Western Animation: Batman: The Animated Series
Batman: The Animated Series
), which debuted in 1992 on the Fox children's block
, restored the original vision for the character
. The show aired from 1992 to 1995 on FOX. Towards the end, it was given a minor Retool
into The Adventures of Batman & Robin
, promoting the latter hero from recurring role to regular star. A much more noticeable retool occurred in 1997, where a Channel Hop
and an Un-Canceled
order led to The WB
's The New Batman Adventures
(also known as Batman: Gotham Knights
). This retool streamlined the character designs to better match the Superman: The Animated Series
designs that were produced in between, which allowed for the inevitable Bat Family Crossovers
It drew heavily from the Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams era in the 70s and the live-action films
directed by Tim Burton
(although some of the latter's baggage, such as the mutated version of the Penguin, caused them some problems). The often-minimalist look of the show was largely influenced by the 1940s Superman Theatrical Cartoons
, with character designs resembling those of Jack Kirby
, Chester Gould,
and Alex Toth. The resulting product, revolutionary for its time, was dubbed "dark deco"; it was also the result of co-producer Eric Radomski's standing order to the animators that all backgrounds be drawn with light colors on black paper (instead of dark colors on white paper, as is the industry standard) to ensure that the artwork stayed as dark as possible. Head producer Bruce Timm — who also took on other roles — carried his design style over into other shows, thus making Batman: The Animated Series
the first entry in the fully-realized canon known as the DCAU
's brief venture into primetime showed off its well-known edgier themes, pushing the limits of what had been acceptable in Western animation (notably, sparse application of The Hit Flash
, use of Censor Decoys
, and overt use of realistic — if unlikely
— guns, rather than dubious stand-ins
Most of the episodes took place entirely in Gotham City
, although Batman and Robin occasionally ventured to other cities and even other countries. Besides the familiar villains
, this series introduced other characters from the comics, such as Ra's al-Ghul, to the television audience. It even introduced a new character, Harley Quinn, who proved to be so popular that she eventually made her way into the comics
. The series also marked the first major exposure of Two-Face outside of the comics, and its revised origin for Mr. Freeze soon became the definitive version of that story.
The new designs in the second series, The New Batman Adventures
, notably restored the Penguin to the comics version and emphasized Poison Ivy's plant-like nature. Since The WB
's broadcast standards were more relaxed than FOX's, the producers were allowed to use more action and violence than before. The status quo of this show was close to the comics of its time, as Batman was partnered with a younger Robin named Tim Drake, although Tim's origin in the show was taken from the character of Jason Todd
, and Dick Grayson was the independent hero Nightwing due to a falling out occurring during the interim between the two series. Batgirl, who only had three appearances in the original series, became a recurring character and Batman's primary assistant.
Three movies based on the series were produced: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
(which had a limited theatrical run), Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero
(a pseudo-tie-in to the live action movie Batman & Robin
), and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman
(created and set after the end of the series). The movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
also partially takes place during Batman: The Animated Series
The series also had an official tie-in comic, The Batman Adventures
, which also received critical and financial success (most notably, the Eisner-Award-winning Mad Love
, which detailed Harley Quinn's origin
and was later adapted as an episode of the TV series).
While it's not officially part of the DCAU
, the 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum
is (in some ways) considered a Darker and Edgier
spiritual successor; Paul Dini
returned to write the script, while Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Arleen Sorkin (Harley Quinn) reprised their characters from the original series.
This show now has a rough episode guide
(help is needed) and a Best Episode Crowner
This series provides examples of:
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- A God Am I: Maxie Zeus thinks he's the god of the same name. This delusion kicks the trope into effect when he gets a hold of electron discharge weaponry and mistakes it as his own ability to summon lightning. At the end he is taken to Arkam, which he thinks is Mount Olympus. He also thinks the other inmates are various Greek or Roman gods.
- Absentee Actor: There are very few episodes that feature the entire Bat-Family.
- Action Girl:
- Action Series: The show centers on Batman duking it out with Gotham's criminal underworld.
- Adam Westing: The star of the '60s series appears as a washed-up actor who played "The Gray Ghost," a fictional superhero whom Bruce Wayne idolized as a child. The dramatic variant of the usual Adam-West-as-himself gag works, and this rendition is a more sincere experience for West and fans ("So it wasn't all for nothing."). Also doubles as Remake Cameo and Actor Allusion.
- Adaptation Distillation: The episodic nature replicated the feel of the comics, and the various characters were streamlined into their most efficient archetype.
- Some episodes that were based on stories from Batman comic books went through this as well. "The Laughing Fish" was a streamlined version of a classic story by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers, but the ending (pitting Batman against a shark) was taken from Denny O'Neil's classic "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge".
- Adaptational Heroism: In the comics, Hamilton Hill was a Corrupt Politician who was in the pocket of Rupert Throne. While initially against Batman here, this version of Hill is a good and honest person. The same goes for Harvey Bullock, who initally started a Dirty Cop and pawn of Hill before making a Heel-Face Turn, is an honest cop from day one here.
- Adaptation Name Change: For whatever reason, Blackgate becomes Stonegate.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: The Penguin uses this a lot. Also, in "Lock-Up", a reporter refers to Poison Ivy as a "villainous vixen of vines".
- Adult Fear:
- "See No Evil" is, essentially, the story of a woman dealing with her ex-con ex-husband who keeps breaking into her house and eventually kidnaps her daughter.
- In "The Underdwellers," Batman is logically angry when the child picks up and plays with a decorative gun on the wall of Wayne Manor, since it could have been loaded.
- From this episode, there is also the matter of children being abused, enslaved, and demonstrably tortured. As punishment for talking, a child who has been living underground in the dark is shoved into a brightly-lit room and kept there for several hours.
- Affably Evil: Catwoman when she's a villain, Harley Quinn most of the time (unless she's really pissed off). Minor villain Roxie Rocket also gets this to a certain extent.
- All According to Plan: "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne", when Bruce Wayne is chained and Alfred is tied in Doctor Strange's basement:
Oh master Bruce! I am so sorry, this is all my fault
- All Just a Dream: "Perchance to Dream," "Over The Edge".
- Aloof Ally: Nightwing, at first in "You Scratch My Back".
- Alternative Character Interpretation (In-Universe): In "Legends of the Dark Knight," several children discuss what they believe Batman to really be like. The first alluded to story portrays Batman as a giant pterodactyl, the second is a brightly lit homage to the TV series Batman and The Silver Age of Comic Books, the third (Never seen) version is a contempt-filled reference to Batman & Robin. The fourth is an adaptation of a section from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, with Michael Ironside as the man himself.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The show has a very upbeat theme in Italy.
- Same with the Arabic theme.
- Always Night: The show was drawn and colored on black paper, meaning that even the few scenes in bright daylight had a dark look to them.
- Ambiguous Time Period: Intentionally enforced by the creators. Not a single date is given while all the anachronism makes the date impossible to pinpoint.
- Or at least that's how it looks at first glance. In "The Gray Ghost" a magazine cover has the year 1992 on it.
- Amnesiac Liar: "The Forgotten".
- Anachronic Order: You can't really win here.
- There are arguments over whether the production order or broadcast order is better.
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero was released during the first season of The New Batman Adventures but takes place before the Time Skip between the two versions of the show.
- Clayface and Tim Drake appear in The New Batman Adventures series premiere "Holiday Knights" despite Tim Drake's origin episode being "Sins of the Father" and Clayface not reconstituting until "Growing Pains".
- Anachronism Stew: Intentionally invoked by the creators to make when the series takes place ambiguous. For instance, the clothing and cars are from the 1940s. The weapons are 1930-70-ish. The uniforms are from the 1960s. SWAT teams and Liebherr-style cranes exist already. The helicopters are from the 1980s. The social status of women and minorities is modern. The list goes on, too...This became a Downplayed Trope in The New Batman Adventures, however.
- And I Must Scream: Grant Walker pays a heavy price for seeking immortality.
- Animation Bump: The episodes that are done by TMS Entertainment and Spectrum Animation.
- Special mentions have go to "On Leather Wings", "Heart of Ice", the first part of "Robin's Reckoning" and the second part of "Feat of Clay", just for impressing the production staff.
- Animesque: Several episodes seem to adopt this look (as part of the series was outsourced to four Japanese studios), particularly "Feat of Clay, Part 2" and "Pretty Poison". "Growing Pains" of The New Batman Adventures also has this look, due in part of it being animated by some Studio Ghibli alumni.
- The Anticipator: Batman does this quite a few times: in one episode, two mooks are sent to look for Batman in a house. Batman is waiting for the two mooks to enter the bedroom he is hiding in. When one of them looks inside, Batman gives him a daring look. The other mook asks if anyone is inside the room. The mook says there's no one there.
- Mr Freeze. His re-imagining from a one-note gimmick villain was so acclaimed that his new, tragic backstory was incorporated into the DCU canon — as well as a live-action film, and the video game.
- Catwoman, who seeks to protect endangered wildlife and really only wants her freedom. The first season showed her genuinely reforming, but by the second season she had fallen back into more criminal habits. A comment by Bruce in Batman Beyond indicates that she probably never got past this.
- Poison Ivy, by the end of the original series. Even Batman recognizes that all she wants is a quiet and peaceful life—the problems only arise because she wants them on her terms.
- Clayface, at least in his first few appearances. Most of his crimes revolve around him regaining his humanity and living a normal life.
- Whereas in the comics the Crime Doctor treated criminals all on his own, in the cartoon he's forced to do it against his will by brother Rupert Thorne.
- Anything But That!: As "The Joker's Millions" shows, Joker does pick his targets: "I'm crazy enough to go after Batman, but the IRS? No, thank you!!"
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Girl's Night Out" The Penguin demands that someone get him chainsaws, dump trucks, hedgeclippers... and a bottle of aspirin.
- Art Evolution: The "revamp" to The New Batman Adventures saw a more streamlined design applied to the character models in order to match Superman: The Animated Series.
- Art Shift: "Legends of the Dark Knight" features two stories told by children about what they believe Batman is really like. Each story has its own visual style which corresponds to different past incarnations of the Batman character.
- Artificial Intelligence: The "Heart of Steel" and "His Silicon Soul" arc deals with intelligent computers, and also ponders questions of morality and life for mechanical beings.
- Artistic License: The world of Batman is, as admitted by the creators, illogical and contradictory; technology from different eras (And many technologies that never existed at all) exist side-by-side and without comment. The creators admit in DVD commentaries and interviews that the contradictions were deliberate in order to create a specific and unique atmosphere for the series, even if practical considerations would normally make them ridiculous (Police blimps were specifically mentioned in the audio commentary for "On Leather Wings," the first episode of the series).
- Ascended Extra: Batgirl was a minor supporting character in the initial seasons, only appearing as Batgirl in three episodes, but becomes part of the primary cast after the revamp.
- Ascended Fanboy: Batman himself in the Grey Ghost episode - he even keeps Grey Ghost merchandise in the Batcave and explains that he actually based its design on the Grey Ghost's lair.
- Ascended Meme: The Joker sings the "Jingle Bells/Batman smells" song in the Christmas Episode.
- A-Team Firing: Though guns are frequently used by standard mobsters and criminals, they rarely (if ever) even wound characters. The strongest aversion comes when Jim Gordon is shot and spends the episode in critical condition.
- Auction of Evil: Twice. In "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne" (for Batman's secret identity) and "Harlequinade" (for an atomic bomb).
- Author Appeal: The Harley/Ivy Les Yay. Even Wikipedia notes it. The Powers That Be also claim Paul Dini had a crush on Zatanna. Since he actually married a real life magician, Misty Lee (who bears a striking resemblance to Zatanna), this only furthers the evidence.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: The Clock King (who's a middle-aged civil servant) is able to go hand to hand with Batman simply from having studied Batman's tendencies in a fight. This is also one of Batman's own methods; he does this often when caught by surprise, allowing him to defeat his enemy or, should the situation become too great (it happens, but rarely), retreat to fight another day.
- In "Feat of Clay: Part 1" he identifies a crook based solely on how the guy's face felt like when Bats was punching him.
- Badass Back:
- Just try to sneak attack Batman from behind.
- Unfortunately, Batman cannot sneak attack The Creeper from "Beware the Creeper" without getting knocked across the room... while The Creeper is trying to flirt with Harley Quinn.
- Badass Longcoat: The Grey Ghost sports one.
- Bad Future: In "Over the Edge" we see just how far Commissioner Gordon would go for revenge if Barbara was ever killed in the line of Bat-duty. It is not pretty.
- Bad-Guy Bar: The Stacked Deck Club, which Batgirl describes as the roughest place in town. "Almost Got 'Im" takes place almost entirely there, except for the flashbacks and conclusion.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Batman and Robin stopped the Riddler from killing Daniel Mockridge, but the Riddler still escaped at the end and for all intents and purposes still won when he destroyed Mockridge's peace of mind and made him live in paranoid fear of the Riddler's return. Fortunately, Mockridge is a bit of a jerk.
Bruce:How much is a good night's sleep worth? Now there's a riddle for you.
- Bandaged Face: Harvey Dent's is probably the best known, but Calendar Girl, the villain of "Mean Seasons", had one as well.
- Batman in My Basement: Trope Namer and one of the episodes the writers would deeply love to forget.
- Bat Signal: The classic signal features in the series, where it used both to summon Batman and, on two occasions, lay a trap for him when the police suspect him in a crime.
