealed in a 2011 interview with Sacramento’s Hot 103.5 that the show would return for a 20-episode fourth season but his revelation went either questioned or largely unnoticed.
Adult Swim, the adult-oriented network that occupies Cartoon Network’s late-night/super-early-morning block, confirmed the show’s return with a graphic posted on their website but gave no details on when the new episodes would air.
Along with Witherspoon, the show also stars award-winning actress Regina King, who voices both Huey and Riley.
Beginning as a comic strip in the University of Maryland’s student newspaper in 1996, The Boondocks was quickly picked up by The Source magazine and was syndicated nationally by 1999. The strip became an animated series in 2005.
The comic and show revolve around 10-year-old Huey Freeman, a brilliant kid with a militant, Black Nationalist tilt who was forced to move with his younger brother Riley — a kid who really wants to be a gangsta — from their home on Chicago’s south side to their grandfather’s home in the lilywhite suburb of Woodcrest. The juxtaposition of Huey and Riley’s inner-city, black radical/thuggish-ruggish outlook and Woodcrest’s sterile, suburban utopia is the basis of the most of show’s comedy.
The Boondocks is known for its stern, sometimes offensive satirizations of real-life events, particularly those directly related to the African-American community like the R. Kelly trial and the case of Latarian Milton, the 7-year-old who beat up his grandmother and stole her SUV, only to later tell news media that “it’s fun to do bad things.” The series’ most controversial episode is season one’s “Return of the King,” which imagines what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would think of America if, instead of dying, he had fallen into a coma after being shot and woke up in the present day. The cartoon King’s use of the word “n—as” created quite a stir after the episode aired.
The show is also Hip-Hop’s absolute favorite cartoon, as many of the genre’s biggest names including Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Lil’ Wayne and Mos Def have lent their voices to characters. The show even uses a slightly remixed version of rap artist and social activist Asheru‘s “Judo Flip” as its theme song. Despite these facts (and perhaps because of them), Hip-Hop has been one of the show’s most frequent targets for satire, with references often made to the genre’s perceived materialism, sexism and homophobia.
More info on season four will be made available as it develops.