The fourth and final season of The Boondocks begins tonight, and many are wondering if the show will live up to the hype. Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder won’t be returning to the show that was based on his groundbreaking comic strip collaboration with Rhome “DJ Stylus” Anderson.
Tonight’s episode stars Michael B. Jordan as “Pretty Boy Flizzy,” a singer accused of a string of crimes including robbing a store and beating up his girlfriend Christianna on stage at the Grammy’s. During a public apology, Flizzy thanks his fans, remarking, “I let my fans down. Without you, I wouldn’t even have an R&B girlfriend to beat.”
Slate’s Aisha Harris said the debut episode had an “impressive supply of such zingers, along with an unrelenting indictment of both the performer [Chris Brown] and a culture that seems to condone and perhaps even foster his behavior,” but noted “only a few of the jokes really land,” the rest sounding too familiar to be considered fresh or exciting.
Mike Hale of the New York Times agrees, calling the episode “disturbing” because it “sentimentalizes the Brown character, Pretty Boy Flizzy, who admits to hitting a girlfriend named Christiana (sounds like Rihanna) but in the end is portrayed in redemptive, almost heroic terms.” Hale concludes McGruder wouldn’t have come up with such an ending, and calls the episode unimaginative and stale.
But critics are called critics for a reason, and it remains to be seen if audiences will agree that a McGruder-less Boondocks suffers, or if it’s just as biting and hilarious as before.