- Battle Butler: Alfred is a former British secret agent and gets a few opportunities to utilize those skills in Batman's service, while Harley Quinn shows her fanatical devotion to the Joker on a regular basis.
- Bedlam House: Arkham Asylum is less a case of Bedlam House than in the source comic. The architecture is still oppressive, and the better-known inmates seem to enjoy making life hell for each other, but it is shown to have some good doctors, who have some sadly temporary success with Harvey Dent, Harley Quinn and Edward Nygma.
- Harely Quinn was also a therapist at Arkham that fell in love with the Joker. It shows the place isn't that great for its staff either.
- The episode Lock-Up, however, features Arkham guard Lyle Bolton, who gets fired after it's revealed he's on a serious power trip that has made him violently abusive to inmates including Harley and Jonathan Crane.
- In the alternate world of Justice League, Arkham Asylum looks incredibly pleasant both inside and out. Everything's clean, bright and modern... but all the inmates have been lobotomized and lost their humanity.
- Granted Poison Ivy had full access to all of Arkham's gardens, growing and tending to them. So at least she'd be happy regardless, free will or not.
- Berserk Button: By the time of "Riddler's Reform", being called crazy is this for The Riddler.
Thug: Gee, boss, you're scaring me. You're talking kinda crazy.
- Best Served Cold: "This is how I'll always remember you: surrounded by winter, forever young, forever beautiful... Rest well, my love! The monster who took you from me will soon learn that revenge is a dish best served cold."
- Between My Legs: Harley in "Mad Love," and Miriam in "Baby Doll."
- Beware the Nice Ones: Robin is always good cop to Batman's bad cop, and generally does his best to keep Batman from going too far into the darkness. "Robin's Reckoning" showed that he can be just as brutal and frightening as Bruce when properly provoked.
- Big "NO!": All the time and at least one from every character throughout the series. Poison Ivy gets several in her introduction episode alone.
- Big Ol' Unibrow: Anthony Romulus in "Moon of the Wolf".
- Bi the Way: Paul Dini has confirmed that Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy were in a physical relationship while together, even though they could never explicitly confirm that on the show.
- Bittersweet Ending: A number of villains are not really that villainous, just victims of horrible circumstance leading to endings that save the day, but leave the pitiful, broken villain crying on the ground.
- Black Eyes of Crazy: The Joker and Mr. Freeze in the revamp.
- Blank Book: In "Perchance to Dream," some books are blank, others are just full of jibberish. This is because reading is a function of the right side of the brain, which is inactive when sleeping.
- Blasting It out of Their Hands: One of Batman's tactics for dealing with gun-toting foes is to disarm them with a well-aimed batarang.
- Blind Without 'Em: Selina Kyle's assistant, Maven.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The Terrible Trio.
- Body Horror:
- The Man-Bat. Both of them.
- Matt Hagen changing into Clayface.
- The episode "Eternal Youth" has this in spades for the victims of the villain, mixed with And I Must Scream.
- Bane's defeat. After Batman breaks Bane's venom pump mechanism, his muscles begin to get enormously pumped while he screams in agony. It keeps going for quite a while until Batman severs the pump from Bane's head.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Played straight throughout the series.
- Book Ends: The original run of Batman: The Animated Series/The Adventures of Batman & Robin in broadcast order opens and closes with Red Claw stories.
- Even more so, when Justice League was going to be cancelled, they made an episode called "Epilogue", which ended with a techno remix of the introduction to Batman: the Animated Series, intending to book end the entire DCAU. Too bad the effect was ruined when Justice League was given a last minute extra season.
- In fact, had "Epilogue" been the final episode of Justice League (and therefore the final episode of the DCAU), Kevin Conroy would have had the second and last spoken lines of dialog in the DCAU—as the blimp pilot in "On Leather Wings" and the police officer in "Epilogue." The line was "Did you see that?" (in reaction to Man-Bat in the former and Batman II in the latter). However, he still gets the second and second-to-last lines in the DCAU.
- The episode "Harley Quinn's Holiday" starts with Harley being released from Arkham and the Scarecrow being brought in. And it ends with Harley being brought in.
- The episode "Joker's Wild" begins and ends with Joker and the other inmates (Notably Poison Ivy) fighting over the TV.
- Bound and Gagged:
- Catwoman is tied to a conveyor belt in "Almost Got 'Im." This also happen to her in other episodes such as "Tyger, Tyger" and "Catwalk".
- Three fashion executives in "Mean Seasons" are tied up for judgement from Calendar Girl.
- Leslie Tompkins in "Appointment in Crime Alley."
- Mayor Hill in "The Clock King."
- Batman himself in multiple episodes (Including twice in "Almost Got 'Im")...
- Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl in "Heart of Steel, Part 2" and "Batgirl Returns".
- Lily and Violet in "Eternal Youth".
- Clio in "Fire from Olympus".
- Three law enforcement officials in "Christmas with the Joker", including Commissioner Gordon and Bullock.
- Dick Grayson in "House and Garden."
- Summer Gleason in "Christmas with the Joker" and "Night of the Ninja".
- Harley Quinn in "Trial".
- Brainwashed: Several villains utilize brainwashing to further their schemes, whatever they may be.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Most of the Mad Hatter's brainwashed victims end up becoming this.
- Break the Cutie:
- Harley Quinn is the quintessential example. As a psychiatrist working at Arkham Asylum she was a naive and reserved doctor, inexplicably drawn to the Joker and hoping to eventually cure his rampant insanity. He, in turn, drives her completely mad. (The psychiatric term for this is "folie à deux" - French for "madness for two." Apropos.) After months (years?) as his assistant, moll and emotional punching bag, she slowly drags herself back to sanity and, through a series of innocent misunderstandings, is thrown right back into Arkham after a single day of genuinely trying to reform. Her entire depressing story is encapsulated when the Joker finds out that she captured and was about to kill Batman instead of him: he punches her and throws her out of a third story window. Awful enough — and then the prone, injured Harley whispers:
"My fault... I didn't get the joke..."
- In "Growing Pains," happens to Tim Drake after Clayface absorbs Annie, causing Tim to brutally attack Clayface.
- Mary Dahl, who only wanted to be taken seriously as an actor despite being trapped in the body of a child.
- Bribe Backfire: At the conclusion of "The Terrible Trio," Fox tries to pay off Batman with $10 million, explaining that it "buys a lot of batarangs." Batman refuses not just because he already has a lot of batarangs, but because he refuses to let Fox just buy his way out of his troubles.
- Brick Joke: "Time Out of Joint" involves Clock King getting his hands on a device that lets him walk in Bullet Time; he passes a woman conveniently in mid-fall while sneaking into the mayor's office, but when Batman appears, Clock King makes his escape - only to trip over that woman as she is picking up her stuff.
- Broken Aesop: In "P.O.V." Bullock lands Montoya and her partner in trouble by going in alone at a sting operation. When Montoya deduces the gang's hideout, she does the same thing (only she succeeds)—and then, at the end of the episode, preaches teamwork. Um...
- The Bronze Age of Comic Books: The series is very similar in tone to Bronze Age Batman.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: This Batman partially avoids the traditional Rich Idiot with No Day Job portrayal by acting like one of these. He's the head of the Wayne Enterprises and a very shrewd tycoon... with quite the social life, who leaves the day-to-day minutia to Lucius Fox and other business officers.
- Butt Monkey:
- Harvey Bullock for the good guys, as his stubbornness, bad temper, and overall loutishness make him act quite foolish most of the time.
- Another good guy example is Mayor Hill, but you can say that you're invoking it if you chose to run for Mayor of a Wretched Hive like Gotham City.
- Harley Quinn is a (relatively) rare female example. Not only does her general incompetence make her look pretty stupid (at least in the early episodes), the verbal and, yes, physical abuse she takes from the Joker is Played for Laughs much of the time... unless it's being Played for Drama.
- Another reading is that Harley is not incompetent, but being the Psycho Supporter for two confessed sociopaths (The Joker and Poison Ivy) she is blamed regularly for everything that goes bad, even if this is The Joker or Ivy's fault... it's not that they want to blame Harley, it's that sociopaths think it's Never My Fault, so Harley by associating with those two is invoking this trope on herself.
- "Almost Got 'Im" has an unusual one-episode example for Killer Croc. Throughout the episode he acts even stupider than normal, and is constantly treated with condescension by the other villain characters (especially the Joker) every time he says something buffoonish. But Croc eventually has the last laugh when, after hearing the Joker brag about capturing Catwoman and planning to have her ground up into cat food, he reveals himself to be Batman in disguise, knocks the Clown Prince on his ass, and has the other villains arrested after revealing that all the other patrons in the nightclub are undercover cops, remarking as he leaves that "I'm not bad with traps myself."
- Inverted with Sidney Debris, a.k.a. "Sid the Squid," in "The Man Who Killed Batman." This bumbling wannabe crook, through several bizarre twists of fate, experiences incredible good luck throughout the entire episode, managing to make monkeys of Rupert Thorne, the Joker and (temporarily) Batman and earning widespread praise he doesn't deserve for an incredible feat that, due to a freakish coincidence, he only appears to have performed. Thorne even lampshades the possibility that Sid's "loser" shtick may all be an act.
Thorne: Nobody's that lucky or stupid!
- Call Back: In "Almost Got 'Im", we hear Killer Croc's story as told by Batman about how he'd almost gotten Batman because "I threw a rock at him!" Come the Joker Jury episode, and he yells out "Hit him with a rock!" as his preferred sentencing.
- The line in "Almost Got 'Im" itself was a callback to "Sideshow," where Croc really did throw a huge rock at Batman.
- In Harley's Holiday, Harley meets up with Boxy, who mentions that the last time she came by she brought the Batman on his roof, the events of which were told in the episode "Harlequinade".
- In Riddler's Reform, we get another one when Robin's questioning the Riddler about what's in the puzzle box. "The last time you sent one of these, it almost killed Commissioner Gordon." This is in reference to the previous Riddler episode, "What is Reality?"
- Canon Foreigner: Summer Gleeson, Roland Daggett, Red Claw, Calendar Girl, Baby Doll, H.A.R.D.A.C, Kyodai Ken, Josiah Wormwood, and Farmer Brown.
- Canon Immigrant: Had several.
- Harley Quinn is the most popular of the immigrants and has starred in her own comic series and guest-starred in several ongoing series, serving as the Joker's henchwoman and as a villain (and sometimes hero) in her own right. The partnership/friendship/something more relationship between her and Poison Ivy has likewise been adapted into the comics, and in December 2009 the two began co-starring (along with Catwoman) in Gotham City Sirens.
- Detective Renee Montoya is an interesting conundrum; though created for the show, because it took so long to produce the episodes she actually appeared in the comics first. She guest-starred in numerous Bat-Family titles until the launch of Gotham Central, in which she was one of the primary characters. During the events of 52 she apprenticed with The Question and took the title herself after his death.
- Lock-Up and Roxy Rocket are more minor immigrants. Lock-Up has a similar origin and motive, but appears infrequently, and Roxy Rocket has only had one or two appearances since her first adventure.
- The Sewer King turned up dead in one panel of 52 when they needed some C-List Fodder villains.
- The Condiment King has made a few appearances in the mainstream DCU, filling the niche of a villain who seems goofy but can be quite deadly.
- Cape Busters: Gotham City's orange-uniformed SWAT officers. Their effectiveness varies.
- Captain Ersatz: Joker has three Mooks based off The Three Stooges. Similarly, Baby Doll's henchmen to Gilligan and Skipper.
- Captive Date: In "Mad as a Hatter", Jervis Tetch tries to win his co-worker Alice's heart after her recent breakup. She is charmed by Jervis but mistakes his romantic overtures as attempts to cheer her up and she later reconciles with her boyfriend. Jervis then uses his Mind Control technology on her and takes her on a "date" at a Wonderland-themed amusement park.
- Cardboard Prison: Lampshaded in Lock-Up. Arkham is described as having a revolving door.
- Cast as a Mask: Both John Rhys-Davies and Aron Kincaid had the opportunity to play Batman himself in "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy" and "Almost Got 'Im," respectively.
- Kevin Conroy voices The Mad Hatter, Clayface, and Dick Grayson in different episodes.
- Catapult Nightmare: multiple episodes, but notably in both parts of the two-partner "Two-Face"
- Catchphrase. Many, including:
Batman: That's not the answer I want.
- Cat Girl: Catwoman. Taken to extremes in "Tyger Tyger", where Dr. Dorian kidnaps Selina Kyle and mutates her into an ACTUAL catwoman.
- Cement Shoes: In "Two-Face" a mobster being bothered by crusading DA Harvey Dent considers "fitting him for a cement overcoat"
- Censor Steam: In "Heart of Steel, Part 1," some very well placed steam hides the Gordon robot's nether regions as it comes out of HARDAC's press.
- Character Development:
- Over the course of the series Robin grows continuously more frustrated with Batman's domination of their partnership and cold, emotionless personality. It comes to a head during the revamp into The New Batman Adventures, where he abandons the Robin persona and strikes out on his own as Nightwing.
- Barbara Gordon initially appears as the normal daughter of Commissioner Gordon, but she gets dragged into a plot for world domination and, at the end of the episode, mentioned that she liked the experience. She later masquerades as Batman when she feels that he needs to be seen at a public event. She then begins to fight crime on her own as Batgirl, eventually becoming an official member of the Bat-family and replacing Robin when he ends his partnership with Batman.
