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Recap / Batman: The Animated Series E9 "Be a Clown"

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Insulted when the Mayor of Gotham publicly denounces both him and Batman as being "equally bad" on live television, the Joker seeks revenge by trying to murder the Mayor and his guests at his son's birthday party, slipping in by disguising himself as a magician-clown named Jekko. Unaware of the Joker's true identity, the Mayor's son, Jordan, stows away in "Jekko's" van hoping to learn his magic tricks, and the Joker manipulates him into helping the Joker when Batman comes to rescue Jordan.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Adult Fear: The Joker gets involved in kidnapping and child endangerment.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The Joker sets up shop in one of these. It comes complete with giant robotic clown and authentic Houdini water trap.
  • Animation Bump: By AKOM of all companies. As evident in the climax with the roller coaster at the end.
    Bruce Timm: We knew immediately that we didn't have the budget that Disney's "Roller Coaster Rabbit" did. We had to figure out a way of doing all that really neat fast action on a roller coaster without having to animate perspective. Norwood figured out a lot of interesting little cheats, and fortunately AKOM pulled it off, which they don't normally do.
  • Dartboard of Hate: A TV example where Joker throws a pie on his own TV as if he's hitting the Mayor's face.
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  • Disney Villain Death: Joker falls a long way from the roller coaster and splashes into the water.
    Batman: He always did know how to make an exit.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mayor Hamilton Hill (who despises Batman) appears on television claiming that Batman and the Joker are equally as bad. Joker finds this comparison so insulting that (disguised as a party clown) he crashes a birthday party held at the mayor's estate for his son, Jordan, and attempts to blow up Jordan's birthday party (along with all the guests) with a stick of dynamite in the cake, just to see how "safe" his mansion is.
  • Dynamite Candle: The Joker has a fancy looking explosive candle on a cake for the Mayor's son's birthday party. While most of the guests don't suspect anything, Bruce realizes the danger and pushes the tray holding the cake into the swimming pool, where it harmlessly detonates.
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  • Irony: Hill declares that his mansion is "safe" from the likes of the Joker, only for it to nearly get blown up by the Joker himself. Though Hill doesn't realize the irony.
  • It's All About Me: While not an extreme example, Hill isn't too concerned about the well-being of his voters after the cake explodes. He's more angry at being made a fool in front of them in his own home.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Jordan Hill is the son of Gotham City's mayor, and his dad is so into his politics that he even uses the kid's birthday bash as a political reunion. Jordan is so upset that he hides in the truck of the clown that the Hills hired for entertainment—not knowing that said clown was the Joker under a disguise.
  • Mugged for Disguise: An actual clown is hired for the party; Joker infiltrates the gathering by stealing his van and costume, leaving him tied up by the road. The cops find the guy later.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Joker's Jekko voice is clearly patterned after Ed Wynn.
  • Not Now, Kiddo:
    Jordan: [seeing Batman in Joker's deathtrap] I don't like this.
    Joker: Quiet, kid, it's a free ticket.
  • Parents as People: Mayor Hill is a competent politician, but his need to promote himself drives his son to run away.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Joker mentions this about himself.
    Joker: WHAT?!! Compare me to Batman?! I got more style, more brains! I'm certainly a better dresser!
  • Shout-Out: The poster for the magician The Great Prosciutto is a cartoonified portrait of Alan Moore.
    Joker: Now there was a ham.
  • They Don't Make Them Like They Used To: Batman escapes from the Joker's complicated deathtrap, prompting this comment from the Joker: "They don't make straitjackets like they used to. I should know!"


Example of: