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Recap / The New Batman Adventures E1 "Holiday Knights"

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An adaptation of The Batman Adventures' holiday special issue containing a series of vignettes.

December 22

Harley Quinn and Poison are hiding out in a filthy hotel. A depressed Harley bemoans that they have to spend their holiday this way and asks if they can at least get a Christmas tree.

Ivy: What?! And support the mad campaign of botanical genocide that grips this country every December?
Harley: But Christmas trees are so bright and fun and pretty. Oh, please, please, please...
Ivy: [muffles Harley with a pillow] Calm down, Harl. I've got a little plan that will make this the happiest holiday ever.

At the Vreeland estate, Veronica asks Bruce Wayne what he has planned for the holidays and who he is taking, to which Bruce says he plans to spend Christmas alone. Just then, several women try to kiss him under the mistletoe. A shadowy female figure grabs Bruce and kisses him, leaving him dazed.

As Bruce heads out, Harley and Ivy lure him into a car, and Bruce cannot seem to resist. They reveal that Ivy used a special chemical-laced lipstick on Bruce at the party that makes him unable to resist their orders (they also used it on their driver) and they plan to use him to go on a shopping spree. Arriving at the Bergduffs Department Store, Harley and Ivy shop endlessly, buying various clothes and jewelry, while an enraged Bruce helplessly pays all the checks.

Harley: [passing a Christmas tree] Please?
Ivy: No!

The chemical starts to wear off and Bruce begins resisting. As Harley prepares to give him another dose, he backs away and falls down an elevator shaft. Shocked at first, the two shrug it off and leave.

As the two drive off, they discover Batman is chasing them so they head for a toyshop. Batman searches through the pitch black and sees them atop a citadel of toys. He climbs to the top but they knock him down and flee, but Batman uses a grappling hook to send a large Christmas tree toppling onto them.

Ivy: Well, here's your stupid tree. You happy?
Harley: Yeah.

December 24

Barbara Gordon is at the mall purchasing a tie for her father. Detective Bullock and Detective Montoya are on a stakeout, with Bullock playing Santa Claus — and he is not good with kids. He does however show a soft side for Mary McSweeney, a girl whose father he arrested.

Bullock: Listen, kiddo, it's like this. I'd like to help you out, but what I mean is... [sighs] sometimes even Santa can't make every wish come true. [gives her some money] Ah, here kid, buy yourself something nice.
Mary: [hugs him] Thank you, Santa! Can I buy something for my daddy, too?
Bullock: As long as it ain't a hacksaw, why not?

Barbara spots a child shoplifting and grabs his hand, but as he runs off his hand dissolves into nothing. Montoya gets a call that there are four young shoplifters and she and Bullock give pursuit. Cornered, the four kids suddenly meld together — it is Clayface. Barbara quickly changes into her Batgirl costume and attacks him, sending him out the window into an ice skating rink. Bullock and Montoya arrive and Batgirl tells them to shoot down a Christmas display on Clayface, which shocks him into unconsciousness. Afterward, Bullock has to recover evidence, much to his dismay.

December 31

The Joker sent a broadcast claiming that his New Year's resolution is to not kill anyone for a year — so he plans to kill as many people as possible tonight.

Joker: A countdown of victims that will end at midnight unless our dear Dark Knight stops me first!

As Batman and Robin review the broadcast in Commissioner Gordon's office, Gordon says the only known victim so far was John Erickson, a GothCorp scientist specializing in Sonics. Dr. Erickson was working on a sonic weapon powerful enough to kill anyone within earshot unless wearing special mufflers. Batman deduces that the Joker will set of the bomb at the New Year's countdown in Gotham Square.

Sure enough, the Joker is there, and his goons, Mo, Lar, and Cur, have set up the bomb to go off when the bell reaches the clock. Knowing Batman will eventually show up, the Joker prepares several Joker masks. Batman and Robin arrive to find that everyone is wearing Joker masks. Batman spots the real Joker on the stage and they swoop in and fight off his henchmen. However, the Joker bashes Batman's head with a container of champagne and one of his goons gets a hold of Robin.

As the bell is rising to ring in the New Year, Batman grabs a champagne bottle and sprays the controls but Joker shoots him in the arm. Nonetheless, the controls short-circuit and the bell falls down onto the Joker (who weakly says "ouch").

