Select episodes of the classic Adult Swim series The Boondocks and Aqua Teen Hunger Force have been de-listed from the HBO Max streaming service, Screen Rant confirmed today. The episodes have been removed due to featuring racially insensitive content.
The two episodes removed were Aqua Teen Hunger Force‘s “Shake Like Me” and The Boondock‘s “The Story of Jimmy Rebel.” “Shake Like Me” was a parody of the 1961 novel Black Like Me, and featured the character Master Shake in blackface. “The Story of Jimmy Rebel” focused on the character Uncle Ruckus performing anti-black music together with a racist country musician. Both shows have been noted for their surreal and often offensive humor, but these episodes are particularly infamous for the stereotypical and insensitive content.
The two adult-oriented animated series were some of Adult Swim’s oldest and longest running shows. Aqua Teen Hunger Force premiered in December 2000 and ended in August 2015 after 139 episodes over the course of 11 seasons. The series followed the trio of anthropomorphic fast food items Frylock, Meatwad, and Master Shake in surreal and mind-bending adventures. The Boondocks is based on the comic series of the same name by Aaron McGruder, who also served as show runner for the series. It ran for 4 seasons and 55 episodes from November 2005 to June 2014. The Boondocks satirized race relations in the United States, following the black 12-year-old Huey Freeman, his brother Riley, and their granddad as they grew accustomed to life in a predominantly white suburb.
The episodes were never meant to appear on the service. “The Story of Jimmy Rebel” was never actually available to stream, however “Shake Like Me” was accidentally briefly available to view in August. HBO Max told Screen Rant that these episodes are officially “permanently retired,” and have no intention of reinstating them for streaming.
This decision follows a summer in which several streamers pulled episodes which featured blackface or other racially insensitive content. Peacock removed episodes of 30 Rock, Netflix removed an episode of The Office, and Hulu removed episodes of Golden Girls and Scrubs, all of which used blackface jokes.