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Riley Wuz Here

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"Riley Wuz Here" is the twelfth episode of the Adult Swim's, The Boondocks. It originally aired on February 19, 2006.

Synopsis

Riley opens the episode by piecing the side of a neighbor's house. As he paints, an art critic appears and critiques his work. prompting Riley to re-do the tag on a different side of the house with better legibility and color work. Riley is quite pleased with himself, but the actual owner of the house does not think so highly of the work.

As punishment, Granddad forces Riley to take art lessons, reasoning that if Riley learns to draw on paper then he won't go marking up people's houses with spray-paint. The art teacher turns out to be none other than the art critic from the night before. The art teacher denies responsibility for creating the impression of owning the house being tagged, uses what is called "reverse psychology", and has a mild manner, phrasing and speaking his words just so, and among other things, saying that he "doesn't like violent things", preferring "to take people by surprise". The teacher is an obvious parody of Bob Ross, the painter, in the pictures he produces for himself, his hairstyle as well as the way he speaks to Riley.

Meanwhile, Huey is conducting an experiment to see what would happen to a person who watches nothing but "black television" for 14 days. This is a reference to the documentary Super Size Me, in which the filmmaker ate nothing but McDonald's food for 30 days to see if there was a health risk associated with it.

On Riley's third artwork "fallen soldier" he signs it with one of his identities. In the morning when everyone is admiring the work, Riley sees that others have also signed the work. Annoyed by this, Riley tells everyone there that he was the actual creator, Robert Freeman walks into the scene and hears this and beats Riley and tells him "You've been watching too much of that Adult Swim!".

As Riley becomes more determined and sincere, the art teacher thinks "it's time to move to a bigger canvas", sometimes "liking to paint murals" thinking that "they're fun". This ends up as nighttime paint-raids. Riley paints a still-life, and pictures of "someone that we love! Maybe, someone who is not with us anymore", that is, a "fallen soldier". Everyone is moved by the works, but refuses to believe that Riley produced them. In a touching moment for the comedic series, the mural at the end of the episode is Granddad and his wife (or maybe Riley's father and mother) painted on the side of Granddad's house. After Granddad sheds a tear, he thanks Riley and takes a picture of the mural on his digital camera. He then forces Riley to paint over the side of the house.

Trivia

Cultural references

  • The art teacher is obviously referencing the famous painter Bob Ross. The art teacher imitates him to the letter, from the voice, the hairstyle, and even the fact that that he was a military veteran (Bob Ross served 20 years in the US Air Force).
  • While Granddad is looking at Riley's mural near the end of the episode, the song "Today" by Tom Scott plays in the background.

Notes

  • Riley's last mural (see below) is left ambiguous. It depicts either a younger Robert Freeman and his wife, or Huey's and Riley's late parents; which recalls tragic, yet heartwarming memories for the Freeman family.

Gallery

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