- Batman himself becomes less traditionally heroic and more of a cold, jaded individual throughout the entire DCAU.
- Chase Fight: In "His Silicon Soul," the android Batman chases the real Batman around the Bat Cave as they fight.
- Cheap Costume: The Condiment King wears an actual pair of underwear as part of his costume.
- Cheated Angle: Commissioner Gordon's cowlick. In an audio commentary, one of the artists laments that the cowlick is always slightly to the side, even when it should have shifted with the angle.
- Chekhov's Gunman:
- Harvey Dent appears twice as a heroic character before becoming Two Face, and in his first appearance he is even shown flipping a coin.
- Jack Ryder is set up as the regular news reporter in The New Batman Adventures before he becomes The Creeper near the end of the series.
- Chiaroscuro: As to be expected considering its inspiration from Frank Miller.
- Chronically Crashed Car: In the episode Harley Quin's Holiday, Bullock's car is victim of a hit and run from Harley... And it gets worse. And worse. And worse.
- Chronic Villainy:
- The Riddler sells his persona for a fortune and decides to abandon crime altogether in order to avoid risking his newfound wealth and freedom. However, because he has such a compulsion, he reasons that the only way he can do so is to kill Batman. Naturally, he fails, gets found out and arrested.
- Harley Quinn went through extensive therapy and treatment for her obsession with the Joker and was certified legally sane by the staff of Arkham Asylum. However, on her first day out out, a series of comical misunderstandings resulted in her taking a hostage and being pursued by Bullock, the hostage's father (a general in a tank!) and a vengeful gangster, winding up right back in Arkham by the end of the day. In this case it seems that everybody involved (including Batman himself) was rooting for Harley's successful recovery and the end of the episode implied that she would make it there eventually, but that storyline was never followed up (Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker shows that she eventually did reform and have a normal life, but only after Joker was dead).
- The Penguin decided to abandon crime one day when he was released from Stonegate, deciding that he never wanted to return to jail again, but when he learned that the woman he began to fall in love with was only spending time with him to mock his uncultured ways he relapsed into villainy. However, unlike the other villains, he does manage to stay out of jail in The New Batman Adventures. He didn't really reform and uses his nightclub as a front for shady deals, but he does a much better job of ensuring his legal safety. Batman is well-aware that Penguin hasn't changed, but keeps him around because he is just as often a good source of information about other, more dangerous criminals.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Selina Kyle's assistant Maven simply vanishes after two appearances.
- City Noir: Achieved by doing the art for the series on black paper.
- Classy Catburglar: Who else but the real deal?
- Clear My Name:
- "On Leather Wings," the first episode, has Batman accused of several vicious attacks when Man-Bat goes on a rampage.
- In "Feat of Clay," Batman must clear his name when Roland Daggett blackmails Matt Hagan into posing as Bruce Wayne to get important evidence against Daggett away from Lucius Fox.
- In "Shadow of the Bat," Commissioner Gordon is accused of being an employee of Rupert Thorne, Gotham's ranking mob boss.
- Clingy Costume: Mr. Freeze's temperature-regulating suit.
- Clingy Jealous Girl:
- Baby Doll, for Killer Croc.
- Harley eventually becomes jealous of all the attention that Batman gets from the Joker, and this grows into homicidal tendencies.
- Clock King: Temple Fugate did not invent the trope, but he certainly named it.
- Coat, Hat, Mask: The Gray Ghost.
- Combat Pragmatist: Bane defies the trope, waiting until he knows exactly where Batman is and calling him to point out that, if he were a common sniper, Batman would be dead by then.
- Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Randa Duane's appearance was based upon that of Marilyn Monroe.
- Donna Day, the fashion designer Calender Girl kidnaps in "Mean Seasons", was modeled after iconic fashion editor Carrie Donovan.
- The Commissioner Gordon: The original appears in his traditional role.
- Composite Character:
- Clayface is a combo of the first three people to assume the name. He is an actor like the original Basil Karlo version, has the name and powers of Matt Hagen and was disfigured like Preston Payne.
- Tim Drake, who replaced Dick Grayson as Robin, has characteristics of both the Tim Drake from the comics and also Jason Todd. He has Tim Drake's name and light-hearted personality (several episodes suggest he has Tim's intellect too), but Jason Todd's origin story, position as the second Robin, and a little bit of his attitude.
- Continuity Nod:
- "Almost Got 'Im" has a bit where Killer Croc claims to have hurled a rock at Batman - this happened in the episode "Sideshow" (which was made and aired after "Almost Got 'Im"); later on in "Trial", assorted Arkham inmates are baying for Batman's blood while Killer Croc suggests they "Hit'im with a rock!"
- In "Almost Got 'Im", Two-Face is very aggrieved with Poison Ivy, who claims "we used to date"; in "Trial" she makes a reference to trying to kill Harvey Dent. Both are references to "Pretty Poison", Ivy's debut episode.
- In "House & Garden," as Poison Ivy flees at the end of the episode she looks over a photo album of her time in Gotham. Included in this album is a picture of Bruce Wayne & Harvey Dent (A reproduction of their groundbreaking at Stonegate Penitentiary in "Pretty Poison") and a picture of Ivy and Harley Quinn (A reproduction of their team-up in "Harley & Ivy").
- In "Joker's Millions," the actor impersonating the Joker gives himself away when Bruce Wayne references the last time they met, stumping him on the specific events and when they happened. Namely, that the Joker threw Bruce off a rooftop only last month. This happened when they both guest-starred in the three-part Superman: The Animated Series episode "World's Finest," the first Cross Over between the two series and the first confirmation of their Shared Universe. "Joker's Millions" itself is a sequel to that episode, as it first established that the Joker was short on money, which serves as the foundation for the story in this episode.
- In "Harley's Holiday," Boxey points out that the last time Harley Quinn showed up at his door she not only destroyed his club, but brought Batman down on him as well. This occurred in "Harlequinade," where Harley was helping Batman find the Joker.
- When the Clock King reappears in "Time Out of Joint," Batman deduces that he is moving very fast and that they are not up against another invisible man. They last faced an invisible foe in "See No Evil," where a man had stolen an invisibility suit and used it to commit robberies and kidnap his daughter from his ex-wife.
- In "Mad Love" 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."
- Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: "Almost Got 'Im," which includes a wonderful variety of Doomy Dooms of Doom.
- Cool Bike: Robin used one of these from time to time.
- Cool Car: The Batmobile.
- Cool Garage: The Batcave.
- Cool Old Guy: Alfred and Commissioner Gordon, naturally. An elderly Jonah Hex, who appears in an extended flashback in the episode, "Showdown", and Simon Trent in "Beware the Grey Ghost", who in turn is voiced by real life Cool Old Guy Adam West.
- Cool Plane: The Batjet.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive:
- Roland Daggett is a recurring villain in the first two seasons who gradually lose his fortune as legal fees and criminal charges catch up to him.
- Dan Mockridge from "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" stole the fortune-making gaming products of one of his employees then fired him.
- "Deep Freeze" features Grant Walker, who takes Walt Disney's...eccentricities...taken to their fearful logical conclusions.
- Ferris Boyle, whose forcefulness causes an accident that he believes kills Victor Fries. Instead of owning up to it, he evidently swept it under the rug so well that he was almost given a humanitarian award without anyone even bringing it up.
- Kaiser, who realizes that his casino is a bad investment, and so hastily changes the theme to one based on The Joker, and arranges Joker's escape for Arkham, banking on Joker's penchant for Stuff Blowing Up so Kaiser can collect insurance money after his casino is destroyed.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: In His Silicon Soul the entire conflict probably could have been avoided and robot saved if they had just thought to talk to it whenever it asked for help instead of assuming the worst.
- In "Jokers Wild" Joker could have just sued the casino for using his image without his permission. But then again it's The Joker, and knowing he would never do that was all part of the Batman Gambit.
- Cousin Oliver: In-Universe, in "Baby Doll", the titular villain's Start of Darkness came after one of these stole her spotlight. In a Shout-Out to the Trope Namer, the grown-up version of the character's actor is modeled after Robbie Rist, who played Oliver.
- Cranium Chase: Parodied when the wooden dummy Scarface's head is severed, and the Ventriloquist chases after it.
- Crashing Dreams: "Two-Face".
- Create Your Own Villain:
- It was Rupert Thorne's attempt to blackmail Harvey Dent that lead to Dent's transformation into Two-Face, the transformation itself led to Two-Face's extra-legal war on Thorne's criminal organization. Candace, Thorne's right hand, is well aware of this.
Mook: I thought we got rid of this guy.
Candace: Are you kidding? We created him.
- Roland Daggett's attempts to control Matt Hagen with his highly addictive facelift-in-a-jar concoction eventually turned the man into Clayface.
- In "Trial," the Arkham Asylum inmates put Batman on trial, accusing him of creating them. This trial leads to the revelation that even if Batman had not pushed them off the edge, they were all deeply disturbed people and would have entered villainy anyway from their own motivations. In fact, they created him. The villains then come to terms with this and find Batman innocent... and then, because they are such bad guys, they try to kill him anyway.
- In "Lock-Up," the eponymous villain was formerly a guard at Arkham Asylum who got his position due to endorsement and support from Wayne Enterprises. When he goes insane and begins kidnapping the people he blames for the city's problems (the police, bureaucrats and reporters that he says cause the criminals), Robin snarkily comments "Another fine villain brought to you by the Wayne Foundation." The look Batman shoots him is not happy.
- An inversion occurs in "Beware the Creeper": A villain (The Joker) creates his own hero (the Creeper). And he even does it referencing the way he claims Batman created him, throwing someone into a chemical vat:
: I will be Batman, and you will be me
- Deconstructed with the Clock King, Hill was Just Trying to Help Temple Fugate.
- In the episode "Over the Edge", the plot is set by Batgirl's fear that this trope will enact if she would be a casualty of the collateral damage from a super - battle: The Commissioner Gordon would become a Knight Templar Parent that will destroy the Bat-family, being created by the death of heroine Batgirl.
- "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" features Daniel Mockridge, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who had Edward Nygma as an intern, and created the company's best-selling video game. To prevent Nygma from getting his share of the profitsand suing for royalties, he showed him the door. Cue the Riddler two years later.
Edward: You are a fool, Mockridge, to think you can get away with this. Your amoral greed is no match for an intellect like mine!
- Creator Cameo: A couple here and there, most notably the Mad Bomber villain who is both voiced by and bears a striking resemblance to Bruce Timm, and Paul Dini standing in the line up for the Joker's new henchgirl, wearing a Harley Quinn costume.
Joker: "... Maybe I should've hired the fat guy!"
- Creepy Monotone: Both Batman and Mr. Freeze put this to good use.
- Cross Over: "Girl's Night Out" featured guest appearances by Supergirl and Livewire from Superman: The Animated Series, both of whom traveled to Gotham City and teamed up with Batgirl and Harley Quinn & Posion Ivy, respectively.
- Crusading Widower: Mr. Freeze.
- Crush Blush: Bruce Wayne meeting Selina Kyle.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check:
- In "Fear of Victory" the Scarecrow begins rigging sports and then betting on the games; he himself points out that chemicals are expensive and his usual crimes of causing wanton terror are not very lucrative.
- In "Riddler's Reform," Riddler has sold the license to his persona to a toy developer for a completely legal fortune. However, Batman is convinced that he will continue to commit riddle-crimes, even though it will jeopardize his freedom and financial well-being. When Robin wonders why he would take such a risk, Batman explains that for him it is not about the money, it is an obsession. As it turns out, Batman's right; Riddler is uneasy with his new life, and eventually decides to try to kill Batman once and for all just to remove the temptation to backslide.
- Discussed by the creators during the DVD commentary of "Critters." The episode does explain why Farmer Brown cannot make money with his actual discoveries (Court orders and lawsuits shut him down), but he has obviously found some way of getting rich given the technology and equipment he employs. The weapons and tools he uses during the episode must have cost millions and the producers themselves did not understand why Farmer Brown would be demanding payment from the city, since he obviously already has cash. Revenge makes perfect sense, but extortion does not and they offered no explanation.
- Poison Ivy somehow managed to afford a gigantic mansion with its own power plant and extensive grounds in order to set up a fake health spa for one episode... complete with a staff of women loyal enough to kill on her part and try fighting the Batman, and a greenhouse full of extremely rare, nearly extinct, fully-grown trees found only in the depths of the Amazon.
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster : Scarface.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy:
- "Batgirl Returns" features this exchange with Roland Daggett:
Batgirl: So what are you going to do, leave us hanging over one of these vats with acid burning through the rope?
Daggett: *Evil chortle* — If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that you crime-fighting types are very resourceful. So I'll just have my men shoot you and throw your bodies into the vats.
- The same episode has him infringing on another supervillain's "theme" by intentionally stealing a jade cat from a museum when there were more valuable items, as the police would conclude that Catwoman was the thief. This is exactly what both Robin and Batgirl initially conclude, before Catwoman points out that the theft isn't her style.
- Clock King knows that Batman is Crazy-Prepared and has various types of gas masks. Thusly, his death trap in a bank vault doesn't use any poison gas at all, instead sucking all the oxygen from the room in an attempt to suffocate him. Unfortunately for the villain, Batman pulls a MacGyver-style escape, with Clock King's own recording device as one component.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to previous Batman shows and every other family-friendly animated show on at the time, it was definitely this.
