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Recap: The New Batman Adventures E21 "Mad Love"
Comissioner Gordon goes to the dentist as part of a required health checkup, voicing his displeasure all the while, when it's revealed that The Joker and Harley Quinn has taken the place of his dentist and the assistant in order to kill him. Fortunately for Gordon, Batman busts in, revealing that he got a clue with this latest plan with a chattering teeth toy, and Batman saves him. Seemingly just to rub it in, Batman takes the time to tell the Joker he finds the chattering teeth gag uncreative. Regardless, The Joker distracts Batman by throwing a grenade, allowing him and Harley to escape.

The Joker is later seen at his lair in an abandoned toy factory trying to come up with a new plan. Harley tries to seduce him and give her own ideas, but the Joker angrily blows them off. The Joker then finds one of his scrapped plans to kill Batman in a tank of piranhas, but he then remembers that he couldn't get the piranhas to smile, ruining the joke potential. Harley tries one last attempt at seducing the Joker, but gets kicked out. Harley laments her plight at not being able to have a relationship with her puddin', and concludes that Batman is responsible for this.

Harley then flashes back to the time when she was just Dr. Harleen Quinzel, an intern at Arkham Asylum. The Joker left a card and rose in her office, so Harleen went off to see him. The Joker's initial attempts at courting Harley were unsuccessful, until he offered to tell Harley his biggest secrets. Harley then set up an appointment with the Joker, confident that his tricks wouldn't work on her. But the Joker's sad story about his past was enough to win her sympathy.

One day, when Batman dragged the Joker back to Arkham beaten and bruised, Harley lost it. After going off on Batman for his "brutality", she decided to steal several pieces of merchandise from a novelty store. She adopted these paraphernalia as part of a new supervillainess identity and broke the Joker out of his cell, adopting the name Harley Quinn as suggested to her earlier.

Back to the present, Harley plots to get rid of Batman so she can finally be happy with her puddin'. She sends a tape in order to lure Batman so he can be captured, and she succeeds.

Batman, captured by Harley, wakes up above a tank of piranhas, just like the Joker plotted. Harley had the idea of hanging the victim upside down so that the fish look like they're smiling. Harley tells Batman that successfully killing him will be a testament of her love to the Joker, meaning the two can finally settle down. Upon hearing this, Batman first reacts with disbelief and then, surprisingly, laughs at the idea and tries to convince Harley that the Joker lied to her and used her. The story he told her was just one of several he's used. Harley, angered by Batman's arguments, tries to drop him into the tank, but Batman convinces Harley to call the Joker, saying that he won't believe Batman's dead unless he sees it.

When the Joker arrives on the scene, Harley happily points out how she modified his plan to make the fish smile. The Joker reacts by angrily beating and berating her, reminding her that he wants to be the one to kill Batman and that she shouldn't explain the joke or else there is no joke. Harley is then thrown out a window, and she lands in a container. Injured and barely conscious, she feebly cries that it is all her fault for not getting the joke. The Joker starts to release Batman, then realizes that he should take advantage of this opportunity himself, and drops him in. Batman escapes by breaking the tank open and quickly grabbing his belt, picking the lock and escaping. The Joker makes a run for it, and Batman then chases him to the top of a train, explaining that his Batman Gambit was the only way to get out, and that Harley came closer to killing him than The Joker ever did. The two then fight on top of the train, ending with Batman hitting the Joker off the train and into a smokestack, causing him to take a seemingly lethal fall.

Back to Harley, she is injured and incarcerated in Arkham, the very place she interned at. She thinks to herself, in her old voice, that she sees the Joker for what he really is, and wants nothing more to do with him. But in her cell she sees a rose with a "Feel Better Soon" card from him, revealing that he survived the fall, and she falls in love with him again.

This episode was adapted from an Eisner Award-winning issue of The Batman Adventures, the tie-in comic of Batman: The Animated Series.


Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: The Joker says to Batman, "May the floss be with you." A double allusion, as Hamill's wife is a dental hygienist.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: While she doesn't deserve how she ends up in either version, the comic starts off by showing character flaws of Harley's that aren't shown in the cartoon, which make it seem like her fall was in part due to her own weak will and character and not just the Joker's manipulation. In college she would "improve" her grades by bedding her professors and was only trying to get into the psychology field to make money as a quack pop psychologist.
  • Backstory: For Harley Quinn.
  • Batman Gambit: Batman escapes by getting Harley to call the Joker, as Batman knows only the Joker would want to kill him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just another night of work for Batman.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: The Joker rejects possible capers as being "Boring. Lame. Not funny. Been done. Too Riddler!"
  • Bowdlerise: Harley's questionable academics in her college days aren't mentioned in the cartoon. There's also a pool of blood forming around Harley after the Joker throws her out the window in the comic; her injuries in the cartoon are all internal.
  • Chronic Villainy: All it takes is a single rose and a note from Mr. J for Harley's brief attempt at redemption to fall apart.
  • Continuity Nod: The Joker remembers his plan to feed Batman to smiling piranhas, which he had to scrap as he couldn't get them to smile, noting that they were even immune to his scheme from "The Laughing Fish".
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Discussed by the Joker, "If you have to explain the joke, there is no joke!"
  • Evil Laugh: From Batman, since the idea of Harley being with The Joker is just that ridiculous to him. Harley's never heard it before, and tells him to stop, as he's creeping her out.
  • First Name Ultimatum: Joker shouting: "HAAAAARRRR-LEEEEY!"
  • Flashback: How Harley's backstory is revealed.
  • Foe Yay: In-Universe, Harley recognizes this as the reason why she must Murder the Hypotenuse: Batman.
  • Freudian Couch: We see a montage of how Harley Quinn met The Joker while she gave him psychoanalysis. It starts with him on the couch, but as he twists her mind, later scenes have the Joker as the psychiatrist, with Harley on the couch.
  • Heel Face Mole: Harley lured Batman into her trap with a message claiming that she's turned against the Joker because he's planning to kill everyone in Gotham City.
  • Ignored Epiphany: At the end of the episode, Harley realizes the truth about the Joker — only to snap back to her old infatuation when she sees a flower and note from him.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: The Joker pays no attention to a hot blonde in a transparent negligee kneeling on the table in front of him, inviting him to "rev up your Harley."
  • Kirk Summation: Batman gives one to the Joker on top of the train, explaining that his Batman Gambit was the only way he could have escaped.
  • Mad Love: Adapted from the Trope Namer.
  • Multiple Choice Past: The Joker has millions of stories to tell to anyone willing to listen.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: This is Harley's truly deranged goal: without the Batman, the Joker could be hers at last!
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: A very enraged Joker attacks Batman, and seems to be giving him more trouble in a fistfight than he usually does... until he pulls out a knife, and Batman instantly knocks him off the train.
  • No One Could Survive That: The Gotham news believes the Joker couldn't have survived falling into that smokestack. They're wrong, since the Joker survived to give Harley another rose with a card.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Why the Joker is so angry at Harley for pulling off one of his plans.
  • Origins Episode: For Harley Quinn.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Batman never laughs, thus Harley sees something is seriously amiss when he starts laughing.
  • Out-Gambitted: Harley Quinn actually gets Batman to fall for one of her traps, but then he uses a him gambit to exploit both her feelings for the Joker and how the Joker would react.
    Batman: She almost had me, you know. Arms and legs shackled, dizzy from the blood rushing to my brain... I had no way out other than convincing her to call you. I knew your massive ego would never allow anyone else the honor of killing me, though I have to admit she came a lot closer than you ever did, puddin'.
  • Triang Relations: Type 5: Harley Mad Loves The Joker, but the Joker Foe Yays Batman. Batman doesn't have feelings for either. Harley tried persuading the Joker to just shoot Batman. It didn't work, so Harley being an Ax-Crazy Clingy Jealous Girl attempts to Murder the Hypotenuse.
  • Series Finale: For the whole BTAS collection. (In airing order; in production order "Judgment Day" was the last to be produced.)
  • Sex for Services: In the comic, Harley would have sex with her professors to raise her abysmal grades.
  • Shark Pool: Done with piranhas. The Joker had concocted it as one of his many potential ways of eliminating Batman, but gave up on it because there was no way to make it funny. He had wanted to call it the "Death of a Thousand Smiles", but piranhas are incapable of smiling, even when given Joker-Venom. Harley Quinn tried to implement the plan herself to impress him, reasoning that the frowns would look like smiles if you lowered Batman into the tank upside-down. Joker was furious, however, because she had to explain the joke.
  • Shout-Out: The frame of Harley's backstory is almost identical to Clarice Starling's in The Silence of the Lambs. Young impressionable Psychiatrist/FBI agent in training is sent to psychoanalyse a psychotic killer and instead is disarmed and psychoanalysed by the killer himself. Much like Starling, Harley is implied to be hiding her much lower class accent.
  • Snap Back: Harley gives up on the Joker at the end, and then falls back in love with him just as the episode concludes. Entirely in character — see Chronic Villainy above.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Harley asks the Joker "Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?" in regards to dealing with Batman.
  • Themed Aliases: The Joker poses as "Dr. J. Reko".
  • Unexplained Recovery: This episode features Batman punching Joker off a moving track and falling directly into a factory's smokestack. He lives, of course, and by this point his ability to survive anything is so taken for granted not even a cursory attempt is made to explain it.

The New Batman Adventures E20 'Girls' Night Out"Recap/Batman: The Animated SeriesThe New Batman Adventures E22 'Chemistry"

alternative title(s): The New Batman Adventures Mad Love
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