A terrific animated series not called ‘The Simpsons’

The newspaper comic strip dates back to the late 19th century, and for about a hundred years all the famous ones were about white people (or animals).

In 1996, however, Aaron McGruder’s strip The Boondocks became one of the first hugely successful comic strips to feature African-American characters. The topical, controversial, and regularly very funny strip followed two African-American brothers living in a fictitious Chicago suburb. Although it no longer appears in newspapers, you can still enjoy fresh and often even better Boondocks installments in an animated series on the Cartoon Network: The second season was just released on DVD, and clips from most episodes can be found on the Boondocks website. In addition to the season’s 13 episodes, the three-disc set also features two excellent ones that didn’t air in the U.S. — both show Black Entertainment Television in a less-than-flattering light (rumors swirled that BET would sue if the episodes aired).

McGruder’s humor and his portrayals of the black community make some people squirm — in one episode, Granddad and Rev. Rollo Goodlove try to cash in after a teacher uses the N-word — but for hours of laugh-out-loudness, skip The Love Guru and pick up this DVD set instead.

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