Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / Batman: The Animated Series

Go To

  • Acceptable Professional Targets: The Clock King was a rigidly structured accountant. The one time he deviated from his set schedule, Disaster Dominoes ensued and he lost his business and gained a grudge.
  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • The Foe Yay is evident in this conversation from "Almost Got 'Im":
      [The Joker, The Penguin, Two-Face, and Killer Croc are playing cards.]
      Penguin: So, I hear You-Know-Who nailed the Mad Hatter last week.
      Joker: Yeah, he sure gets around for just one guy.
    • Advertisement:
    • In "Double Talk," Scarface makes more than a few mentions of his "coming-out party."
  • Anti-Climax Boss: While Mr. Freeze is more than a match for Batman throughout "Heart Of Ice", after a brief fight during the climax, Batman quickly defeats him by spilling a thermos of hot chicken soup over Freeze's containment suit helmet. The massive temperature difference cracks the glass and leaves him powerless, struggling and gasping for breath on the floor.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Not everyone was a fan of Poison Ivy getting green skin and looking more plantlike in The New Batman Adventures. One tie-in comic explained this: the real Ivy had the sense to leave Gotham, but made sure to have multiple clones there to fool Batman and "keep Harley company". She's in hiding with a fellow scientist, presumably after the events of "House & Garden".
  • Awesome Music: Specific examples are tricky to pinpoint being heavily tied to an episode's overall composition, but it is suffice to say the series is unique in having a completely symphonic score in each episode. The movie-quality music played a large factor in the noir aesthetic, a feat that sadly has never been repeated save for a select few in modern western animation.
      Advertisement:
    • Of course, if you want one simple and indisputable single example, you cannot go past the iconic opening theme.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Critters" serves the role as this type of episode for fans, which is why it is disliked by them.
  • Broken Base: The fourth season of Batman: TAS (The New Batman Adventures) is divisive among fans. A significant number of fans consider it to be a hit while others consider it to be a miss.
  • Can't Un-Hear It:
  • Catharsis Factor: Every time the Joker is made to squirm or pay for his misdeeds:
    • Batman letting him dangle for a few minutes over a vat of heated metal, and smiling at the thought of letting him fry before pulling him up.
    • Charles Collins terrifying him into giving up the man's personal information by using a fake bomb against him.
    • Harley beating the shit out of him for ditching her after he inherited millions and leaving her to rot in Arkham.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • "Girls' Night Out", the episode of the DC Animated Universe featuring Batgirl and Supergirl squaring off against Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Livewire is commonly thought to be a Superman: The Animated Series episode, but in reality is officially a The New Batman Adventures episode. It appears as such on DC Universe and iTunes, as well as the Batman: TAS Volume 4 DVD rather than Volume 3 of Superman: TAS (which included the last third of the series, including Supergirl's debut).
    • Some fans believed that Mary Kay Bergman's death is the reason why Tara Strong replaced her as Batgirl for The New Batman Adventures, except The New Batman Adventures started airing in 1997, two years before Bergman's death and Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero (intended for a release earlier that same year as a tie-in for Batman & Robin) came out in 1998, meaning the recast predated Bergman's death and had nothing to do with it.
    • Those who credit Bruce Timm and Paul Dini as the "heads" of the series. It was actually Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski as co-producers starting out, but Radomski was more involved with the art direction than the story writing. Alan Burnett was in charge of the plotting team, and while later credited as a producer, Paul Dini was mainly a writer at the time. Although subsequent DCAU installments were just Timm, Dini and Burnett, so fans can be forgiven mostly for believing that Timm and Dini were the heads of the series.
  • Complete Monster:
    • In both the show and the Game Boy game based on it, The Joker shows why he's one of Batman's worst enemies.
