|Black Dynamite, created by Michael Jai White, Scott Sanders, and Byron Minns|
Satire is a form of comedy or irony that intentionally exaggerates certain aspects of the human condition to expose/ridicule the vices of that particular facet of society, in some cases, seeking to actively improve the vices that they’re satirizing. Aaron McGruder originally created The Boondocks comic strip for this purpose, and his approach was fresh and highly uncompromising, which lead to its popularity. Think of The Simpsons’ skewering of the archetypal nuclear sitcom family of the 50s, or The Oblong’s subversion of class relations in American suburbia. In The Boondocks’ case, the target is African American life and culture, simultaneously criticizing aspects that creator/writer Aaron McGruder personally finds annoying, and celebrating what makes the culture unique in the American melting pot, including, but not limited to: black identity, hip-hop culture, interracial relationships, black self- hatred, old school vs new school, celebrities, etc. The satire in The Boondocks, though broad, takes a magnifying glass purely to the people and their effect on the culture (and vice versa).
|The Boondock's Huey, voiced by Regina King|
Black Dynamite, on the other hand, doesn’t take its subject matter nearly as seriously. Unlike satire, parody takes a particular style of film making, writing, or other form of expression and exaggerates it for laughs. Black Dynamite started out as a passion project fake trailer created by Michael Jai White, Byron Minns, and director Scott Sanders. Eventually, positive fan reaction resulted in the trio writing a script for a feature, which wound up as a parody of the tropes of the blaxploitation genre, which involved cheaply made feature films that typically spun off regular genres, like action films, westerns, kung-fu flicks, comedies, etc, and featured all African American casts, over-exaggerated action, and a lathering of funk/jazz music for good measure. As a parody and celebration of the genre, Dynamite was very well received, and an animated series was conceived and made for Adult Swim with the help of subsidiary Titmouse Inc. The animated series has already managed to take the concept to places that live-action would’ve made very hard, adding ninjas, aliens masquerading as celebrities, homicidal puppets, and tons of campy action and situations to the mix, already overly exaggerating an overly exaggerated premise.
In terms of visuals, Boondocks has a muted color palette and more grounded and static animation style as opposed to Dynamite’s more saturated aesthetic and stylized animation. In terms of humor, both share a writer/executive producer in Carl Jones and voice actors such as Cedric Yarbrough and Michael Jai White, but current events and societal satire still dominate Boondocks, while Dynamite focuses on the tropes of the film genre that birthed it. Both of these shows are incredibly funny portrayals of a culture and form of humor that many people think that they understand. I think comparing a serious-minded satire like The Boondocks to a silly parody like Black Dynamite is easy, but by no means accurate. They’re different projects from some of the same people. Arguing over which is better is pointless (especially this early into the series). Just take the Freemans and the Black Dynamite crew as they are, lop on that grain of salt, and enjoy some of the most intelligent and biting commentary currently available on the air.