- Dartboard of Hate: Harley keeps a dart-riddled photo of Batman in her cell at Arkham, as shown in "Joker's Millions".
- Dating Catwoman: With Catwoman.
- Deadline News: A non-lethal example, involving the Joker and laughing gas.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes Batman and Robin took turns in this role (With Robin sometimes giving Spidey himself a run for his money in the snarky battle banter department), but usually Alfred had at least one sarcastic remark per episode.
- Weirdly enough, the Bat-Plane gets one in: in "The Forgotten", when Alfred has the plane's autopilot computer take him to the secret labor camp where Batman is being held prisoner, the plane locates Batman but is unable to find a safe place to land. Alfred demands that the "tin can" land them at once, to which the Bat-Plane replies(!) "your funeral."
- Both Robins. Tim Drake had a particularly fun moment:
Tim: I know [the American justice system] is bogus.
Bruce: And how did you come to that well-thought-out conclusion?
Tim: Watching you.
- Death by Secret Identity: Gil Mason is put into a coma moments after ripping the mask off Batgirl's face in "Shadow of the Bat, Part 2".
- Death Trap: A staple of the series, though special mention goes to the Riddler's and Josiah Wormwood's.
- Deliberately Monochrome: There are several instances within the series, i.e. "Pretty Poison", "It's Never Too Late", that use a distinct sepia tone to indicate a Flashback sequence.
- Depending on the Artist (TMS Entertainment): Much like on Tiny Toon Adventures, TMS's staff went uncredited for their work (for the first show, at least. There were staff listings on The New Batman Adventures). Listed here are the Animation Directors and outsourcing units listing for the first show.
- Opening: Kazuhide Tomonaga; In house.
- Two-Face Part 1: Kenji Hachizaki; In house.
- Feat Of Clay Part 2: Kazuhide Tomonaga; In house.
- Fear Of Victory: Toshihiko Masuda; In house.
- ''The Demon's Quest Part 1: Kazuhide Tomonaga; Nakamura Productions (some Key, Assistant and In-Between Animation).
- The Demon's Quest Part 2: Kenji Hachizaki; Nakamura Production (same as above), Anime Spot (Key, Assistant and In-Between Animation).
- The cut scenes to the Sega CD version of The Adventures Of Batman And Robin: Toshihiko Masuda; In house.
- Read My Lips: Yuichiro Yano; Tama Productions.
- Bonus; Layouts for Harley And Ivy: Kazuhide Tomonaga; Main episode is done by Koko Enterprises/Dong Yang.
- Dirty Cop:
- When the planned police sting goes awry in "P.O.V.," with the intended target getting away and taking the bait money, the Internal Affairs investigator looking into the event suspects that the three officers involved are "on the take."
- In "Shadow of the Bat," Commissioner Gordon is accused of being an employee of Rupert Thorne, Gotham's ranking mob boss. There are bank accounts in his name, tickets to Rio de Janeiro to flee the country and he is broken out of jail by criminals who explain that Thorne never forgets his friends. He is being framed by his own Deputy Commissioner, a straight example of this trope, who is working for Two-Face, to clear the way for him to become commissioner.
- In "A Bullet for Bullock", Bullock enlists Batman's help in a private matter, claiming he does not want internal affairs looking too closely at him. Batman immediately asks if he is on the take; Bullock vehemently insists that he does not take bribes, but he admits he might be a little careless with suspect rights and police brutality.
- Disposable Vagrant: Batman gets involves himself in a city-wide kidnapping and forced labor plot in "The Forgotten" because the police are too busy to bother with homeless people disappearing.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The Joker was guilty of this on more or less a regular basis.
- Distant Prologue:
- "Joker's Favor" opens with Charlie Collins accidentally cursing off the Joker, leading him to be forcibly hired by the Clown Prince of Crime to perform a favor that he has not thought of yet. It takes two years for "Mistah J." to think of something and track Collins down.
- The debut episodes of the Riddler, the Clock King, and Lock-Up begin at their Starts of Darkness before skipping ahead to their actions as supervillains.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: A non-comedic example — the Joker and Harley's Mad Love relationship was possibly the most spot-on example of Domestic Abuse portrayed in animation, particularly with the trope-naming episode "Mad Love" (where Harley is pushed out a window). She swears him off entirely by the end of it...until she sees that he left her a single flower and a "get-well-soon" note and practically swoons in her body cast.
- Practically every thing Roxie says in "The Ultimate Thrill", even going so far as to say she was the best (chase) that Batman had ever had. She spends most of the episode riding around on a human-sized rocket.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Batman. It's a plot point in several episodes.
- The Dog Bites Back: In "Double Talk", The Ventriloquist finally gets fed up with Scarface, and blows him to smithereens.
- Domestic Abuse: The Joker and Harley have what is, beneath the make-up, a classic abusive relationship filled with emotional trauma and physical violence.
- The Don: Rupert Thorne and Arnold Stromwell deconstruct this trope: They follow it completely except at The Patriarch part: Rupert Thorne cares for his brother Mathew, but he is the cause his brother has become a Back-Alley Doctor. Stromwell has destroyed his marriage, driven his son to drugs, and has not seen his priest brother in years. Both of them are a curse on their loved ones.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: After his transformation, Harvey Dent is very clear that he is now Two-Face, even to his fiance.
- Donut Mess with a Cop: Bullock.
- Downer Ending: Retroactively. Anyone who's seen Batman Beyond knows that Bruce Wayne doesn't get any of his love interests, and ends up old and alone. He and Dick Grayson never truly reconcile, Barbara Gordon isn't exactly on good terms with him by the start of Beyond, Tim Drake, the second Robin, ends up kidnapped and tortured into insanity by The Joker, and before all that, the final episode of this series has to do with Batman fighting a new villain called the Judge, who turns out be a third personality in Harvey Dent's head. So by the end, not only has the relationship between Batman and his sidekicks been nearly destroyed, but the mental state of his once close friend has gotten worse instead of better. Almost all of this leads to the Downer Beginning of Batman Beyond, where an aged Batman puts up the cape and cowl for good after being forced to threaten a kidnapper with a gun when he succumbs to a heart attack in the middle of crime fighting.
- Justice League has an upside: Amanda Waller was so impressed by Bruce's heroism that she used Cadmus genetics technology to ensure that he would have a successor to continue not only the legacy of Batman, but of the Wayne family bloodline. That successor is Terry McGinnis, who learns from Waller what Bruce is truly like underneath the grim exterior, and accepts Bruce as his father.
- The Dragon:
- Candace, Rupert Thorne's associate, is his right-hand in almost all criminal activities.
- Miriam is Baby-Doll's combatant and all-around assistant.
- Dramatic Spotlight: In the episode in which Baby Doll first appears.
- Drugged Lipstick: Poison Ivy.
- Dungeon Bypass:
- The Riddler's maze in "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" Batman hijacks a flying "Hand of Fate".
- Harley's hyena's burst through a wall to attack Boxey after Harley calls for them.
- In the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns section of "Legends of the Dark Knight," Batman first appears by crashing through a wall to grab a thug.
- Dutch Angle: Used in a lot of episodes, for instance in "Double Talk", where it represents The Ventriloquist's confusion as to what is real and what is imaginary.
- Dynamic Entry: A staple of any Batman story, its occurrences are too numerous to list.
- Easter Egg: A pretty grim one. In his debut episode, Tim Drake gets smacked once with a crowbar. In the comics, Jason Todd (whose origin story was embroidered a bit for this Tim) suffered a bad beating from the Joker wielding a crowbar as a prelude to his death.
- Easy Amnesia: "The Forgotten"
- Edible Ammunition: The Condiment King in "Make 'Em Laugh".
- Embarrassed by a Child: In an episode, Clayface disguises himself as an elderly lady and gets on a bus. When his disguise starts to slip, a child says "Mommy, that lady has dirt all over her!"
- Empty Quiver: "The Lion and the Unicorn" revolves around Red Claw's hijacking of a nuclear missile.
- Enemy Mine:
- Gotham's new District Attorney blames Batman for the city's problems. When the villains capture them, put Batman on trial and force the DA to serve as his lawyer, she ends up defending Batman and he later returns the favor.
- In "Harlequinade", Batman recruits Harley to catch Joker before he blows up the city. Being Batman, he handcuffs her to the Batmobile.
Harley:...I sense a lack of trust.
- Episode Title Card: Every episode save two in the first three seasons: "The Laughing Fish" and "The Demon's Quest", plus one from The New Batman Adventures, "Joker's Millions." Even more impressive than the title cards, every episode has its own theme song.
- Establishing Character Moment: The original opening titles of the series, which feature Batman foiling a couple of bank robbers. Numerous people have noted that within the minute-long sequence, you learn everything you need to know about Batman not only without any dialogue or captions being used, but without the name 'Batman' being mentioned even once.
- Eureka Moment:
- In "P.O.V." Officer Wilkes hears one of the captured criminals refer to "Doc," and Officer Montoya hears another criminal refer to "Hathcock." It is only when she is taking the train home later that she makes the realization that 'Doc' is 'Dock', and she goes to the Hathcock warehouse at Gotham Harbor.
- In "Beware the Gray Ghost", when the evidence points to Simon Trent being the Mad Bomber, since he has all the merchandise and knows all about the episode, he told Batman he had sold everything to the toy collector.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Rival crime bosses Rupert Thorne and Arnold Stromwell are locked in a bitter, violent gang war for control of Gotham, but when Stromwell's son goes missing and he accuses Thorne of being behind it, Thorne points out that he never goes after a person's family. Thorne is actually planning to kill Stromwell right then, betraying him at a peace summit, but he is legitimately shocked at the accusation and is completely sincere in his assertion of innocence.
- In "Almost Got 'Em", The Joker reveals his intent to draw out Batman by having Catwoman ground up into cat food. Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Penguin, and Killer Croc (really Batman in disguise) are visibly disturbed.
- Done hilariously in "Joker's Millions". Joker is a psychopathic criminal who commits heinous crimes on insane levels, but he won't commit tax fraud.
Joker: "I'm crazy enough to take on Batman, but the IRS!? NOOOOOO thank you!"
- Evil Laugh:
- Mark Hamill as The Joker refined this into an art. They talked about the art in an interview for the DVD.
- In "Mad Love," Batman manages to churn one out — it creeps out Harley Quinn, at any rate, and given that she works for the Joker...
- Exact Words:
- In "Harley and Ivy," Ivy loudly proclaims that "no man can take us prisoner." Enter, stage right: Renee Montoya.
- In "Blind as a Bat", the Penguin has stolen a highly advanced stealth helicopter and is threatening Gotham for ransom. After Batman approaches him with a plan, Mayor Hill goes on television to announce that the Penguin has won, and if he returns the helicopter to the agreed drop-site, "you'll get everything that's coming to you."
- In "Joker's Favor," Joker uses this to mess with the poor bastard he has been stalking for two years. He said he would send Charlie home, not send him home ALIVE.
- Also used behind the scenes when the executives would try to edit a scene to make it less scary; the creators had a policy of following the instructions to the letter and making the scene scarier in the process.
- Expressive Hair: Harley's "hat."
- Expressive Mask: For everyone who wears a mask, particularly the domino crowd.
- Summer Gleeson was a recreation of Vicki Vale, a reporter and love interest from the comics.
- Josiah Wormwood of "The Cape & Cowl Conspiracy" is essentially a prototype Riddler for the show—a deathtrap specialist who uses riddles in his crimes and has an obsession with knowing secrets and matching wits. A few episodes later, the legit Riddler made his debut.
- A rather blatant one of Johnny Cochrane shows up as one of the Joker's lawyers in "Joker's Millions." He turns up again in "Over the Edge."
- While Calendar Girl has additional gimmicks, she is obviously a Gender Flip and stand-in for Calendar Man.
- "Mean Seasons" also features the GWB network, which even has a WB-style water tower.
- Grant Walker could be described as "Evil Walt Disney."
- Extreme Doormat:
- The Faceless: We never did see what the crime boss from P.O.V's face looked like.
- The Fagin: The Sewer King.
- Fainting: In "Two-Face," Harvey Dent's fiancée faints when she sees Two-Face's face for the first time. In "Feat of Clay," a baddie faints while being questioned by Batman. Considering Batman's terrifying interrogation technique, it is not surprising.
- Fake Static: Bruce pulls this on Barbara in "Batman: Mystery of The Batwoman" after she starts hinting about wanting them to go out while she is home from college.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom:
- In "Two-Face," stray machine-gun fire during the show-down between Two-Face and mob boss Rupert Thorne severs the rope of a chandelier and it falls on Thorne. Sadly, it is quite a small chandelier and he survives.
- In "Harlequinade," Harley swings atop a chandelier with a significant suspension cord, severs it, and sends it crashing onto baddies with an accuracy worthy of the Batman himself. Naturally, this was also a non-lethal chandelier crash.
- Batman himself uses this tactic on no fewer than five separate occasions; victims include the Penguin, Two-Face, and the Mad Hatter.