      • Show: The Joker is Batman's Arch-Enemy. Before becoming a Monster Clown, the Joker was a mobster and hitman who murdered Andrea Beaumont's father, Carl, over money owed to the latter's employers; a murder he committed even after the debt was repaid. This set in motion Andrea becoming the supervillain Phantasm and took away Batman's one chance of a normal, happy life. Following his transformation into the utterly psychotic Joker, he now commits crimes more often for fun than he does for any profit. Samples of his crimes include repeatedly abusing his girlfriend Harley Quinn; trying to bomb a child's birthday party; setting up Catwoman to go through a grinder; psychologically tormenting Charles "Charlie" Collins for two years, before using him in a scheme to blow up much if not all of the entire Gotham Police Department, which would kill Charlie as well; murdering countless people with Joker venom; using Ace in an attempt to drive 70 million people insane; attempting to nuke Gotham City; and going on a rampage with a Kill Sat. Perhaps his most infamous crime was when he brutally tortured Tim Drake into insanity and implanted a microchip in the child so that the Joker could take over Tim's body and perform a Post-Mortem Comeback.
      • Game Boy game: The Joker plots to smuggle a bunch of teddy bears containing bombs filled with Joker Venom into Gotham to have them go off and kill many people, openly telling Batman about his plan in advance so as to lure Batman in an attempt to kill him. The Joker later shoots the Batplane out of the sky in an attempt to kill Batman and Robin, not caring about potential collateral deaths caused by the crash.
    • Batman: The Animated Series: Grant Walker, from "Deep Freeze", is a seemingly affable theme park mogul who seeks only to prolong his life by way of Mr. Freeze's ice technology, but in truth harbors much darker intentions. Kidnapping Freeze and using his comatose wife as a bargaining chip to convince Freeze to give Walker his icy, undying condition, Walker soon enough reveals his plan to use a massive freeze cannon to plunge the entire world into a new Ice Age for years. Walker hopes to kill off all of humanity except for his "chosen few", then repopulate the planet with his own Garden of Eden, and though his plan is foiled, Walker returns in The Batman Adventures, where he kidnaps several scientists to cure himself of a lethal condition, planning to kill them all and then restart his scheme to wipe out humankind.
  • Contested Sequel: The New Batman Adventures Retool is this among DCAU fans, with many arguments about its character design choices and writing quality. The only general agreements seem to be that The Joker's redesign was too much, Penguin's design was an improvement but others like Riddler's were a downgrade, and the Scarecrow's design was absolutely terrifying.
    • On the other hand, the fans that prefer the Retool state that the redesigns allowed for more fluid animation as well as enjoying Kids' WB!'s more lax censorship.
    • Another criticism is that TNBA had more Batfamily or villain-centric storylines than ones focused on Bruce. Many note that Justice League and even Batman Beyond fleshed out Bruce's personality better than his own sequel series did. Another criticism is that Bruce obviously Took a Level in Jerkass in TNBA whereas back in Batman: TAS, Bruce managed to be serious but still had lightness, warmth and a generally friendly nature to Alfred and Robin. While the DCAU eventually fit this as part of Batman's overall tragic Myth Arc, the fact that the episodes rarely addressed this directly and have Batman reflect on his own changes makes some feel that it was highly contrived.
  • Covered Up: Harley Quinn's performance of "Say That We're Sweethearts Again" in the Batman: TAS episode "Harlequinade" was so hilariously (and chillingly) apt for her that many assume it was written for the show. In fact it was from an obscure 1944 musical called "Meet the People". Paul Dini, Harley's creator, and Arleen Sorkin, Harley's inspiration and voice, were driving together through Los Angeles right after the riots and were feeling a bit nervous, so Sorkin sang the song to him to cheer him up. Dini was determined that Harley should sing it and eventually bought the rights.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Scarecrow's redesign in The New Batman Adventures. He went from a Laughably Evil guy in a scarecrow costume to a corpse-like figure in dark Western gear and with a face that the creators explicitly compared to Leatherface. Did it have much to do with being a scarecrow anymore? No, but it was terrifying beyond all reason, and the fans absolutely loved it.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • In "The Lion and the Unicorn" Alfred tells Bruce he's in London, in which Bruce asks 'London England?' and Alfred replies 'There is only one', though there is a city of London in Ontario, Canada, and at least 8 Londons in the United States, among others. Though, as Alfred is British, this statement can be taken as him either not knowing about them, or simply regarding London, England as the only TRUE London.
    • In "Perchance to Dream" Batman figures out he is trapped in a dream when he is unable to read the books or newspapers; he later explains this by saying that the parts of the brain responsible for dreaming and reading are on different hemispheres and that it's impossible to read in a dream. This is a myth- the brain is far more complex than that, and it is entirely possible and completely commonplace for people to read in dreams.
