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April 20, 2014

'The Boondocks' back for final 'offensive' season

Show to go on without the man who spawned it

(Continued)

"It was important to offend, but equally important to offend for the right reasons," McGruder explained on Facebook last month, speaking of the series' first three seasons, when "I personally navigated this show through the minefields of controversy."

McGruder has since departed after "a mutually agreeable production schedule could not be determined," according to Adult Swim.

But he's preparing something new for the network as he puts "a life of controversy and troublemaking behind me," he said — surely with tongue in cheek — in his Facebook statement. His new project: a live-action scripted comedy called "Black Jesus," with Jesus living in modern-day Compton, Calif., as he attempts to spread love and kindness through this troubled neighborhood. It is scheduled to premiere later this year.

Meanwhile, even in McGruder's absence, "The Boondocks" isn't playing it safe or just for laughs.

In a future episode, Granddad learns he's broke.

"I'd say you have six months before you and your grandkids are homeless and starving," his financial planner informs him, then, pondering what funds Granddad might generate, inquires, "How many kidneys do you have?"

Huey's chemistry project (which in fact is an effort to make an explosive material for building bombs) turns out to be the goldmine Granddad has dreamed of: This pink goop turns out to be the world's best hair-wave cream. It doesn't just straighten existing hair, it's mega-Rogaine, growing beautifully lustrous straight hair overnight.

There's just one hitch, as Huey is quick to warn Granddad: With a single spark, the stuff explodes on your head.

Will this stop Granddad from cashing in on his miracle product — or getting tangled up in the dangerous black market of the hair-care industry?

It's a clever parable with a lot to say about human vanity (the risk of death pales beside the promise of great hair), and about the readiness of consumer products to exploit that vanity.

And it's told as an homage to the crystal-meth underworld explored by "Breaking Bad," including some shot-for-shot sequences borrowed from that AMC drama's famous pilot episode, here with Granddad (not Walter White) as a would-be drug lord in his tighty-whities, cooking contraband wave cream (not "blue sky" meth) in the desert in his motor home.

As ever on "The Boondocks," the sparks will fly.

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