After Aaron McGruder announced his departure from being involved with "The Boondocks," the Adult Swim satirical show he created, fans of his uniquely Black brand of comedy were up in arms. However, that disdain was short lived as McGruder then announced the creation of his new live action comedy, "Black Jesus." Activist and Christian groups from across the nation ramped up their calls for a nationwide boycott of Cartoon Network if the show debuted. But Thursday night, the show went on.
McGruder had touched upon the subject of a Black Son of God on "The Boondocks" several times, but it was clear from the very start that this would be something a bit different. Unfortunately, different doesn’t mean better. After watching the very first episode, I wish it hadn’t aired. Starring Gerald “Slink” Johnson as Jesus, "Black Jesus" finds a modern day interpretation of the Son of God living in South Central Los Angeles, attempting to spread the gospel of peace and love, with the help of a dusty crew of ne’er-do-wells and miscreants.
As intelligent as Aaron McGruder is, it’s a wonder why this show comes off as completely stupid. A bunch of ghetto situations. A bunch of broke people. A bunch of bumbling exploits. Weed talk. And a cast that should provide more laughs than it actually did, "Black Jesus" is on death watch as far as my viewing pleasure is concerned.
The problem is that the show looks like a bunch of friends who got together with a hand held camcorder, and like amateurs, began shooting. Buffoonery, bad language and bumbling exploits rule the day as co-stars Charlie Murphy, Andrew Bachelor, Andra Fuller, John Witherspoon and Corey Holcomb are charged with acting out much of what is supposed to be funny. But very little of it actually is funny.
Black Jesus was not ground-breaking. It was not controversial. And it wasn’t even a little bit smart. I hope that the show is only getting the kinks out. So, I’ll give it a standard three episode viewing window before assigning it to the garbage bin. However, from the looks of things early on, "Black Jesus" will have to get exponentially more hilarious to hold anyone’s attention. Heck, some people might not even give it three episodes.
C’mon, Aaron. We’re waiting on the funny. Don’t let us down.