‘Boondocks’ Fans Still Blame Tyler Perry for Getting the Show Canceled

‘Boondocks’ Fans Still Blame Tyler Perry for Getting the Show Canceled

Anyone who loves The Boondocks knows that Tyler Perry’s thoughts on Aaron McGruder’s hit Adult Swim series are about as amicable as Huey Freeman’s feelings toward Ronald Reagan — and, just like Huey, Boondocks fans have some interesting theories about the subject.

The animated adaptation of McGruder’s popular comic strip only ran for three beloved seasons (and a single, hated, McGruder-less one) before Cartoon Network pulled the plug. Despite its short lifespan, The Boondocks still commands a sizable following of fans who consider it one of the finest examples of social satire in the history of animated comedy. Of course, the highly satirized TV and movie mogul Perry is not among that cult following — in fact, many fans believe that Perry’s outrage over the Season Three episode “Pause,” which mercilessly skewered Perry through his parodical representation named Winston Jerome, led to the eventual dissolution of the series.

Though Perry never publicly responded to the ruthless ridicule of “Pause,” he reportedly threatened to sever his relationship with Turner Broadcasting, who hosted two of Perry’s hit TV shows when “Pause” aired in 2010, if the TV conglomerate didn’t censor the episode. As a result, “Pause” was scrubbed from the airwaves — and according to the fans, so was The Boondocks.

In “Pause,” the character of Winston Jerome is a TV, movie and stage superstar who built a media empire (and a cultish mega compound not unlike Perry’s 300-acre studio in Atlanta) off of repetitive storylines, reductive Black tropes and, of course, his hit cross-dressing character, the overdramatic matriarch Ma Dukes. Huey and Riley’s grandpa Robert auditions to play Ma Dukes’ love interest in one of Winston Jerome’s stage productions, where he finds the superstar to be a controlling, megalomaniacal, closeted gay Evangelical who hides his true behavior beneath his performative Christianity.

Critics compared “Pause” to other poignant analyses of Perry’s work, including director Spike Lee’s scathing comments on Perry just a year prior to the Boondocks episode’s airing. Perry, however, has never openly acknowledged his acrimony with “Pause,” saying of the episode shortly after it premiered, “Just like the Spike Lee situation, I feel that ‘no response’ is the best response.” Behind the scenes, however, Perry’s response was swift and uncompromising as he reportedly contacted C-suite executives from Turner Broadcasting to issue his threats if the corporation did not take action against The Boondocks. Following a single encore of “Pause,” Turner Broadcasting effectively banned the episode from reruns for a full decade after it aired.

Still, many fans believe that Perry’s revenge for “Pause” didn’t stop with a single episode. In a thread about the theory from the Boondocks subreddit, a user wrote, “Tyler Perry could’ve been cool and even offered to guest star in a sequel episode next season. We’d loved (sic) him for it. Instead his hate got the episode removed and the show canceled. Also everyone questioning his sexuality too; if anything, it shows he has an issue with homosexuality. That’s not a good image for Tyler Perry,” adding, “Boondocks clearly was on to something.”


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