January 1, 1:55 AM

Gordon arrives at a tavern, where a few weary revelers are chased out after one last rendition of "Auld Lang Syne." The barkeep thinks Batman might not show up after a rough night, but Gordon is sure Batman will not break tradition. Batman then enters with a bandaged arm (from Joker's gunshot) and sits down with Gordon. They sip coffee and chat, and then Batman vanishes, leaving behind the money. Gordon heads home as Batman swings off.

Gordon: One of these years, I'm going to beat him to the check.


  • Adaptation Distillation: The episode omits the Mr. Freeze story from the comic because Freeze's status quo by the time of The New Batman Adventures was quite different by that point. Tim Drake also appears in the New Years' segment while he had yet to be introduced in the DCAU when the comic came out.
  • An Asskicking Christmas: The entire anthology consists of the Bat-family kicking butt during the holidays, with the second segment taking place on Christmas Eve.
  • Art Evolution: This episode marks the introduction of the revised character designs for the characters in the DCAU.
  • Book Ends: The episode opens in front of Joe's Tavern, which is where Batman and Gordon meet at the end of the episode.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Ivy and Harley are pushed off the screen by another Ivy during their Shopping Montage.
  • Brick Joke: Harley finally receives her Christmas tree, courtesy of Batman.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • The three carolers in Joe's Tavern, unremarkable in the original comic, are turned into caricatures of the Batman: TAS directors Bruce Timm, Glen Murakami, and Shane Giles in the animation.
    • A somewhat downplayed example in the football game Joker interrupts—in the comic, a player is named after (letterer Richard) Starkings. The animation changes this to (Kevin) Altieri, another director.
  • Disney Death: Harley and Ivy leave after Bruce falls down an elevator shaft, which gives him time to change clothes and go after them.
  • Death Glare: Bruce when forced to pay for Harley and Ivy's shopping spree and be their Human Pack Mule, especially when the gifts he's forced to buy for them become more and more pricey.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The Joker announces his New Year's Eve plan by interrupting a football game broadcast. His opening comments suggest that only that particular program was affected (except not really).
  • Dope Slap: Montoya does this to Harvey.
    Brat: Hey, you're not the real Santy Claus!
    Bullock: Sure I am! Wanna see my gun?
  • Drugged Lipstick: At the office party, Poison Ivy kisses Bruce and he takes her and Harley on a shopping spree that costs him thousands of dollars, while being driven by a chauffeur with a blank look on his face and a lipstick mark. When the effects start to wear off, Harley applies the lipstick and tries to kiss him, but Bruce backs up and falls into an elevator shaft, which he uses to change into Batman when they're out of sight.
  • The Fashionista: Ivy shows herself off as one of those in the shopping montage. Harley, on the other hand, is something of a fashion tragedy.
  • Forceful Kiss: Poison Ivy grabs Bruce and steals a quick kiss from him at the party. It is revealed she used a special lipstick to mind-control him so she and Harley can use him to go on a shopping spree.
  • Human Pack Mule: Bruce Wayne is reduced to this under Harley and Ivy's control. He's not happy about it.
  • Informed Judaism: It's revealed in the comic that Harley is actually Jewish, another reason for Ivy to find Harley's whining for a Christmas tree bewildering and annoying. This does not carry over to the adaptation. In fact, the part where she says, "And Happy Hanukkah, chump!" is replaced with "And Happy New Year, chump!"
  • Jerkass: Harvey Bullock. He made a kid cry and calls him a "big cry baby," although one of the kids was a brat.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bullock is sweet to a little girl, who's the daughter of "Mad Dog" McSweeny whom Harvey had sent "up the river three months ago."
    Bullock: [gives money to her] Here, kid. Buy yourself somethin' nice.
    Mary: Thank you, Santa! Can I buy something for my daddy, too?
    Bullock: As long as it ain't a hacksaw, why not?note 
  • Lost in a Crowd: The Joker hands out Joker masks to the crowd so he'll be tougher to find.
  • Merry Christmas in Gotham: Harley and Ivy kidnap and mind-control Bruce Wayne, the Joker tries to set off a bomb at New Years, and Clayface turns into multiple pickpockets to steal from holiday shoppers, leading to the line "shoot the Santa!" So, instead of going Lighter and Softer, they went Denser and Wackier.
  • Mood Whiplash: After Bruce falls down the elevator shaft, Harley acts shocked and horrified for a moment then shrugs it off — they were planning to kill him anyway when they were done with him and still had his credit cards, so it's no big deal.