  • Crossover Ship: It's become somewhat popular to pair Harley Quinn with Clopin from the Disney's version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the pairing is even called "JesterBells"). In many cases, they're essentially the male and female versions of each other (especially now that Harley's being portrayed as more of an antiheroine by DC Comics), and many people have pointed out that Clopin would treat Harley way better than the Joker treats her.
  • Cry for the Devil:
    • Done brilliantly in "Heart of Ice" which focuses on Mr. Freeze and turns him into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. Mr. Freeze is almost completely unemotional, coldhearted and willing to kill anyone who stops him from getting revenge. But his backstory shows that he was trying to save his wife Nora when a heartless exec (who's lauded as a philanthropist) destroyed the lab for wasting money, permanently altering Freeze and nearly killing his wife. The show treats him with an enormous amount of sympathy (his famous "Never again" monologue) and the target of his vendetta, while not dying, gets his long overdue justice. The episode is always rated as being one of if not the best episodes of the series and benchmark for animated television — there's a reason it won an Emmy.
    • Baby-Doll is another example, a woman who has a deformity where she would never grow physically beyond a child, and goes to desperate lengths to try and bring some of the time she was happy back.
      Baby Doll: (looking at a reflection of herself fully-grown) Look! That's me in there. The real me! There I am! ...But it's not really real, is it? Just made up and pretend, like my family, and my life, and everything else. Why couldn't you just let me make-believe! (shoots at Batman's reflections before facing her adult-form mirror... and firing) I didn't mean to...
    • "His Silicon Soul" introduces the Duplicant Batman, an Iron Woobie who you can't help but feel sorry for after his Tomato in the Mirror moment. Especially when he thinks he's killed Bruce. Realizing what Hardac built him to do will kill more innocent people, he sacrifices himself to foil it. Bruce wonders if this meant the duplicate had a soul of his own.
      Bruce: It seems it was more than wires and microchips after all. Could it be it had a soul, Alfred? A soul of silicon, but a soul nonetheless?
    • About the only villains in this series that don't elicit sympathy are a Dr. Moreau expy (though his creation did), the Sewer King, Firefly, and The Joker.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Dick was already pretty popular as Robin. Once he became Nightwing, however, the fans couldn't get enough of him, even though he was Demoted to Extra.
    • Harley Quinn was introduced as a goofy bit-player, but hit it off so well with both the writers and the audience that she became a regular and a Canon Immigrant in the mainline comic books.
    • Lock-Up aka Lyle Bolton, who was also popular enough to be brought into the comics, was noteworthy for having a heroic goal (though very unheroic methods) for a villain, and beating the caped crusader himself in a fight. Barehanded.
    • "Thriftie", a clothing store worker who only appeared in the episode, "Beware the Creeper", where she watches completely stone-faced as The Creeper ransacks the store looking for a new superhero outfit, snarking at his comments the whole time.
    • The Clock King gained such a ridiculously outspoken fanbase on 4chan's comics and cartoons board that it's most likely what led to the introduction of a new version of the character in the comics, and possibly contributing to his other appearances before that. /co/'s power to uplift characters with dumb concepts that somehow make them powerful is truly frightening.
    • Before this series, Mr. Freeze was just a generic ice-themed villain. The writers re-imagined him as an Anti-Villain with a highly sympathetic backstory, lifting him among the most popular of Batman's villains. Even the much-reviled Batman & Robin took inspiration from it! He had two episodes in the original series, but was still popular enough for his own featured direct to video movie. In the entire DCAU continuity, he appears in a grand total of just five installments.
    • The Creeper's one episode, "Beware The Creeper", did a lot to boost his popularity even outside the series.
    • Baby Doll is arguably the most popular of the Batman: TAS exclusive villains.
    • And then there's Clayface's "daughter" Annie in "Growing Pains". She even made a cameo in the Li'l Gotham comics!
    • The Scarecrow only appeared in a few episodes of The New Batman Adventures, but his Creepy Awesome design combined with Jeffrey Combs' bone-chilling voice acting made him one of the most popular versions of the Scarecrow in all media.
    • Charlie Collins, a white collar worker who was tormented by the Joker, only to turn the tables on him and make him BEG FOR BATMAN.
