What it be like, Boondocks fans? This week, I'm hoping to get my off-track ass back in gear after the double-up snafu of last week. Adult Swim is still recalcitrant as far as sending me screeners of this show, but luckily, the 6AM-start World Cup matches are over, so I can get back to what passes for a normal sleep schedule, and start watching the thing when it actually airs again.
This week's epi, "A Date With The Booty Warrior", calls all the way back to season 1's "A Date With The Health Inspector". That one was a bit of a mess, and the joke of Tom Dubois' mortal fear of prison rape was, er, shoved down our throats. On the other hand, tonight's installment is also a riff on the beloved (and oh-so-easily parodied) Scared Straight, so the satirical framework was in place for something that transcended the earlier episode's meandering plot and predictable gags. And the show's been devil cinnamon* lately, so I was hoping to see it continue a hot streak.
We start out with some tragically unaired footage from To Catch A Predator, where Chris Hanson has to deal with a home invasion from the world's most polite home-invasion rapists, known as the Booty Warrior. Cut to the present day, as Tom Dubois, after years of therapy, has conquered his fear of prison rape, and intends to prove it by accompanying Huey and Riley to a "Scared Stiff" encounter they've been banished to for fighting. Riley tries to go in prepared by sharpening a toothbrush (oh, Snoop, is there anything you don't know?), but Tom confiscates it — and, unfortunately, it ends up in the hands of the Booty Warrior himself, and helps precipitate a prison riot.
The riot turns unpleasant when the Booty Warrior, who thinks it's all about booty, comes into conflict with the rest of the rioters, who thought it was "some Attica-type shit". Tom has a major spaz attack before vowing to rescue the kids; Huey, meanwhile, more or less ends up leading the riot, but bores the shit out of Riley by instituting Robert's Rules of Order. This keeps things on an even keel as the prisoners get bogged down in an argument over whether or not their first demand should be "white bitches" or just "bitches". Like a frat party, the whole thing ends on a bit of a rapey note, but the status quo is finally restored, with Huey's radicalism putting everyone to sleep and Riley failing to learn anything whatsoever from the obvious consequences of his antisocial behavior.
This one was, for me, a flawed episode, but still a vast improvement over its season 1 predecessor — probably because Aaron McGruder has learned how to cross the line from comedy (where this sort of thing can become uncomfortable in an unfunny way) to outright absurdity, where the current of craziness just carries it along. It also didn't have the distracting and meandering sub-plots of "Health Inspector" to slow it down. It's a bit of a step back from the rolling thunder of the last month or so, with a bit too much padding and a pretty trite confrontation at the end, but only in comparison — it's better than most of what we got in season 1, and certainly isn't a loser.
We're now past the halfway point of the third season, which means, most likely, we're only six episodes away from the end of the series. If the pure audacity of the season so far is any indication, McGruder is going to figure there's no reason to go easy now, and we could be in for some pretty insane television between then and now. He's already said that the season/series finale, "The Kentucky Fried Flu" — set to air on August 8th — is the sort of show that's gotten him sued in the past. I sure as hell hope so; this is exactly the kind of show that ought to go out with a very big bang, and he seems to be upping the ante with every episode.
*That is to say, on a hell of a roll.
- "My booty is mine/it belongs to me/you cannot take/my boo-ty"
- "Nigga, did you just say what I was trying to say, only smarter?"
- "Now, I'm more of what you call a romantic type. I'll still rape you, but I'll definitely stroke your head lovingly while I do it."
- I like the return of antisocial Riley, forever tormenting everyone (as he does Tom here). He was getting precariously close to learning shit recently.
- "I'm going to walk out of that prison with my rectum and my piece of mind intact!"
- Saving people from anal rape, instead of sending them to it: what a beautiful description of our nation's justice system.
- Ha ha, what an amazing "Pause" call-back. Never before in television history has someone yelled so loudly about young boys' anuses.
- "And as for you Negroes, well, this is gonna be just like an exciting trip to the future!"
- "I thought this was a motherfuckin' democracy, you autocratic motherfucker."
- "I want me an Alaskan bitch!"