- The Family for the Whole Family: In the Penguin's first appearance, he and his henchmen are continuously foiled by the local children who have Batman in their basement. This is one of the reasons that the production team does not think very highly of this episode, since they were hoping the series would avoid kid heroes and bumbling villains.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: Averted in most cases. Some supervillains, like Mr. Freeze, would carry more fantastic weaponry, but many of Batman's foes used normal firearms. In one episode, Gordon was shot, and actual blood was seen.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Though many episodes are dark in tone, few can compete with the episode where the Joker manages to infect all of Gotham City with his Joker poison on April Fool's Day, rendering all residents of Gotham City into laughing fits with huge, grotesque smiles as they slowly die.
- Clayface lent himself to scenes like this. Two most shocking examples were when he absorbed Batman, and we see Batman's silhouette flailing around inside him, and almost not making it out alive, and when he absorbed his "daughter," a creation of his clay that had mutated into its own personality.
- So the Ventriloquist has a split criminal personality manifested as a Demonic Dummy, Scarface. Scarface technically isn't alive, so he would get butchered in various methods, onscreen. He's been shot up by machine guns (twice) and shredded repeatedly.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: The makers have stated that since they could not show a character getting killed, they took revenge by demolishing The Ventriloquist's puppet, Scarface, in ever-more-gruesome ways, ultimately having him be ground up in a ventilation fan.
- Fanservice: Frequent throughout the series for both men and women.
- "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Batman does it to a mook in the pilot/promo. This short is included on the DVD set of the first season.
- Hidden Eyes: Annie from Growing Pains has them as soon as she realizes she's a part of Clayface.
- Hollywood Homely: Invoked; the prevalence of the trope drives the plot of one episode. Page Monroe is a former supermodel-turned-villain who was fired when she was viewed as "too old." However, once unmasked, both Batgirl and Batman comment that she is still startlingly attractive, but she considers herself ugly, which Batman states is because she can only see her minor "imperfections." This is also a case of Actor Allusion as Page Monroe was voiced by Sela Ward, who was famous for having been dumped as a model in favor of younger women.
- Homemade Sweater From Hell: The Joker wears a rather subdued example for his "Christmas special."
- Horned Hairdo: Klarion, the Witch-Boy, in "The Demon Within".
- Horrifying Hero: This version of Batman strikes so much terror into evil that he's often seen as a monster outright rather than man, as shown for example in The Forgotten.
Poor Random Mook (Running into bosse's office, terrified out of his wits): A Bat!! A GIANT BAT!! HORRIBLE!!
- Human Popsicle: Nora Fries, wife of Mr. Freeze, was placed into cryogenic stasis in order to save her life from her terminal disease.
- Hurricane of Puns:
- The Condiment King only has one single scene, but he slips in about a dozen condiment-related puns in that short time.
- The Riddler's hints in "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?"
(Batman and Robin come across a sign that says "Loser's Ahead.")
Robin: "Loser's Ahead?"
(The duo turns a corner, two giant shurikens come out of nowhere, and the duo ducks just before the blades lob their heads off.)
- The Hyena: The Joker, as brilliantly played by Mark Hamill.
- He even keeps two actual hyenas as pets!
- I'm Your Worst Nightmare: Practically Batman's catch phrase when getting information.
- Incredibly Obvious Bug: Batman's standard tracking device, seen in multiple episodes, beeps and flashes. And it's shaped like a bat.
- Informed Ability: Apparently, Lock-Up is such a horrific guard that he has driven even the already-insane inmates of Arkham insane, paralyzing the Scarecrow, "The God of Fear," with fear. When his offenses against the patients are actually given, however, it is debatable as to whether they are extreme or standard asylum fare, apart from his mental abuse of the Ventriloquist, possibly because the show could not portray anything worse.
- Ink-Suit Actor:
- Harley Quinn, the Joker's lovable henchwoman, was based on her voice-actress, Arleen Sorkin. The producers are apparently amazed that she still talks to them.
- Although this version of the Penguin was based on Danny Devito's appearence in Batman Returns, he ultimately ends up looking like his voice actor, Paul Williams.
- In "Prophecy of Doom", Ethan Clark is modeled after his voice actor, William Windom.
- Insane Troll Logic: In "Trial", members of the rogue gallery explain how Batman created them. Batman's attorney points out how poor their excuses are.
- Inside a Computer System: Batman had to go in a virtual reality simulator to rescue Commissioner Gordon, who was held hostage in the computer by Riddler.
- Instant Knots: This trope is used All. The. Time. Even in situations it shouldn't really be needed, such as when he uses his Grappling Gun, the end of the line actually has a hook/claw on the end, and it still wraps around something rather than grabbing or hooking onto/into it.
- Instant Sedation: Averted in "Sideshow". A tranquilizer dart takes a few minutes to affect Killer Croc at all, and he has plenty of time to stumble about looking for a place to hide before finally passing out.
- Justified somewhat as a Magic Antidote in "Dreams in Darkness": Dr. Wu tells Batman that he has made an antidote that can eliminate the fear toxin in his body, but with one side effect: instant drowsiness that can render the antidote taker asleep for two days. Batman, however, decides to put the antidote on hold until he can stop Scarecrow and his evil plans of poisoning the water supply.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: Initially an adaptation of Danny Elfman's theme from the Tim Burton movies; Shirley Walker's own theme was eventually promoted to main title status. The series eventually had a soundtrack album released featuring its scores (though sadly Walker had passed away a few years before).
- Internal Affairs: The episode "P.O.V." revolves around an Internal Affairs investigation into a failed sting where the intended target, a Gotham drug lord, managed to escape and take the two million dollars in seed money that the police had laid in as bait.
- Intimidating Revenue Service: The Joker, like all other sapient beings, fears the I.R.S. above and beyond even Batman.
- Ironic Echo:
- From the episode "Baby Doll." Baby's catch-phrase on the show (after causing some mayhem) was "I didn't mean to!" a la Bart's "I didn't do it." At the end, she's hugging Batman's leg and crying, saying simply "I didn't mean to..."
- In the episode "Mad As a Hatter," Tetch asks Alice if she remembers the Mock Turtle's song, reciting "Will you, won't you, will you, won't you... won't you join the dance?" before dancing with her in the park. Later, as she is hugging her fiancé Billy, while the Hatter lies trapped in the claws of a Jabberwock, he moans softly, "Would not... could not, would not, could not... oh, could not join the dance" as the camera pans out to a statue of a crying Mock Turtle.
- In "Two-Face, Part 2", Grace tries to talk Harvey out of his persona.
Grace: Take control of your life, Harvey!
- After Thorne reveals she led him to Two-Face, under the pretense of a police chase, Harvey walks away from her.
Two-Face: So much for taking control of my life, huh Grace?
- When he's about to kill Thorne:
Grace: Harvey! What are you doing!?
Two-Face: Taking control of my life.
- Interestingly, this one is two episodes apart:
- In "Appointment in Crime Alley"
Bruce: Roland Daggett is up to something, Alfred.
Alfred: That almost goes without saying, doesn't it sir?
Lucius Fox: You think [Roland Daggett]'s up to something?
Bruce: That goes without saying, doesn't it?
- Is That What He Told You?: When Batman attempts to get through to Harley about the problems with her relationship with the Joker, Harley does her best to defend herself and her love, pointing out all the trust he placed in her when he told her his true history. Oh really? Batman heard that same "true story" years ago, and several different versions of it. ("Like any comedian, he uses whatever material will work.")
- The Jailer: Lock-Up.
- Jerkass: A lot of the villains, but especially arrogant richboy Warren, AKA Fox of the Terrible Trio. At least the other villains had reason for being so messed up and turning to crime. Warren, on the other hand, went to committing crimes and stealing even though he's already got such a cushy lifestyle and a more than sizable inheritance which ensured that he'd be set for life. So why hurt and steal from people? Because he was bored.
Batman: "Scoundrels like these are worse than the Joker. At least HE had madness as an excuse."
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Batman seems like one, but the real example is Harvey Bullock who despite being a grouch, a curmudgeon, an uncaring selfish person who hates the Batman and a jerk, always does the right thing.
- Joker Immunity: The Joker has it.
- Joker Jury: The Trope Inspirer "Trial."
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Batman admits to toying with the idea when he catches the Sewer King, but his ideals prevail.
- Jumping Out of a Cake:
- The Joker during Harley's debut episode "Joker's Favor."
- Harley did slinkily emerge from an oversized lemon custard pie in "Beware The Creeper."
- Just Like Robin Hood: Catwoman, who funds animal reserves and the like.
- Kangaroo Court: In "Trial", the villains of Gotham take over Arkham Asylum, where they kidnap Batman to face an obviously one-sided trial (with several villains as the jury, Two-Face as the prosecutor, and JOKER as the judge). Also, Batman's defense attorney is Janet Van Dorn, who was also kidnapped for this and happens to be anti-Batman. They actually DO win the trial, but since they're dealing with psychopathic villains, said villains were going to kill them off anyway.
- Karma Houdini: The Riddler gets away scot-free at the end of "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" The producers have stated that they let the Riddler escape as a testament to his intellect.
- Kick Me Prank: In "The Man Who Killed Batman", the criminals hold a funeral for Batman, who is believed dead. The Joker attaches a "Kick Me" sign to Batman's empty cape and cowl before it is to be sealed in a coffin.
- Kick the Dog: Mr. Freeze, trying to hit Batman, accidentally freezes one of his henchmen's legs. He then blames the accident on said henchman and leaves him for dead while the poor guy begs them to help him. It happens the same way to one of his ice maidens in "Cold Comfort."
- Knight Templar:
- Ra's al-Ghul lies between this and Well-Intentioned Extremist.
- Lock-up may be one of the purest examples of this, being a former head of security at Arkham who was fired for brutalizing the inmates, who comes back as a villain trying to imprison forever the "scum" that he feels represent the people that allowed Gotham to get this way (including the head doctor at Arkham, Commisioner Gordon, Mayor Hill, and Summer Gleeson). In true Knight Templar fashion, he has no idea that he's gone too far (he views Batman as a potential partner, much to the other's disgust).
- Grant Walker. He plans to make a crime-free utopia and freeze Gotham thinking it's too corrupt to survive. Granted, he may have a point there.
- Large Ham:
"You're going to be cooked like a griiilled cheeeeese sandwich!"
- Bane: "I must... BREAK YOU!!!"
- The Creeper, but that just comes with the madness.
- Even a mook working for Dagget in "Feat of Clay" was not immune to this, though, seeing as he was a professional actor alongside Clayface, this is justified.
- Nostromos takes this Up to Eleven
- Laser Cutter: A surgical laser is ineffectively used as an improvised weapon.
- Most of the villains have their own theme tune and many of the heroes as well including Batman, Robin and Batgirl. At one point, the Joker actually whistles his own leitmotif.
- Everyman Charlie Collins, protagonist of the episode "Joker's Favor", had a very upbeat, grating leitmotif consisting of unusually cheery whistling and trombones blowing in a manner reminiscent of Leave It to Beaver-esque, 1950's family sitcom background music. It becomes unexpectedly epic when it plays as he triumphantly walks away from staring down The Joker and wondering what his wife is cooking for dinner.
- Like a Son to Me: Alfred gives a double moment with a single line; in "Old Wounds," at Dick Grayson's college graduation he says that Dick is like a second son to him. Alfred is childless: His first "son" is Bruce Wayne.
- Earlier, in "Never Fear," there's his line when fear toxin has caused Bruce to hallucinate his father saying he's disappointed in how Bruce turned out:
Alfred: I know your father would be proud of you, because I'm so proud of you.
- Lightning Reveal: Look at the page image. It's the single image from the intro that is -not- in black-on-red Chiaroscuro, which only makes it all the more dramatic.
- Limited Wardrobe: Honestly, you would think a rich guy like Bruce Wayne could afford more than one suit. In "Harley's Holiday" Bruce actually goes suit shopping with Veronica Vreeland, who points out that Bruce needs a better sense of style. Even one of the DVD commentaries joked about it.
- Little Black Dress: Loads of the socialites wore them.
- London England Syndrome: When Alfred visits London and tells Bruce where he is, he explains there is only one London after Bruce exclaims "In England?"
- Longevity Treatment: Poison Ivy, under the guise of Dr. Demeter, offers this treatment to rich industrialists but in reality is turning them into trees as karmic justice for their environmental destruction. She has no qualms about going after their friends or loved ones as well.
- The Lost Lenore: Nora Fries.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: "Perchance to Dream" catches Batman in this.
- Love Makes You Evil: Prominent in the series, with both Harley Quinn and Mr. Freeze. In Harley's case it could be perceived as Evil Makes You Love.
- Motive Decay: Mr. Freeze in "Cold Comfort". In his earlier appearances, he was committing crimes because he was absolutely determined restore to his ailing wife, who finally recovered after Batman And Mister Freeze Subzero. But by the time of "Cold Comfort", he's become utterly merciless, determined to destroy everything and everyone held dear to the people of Gotham City, after he apparently never got in touch with his wife, who eventually got tired of waiting and remarried. Batman and Batgirl lampshade it, as Batman notes "Nothing about Freeze makes sense anymore.". Though they eventually learn that Mr. Freeze's body has almost completely deteriorated except for his head, and it has firmly convinced him he has no hope for a normal life anymore.
- The Movie: There were several DTV films, but general consensus agrees that the theatrical film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the best. Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero is seen as what Batman & Robin should have been, and the less well regarded Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman is a competent production.
- Mr. Alt Disney: Grant Walker. A pioneer on animatronics and amusement parks owner, his design of an underwater utopia with no crime is loosely based on the original concept for Epcot Center. He also wants to be frozen like Mr. Freeze, a clear gag on the urban legend that Walt Disney is in cryogenic storage.