    • The Condiment King only appeared as a joke villain in the opening of "Make Em Laugh", but due to the utterly ridiculous nature of the character, he proved popular enough to make appearances in the mainstream DCU and cameos in The LEGO Batman Movie. He even became a playable character in Lego Batman 3.
  • Fair for Its Day: The show's portrayal of sexual harassment can come across as quite mild today, as there is no way Batman would be able to say "Quiet, or papa spank!" to Catwoman in an aggressive tone today. However, whenever a villain, or a generic mook, tries to sexually harass Catwoman or another female villain, they are clearly portrayed as in the wrong, and they often suffer a serious beating at the hands of said victim, which was quite rare as sexual harassment was not a known social issue.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • The fans really hate "I've Got Batman in My Basement" for being childish and having a sharp contrast with the tone of other episodes. Bruce Timm himself is not fond of it.
    • "Critters" also receives this treatment due to being perceived by the fans as being overly campy and full of lame puns. However, the producers themselves have a soft spot for it and did a commentary on the DVD to defend it (though Bruce Timm notes up front that he completely understands why it's not everyone's cup of tea).
  • Fashion-Victim Villain:
    • The Riddler after the Retool. His costume makes him looks like a green ballerino with purple shoes. And he shaved his head. Try not to laugh. The good news is that he only ever appeared in small parts and cameos, never getting his own episodes again because the team found it hard to find puzzles smart and convincing enough for the character.
    • Invoked with the Condiment King. He wears a truly ridiculous costume that looked like it was pulled out of a Goodwill dumpster, has a pickle headpiece, and literally wears underwear as part of his costume. This was an Intended Audence Reaction however, as he was only doing it because the Joker brainwashed him.
  • Foe Yay: Harley Quinn and Batman, but strictly one-way. Batman has never shown any interest in her, but in "Harley's Holiday" she seemed quite attracted to him. For those who interpret her relationship with the Joker as abusive Dom/sub (as opposed to just plain old abusive) "Harlequinade" can give off this vibe as well, with her "misbehaving" throughout the mission so Batman will "punish" her. Notably when he yells at her she responds with "Yes, Sir" the same response she gives the Joker when he yells at her.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In "Harlequinade", Harley Quinn tries to kill the Joker with a machine gun, but it turns out to be a toy gun, with a flag saying "RAT-TAT-TAT" popping out when she pulls the trigger. They reconcile afterwards. In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the Joker dies by getting shot with a not-so-fake flag gun by the brainwashed Tim Drake.
    • In "Make 'Em Laugh", the Joker uses microchips to alter the minds of innocents to make them criminals. Then comes Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
    • In "Two-Face: Part 1", Bruce joked that he'll steal Grace if Harvey doesn't marry her soon, and Harvey joked that he'll have Bruce prosecuted if he does. Then after Harvey learns that Thorne bailed his men due to a technicality, he reverts to Big Bad Harv and tried to punch Bruce and called him a "rich twit" when he tried to calm him down (likely Big Bad Harv took Bruce's joke seriously). In an issue of The Batman Adventures, Harvey was on the verge of being cured when the Joker convinced him that Grace is cheating on him with Bruce. His evil personality takes hold once again and kidnaps Grace. Batman and Robin foil his plan and send him back to Arkham. Grace, meanwhile, realizes that Dent will never be cured, and leaves him.
      • Furthermore, history would repeat in Batman: The Telltale Series, where part of Harvey's Face–Heel Turn occurs when he suspects (rightly or wrongly) that his girlfriend, Selena Kyle, is cheating on him with Bruce.
    • "The Laughing Fish" has this line from Harvey Bullock to Harley about the Joker, which turns out to be even more horribly true than he could have ever thought.
    Harvey Bullock: Come on, he was a demented, abusive, psychotic maniac.
    • Many fans can pretty much relate to Batman's line "I don't want this." after the unnecessarily dark films and shows like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the recently revealed trailer of Titans (2018) has been produced and premiered.
  • Gateway Series: The series served as the introduction of the overall Batman mythos for a lot of fans and provided many people's first glimpse of the less well-known parts of his Rogues Gallery, namely Ra's Al Ghul and Scarecrow (neither of whom had appeared in movies at the time or in the Adam West shownote ), as well as Killer Croc, Scarface and Ventriloquist, and redefined and updated the likes of Mr. Freeze to the point that it quickly became his origin in the comics and wider media.