  • Mugging the Monster: Let's just say Harley and Ivy might have gotten away with their crime if they hadn't brainwashed Bruce Wayne into funding their shopping spree.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Hilariously subverted when Bruce Wayne falls down an open elevator shaft.
    Harley: Omigod! Omigod! Omigod! We killed him! [Beat] Oh well...
    Poison Ivy: We were gonna do it anyway.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: One Kids' WB! promo for The New Batman/Superman Adventures featured the scene with Harley and Ivy dragging the mind-controlled Bruce into their limo with Ivy saying "Another season, another reason for making trouble." The "another season, another reason" line actually comes from Calendar Girl in "Mean Seasons."
  • New Year Has Come: In the last segment, the Joker threatens to gas all the revelers in Gotham Square precisely at midnight. Batman, naturally, saves the day and afterwards meets Commissioner Gordon for coffee (a New Year's tradition carried over from the mainstream comics).
  • New Year's Resolution: Darkly parodied:
    The Joker: Ahem, starting tonight at midnight, I, your loving uncle Joker, do solemnly vow not to kill anyone for a whole year. Which means I'm going to have to work extra fast to bump off a few more of you today.
  • Not So Stoic: Batman visibly winces when the New Year's bell drops on Joker.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Harley and Ivy scream in terror when they see Batman coming after them.
    • Harvey has to recover the evidence from Clayface.
      Montoya: Roll up your sleeves.
      Harvey: Ho. Ho. Friggin' ho.
    • Joker sees the giant New Year's bell about to drop right on him.
      Joker: [whispering] Oh, no.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Bruce says this when Ivy and Harley realize the mind-control lipstick has worn off on him and Harley approaches him to give him another shot of it.
  • Pretty in Mink: A socialite wears a fur wrap at the Christmas party Bruce attends (and is part of the group that goes after him when he's under the mistletoe), and Ivy models a fur coat in the Shopping Montage.
  • Running Gag: In the first short, Harley really wants a Christmas tree. She gets one in the end.
  • The Scrooge: Downplayed with Ivy. She doesn't seem to hate Christmas itself as much as she hates the massive deforestation that comes with the tradition of Christmas trees.
  • Series Continuity Error: Clayface is defeated through electrocution, even though it was established in his first appearance that electricity does nothing to him. However, it is stated that electricity can't kill him, only incapacitate him.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: Montonya's outfit when going undercover is a sexy elf suit.
  • Shopping Montage: Done with Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Bruce Wayne carrying the bags. He's under the effects of Ivy's mind-control pollen.
  • Socialite: A bunch chase after Bruce when he stands under the mistletoe.
  • Symbol Swearing: In the original comic, after being pummeled by a tree, Ivy says to Harley, "Well, here's your $@!**% Christmas tree! You happy?" Of course, this being on a children's programming time slot, she instead simply says, "Well, here's your stupid tree! You happy?"
  • Sympathetic Wince: Batman gives one when the New Year’s bell lands on the Joker.
  • There Is Only One Bed: In Harley and Ivy's crappy motel.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The Joker has a look that screams "Oh, this isn't good" moments before the New Year's bell lands on him.
  • Three Shorts: The episode features three stories, plus a postscript of Batman and Gordon's annual New Year's toast.
  • Three Stooges Shout-Out: This is the first appearance of "Mo", "Lar", and "Cur", a trio of Joker henchmen who resemble the Stooges.
  • Toilet Humour: Bullock calls Clayface "Frosty the Lawn Cigar", "lawn cigar" being slang for animal excrement left on the ground and the statement addressing that Clayface looks like a snowman made of feces.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Unless the New Year's partiers were too drunk to recognize the Joker (he wasn't even in disguise), or to notice he was giving them masks of his own face to wear (for all they knew, the masks could have been laced with dangerous chemicals, permanently fused to their skin, or even set to explode, or all three). There was no excuse. After the hundreds of times he tried to mass murder the city, one would assume the population to recognize him by now.
  • Vignette Episode: This episode is one.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Literally with Ivy and Harley.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: The Joker has bombs set to go off when the New Year ball drops at midnight.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Harley and Poison Ivy aren't shocked or regretful at all when it seems like they just accidentally killed Bruce Wayne. Poison Ivy even says they were going to kill him anyway.