Ahhhhh, The Boondocks…a great show once upon a time. It proved to be a trusted and true staple in our animated show lineup for quite a while. The Adult Swim animated show based on Aaron McGruders’ infamous cartoon strips of an African American grandfather taking his two young grandsons from the hood to live in the suburbs and have a “better life” was always welcomed. Dare I say, it even grew in popularity to become a household name. I mean, it did have Al Sharpton pretty pissy at one point in time. To me, it was the perfect balance of social commentary of the Black experience and tomfoolery: where you could laugh and think critically. Even though the most recent season (without creator Aaron McGruder on board, no less) bombed and made us cry real thug tears.
Enter Micheal Caesar, better known as Caesar who was the friendly, dread-locked child who became fast friends with Huey. He was also the ONLY other Black kid in Woodcrest. He is best known for his signature catchphrase and aiding Huey in a number of different projects: two of them being the Revolution newspaper and the “Embarrassing Black People Awards”. Caesar was charming, always…well mostly supportive of Huey’s quest for justice. Plus he was great comic relief. Season after season I waited patiently for Aaron to insert Caesar into the fray and make the magic happen. I waited to see Caesar’s dreadlocks and the dynamic change in the neighborhood. But it never happened. NEVER. I don’t think we’ll ever see that day so let’s take a moment to look at some of my favorite moments with Caesar and how these could have been adapted to great episodes of the show:
Reason #1: “BROOKLYN!”
I never tired of Ceasar’s constant shout outs to his beloved city. Never. They were so well-timed and also racked the nerves of his teacher and other authority figures, which was always HILARIOUS. How this could have been adapted to an episode of the show: Two words–Cultural Appropriation. In a way to become cool, Cindy or some kid at their school start a t-shirt business in their garage. Caesar comes to school the next day to see kids with t-shirts with “BROOKLYN!” printed on the front of them. They’re selling like hot cakes. He’s pleased at first and is always greeted with cries of “BROOKLYN” everywhere he turns. But then things take a different turn: the local newspaper running an article that catches nationwide attention crediting some child that isn’t Caesar as the one who brought that catchphrase into Woodcrest. When Caesar tries to contest this, he is humiliated and casts aside. Riley offers his services to go “scare” the kid(s) running the garage where the t-shirt business is booming from and then…YOU SEE?!?! THIS COULD WORK! YOU’RE TOTALLY IMAGINING THIS IS YOUR HEAD, RIGHT?!
REASON #2: Cesar was hot with those catchphrases. Yes, even the ones that weren’t his.
I still remember the cackling I did after first reading this comic strip in the paper all those many years ago. WOOO. Greatness. Ceasar helped bring new insight to Huey as they worked together on many meaningful projects, which provided us with lots of laughs. How this could have been adapted to an episode of the show: So the boys do get sued. But Marvel is too busy so they just send somebody–so they send one single lawyer. But there’s a mix-up and a lawyer representing DC Comics comes to the door instead. The boys take this episode to unleash a fury of advice on what DC could be doing better; which really boils down on how to stop effing Cyborg and let him be great (Outside the Teen titans franchise of yesteryear) The lawyer takes everything that he has learned and all the advice from the boys and rushes back to the office but on the way he’s involved in an accident which makes him get amnesia and well…Cyborg remains who he is. Not a perfect storyline but something to work with.
Reason #3: I really miss Caesar and Huey’s friendships.
Some of us go do Hoodrat things with our hoodrat friends. Some do cosplay things with their cosplay friends. And Huey and Cesar did whatever they did which included mocking Hollywood, The U.S. Government and black celebrities while engaging Star Wars and other related things on the nerd spectrum. Whether it be being depressed over no easy solution to the conflict in the middle east (In Huey’s case) or highly concerned that one’s shoulder may be dislocated due to some serious Harlem shaking (In Caesar’s case) both boys had each other’s back and tried their best to be the best friend they could be to each other.
How this could have been adapted to an episode of the show: Honestly, these two could get into anything, ANYTHING and it would be entertaining. How about an episode where Huey and Caesar start watching the anime series that took most of us by surprise, Attack on Titan and Huey writing a dissertation on parallels on how American citizens are in fact both the humans AND the titans? Or the boys creating a website blasting Marvel on the demise of Ororo and T’Challa’s marriage in the comic book world (We had them feels too) and petitioning for them to do something about it? Then challenging Marvel to make Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel the first female-led comic book movie in their future film plans? The possibilities are endless, man. Endless.
Reason #4: James Brown.
See, no one appreciates James Brown in Woodcrest. That’s a given. It only delegates you as a “problem child” and gets you sent to the principal’s office which will probably result in an ass whopping whenever he gets home. Ouch. How this could have been adapted to an episode of the show: First off, given that the comic strip above is dated, R.I.P. James Brown. Two, this would have been an excellent time to address the recent James Brown biopic and the controversy (that no one is really talking about) behind it: the firing of Spike Lee as director and ultimately the how white privilege has taken the reigns from black folks in telling their own stories. I’m highly upset with myself now because this would have been righteous and something Aaron surely would have tackled for sure.
REASON #5 AKA BONUS REASON: Pledging allegiance to the BEYHIVE a good 10+ Years before the coining of that phrase
(Excuse the blurriness of this scan. In the last panel, Huey tells Caesar that his horoscope reads “Despite your charm and youthful exuberance, neither Beyonce Knowles nor anyone who looks like Beyonce Knowles will fall madly in love with you today”. Caesar responds with “That’s all I need to know. I’m going back to bed.”) How this could have been adapted to an episode of the show: Beyonce is in town and tickets are too pricey for mere elementary student allowances. Plus Cesar has come down with the flu or whatever plague children are passing around in school these days. He begs Huey to help him in his far fetched ideal to see the Queen. Huey refuses at first but can’t take his friends suffering while Beysus is withing he city’s limits. They fail to obtain tickets. They fail to sneak in. They fail to dress up in disguises as staff member of the concert hall or back up dancers.
In the end it’s thanks to Riley that by chance they even see Queen B. And like the biblical story of the woman with the issue of the blood that seeks out Jesus in a crowd just touch the helm of his garment to be healed, Caesar is blessed when a gemstone from Beyonce’s leotard is shaken off and nails him right in the head. It hits him at such strong force that he is knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital. When he awakens, he finds Huey sitting at his bedside telling him that Beyonce works in mysterious ways; she came to visit Caesar after her concert and miraculously his cold or whatever cleared up. And his ridiculous medical bill has been paid.
Yo, but some of these are good ideas, right? Let’s get The Boondocks on for another season! Let’s try to get these episodes of Caesar like how Dave Chapelle had those episodes titled; “The Lost Episodes”.
NAH. Let’s just give The Boondocks the dignity and respect that, in theory, it deserves. Let’s let it go out into that gentle night and be on our Kamala Khan grind–writing that fan fiction in our heads of what glory we could have had with Caesar on board. We could have had it all.
One last time, for Caesar y’all:
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my god, this was so good
Great read. I never knew Cesar as a character, but now I feel like I did and wish I had sooner.