The Boondocks: The Return of the King (Cartoon Network)
Like the Aaron McGruder comic strip on which it’s based, the animated series The Boondocks throws edgy, irreverent comment at some of the thorniest issues of our time. Race relations, racial identity, juvenile delinquency—there are no sacred topics here. In this especially bold and imaginative episode, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wakes from a 32-year “coma” only to be both disturbed and disappointed with the current state of social affairs. After an interview in which he reiterates his “turn the other cheek” philosophy, King finds himself shunned as a terrorist sympathizer. Boondocks regulars Huey, Riley and Granddad Freeman remind the shaken leader of his dream and inspire him to plan a new, 21st century movement. When its inaugural rally turns into a raucous dance party sapped of political energy and revolutionary vision, King erupts in a tirade against Americans of all colors and creeds by confronting them with truths that he, at least, still holds to be self-evident. This episode sparked extended dialogue and debate about issues that still resonate today. For using bold satire to remind us how we have strayed from the aims of the movement led by Dr. King, “The Return of the King,” an episode of The Boondocks, receives a Peabody.
Executive producers: Aaron McGruder, Reginald Hudlin, Rodney Barnes. Producer: Brian J. Cowan. Director: Kalvin Lee. Writer: Aaron McGruder. Actors: Regina King, John Witherspoon, Cedric Yarbrough, Gary Anthony Williams, Jill Talley, Gabby Soleil.