Joker: Y'know, there are three kinds of people in this world: The optimistic who find the glass half full, and the pessimistic that see it as half-empty. Then there's the paranoid; they just think someone's drinking out of their glass.
"The Joker Blogs" is a YouTube web series created by a user of the same name. The series is set between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, depicting the time The Joker spends in Arkham Asylum. The videos are framed as taped recording sessions between the Joker and his therapist, Dr. Harleen Quinzel and tapes shown as evidence after the Gotham police capture Joker. Throughout the series is a parade of fan service for Bat-fans everywhere while still connecting thematically and visually with Christopher Nolan's movie series and working incredibly well as a result. Although the earlier episodes still had the actor trying to find his definitive voice and makeup style, the atmosphere very quickly developed into something genuinely eerie. As a whole, the series is a very professional fan project with excellent writing and acting.After being captured and put into Arkham to determine his sanity, Joker decides he likes being in Arkham, but seems to realize under current management he's more likely to be sent to Blackgate with the large selection of criminals he tried to kill in the movie. So he starts sucking up to Dr. Harleen Quinzel and preparing a plan. For her part, Quinzel tries to get a handle on the Joker's psyche while he makes her and everyone he meets more and more unnerved, beginning with him mentioning how the session tapes will end up on YouTube. After murdering a guard and seemingly starting to 'make progress' with Harleen, he learns that she is getting married and moving away to Metropolis, which will ruin his plan. This starts a chain of events that will engulf many lives, and perhaps all of Gotham, in a whirl of violence and mayhem.On October 21st 2012, the "mini-series" Further Evidence began; each episode will center on a different character and lay groundwork for the events of Series 2. The first episode focuses on Mr J early in the series, revealing exactly when and how he came up with his plan. The following episodes establish the other major players, including Jeremiah Arkham, the Phantasm, and Lock-Up. It also dropped the In-Universe Camera entirely and switched to short movies with frequent perspective changes.Series 2 aired its first episode on May 6th, 2013. It will have a mixture of In-Universe Camera footage and regular movie footage.See also Batman Puppet Master.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After everything Joker's put Dr. Arkham through, littering still bothers him. Later, he frets that Pearl's going to wear down the car battery by listening to the radio with the engine off and he'll have to pay a hundred dollars to replace it, when they both have much, MUCH bigger things to worry about.
Bi the Way: Tommy Elliot, though heavily favoring the fellas it seems.
Big Bad: Obviously Joker, even though he's the Villain Protagonist. A much more clear-cut example in Further Evidence and Season 2, as the story no longer focuses solely on him but he's still caused all the chaos that's going on.
Big Bad Ensemble: In Season 2, we have Joker, Dr. Arkham, Lex Luthor, Scarecrow, and Phantasm all as major antagonists.
Big "NO!": Roman Sionis gives one as the Phantasm prepares to disfigure his face.
Break the Cutie: Finally happens to Harley Harleen when Joker crashes her wedding and kills her fiancé. She even goes so far as to shoot Batman with Joker's shotgun (which he dropped) and then shoots Joker in the arm, whilst stating that "Payback's a bitch, puddin'" before disappearing.
Brick Joke: In Lyle Bolton's first appearance (episode 4), Joker makes fun of him for having a girl's name. Three years later, "Lock-Up" insists that "This Lyle you speak of, he is weak - and he has a girl's name!"
In Further Evidence #2, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham groans about being put on hold for "Bear Control" at the beginning of the video. In FE #4, Harvey Bullock gets a phone call from someone and pretends to be a recording that will redirect him to Bear Control.
Bulletproof Human Shield: An unintentional example. In "Shotgun Wedding" The Joker shoots Guy Kopski with a shotgun from only a couple feet away while Harleen is standing directly behind him. Harleen is splattered by Guy's blood but is not harmed by the shot itself.
Justified as it's part of the blogs, not purely outside the fourth wall.
Call Back: 'I do love wedding cake,' and 'Is there a method to the madness?'
Episode 1 of series two is full of call backs to series 1 from Ted's varied past to the Joker using a piece of silverware to escape.
Episode 3 of Season 2 is one huge call back to the entirety of Season 1 as Harleen hallucinates the events of the season through the POVs of several other characters while under the effect of Scarecrow's fear toxin.
Episode 4 of Season 2 has Ted running into the ex-wife that left him when he was a cameraman at GCN.
Catch Phrase: Far enough into the series that it's all but forgotten, the Joker asks a hostage if she'd like to know how he got his scars.
"That's a complement," seems to be his new one.
Chekhov's Gun: In episode 6, Joker steals a fork from the cafeteria while Dr Quinzel isn't looking. Two episodes later, he uses it to murder a guard during his escape.
Comedic Sociopathy : Subversion. You can watch this series, laugh at the Joker's antics, and then be chillingly horrified at what he's done and the fact you're laughing because of how sympathetic the characters he does things to are.
Compliment Backfire: When the Joker tells Dr. Quinzel she has beautiful eyes. Not that he would put them out and carry them around on a keychain...
Continuity Nod: The Scarecrow makes an appearance in the asylum's cafeteria.
Theodore the bum mentions how his car was destroyed via the Batpod.
Carmine Falcone is still constantly muttering "Scarecrow" whilst otherwise comatose and Joker apparently has "conversations" with him.
In episode 17, thanks to Joker's video uploads, even Jack Ryder knows that Hugo Strange and his wife have a water bed.
Also in episode 17, Batman mentions that he still wonders if he made a mistake in not killing Joker at the end of The Dark Knight. Naturally, Joker encourages him.
Continuity Porn: The news ticker for Episode 18 is an uninterrupted, unapologetic string of Mythology Gags, and it can distract you from the main video.
Season 2, Episode 3 is filled to the brim with callbacks to the first season, recreated as Harleen suffers the effects of Scarecrow's fear gas.
Deadpan Snarker: When he isn't overcome by horror, outrage or mortal peril — which is often, unfortunately — Dr. Arkham displays a remarkably deadpan attitude.
Deliberately Monochrome: In Series 2 episode 2, this happens when Jeremiah Arkham explains to Andrea Beaumont who the other Arkham board members are, how they're linked together through organized crime, and how they're all involved with the death of her father, Carl Beaumont.
Dramatic Irony: From Series 2 Episode 2: "Nobody kidnaps the Commissioner's wife and gets away with it."
Dull Surprise: Harleen's actress. The Joker's main point toward Harleen is that she needs to stop living only for her career and live a little, take exactly what she wants, bringing up the question of whether or not it's intentional.
The trailer for season two, linked above, implies it may be a subversion. Harley gradually and quietly appears to be losing it.
Fan Sequel: Follows up on Joker's capture at the end of The Dark Knight.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Not the Joker nor Harleen, surprisingly, but Jeremiah Arkham, who, after having his house blown up by the Joker, his family hospital extorted from him by Lex Luthor, and going broke keeping his wife alive on life support, enacts a complicated plan to take back the Asylum, recruiting Scarecrow and Lock-Up as minions by promising their jobs back, threatening Commissioner Gordon's wife to keep the police away, and kidnapping Thomas Eliot to perform surgery on his wife... using the organs of a woman who is STILL ALIVE!
Foregone Conclusion: Since Selina Kyle will be in The Dark Knight Rises, we know she's going to survive this series. The same goes for Barbara Gordon, since even though she doesn't appear in said film she's mentioned as being alive, having separated from Jim. It doesn't mean we can't feel scared for them when they're threatened, though.
Foreshadowing : When Pamela kicks Jack Ryder out of Harley's dressing room, you can see a poster of a girl in what looks like a harlequin outfit on her door.
The Beaumonts were just one of many mythology gags in episode 18's news ticker. Then the lead-up to season two brought in the Phantasm as an actual character, with Thomas Elliot mentioning Andrea is back in town. He and Bruce both have a history with her, apparently...
Found Footage Films: Every installment except for Further Evidence #1, #3, #5 and #6. It seems to have ended entirely with season 2.
