Batman: The Animated Series (1993) – The Laughing Fish, Harley and Ivy, and The Mechanic

 

The Joker (Mark Hamill) is causing problems again, in The Laughing Fish, which aired 10 January, 1993.

It seems the Clown Prince, having escaped from Arkham Asylum, yet again, is a little perturbed with the patent office when they refuse to patent his disfigured fish. Batman (Kevin Conroy), stalking the rainy streets of Gotham, is doing his best to track his nemesis down.

Batman uses his detective skills, to track the rogue down, while the Joker, and Harley (Arleen Sorkin) begin their onslaught of the patent office and the hapless clerk, Francis (George Dzundza), who stands in his way.

While Francis is under police protection overseen by Gordon (Bob Hastings) and Bullock (Robert Costanzo), Batman tries to figure out the Joker’s angle, and keep the patent clerk safe.

It’s always great to see the Dark Knight using his detective skills to put a stop to the Joker, and this series always seems to put these two head-to-head in the best ways. This time he dissects a fish, studies compounds, and knows enough about fish to realize where the Joker and Harley are hiding out.

There’s laughs (the advertisement the Joker makes for his fish), some wonderfully over the top sequences (Bullock being lowered into a shark pool) and lots of fun interplay between the Joker and Harley.

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Harley and Ivy is next. This one aired 18 January, 1993, and saw the femme fatales, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy (Diane Pershing) team up to be the Queens of Crime after the Joker boots her out, though immediately regrets it and misses her. There’s a deeper commentary to be explored here about abusive relationships, but it won’t be explored here by the kid-friendly series. although Ivy does make mention of it a number of times.

She pairs up nicely with Ivy, and the two of them seem made for each other, as they decide to carve up Gotham for themselves. These two make a wonderful pairing, and watching them together you know you want more of them!

Unfortunately, neither Batman, nor Joker are happy with the new crime bosses in Gotham, and one of them will bring it to an end… Batman is trying to stop them both, Joker just wants Harley back, and nothing plays out like any of them hoped.

There are great moments, in fact the opening sequence featuring a car chase between the Joker and Harley and the Batmobile, as well as a little lift of dialogue from the 1989 Batman movie. This, is an undeniably fun episode!

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The last episode this week is The Mechanic. This one aired 24 January, 1993, and sees the Penguin (Paul Williams) seeking out the mechanic who helps design the Batmobile, and force him to turn the latest model into a death trap for the Caped Crusader.

The mechanic, Earl (Paul Winfield), is used to repairing the vehicle, even keeping a pair of Bat-cycles in the garage as loaners when Batman and Robin (Loren Lester) drop off the busted vehicle (again).

Penguin, doing some detective work of his own, tracks down Earl, and with his daughter, Marva’s (Candy Ann Brown) life hanging in the balance he is forced to make some changes to the iconic vehicle.

Through a flashback, featuring an appearance by John de Lancie, we learn why Earl is so loyal to Bats, and why he regularly updates and redesigns the vehicle. As Penguin controls the Batmobile, driving the dynamic duo to their doom, Bats clues in on the warnings Earl has given him, and proceed to outwit, outfight, and outmaneuver Penguin, and save Earl’s daughter.

Not as fun as the previous episode, but still pretty cool!

See you next week, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel!

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