Christmas Challenge: Batman (The Animated Series)

BATMAN: 1.38 “Christmas with the Joker”

Jingle bells. Batman smells. Robin laid an egg. Batmobile lost a wheel and the Joker got away…

Well, isn’t this a blast from the past. I thought The Jetsons would be crazy. But this one feels old school because I literally watched it after school.

I’m not sure why, but I sure thought that the animation of this show was better. I guess that was just the nostalgia. Not that it was bad, but you can certainly see the passage of time. And it’s not just in the animation. Check out the high-tech console in the Batmobile.

It’s actually a fun episode to watch, probably because I do remember it. The threats to Gotham and the crime fighting duo are great, mostly based on toys (after all, it’s what all the kiddies want this Christmas). Batman and Robin are able to discern clues of where the Joker is hiding based on toys that have been discontinued.

And of course, there’s the hostages dangling over the pot of boiling _____. (You never really know what’s in the pot — lava? acid?) But don’t worry, Batman saves the day, even saves the Joker from the boiling pot as well.

Really, the only real crime the Joker did was take over the broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life. That’s what the holidays always need, right? Well, except for the kidnapping, bridge explosions, attemptive murder, etc. It’s funny. While I realize Batman is a cartoon for kids, it’s still funny to see the Joker presented in a light manner after Heath Ledger’s iconic performance years ago. The show is lighthearted and fun, even in his most sinister moments.

Batman and Robin are really the less interesting characters of the episode, paling in comparison to the Joker. Their detective skills are laughable (but hey, that’s entertainment). The best part of their interactions is watching Batman try to find crime before the Joker makes his appearance on TV. Even the scariest looking people end up harmless good Samaritans.

Recommendation: Go back to your childhood and watch. It’s fun and light, for something featuring a crazy convict.


One thought on “Christmas Challenge: Batman (The Animated Series)

  1. Mark Hamil is quite frankly, the ultimate Joker, in my opinion. The Joker’s been depicted in so many ways ranging from campy comic to strictly psycho, but the animated series did such a great job of blending all that. Mark Hamil aced the art of going directly from goofy jokes to growling threats and from joyous giggles to menacing cackles. While I thought Ledger did an outstanding job, I still love Hamil’s Joker more, as he found that perfect mix of fun and frightening.

    On another note, yes, it is disappointing how one of the best animated shows of its time doesn’t still appear to be as well animated as more recent shows. But then again, neither do any of the Disney Afternoon shows, which I also felt were head and tail above all other animated series at that time.

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