Gambit Pileup: Only ten minutes into Season 2, and we already have Jeremiah Arkham recruiting Scarecrow and Lock-Up to reclaim Arkham Asylum from Lex Luthor, who purchased it to gain a foothold in Gotham, and the Joker taking advantage of parts of Arkham's plan in order to break out of his maximum-security cell.
He also kidnapped Thomas Eliot and Dr. Gordon to perform surgery on his barely-living wife, and Selina Kyle to provide the organs. And attempted to recruit Andrea Beaumont into exacting revenge on the corrupt executives who killed her father.
And Scarecrow took revenge on Dr. Kopski by exposing her to his latest fear toxin against Arkham's orders, but the hallucinations seem to have triggered an epiphany/crisis that she's been avoiding thinking about. She's regained control of her faculties and seems to be about to become another Spanner in the Works.
Gayngster: The first thing we see in Further Evidence #5 is Tommy Elliot kicking Alberto Falcone out of bed.
Helpful Hallucination: In "Near Death Experience", Scarecrow drugs Harleen with the newest iteration of his fear toxin. It sends her on one hell of a trip, during which she fast-forwards through the events of season one - except she's the one in therapy. Her mind conjures up two "guides" in the form of Joker and Kopski.
He Who Must Not Be Seen: Believe it or not, Batman. The entire series is full of mentions about him, but he is never seen.Until episode 17 where he attacks The Joker during his wedding crashing and then is shot by Harley.
Hero Antagonist: Batman, even when he only shows up for 5 minutes in Episode 17.
In Medias Res: The second half of the first season starts with a police tape of the Joker after his recapture - the last of eight tapes being kept as evidence. Apart from the Grand Finale, the rest of the season consists of the other seven tapes (taken by the Joker himself), which show what the Joker got up to.
Improbable Age: Though family connections probably had a lot to do with it, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham looks way too young to be a hospital administrator. Lampshaded in Further Evidence 2, wherein he mentions that his youth makes people question his authority a lot. Then again, remembering Arkham Asylum's reputation, few else may be interested.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Joker manages to shoot McHale right after the "speak now" bit. While Harley and Kopski are standing in front of him.
The very first lines of the series are repeated with the roles reversed in Season 2, Episode 3.
Irony: In Car Trouble (10) a guard of some sort stops Dr. Arkham on his way off the hospital grounds and asks if there's been any developments on patient 4479's whereabouts. Arkham says no and that "hopefully the worst is behind us." When he says this, Joker is behind him in the back seat, gun to Arkham's neck.
Kick the Dog: Joker's plan for Ted the Bum all along was to let him live - and part of what he (and Ted) classed as the joke was to make him really appreciate life by turning him into a violent criminal and murderer. Ted's original reason for playing along was that he assumed the Joker would kill him.
They're real chocolates too - not poisoned or something. The Joker starts eating them when he gets bored of Arkham and Quinzel arguing about him, to the shock of both of them when he suddenly throws open the box.
Probably not poisoned. Its been established in most continuities that the Joker is immune to Joker Toxin.
Mood Whiplash: After the tone of the series has been consistently faithful with the realistic seriousness of The Dark Knight Saga, Further Evidence #4 spends its second half showing a very cartoonish argument between Lock-Up and his ex-girlfriend over a webcam. The acting is so bizarre and over-the-top that it feels more like something from the time Joel Schumacher was in the director's chair. Consequentially the video received a shockingly large number of down-votes.
In episode 7, whilst painting her "portrait", Joker suggests that Harley (at the time a brunette) should try changing her hair to blond (like she is traditionally portrayed), as it suits her (and he was running out of brown paint). And later at her wedding, it seems she has done just that. The original Harley herself made a passing reference that she wasn't a real blonde either.
The two cops interrogating Joker are Harvey Bullock and Jim Corrigan.
In episode 13, the nurse Joker kidnaps is named Pearl, another reference to Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. In the comic, the Joker makes it sound like he's putting her eye out with a pencil while on the phone with Batman; in the series, he threatens her with a pen and states that if she speaks again she'll "never see anything."
