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The Boondocks: "The Fried Chicken Flu"

Illustration for article titled The Boondocks: "The Fried Chicken Flu"
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Ay yo, Boondocks watchas!  Good to see you again after the one-week hiatus.

I have to admit, I'm feeling pretty melancholy about this show coming to an end.  After tonight, there's only two episodes left, and even if they completely screw the pooch — which I don't have any reason to believe they will — season 3 has been such an improvement over season 2, which was itself a huge improvement over season 1, that I hate to see it go.  Naturally, there's something to be said for a show going out on top, and on its own terms, but that's not really what's happening here, and The Boondocks is already such a frontrunner for Most Improved Show, it feels like it's getting cut off at the knees.

Still, what's done is done, and I had every reason to hope that tonight's episode, "The Fried Chicken Flu", was going to be a serious barn-burner.  Aaron McGruder himself anticipated at the start of the season that it was the episode most likely to get him sued, and when the previews were finally released, they featured Uncle Ruckus in post-apocalyptic Road Warrior drag. so clearly, this one would be aimed right at my wheelhouse.

The episode starts with Huey, being needled by Granddad for his elaborate, expensive emergency preparedness plans which have no "return on investment".  He stays behind to work on a generator (and embroil poor Jazmine in his paranoia), while Robert and Riley head to the local chicken joint, which is rolling out a new spice.  Unfortunately, they run out of chicken, causing nationwide riots — at the same time that a poultry-bourne virus spreads havoc all over the country.  Huey, trying not to be too smug, seals off the house and tries in vain to get his loved ones to read his emergency manuals as the nation falls apart.

Tensions begin to run high as Huey's careful planning falls apart:  Jazmine brings her parents over, Riley welcomes in Thugnificent and his toady Leonard, Granddad picks up some random hoodrat, and the Freeman home is assaulted by Uncle Ruckus and the neighborhood association.  The fried chicken flu itself breaches the compound in the form of buffalo wings, which Leonard assumed were safe because they were made of buffalo.  Finally, the family makes a mad dash for safety, just as it's revealed that the whole crisis has been nothing more than a mild outbreak of salmonella.

This one, unfortunately, lacked punch.  With such a target-rich environment (shitty fried chicken joints, post-apocalyptic scenarios, survivalist paranoia, and media hysteria), its satire was strangely muted, and there were far too few good jokes considering the ample material.  It wasn't a bad episode, and once it finally kicked into high gear at the end it was excellent, but it was more reminiscent of the slow-building, leisurely comedy of The Boondocks' first season than the rapid-fire, high-octane excellence of season three.  Next week:  the penultimate episode of the series, as we meet Uncle Ruckus' family.


Rating:  B

Stray Observations:

- "I knew I should have abandoned him at the mall when I had a chance."

- One of the many disaster scenarios imagined by Huey involves "killer astronauts".


- "Hello, 911?  No, I ain't callin' to snitch!  I got a real emergency!  Yes, I'll hold."

- "Shockingly, people are still eating chicken — willing to risk life and limb for a leg and a thigh."


- "Your plan sucks.  You think I want to be stuck in here until the end of the world staring at you sweaty-necked niggas?"

- I loved how, after going a week without power, the first thing that happens once Huey gets the generator going is that Leonard decides to vacuum the house, and Granddad makes fresh fruit smoothies.


- "Now, Riley, there's no need to be homophobic.  Eat it, you pussy punk-ass bitches!"

- I hate to say it about my namesake, but Leonard is just not very bright.