- Mr. Fanservice: Nightwing is, shall we say, quite a handsome fellow.
- Mugging the Monster: "Fear Of Victory" features a bookie sending one of his cronies to rough up a gambler who's been winning a little too often. Unbeknownst to the bookie or his thug, the gambler is actually the Scarecrow using his fear chemicals to fix games, and what the poor henchman thinks is going to be a standard shakedown quickly turns into a terrifying encounter with the Master of Fear.
- Multicolored Hair: Two-Face, Mr. Blood.
- Multilayer Façade: In one episode, a villain is hired to obtain Batman's cape and cowl. When he ultimately succeeds, Batman reveals a second mask underneath the cowl to protect his identity.
- Murder by Cremation: The Joker plans an acid bath variant for Sid the Squid.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Tygrus' solution to Batman and Catwoman's relationship in "Tyger, Tyger".
- Musicalis Interruptus: In "Joker's Favor", The Leave It to Beaver-esque Leitmotif used for everyman Charlie Collins suddenly stops dead as he realizes, with a look of horror upon his face, that two of Joker's underlings have managed to track him down to Ohio after living for two years in some form of peace and quiet under a new name.
- My Greatest Failure:
- The death of his parents is the ultimate driving force behind Batman, as it is revealed at several points in the series that he blames himself for not being able to save them. This is compounded by Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face, which cost him a personal friend and crime-fighting associate, and which he views in same light as his parents' death.
- Karl Rossum was distraught over what HARDAC has done, fulfilling the goal to replace humans with robots. Thus preventing accidental human deaths, which is what happened to Karl's wife and daughter. He regretted ever creating HARDAC in the first place.
- Mythology Gag:
- In "Nothing to Fear", the Scarcrow's fear gas comes out of the air vents in the same manner as Joker's sleep gas in Tim Burton's Batman film.
- In multiple episodes, the Joker's alias from before his transformation is given as "Jack Napier," which was his real name in the Tim Burton movie.
- In the Scarecrow's first appearance, Batman checked a list of places where the villain could have acquired the chemicals used for his crimes. Star Labs was in the list.
- The girl in "Legends of the Dark Knight" is modeled on Carrie Kelley, the Robin from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and she retells a section of that series.
- The fourth child in "Legend's of the Dark Knight" is an effeminate boy named Joel standing under a sign that says "Shoemaker", who talks about how Batman wears rubber armor and has a car that can drive up walls. The other kids dismiss his theories, and him, out of hand.
- In one episode, the Joker gets his own car◊ with his face plastered◊ all over it.◊
- In "Bane", Killer Croc wears a hat and trenchcoat, like in his pre-Crisis debut.
- In "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy", Woodwood said that Batman "is only human after all", which is what one of the Joker's henchmen said in the Tim Burton film.
- In "Deep Freeze" Sanderson the robot maker has a flying robot Batmite.
- Never Found the Body: Joker pulled this off often during the series.
- Never Say "Die": Averted, mostly. There is still the odd instance, like the Riddler threatening to "destroy" someone by stabbing him through the chest with a ten-foot sword. Word of God is that the Joker's Jokerizing gas was created because they initially were not allowed to kill people. It is arguably worse.
- Nice to the Waiter: Fox of the Terrible Trio is honestly shocked when Bruce Wayne thanks his golf caddy for his assistance, and sarcastically asks if Bruce also thanks the man who takes out his garbage. Bruce, being a genuinely nice guy, says that he would if he ever happened to run into him.
- Ninja: Kyodai Ken.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lisa Loraine / Mighty Mom is very obviously a Roseanne Barr.
- No Man of Woman Born: "No man can take us prisoner!" It is a good thing Renee Montoya is ready to step in and take up the slack.
- Non-Idle Rich: Bruce Wayne.
- Non-Standard Character Design: Before her redesign Baby Doll looked suspiciously like a Tiny Toon Adventures character (doubtless a Shout-Out by Paul Dini). Her redesign brings her more in line with other Bruce Timm characters.
- No One Could Survive That:
- They Never Found the Body, but the criminals from "The Man Who Killed Batman" believe that not even he could have escaped the massive explosion that left only his cape and cowl behind.
- When Temple Fugate made his first appearance, he was believed to have died in that episode's last fight. Batman pointed out that, if he survived, so could Fugate.
- No OSHA Compliance: In "The Forgotten", the chain-gang Bruce gets shanghaied into has workers in a mine without lights, helmets, or any sort of safety equipment. The mine is being operated illegally and the operators do not care if their employees live or die, since they are grabbing them off the street.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Within-the-show example: Baby Doll.
- Not Himself: Barbara Gordon is able to determine that her father has been replaced by something due to his suddenly strange persona and actions.
- Not His Sled: In "Bane," Bane lifts the worn and tired Batman overhead and breaks his back over his knee! No, wait, that was Knightfall.
- Not So Different: Bullock suggests this to Batman in A Bullet for Bullock while explaining that he (Bullock) doesn't want Internal Affairs involved in a case because Bullock is implied to have leaked information to the press and violated the rights of suspects. Batman rejects it but considering that a few minutes later he intimidates a drug dealer for information by dangling him in front of a car...
- Not So Stoic:
- "Two-Face, Part 1": Upon seeing the effects of the chemical explosion on his childhood friend (and one of few real friends "Bruce Wayne" has) Harvey Dent, Batman's anguish is palpable.
- "Mad Love": Batman's reaction to Harley's idea of settling down with the Joker is to start laughing. Harley rightly points out how creepy it is to hear the Batman laugh.
- "Robin's Reckoning": Batman purposely forces Robin out of an investigation that leads to Tony Zucco, the man who engineered the death of Robin's parents, and stonewalls him when he tries to interfere. At the end of the 2nd episode, Robin tells Batman that he understands now why Batman kept him out: because he knew Robin would make matters personal and try to kill Zucco. Batman replies, with palpable sorrow in his voice that his reason was completely different: that Zucco had already taken so much away from Robin, and he was afraid that he would take Robin's life as well.
- Charles Collins' revenge on Joker in "Joker's Favor" gets a brief chuckle out of Batman — a two bit Joe Average had managed to completely freak out Joker — with one of Joker's fake bombs.
- Nuclear Candle: In "The Trial," Two-Fight lights up a room with his lighter. The fire does not quite illuminate the entire room, leaving the edges in shadow for Batman to hide in and grab the villains one by one.
- Offhand Backhand: To the point that a mook's chances of hitting Batman actually decrease if he attacks from behind. Also played hilariously with the Creeper, who uses it on Joker's mooks and Batman himself.
- Off Model: Not strange for a series like this where multiple companies would be used, but most evident whenever Sunrise or AKOM animated an episode. Constant issues regarding this was what got both studios fired from the series.
- Off on a Technicality: "Trial" demonstrates that Batman's vigilante work can lead to this.
- Offscreen Breakup: Dick and Barbara break up during the Time Skip, due to Barbara keeping her Batgirl identity a secret from him.
- Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Temple Fugate lost everything in his Start of Darkness (an appeal for twenty million dollars against his company seven years ago), but when he appears at the episode The Clock King, he has enough money to buy bombs, and an Abandoned Warehouse Supervillain Lair at his name. At the episode Time out of joint he can throw off a clock valued at 600,000 dollars.
Batman What kind of saboteur uses a $6000 Metronex to trigger a time bomb?
Alfred: A saboteur with too much money?
- Oh, Crap: Charles Collins in "Joker's Favor" ironically gets The Joker to do this after the Joker tormented him for the entire episode. It becomes a truly satisfying conclusion.
- During the Superman episode Knight Time, Superman impersonates Batman, as Bruce Wayne has gone missing and Gotham's supervillains are getting bolder. Bane's face after seeing "Batman" throw a Moai statute across a room is a study in this trope.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with the presence of Harvey Dent and Harvey Bullock.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: There are some eps that has Joker showcasing this trope:
- In "The Man Who Killed Batman", Joker is really pissed at Sidney Debris because Sid killed Batman instead of him. (Batman got better).
- Inverted in "Joker's Favor", when Joker gets a Villainous Breakdown being confronted with the mere idea of being killed by any other than Batman.
- "Mad Love", especially when even Harley is not exempt from this.
- Oral Fixation: Harvey Bullock is perpetually chewing on a toothpick, and on one occasion was implicated in a crime because of its presence.
- Orphaned Punchline: In "Birds of a Feather", Penguin has one: "—and I said, 'But, warden—those aren't my pants!"
- Out-of-Character Moment: When Harley captures Batman, hanging him upside down over a tank of piranhas, she lavishes at how the Joker will be pleased with her for capturing his greatest enemy. Next thing she knows, Batman was LAUGHING. Not just laughing, but laughing HARD. Harley notes that Batman NEVER laughs, and that it creeped her out. Batman stops and stoicly tells her why he's laughing and proceeds to reveal the truth about Joker to her (See "Is That What He Told You?" above).
- Out of Focus: Dick Grayson was originally a Recurring Character, but after the first Retool, he earned Regular Character status. The second Re Tool, however, made Batgirl a regular as well and added Tim Drake, so Grayson as Nightwing was seen far less often. Regardless, he was still considered a Regular Character and treated as such by production. (Voice actor Loren Lester was consistently credited in the main cast, as opposed to with - say - recurring guest star Mark Hamill). Word of God flat-out admitted this trope as a blunder on their part.
- Pac Man Fever: The Riddler's "wildly popular" video game creation has graphics and gameplay at Intelli Vision levels around the time the Super Nintendo was hitting its stride, though it fits considering the 1930s aesthetic and deliberate Anachronism Stew of the series. It uses sound effects from the original Super Mario Bros., distorted a little bit to make them sound different.
- Panty Shot:
- The DCAU-only villainess Baby Doll herself shows this in the Episode "Baby Doll".
- Supergirl gives one as well during the episode she and Batgirl team up.
- Papa Wolf:
- Batman's one principle is to never take a life, but if you dare to enslave innocent children to steal for you like The Sewer King did, you better damn well pray that he does hold onto it.
Batman: I don't pass sentence. That's for the courts to decide. But this time, this time, I am sorely tempted to do the job myself.
- "Over the Edge" shows just how far Jim Gordon will go for his daughter. Or rather, what she fears he will do.
- "Harley's Holiday" has General Vreeland. When his daughter Veronica gets accidentally kidnapped by Harley, his solution is pursue them in a tank.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: Kyodai Ken.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: In "The Lion and the Unicorn", the two-part password to arm a nuclear warhead based in the UK is the address of the missile silo and "the lion and the unicorn", famous symbols of England.
- The Patient Has Left the Building: In one episode, an injured Bruce Wayne considered his Batman duties important enough to defy his doctor's orders to stay in bed and recuperate.
- Perky Female Minion: Harley Quinn.
- Pet the Dog: In "Mad as a Hatter" the abrasive Dr. Cates sits down and commiserates with Alice over her breakup while Jervis Tetch, eavesdropping, reacts with glee that she's no longer attached.
- Phlebotinum Overdose: When Batman first defeated Bane, he broke the Venom pump, giving Bane a massive dose. Bane's eyes looked ready to pop out of his head before Bats managed to pull the line out.
- Photo Doodle Recognition: In "Make 'em Laugh", Joker is discovered to be the one responsible for brainwashing famous comedians into committing crimes when Alfred shows Batman and Robin a video tape of the previous Gotham Comedy Competition. When they realize one of the contestants sounds familiar, Batman edits the video to show the Joker's regular eyes on the contestant's face, showing a perfect match.
- Pin-Pulling Teeth:
- A SWAT cop does this with a tear gas grenade in "On Leather Wings".
- When told to "bury" Batman, Batgirl and Robin, a thug in "Shadow of the Bat, Part 2" pulls the pins off two grenades at once using his teeth.
- Rare Guns: Thompsons and M3 "Grease gun" SMGs seem to be the order of the day.
- "Rashomon"-Style: The episode P.O.V. does this with Harvey Bullock, Officer Renee Montoya, and rookie Officer Wilkes explaining a failed sting operation. The events shown on screen play out the way they actually happened, even though this does not match the descriptions the police give their superiors. Bullock knows what happened, but makes himself appear as the component hero while Batman screwed up. Wilkes is honest in his belief, but makes Batman come off as a supernatural being. Montoya more or less tells the truth, and believes that Batman died in the fire.
- Reckless Gun Usage: While being chased by Alfred in the episode "The Underdwellers," a young hooligan in the Wayne mansion discovers a collection of antique firearms. He grabs a blunderbuss off the wall and proceeds to wave it around like a toy. Alfred immediately backs off, but Batman jumps in and grabs the gun out of the boy's hands. Batman notes, "It's not loaded, but it could have been."
- Recurring Character: Although Batman's traditional Rogues Gallery and more famous supporting characters (Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl, etc) naturally tend to appear regularly, the show also creates or reintroduces several new or more obscure characters who appear regularly to fulfill certain roles. For example, Rupert Thorne acts as the recurring "untouchable crime boss" character, Roland Daggett the "unscrupulous Corrupt Corporate Executive / scientist" type, Veronica Vreeland the ditzy trust-fund heiress and Summer Gleeson the Intrepid Reporter.
- Red Sky, Take Warning: The third and fourth seasons used red skies for the night scenes.