Jack Ryder (AKA The Creeper) and Pamela Isley (AKA Poison Ivy) make an appearance in the Series 1 finale as wedding guests of Harley's.
Also, among the guests are Quincy Sharp and Dr. Thomas Elliot (AKA Hush), who uses an Aristotle quote that his mother drilled into his head in the mainstream comics.
Guy Kopski had his bachelor party at The Iceberg Lounge, which in the comics is owned by The Penguin. The night after his bachelor party, Gotham News mentions a piece on The Ventriloquist and Scarface shooting up the place.
In the second season, Alberto Falcone visits the Iceberg Lounge; his henchman notes that the owner doesn't like being called the "Penguin."
In the comics, Guy Kopski was a former boyfriend of Dr. Quinzel's who committed suicide. In the Joker Blogs, the Joker kills Kopski's brother Garrett and stages it as a suicide; Guy himself is shot in the chest by the Joker during the wedding.
When Harley and Pamela find out Jack Ryder had been filming them the entire time Harley was having the final preparations on her dress made, Pamela calls him "such a creeper!"
When Joker leaves Lyle in the sewers, he warns him to "watch out for crocs", alluding to Killer Croc, who actually exists in the Nolanverse if you count Gotham Knight. Episode 18 reveals Lyle did indeed run into him, and only survived thanks to Batman.
When the Joker returns to the car at the beginning of Episode 16, he demands that the nurse start driving or "papa spank," a direct reference to an infamous Golden Age panel.◊
At the end of Episode 17, the Joker refers to a line from The Killing Joke while talking to Batman. "You know what the only difference between you and me is? One.Bad.DAY."
A case of Fridge Brilliance - in The Killing Joke, Joker says that "One Bad Day" is what they have in common, and he's usually insightful enough to guess that's what drives Batman. So perhaps, they are taking the route used by some writers, and brought up at the start of the series, that the Joker really is just an evil SOB with no Freudian Excuse. In other words, not "One Bad Day. We dealt with it differently," but "One Bad Day. You had one. I didn't."
Episode 18 takes the cake, giving enough references to characters of the DC universe—through the news ticker—to drive any DC fan mad from enjoyment.
Also in Episode 18, Thomas Elliot says he likes to keep his work with the Wayne family "hush hush".
Another rather subtle and clever one from episode 18: Hugo Strange makes the comment that he was literally losing his hair whilst working at Arkham. Hugo Strange in the comics is bald.
And in Episode 19, we finally learn the identity of Arkham's mysterious new owner. From the clues given in Episode 18 (floating green and purple question marks against a silhouette), as well as the April Fool's Day trailer, many fans assumed it may have been The Riddler/Edward Nygma. Turns out, this was a Red Herring employed by the makers of the series. The true identity? Lex Luthor.
Further Evidence 1 has, among other references (Cadmus, Luthor's presidential campaign), three shout-outs to Batman: Arkham Asylum. Arkham's website is represented by the tie-in site from the game, Quincy Sharp is listed among the employees at Arkham, and Dr Arkham's ringtone is one of the game's 'update' sounds.
The sound is also used as the Asylum's actual 'update' sound in the first episode of Season II.
The preview for Further Evidence 3 features an audio recording of the Penguin. The performance has been noted by many commenters to be reminiscent of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was rumored to have been cast as the Penguin in The Dark Knight Rises in 2009.
Further Evidence #5 has Tommy Elliot wake up all of his one-night stands by popping open a champagne bottle the next morning. When he gets woken up the same way, he mutters "So that's what that feels like." It's even Selina Kyle who does it to him.
In the first episode of Season II, Mercy Graves appears as Lex's assistant.
"Mister Luthor, if elected, what will be your position on illegal aliens?"
There's a blink and you'll miss it one in Further Evidence #6 where the vegetables in Harley's salad are positioned in such a way that they kind of look like The Joker's face, mirroring a scene from the BTAS episode Harley and Ivy (though the context is an almost complete reversal).
In Series 2, episode 2, the new Arkham board members include Rupert Thorne, Matches Malone, Roland Dagget (brother of John Dagget from The Dark Knight Rises), Roman Sionis, Dr. Cavendish and Andrea Beaumont. Lex Luthor and Dr. Leslie Thompkins are mentioned to be absent.
In this same episode, Barbara Gordon, Sr. (Jim Gordon's wife) shows up.
Near Death Experience: The third episode of season two. Under the influence of Scarecrow's new-and-improved fear drug, Harleen has to choose between staying in a fantasy world (death) or being reborn.
'Guy's nervous too, if it makes you feel better... I slept with him last night to calm him down.'
'That's okay, I poisoned your champagne.'
This doubles as a Mythology Gag, in that currently-in-show botanical biochemistry student Pamela Isley eventually conducts genetic engineering on herself with plant DNA, to render herself immune to nearly all known human poisons.
Oh Crap: Dr Arkham's expression when he realizes that, after just managing to get away from the Joker, he's literally run right up to him again. Ted even goes 'Oh crap' on his behalf. This is also the Joker's reaction when the lights in the church go out. He knows who's there.
S02E03: This is Jonathan Crane's reaction when he realizes that Harleen Harley is awake.
Ominous Fog: In Further Evidence #3, The Phantasm shows up in one of these, albeit an artificially created one (probably).
Only a Flesh Wound: The Joker doesn't seem to be affected by getting shot in the arm too much. Then again, he is The Joker.
Oireland: Father McHale, the Catholic priest with an over-the-top fake Irish brogue.
McHale's accent may be a tribute to the similar style of Chief O'Hara in the 60s series.
Original Flavour: Barring the Mythology Gags, everything is as Original Flavor to The Dark Knight Saga as can be. This is multiplied to the nth degree considering the Joker's characterization, and his performance is so good that a lot of commenters jokingly(?) think that Heath Ledger has come back from the dead.
Pay Evil unto Evil: In Further Evidence #6, Harleen conspires to keep the Joker locked in Arkham for the rest of his life, underfed and beaten by the guards daily. Joker isn't fazed in the least.
Punny Name: Par for the course in a Batman series, Fall of the House of Arkham reveals that Ted the Bum's full name is... Theodore Baer.
Reality Ensues: Following the example of Nolan'sBatman films, the Bat-Universe is far more grounded in reality here. Arkham Asylum isn't the revolving-door it seems to be in the comics, and The Joker's escape takes considerable planning. His rampage through Gotham is treated very seriously, and his resulting capture lands him in a Maximum Security Cell... though it's implied that despite his beatings at the hands of the Guards, the only reason he's still there is that he hasn't tried to leave yet.
Real Song Theme Tune: FE#3 contains a brief rendition of "Don't Fear the Reaper." The Phantasm shortly thereafter slaughters Alberto Falcone and his henchmen.
The Reveal: A VERY awesome one: while Joker's rampage across Gotham throughout the series is par for the course with him, in the final episode it's revealed that it also has a hidden purpose: he was hired by Lex Luthor to cause the chaos so Lex could acquire Arkham Asylum and establish a foothold in Gotham.
And in episode 5 of Series 2, there are two reveals: First, that Matches Malone is actually Batman in disguise. Second, that what appears to be Two-Face is working with Dr. Arkham.
Running Gag: Joker saying "That was a compliment," Ted the bum having been in seemingly every profession at some point in the past. Breaking and entering the wrong place.
And "Do you know how I got these scars?"
How do so many people know these things about Hugo Strange's waterbed?
Sadistic Choice: When the Joker has both Dr. and Mrs. Arkham tied up, he tells Dr. Arkham to put out his own eyes with a fork or his wife will die.
Subverted: Dr. Arkham is tied up in such a way that he can't reach his eyes.
Played straight: Arkham, despite protesting that he did everything Joker asked of him, did not pluck out his own eyes. He does get to see Mrs. Arkham again... but months later, she still hasn't emerged from her coma.