- Refuge in Audacity: Alfred's claim that HE is Batman in "Old Wounds"
- Replacement Goldfish: H.A.R.D.A.C. began his plan to replace the world with robot duplicates after its creator, Karl Rossum, tried to create a new version of his daugher, who had been killed in a car accident.
- Replacement Scrappy: "Fake Harley" in "Joker's Millions" is an In-Universe example. The Joker hired her because it was cheaper than paying for the real Harley's release from Arkham, but he grows to regret it and a pissed-off Harley gets back at him for it in the end.
- Resurrection Sickness: Ra's Al Ghul experiences intense rage after resurrection.
- Ret Canon:
- Prior to the Animated Series, Mister Freeze was a thug in a powered suit with an ice gun and actually was dead in the comics when the show first aired. The show gave Freeze a tragic past which DC promptly incorporated into the comics with the result of completely revitalizing the character.
- The original Clock King was simply a clock-themed crook. A new version was introduced in 2008 based off of the Temple Fugate version, sharing his name, manner of dress, and Awesomeness by Analysis.
- The 2009 Batgirl series reveals that "The Gray Ghost" is now an old TV show within the DCU proper, and an ardent fan of hers assumes the "Grey Ghost" identity, complete with hat and mask, in an attempt to be her sidekick. Batgirl herself, Stephanie Brown, explains that she never watched the show, but she knows that the main character must have been smarter and saner than this guy.
- Retired Badass: "The Lion and the Unicorn" reveals that Alfred spent time as a British government operative many years ago and, even though his primary duties were behind a desk, he amassed quite a few skills.
- Retro Universe: It is shown in "Cold Comfort" that that episode is set in August of 1997 and the technology is effectively that of the 1990s, but the industrial design is the Art Deco of the 1930s and 40s and people still wear hats. A particularly glaring example was seen in "Fear of Victory," whose plot hinges on a college football game. The athletes are shown playing without facemasks and wearing leather helmets, out of fashion since at least the 1950's. Televisions were typically black and white (though color ones existed). One episode showed that Bruce Wayne owns a black and white TV. Yeah, the billionaire with the massive, high-res computers in his basement.
- Batman has the Batwing, a highly advanced jet (or possibly rocket) powered VTOL aircraft. All of the other planes in the series use propellers. Its also worth noting that the jet powered batwing can't outrun (but can out maneuver) the bulky retro-tastic helicopters that are popular in Gotham.
- Reverse Mole: Nightwing to Catwoman in "You Scratch My Back".
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Most criminals use semi-automatic pistols, but whenever Commissioner Gordon and Detective Harvey Bullock draw their weapons they are traditional revolvers. Justified in that, for many years, most police departments issued .38 Special revolvers (or occasionally, .357 Magnums loaded with .38 Special) as their sidearms - especially in the 1940s-50s era that the series somewhat emulates.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: Joker and Harley have a pack of hyenas.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Of all people, it is Commissioner Gordon who loses control in his thirst for vengeance (Or does he?) When Barbara/Batgirl is murdered he loses it and nobody is safe. No, not even Batman.
- Robot Girl: Randa Duane, H.A.R.D.A.C.'s dragon.
- Robotic Reveal: "Heart of Steel" has two. The first when Harvey Bullock is thrown into the Bat Signal, melting off his flesh to reveal the robotic skeleton, and the second when Randa Duane, the sexy lady Bruce has been flirting with the whole episode, has her skin burned off by an explosion to reveal her electronic circuits.
- Robot Me: "Heart of Steel" revolves around a plot by H.A.R.D.A.C. to replace the entire world with robot duplicates, the episode itself features a robotic James Gordon, Harvey Bullock and Mayor Hill. The sequel, "His Silicon Soul," features a robot Batman.
- Rocket Ride: Roxy Rocket.
- Rogues Gallery: Featuring one of the most well-known examples of the trope, to date.
- Rogues Gallery Showcase: "Almost Got 'Im," "Trial"
- Rope Bridge: "Two-Face" (during the nightmare in part 2).
- Rooftop Confrontation: A few examples, one being the opening sequence of the show.
- Running Gag:
- Sadly Mythtaken: Maxie Zeus believes his assistant to be Clio, the muse of history. When Batman shows up Maxie mistakes him for Hades and asks "Clio" to leave, on the grounds that the words of gods are not for the ears of mere mortals. There was nothing mere nor mortal about the Muses. As daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the Muses were also gods, just not Olympians.
- Save the Villain: In the climax of "Shadow of the Bat, Part 2," Batgirl says that she should leave Gil Mason to die in the speedboat that is on a collision course with the statue in Gotham Harbor, but cannot bring herself to do it.
- Say My Name Trailer: One TV commercial had a montage of several villains saying "Batman!" in varying degrees of disgust - followed by the announcer commenting: "See what everyone's talking about."
- Scary Scarecrows: Guess who.
- Scenery Porn: One of the most iconic examples in the history of TV animation.
- Schizo Tech: The Weapon of Choice for the criminal is the tommy gun, TV is largely in black and white and the cars look like they come from the 1920s or 1930s, but this same setting gives us highly sophisticated computer equipment, sentient Artificial Intelligence, machines that can read peoples' minds and CCTV security cameras... and that is not even counting the stuff Batman himself has.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Even if he was not already crazy rich to begin with, you cannot bribe Batman to do anything, least of all look the other way. Warren of the Terrible Trio learns this the hard way as his money was completely useless on Batman.
Warren: (gets unmasked by Batman) "Wait a minute wait a minute! We can make a deal! A million dollars just to let me go! (Batman angrily whirls him around) TEN MILLION! Think about it, that buys a LOT of batarangs!"
Batman: "Your money's no good here."
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Quite awesomely subverted in "The Terrible Trio." Warren, the rich playboy who's spent the whole episode saying his money entitles him to not be held to any moral standards, is caught by Batman and smarms that his family's lawyers will get him off. This is followed by a Gilligan Cut to him being thrown in jail.
- Second Person Attack: Done frequently.
- Second Super-Identity: In one episode, Batman faces a new vigilante in town who calls himself "The Judge", who is going after the city's criminal element and has a more violent manner of dealing with them. Batman tries to stop him as he targets Two Face, only to discover at the end that The Judge is really a new multiple personality of Harvey Dent.
- Secret Secret Keeper: In "Over the edge" it's implied at the end that Jim Gordon fully well knows his daughter's Secret Identity.
- Self-Made Orphan: Jason Blood claims that Klarion turned his parents into mice. Then the camera zooms in on Klarion's cat...
- Self-Deprecation: Ted Dymer, the Loony Fan so obsessed with the Gray Ghost and toy collecting that he holds the city for ransom as "The Mad Bomber", just for more money to spend on pop culture memorabilia, is modeled after and voiced by Bruce Timm (see Creator Cameo). Notably, while Batman is used in the episode as a positive Author Avatar to pay tribute to the Adam West series, Ted is nothing more than a creepy little jerk.
- Senseless Violins: Used by the Jazzman in "I Am the Night".
- Serious Business: The Joker kidnaps and brainwashes three famous comedians all so that he can rig a comedy competition. As he explains, it is not about the trophy, it is about the title.
- Servile Snarker: Alfred has moments of this.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Penguin, more often than not. This is lampshaded in "Almost Got 'Im," when Penguin is telling a story to Joker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Croc, a disguised Batman, and they complain that he is becoming hard to follow. Penguin grudgingly relents, describing his "Aviary of Doom" as a "big bird house."
- Sewer Gator:
- Killer Croc generally uses the sewers of Gotham as a hideout and means of stealth travel.
- The episode "The Underdwellers" has sewer gators in droves. They're actually the sewer king's pets.
- Sexy Jester: Harley Quinn
- Shape Shifter Swan Song: Clayface at the end of his debut two-parter. He's faking.
- Shipped in Shackles: One episode opened with Killer Croc being transported to prison with his arms and legs in shackles. He escapes by biting through the chains. After Batman recaptures him he is taken away chained, straight jacketed and muzzled.
- Shirtless Scene: Both Batman and Robin get in on this, and in The New Batman Aventures season Nightwing has a completely gratuitous one.
- Shooting Superman: In "The Mechanic," the fleeing criminals attempt to shoot the bulletproof, practically-indestructible Batmobile with a Thompson sub-machine gun. Robin actually asks if the guy is serious, and Batman says that he must be new in town.
- Shoot The Television: The episode "Joker's Millions" has the Joker shooting the Video Will in which his benefactor reveals most of the money is fake.
- In "Off Balance", Batman asks Talia whose side she is on. "That would be telling" she replies. Almost every episode of The Prisoner started with that dialogue.
- In "Nothing to Fear" the security guard in the beginning is reading a comic book called Tiny Toon Adventures. In a later episode, Bruce is discussing a ongoing case with Barbara Gordon. When he asks, "What are you doing tonight?" she replies, "The same thing we do every night, Pinky." He does not get the reference.
- At the start of "Jokers Wild," the Joker is whistling the Looney Tunes theme.
- In the same episode, he sings "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells" as he escapes Arkham.
- In "You Scratch My Back", a list of ships includes Andrea Doria, SS Minnow, HMS Bounty, and Poseidon.
- Two-Face's suit is a rather obvious reference to the famous "Scarface" poster.
- In the episode, "The Laughing Fish" Joker pulls a wrench out of a box with the words "Binford Tools" written on it.
- In the Creeper's debut, not only does he look similar to and act just like Freakazoid!, but he talks to a woman through her window and when she screams and runs...
- The robots in the opening to "Deep Freeze" are based on Castle in the Sky.
- Cybertron Industries appears in "Heart of Steel".
- Poison Ivy's license plate in "Harley & Ivy" is "Rose bud".
- Karl Rossum, the owner of Cybertron Industries and one of the pioneers in A.I. research and robotics, is named for Capek's play R.U.R. (for Rossum's Universal Robots), the origin of the term "robot."
- The second episode of "Robin's Reckoning" has a shout out to AKIRA when Dick strikes a similar pose to Kaneda on his bike.
- The poster for the magician The Great Prosciutto in "Be a Clown" is a cartoonified portrait of Alan Moore.
- "Trial" has Batman capturing the skull gang's leader, who wears a T-shirt that's exactly like The Punisher's logo.
- At one point when Batman and Robin are artificially sped up, Robin quips: "Faster than a speeding bullet..!"
- The show has Adam West as part of it’s supporting cast.
- At the end of "Jokers Wild", the inmates in Arkham are watching Bugs Bunny cartoons.
- To It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, where one thing Sally said to Linus in the pumpkin patch was, "If you try to hold my hand, I'll slug you!"; near the beginning of "Joker's Wild", in the lounge at Arkham Asylum, Joker cozies up next to Poison Ivy, and teasingly says, "If you hold my hand, I'll slug you!"
- In the episode "Harley's Holiday", Harley Quinn, upon returning to Arkham, says the line, "Home again, home again, jiggity jig." It's a reference to the scene where one of the toys says the same line when J.F. Sebastian comes home with a woman in Blade Runner.
- In episode "The Clock King", the streets have the names from various comics and animation artist who worked at Batman: Keith Weesner, Jack Schiff, Jerry Robinson, Norm Breygfole, Alex Toth, and Kurt Busiek.
- "Catwalk" has Selina Kyle quoting Kipling's "The Cat who Walked by Himself."
- The title card◊ for "Riddler's Reform" bears a resemblance to a famous page in Amazing Spider-Man #50.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: When Batgirl tells Catwoman that if she kills Roland Daggett she will be no better than him, Catwoman tells her to "grow up."
- Sinister Scimitar: When fighting the android Batman in "His Silicon Soul," Batman tries a surprise attack with a straight-edged sword. Android Batman then takes a curved sword from the weapons cabinet next to it and the two clash blades a few times.
- Skyward Scream: More like an "At the ceiling of the Batcave scream," in "I Am the Night", but it still works.
- Super-Stoic Shopkeeper: When The Creeper bursts into a tailor's shop, the clerk handpicked him a pair of undies and "complimented" his choice of boa without the slightest twitch. Also, the bartender in "The Man Who Killed Batman"
- Surrogate Soliloquy: The graveyard version in "Mask of the Phantasm".
- Take a Third Option: In "Almost Got 'Im," Harley Quinn captures Catwoman and ties her to a conveyor belt heading for a massive meatgrinder. Batman arrives and catches Harley, who then taunts that he can either bring her in or rescue Catwoman, but not both. Batman then... nonchalantly reaches over to the circuit breaker and shuts off the power to the grinder, to which Harley responds, "Good call—Help!"
- Take That: In addition to its Shout Outs to the Silver Age comics and Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, the episode "Legends of the Dark Knight" is renowned for its blatant Take That against the Joel Schumacher films. A flamboyant kid named Joel, wearing a feather boa and standing in front of a Shoemaker sign, gushes over Batman's "tight rubber armor" and "flashy car" which he's heard can "drive up walls." The other kids dismiss him out of hand. It is reported, however, that Schumacher himself apparently found this scene hilarious when he saw it.
- Talkative Loon: The Creeper.
- Talking to the Dead:
- Batman, as in most incarnations, speaks to his parents about his motivations, feelings, successes and failures as Batman.
- Mr. Freeze speaks to his wife, Nora Fries, who had a terminal disease and was placed in cryogenic stasis to preserve her life.