A fear-gas induced hallucination of the Joker does it again in Season 2, forcing Harleen to choose between shooting him, and giving in to the fear gas, or shooting her husband, and waking up.
Saved by Canon: No matter what happens, Scarecrow, Selina Kyle, Barbara Gordon Sr., Batman, and Commissioner Gordon will survive the events of the series.
Shown Their Work: Joker's little lesson on the meaning of card suits roughly corresponds to the meaning of the minor arcana in Tarot.
Suspiciously Apropos Music: In #15, Joker turns on the car radio to "Car Wash", changes the station to a news report, then again to Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy", then "Killing me Softly", then elevator music, then "Going to the Chapel."
Spoof Aesop: In "Axes and Allies", the Joker delivers one of these at the end of his monologue about how gambling is a necessary part of life, during which he brings up the Titanic as an example of a gamble that didn't pay off.
Joker: A long time ago there was this man that built this huge boat, and he was so confident in his boat that he said not even God could sink it. Well, one thing leads to another, another being an iceberg, and - (slams his fist into the open palm of his other hand) - that boat starts to sink... and he was so arrogant that he didn't put enough lifeboats on board, and 1500 people lost their lives. He gambled with 1500 lives and lost! Still, 700 people made it out okay, that's not too bad. I guess the moral of the story is that you can just never have enough ice for a good party.
Stalker with a Crush: Unlike other versions of their relationship, this time it's the Joker stalking Dr. Quinzel. It's unclear if he truly is this trope or if it's another Mind Screw - but knowing the Joker, it's probably the latter.
It's the Joker. It's both. And neither. And a dozen other things as well.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Batman at the end of episode 17, right after he'd been shot as well!Harley Quinn also disappears at the end, and Joker somehow appears in the middle of a wedding, right in the priest's line of sight, brandishing a shotgun.
The Stinger: After the credits, we see Batman visiting the Joker in his cell.
Stop Trick: This is how the Joker made a fork disappear.
Tap on the Head: Abused in the second season. Lock-Up... ah, Lyle seems more or less fine afterward, while others you never see again after Mistah Jay clocks them, so it's hard to say.
Terrible Trio: Dr. Arkham, Scarecrow, and Lock-Up form one in Series 2.
"You want to hear something funny? Right now, they are all rooting for me.''"
Horribly, horribly true.
Villain Team-Up: Of (mostly) villains who have yet to appear in either the Dark Knight movies or the Joker Blogs, but Further Evidence sets up a team-up of Scarecrow and Lock-Up working under Jeremiah Arkham for his plan to take back Arkham Asylum.
Wham Episode: Episodes 8 ("BRB", the Joker's last video before escaping prison) and 17 ("Shotgun Wedding", we see what went down in the church).
Joker: (to Kopski in the bathtub) Can you, uh- I-I hate to cut this short. You go ahead an finish without me. Uh... go ahead and film it if you want. (cue laughter as he drops the camera into the bathtub)
When the Joker is getting ready to leave with Dr. Arkham at the end of "Dinner with the Arkhams"note "In The Hall of the Mountain King" is playing in the background.
Joker: (to Mrs. Arkham) I-I'll have him back by midnight, okay? ... Because, if I don't... (lifts up the second serving tray lid, revealing a time bomb)
"Now, since you've done everything I've asked... we get to celebrate by watching... the fireworks. (cue Dr. Arkham's house blowing up)
Season 2 gives us this:
Jeremiah Arkham: I don't expect you to walk out of here. I expect you to run. That's why I brought my attorney.
Wham Shot: In the very last shot of Season 2, Episode 5, Dr. Arkham reveals... Two-Face. Who promptly shoots Lex.
Joker: Did anyone ever tell you that you have lovely eyes? I mean, they go well with the rest of your face. It's not like I want to pop them out of your skull and carry them on a key-chain. [long drawn-out pause] It’s a compliment.
You Look Familiar: Several of the actors from previous episodes show up as different characters in Episode 17, including a barely recognizable Mr. J doubling as Tommy Elliott. What a difference make-up makes!