- Talk to the Fist:
"What's this? Ah, the Big Bad Bat Guy. I knew you'd ketchup
to me sooner or later. How I've relished
this meeting. You, the Dynamic Dark Knight, versus me, the Conceptual Condiment King
! Come Batman, let's see if you can cut the mustard.
(Batman delivers a single punch to CK's stomach
- Tap on the Head: Almost Once an Episode.
- Taxman Takes The Winnings: This was part of King Barlow's posthumous revenge against The Joker in the episode "Joker's Millions". Barlow left the Joker a fortune, but most of the money was fake. He figured that the Joker would quickly blow through the real money, and then the government would come for the taxes, and he'd either go to jail for tax evasion or be forced to admit that he got conned by a dead man.
- Team Rocket Wins
- Technicolor Toxin: Poison gases are usually given some loud color, generally a reddish-orange for the generic or green for Joker gas. "Moon of the Wolf" features a notable aversion with colorless gas—Batman doesn't notice until it's far too late.
- Terrible Trio: The Terrible Trio, three wealthy young men who commit crimes for the thrill and excitement.
- Terrified of Germs: One of Daggett's henchmen is nicknamed "Germs" and is scared of infection. While being chased through a hospital by Batman he accidentally traps himself in a viral pathology lab, where Batman makes him give up by threatening him with a beaker of crimson fever (which later turns out to have just been seawater).
- There Are No Therapists: Averted. Harvey was visiting a therapist to deal with his anger issues - until Thorne got a hold of his files and tried to blackmail him with them. Harley was a therapist before meeting the Joker, and is declared sane by one at the start of Harley's Holiday (unfortunately, the optimistic ending is never followed through on).
- They Called Me Mad!: The first line spoken by the man who would soon, appropriately enough, become the Mad Hatter.
- Theme Music Power-Up: In "Nothing To Fear", immediately following Batman's "I am vengeance" speech, Shirley Walker's theme kicks in, and Batman subsequently saves the day.
- Title Drop: From The Riddler's debut episode:
Nygma: You are a fool, Mockridge, to think you can get away with this. Your amoral greed is no match for an intellect like mine!
Mockridge: Oh yeah? Then tell me something Eddie... if you're so smart, why aren't you rich?
- Time Is Dangerous: Clock King uses a time-altering device to trap Batman and Robin in a "bubble" of slowed time, where seconds for them pass as hours on the outside. Batman points out that objects "outside" the bubble are moving relatively at tens of thousands of miles an hour while they are comparatively "standing still". Meaning there will be an enormous (think asteroid impact or nuclear weapon) explosion if anything collides with them in their "frozen" state. Fortunately Batman defuses the trap before it can happen.
- Time Skip: As well as having a bit of an Art Shift, The New Batman Adventures takes place roughly three years after the prior seasons of the series.
- "Joker's Favor" starts at some undetermined point in the series (Likely before the first episode) only to jump to two years later to the present.
- Tin Man: Mr. Freeze. Despite claiming that he can no longer feel any emotion, his despair at losing his wife — and his cold hatred to those who took her — is demonstrable.
- Tomato in the Mirror: A robot duplicate of Batman initially believes itself to be the real deal, and isn't happy to learn the truth.
- Tomato Surprise: The Judge in "Judgement Day" is Harvey Dent, repressed by Big Bad Harv for so long that he developed into a third personality.
- Tom Hanks Syndrome: In-universe example with Baby Doll, whose failure at a straight acting career led to her Start of Darkness.
- Tragic Monster:
- Many of the villains, but most notably Two-Face and Mr. Freeze.
- Joker plays at this in "Mad Love", but Batman reveals that it is all a lie.
- Trick-and-Follow Ploy
- Truth Serum: Red Claw injects Alfred and "Cousin Freddie" with a serum in "The Lion and the Unicorn."
- Turned Against Their Masters: The H.A.R.D.A.C super-computer and the robots it creates.
- Turn in Your Badge: "P.O.V."
- Two-Faced: Two-Face.
- Two-Headed Coin: Owned by Two-Face.
- Underwear of Power: Many of the characters (such as Batman himself), but the Condiment King wears an actual pair of underwear as part of his Cheap Costume.
- Unreliable Voiceover: "P.O.V." features three separate flashbacks, each narrated by a member of a sting operation that had gone horribly wrong and each describing their experiences in the lead-up and aftermath of the sting. Officer Wilkes is honest in his story, but misunderstood much of what he saw, so his description of Batman resembles a magical creature instead of a costumed crimefighter. Detective Harvey Bullock is aware of what happened, but is deliberately falsifying his statement to cover his own mistakes and blames it on Batman. Of the three, only Officer Renee Montoya tells an accurate story.
- Upper-Class Twit: Big Bad Harv actually calls Bruce Wayne a 'twit' when Bruce tries to calm him down.
- Vaudeville Hook: Joker gets dragged offstage by one of these in "Make 'Em Laugh". He is outraged by the thought of being disqualified from Gotham's annual stand-up comedy competition on the flimsy grounds that he never entered that a year later he seeks Disproportionate Retribution on the judges.
- Very Special Episode: "Its Never Too Late" starts off as a basic gang war story, before leaping into an anti-drug Aesop
- Vignette Episode: "Holiday Knights," "Almost Got 'Im", and "Legends of the Dark Knight".
- Villainous Breakdown:
- When Charlie, the timid accountant that the Joker has been tormenting for the entire episode, decides to stand up he grabs a bomb out of the Joker's vehicle and threatens to kill him. When he points out that this is how the Joker will die, killed by some schlub instead of some grand battle with Batman, Joker begins to actually scream for Batman to help him.
- Two-Face, Mary Dahl and Clayface (in his case, also a Superpower Meltdown) all undergo a nasty snap at some point.
- Riddler has one just because Batman will not tell him how he survived a seemingly perfect deathtrap.
- Ivy has several in her first appearance. The first is what led to her trying to kill Harvey Dent and the second was when her greenhouse burned down, just driving her deeper into madness.
- Villainous Valor
- The Penguin tops the list. In the episode "Birds of a Feather" at least, he is a courageous fighter, beating back a gang of bullies who are trying to mug him using only his umbrella. In another episode, when Batman is accusing him of having Two-Face kidnapped, the Penguin declares that he were ever going to mess with another villain, he'd do it the honorable way: face to face.
- Ra's al-Ghul. Despite being insufferably pompous, self-righteous, megalomaniacal, and a genocidal lunatic, he is a brave man, exposing himself to danger even though most of the time he is a frail old man; he refuses to see himself as a victim, and will not tolerate anyone else thinking that, either. When rejuvenated by a chemical pool called the Lazarus Pit, he becomes strong and athletic and is willing to fight anyone. When he challenges Batman to a sword fight in "The Demon's Quest (Part II)" he demands: "Are you man enough to face your better?" - and is immensely pleased that Batman is just that.
- Catwoman. She takes pride in hardly ever getting scared - and, being a Combat Pragmatist, can physically get the best of men twice her size when she really wants to.
- Villains Act, Heroes React: In "Trial," the villains of the series come to the realization that Batman did not create them, but they they created him. If Batman had never existed they would have lost their sanity and turned to crime anyway, but it was only because of crime that Batman himself was born.
- Villain Team-Up: Happens on quite a few occasions. Notable episodes include "Harley and Ivy," "Almost Got 'Im," "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne" and "Trial".
- Visual Gag:
Pamela Isley: Shouldn't we wait for your friend?
Harvey Dent: Bruce? Nah. He's always late. Probably got hung up at work.
-cut to Batman hanging by his grappling hook from a helicopter-
- Vocal Evolution:
- Kevin Conroy initially had a growl in his Batman voice and spoke with a higher, upbeat tone as Bruce Wayne. Interestingly, starting from The New Batman Adventures, his Batman voice got higher and lost the growl and he no longer used the higher voice for Bruce Wayne.
- Mark Hamill, in his debut episode as the Joker in "Joker's Favor", had a much more noticeable lisp.
- Loren Lester's voice for Robin also got lower over time. Possibly to show him aging.
- Wall Crawl: Catwoman does it by digging in with the claws in her suit.
- Wasn't That Fun?: In the episode "The Man Who Killed Batman," while Batman is presumed dead, the Joker holds a "funeral" for him, which ends with Joker tossing the man whom everyone believes killed Batman into the coffin and lowering the coffin into an acid pit while Harley Quinn plays "Amazing Grace" on kazoo. After the coffin disappears into the acid, Joker waits a beat and asks, "Well, that was fun, who's for Chinese?"
- Waxing Lyrical: The Phony Psychic Nostromos sees a bad moon rising.
- Welcome Episode: Tim Drake has it in "Sins of the Father". Since it takes place before the third skit in "Holiday Knights".
- Well-Intentioned Extremist:
- An ex-security guard for Arkham becomes Lock-up. He... well locks up who he thinks is the real source of the problems in Gotham, the lax Police Force (Gordon), the pushover Doctors (Dr. Bartholomew), mindless Bureaucrats (Mayor Hill), and the media (Summer Gleeson) that "glorifies" the Bat-villains. Ironically, he is probably right.
- After Harvey Dent is transformed into Two-Face he leads an extra-legal war on Rupert Thorne's criminal organization, robbing his operations throughout Gotham, but his ultimate plan is to expose Thorne's activities and get him arrested by the police.
- The Judge in "Judgement Day", who is determined to punish the criminals and corrupt of Gotham City.
- Ra's al Ghul is the quintessential example, carried over from the comics where his terrorist activities are motivated by his concern for the environment and the world.
- Wham Line: From "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy": "Now, what will you do with the cape and cowl?" " I'm going...to wear them!" Pulled right out of the comic it was based on too.
- "What Do They Fear?" Episode: Every Scarecrow appearance went like this, but it was taken to its peak in "Over The Edge," in which Batgirl hallucinates her own death and her father turning against Batman, whom he blames for it. Add in the much scarier redesign of the Scarecrow for the last season and it is truly horrifying.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In "Trial," Riddler is seem among the villains as a juror in their Kangaroo Court. However, he disappears during the second half of the episode and his chair in the jury is even empty.
- In "The Terrible Trio" we never find out whether Rebecca's father ever recovered from his coma. As for Rebecca herself, she is never seen again after Batman saves her.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Ruthlessly exploited. On the commentary for "Heart of Steel, Part 2" the producers explained that the censors and Bureau of Standards and Practices would not object when they harmed or destroyed robots, so not only did they use them as foes to be destroyed, but made their destruction as violent as possible. It is discussed in "His Silicon Soul": When a robotic Batman (mistakenly) believes that he has killed the real Batman, he becomes so horrified that he commits suicide. Batman later reflects on this, and wonders if the robot could have had a soul.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Parodied with Harley in "Girl's Night Out", it being a running gag that she tries to get things open by using an oversize mallet for it to do practically nothing.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Like any other Batman series, it's not clear where Gotham actually is. "The Mechanic" features a clear shot of a Gotham license plate... with the motto "The Dark Deco State".
- Averted in "Joker's Favor": A Freeze-Frame Bonus of Charlie Collin's driver license reads: Charlie Collins, Woodrust Drive, Gotham States, N. Y.
- Clues given by other episodes are all over the place though. For example, in Catwoman's debut episodes, a mountain lion habitat is a plot point, which would place Gotham more toward the south. It doesn't help that Gotham is an Expy of New York City, Chicago, and Detroit.
- White-Dwarf Starlet: Mary "Baby" Dahl. In more ways than one.
- Whole Episode Flashback: To the Wild West starring Jonah Hex.
- Whole Plot Reference: "Tyger, Tyger," to The Island of Doctor Moreau. Notable for including Selina Kyle as a literal Catwoman.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Freeze is considered immortal, and Grant Walker wishes to obtain this.
Mr. Freeze: "Old and infirm as you are, I would trade a thousand of my frozen years for your worst day."
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Scarecrow is the master of using this trope.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Subverted with Daggett who at one point just plans to shoot Batgirl and Catwoman and then throw them into vats of acid.
- Wild Card: Catwoman actually fought at Batman's side a little more often than she fought against him.
- The Worf Effect: To show the viewers just how much of a badass he is, Bane fights Killer Croc in the former's debut. Croc ends up in traction afterwards.
- Would Hit a Girl: Many villains have this attitude, most notably The Joker. Batman is smart enough to not recognize genders in a fight. In "Harley and Ivy" he comments:
Batman: Man or woman, a sick mind is capable of anything.
Poison Ivy: A very enlightened statement, Batman. We'll carve it on your headstone.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: The Joker, oddly enough, occasionally peppers his speech with Yiddish. In "The Man Who Killed Batman" he refers to Sidney as "the weaselly little gunsel [Criminal, also catamite) sitting there in our midst. The cowardly insignificant gonif [crook] who probably got lucky when Batman slipped on the slime trail this loser left behind him." In "Harliquinade," when he is listing off various ways of saying "nothing" when says that he is going to steal a bomb instead of paying for it, he closes with "bupkiss."
- You Answered Your Own Question: Zatanna: "What do you care about some leggy dame in nylons? Or did I just answer my own question?"
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Stated word for word in Feat of Clay Part I.
- Zeppelins from Another World: As part and parcel of the unique society that the creators developed, the Gotham City Police Department frequently uses blimps to patrol the city and transport personnel. They were included to create an atmosphere evocative of the 1930s, even though the producers admitted that they never really existed at all, not even in the 1930s. An armoured example appears in "Showdown." In 1883.