    • It also served as one for the production team as this series served as the first building block and cornerstone of the DCAU.
  • Genius Bonus: Carl Rossum, the robotics expert who appeared in the "Heart of Steel" two-parter and its sequel episode, "His Silicon Soul", is an homage to Czech science-fiction author and playwright Karel Capek, as well as his most famous work, R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), which is credited with introducing the word "robot" to the English language.
  • Genre Turning Point: For both superhero shows and family-friendly animation as a whole. It brought superhero shows out of their own Animation Age Ghetto and also showed that it was possible to have dark, mature and intelligent storylines and complex characters while still being appropriate for children, something that was followed up on by the other series in the DC Animated Universe, as well as numerous other shows.
  • Growing the Beard: While it started off very high quality, early episodes were more action-adventure oriented than the plot oriented nature the series became famous for. "Heart of Ice" is generally regarded as the episode that gave the series its well known popularity in addition to being one of the best episodes of the entire series and legendary for reinventing Mr. Freeze as a tortured soul who lost his wife. "Two-Face" parts 1 and 2, before "Heart of Ice" in production order, also has a profoundly grown beard.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
  • Another episode worsened by Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is "I Am the Night", where Batman angsts over the possibility of his friends and allies being hurt...including Robin (at the time of the episode, Robin is Dick and not Tim, but still).
  • Yet another one episode worsened by Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is "Joker's Favor". Charlie Collins' Heroic Heelization Speech is horribly right, because Batman will not be the one who brings out Joker's demise:
    Charlie Collins: ... I found this blown out of the van. (reveals a Joker bomb) This is how it ends, Joker. No big schemes. No grand fight to the finish with the Dark Knight.
    • "Kinda funny. Ironic, really." Looks like Tim destroyed a man's dream.
  • As well as in "Dreams in Darkness", one of Batman's fear toxin-induced hallucinations is the Joker appearing in the Bat Cave. Come Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, it becomes all too real.
  • Batman's origin story in this continuity (as well as others), as of July 20, 2012. In this continuity, Batman's parents were murdered by a thug (implied to be Joe Chill, but he was never named) shortly after seeing a film. The film he saw? The Mask of Zorro, which was the film that a young Bruce imitates a scene from while walking with his parents. Flash forward to July 20, 2012, several people were killed by a madman in a shooting at an AMC theater in Aurora, Colorado. The movie that was being shown on that date? A midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
  • In "Paging the Crime Doctor", Rupert Thorne needs heart surgery. His actor, John Vernon, died in 2005 of complications from heart surgery.
  • "Showdown" first aired in 1995 shortly after the death of the episode's guest actress Elizabeth Montgomery earlier that year.
  • Meta example from "I Am the Night" - Batman laments the fact he's merchandised to death, on t-shirts and action figures, despite his intent. Not only was the cartoon used to sell a toy line, but not long after Warner began a massive ad campaign to push Batman toys, shirts, and other merchandise onto children.
  • Both Batman: Arkham Knight and season 3 of Arrow do this with "Over the Edge":
    • In Knight among other things, the main villain is Scarecrow, someone hallucinates the death of Barbara Gordon as a result of Scarecrow's fear toxin, Commissioner Gordon gets pissed at Batman for Barbara's double life, Bruce Wayne is outed as Batman, and Bruce Wayne is possibly dead. Only, unlike "Over the Edge", where it's All Just a Dream (being said hallucination and it being Barbara's), everything outside of Barbara's "death" really happened in the Arkhamverse.
    • During season 3 of Arrow, Quentin Lance is kept in the dark of the death of his daughter Sara by his other daughter Laurel and Ollie. When he finds out, he similarly started to get angry and when Ra's starts framing Ollie and even reveals Ollie is the Arrow, Quentin similarly started on a crusade against Ollie, including leading cops to lay siege to the Arrowcave. The only thing saving Ollie's identity is Roy deciding to take the fall as the Arrow after Quentin arrests Ollie.
    • Worse still isn't even from an Alternate Continuity, but rather Sequel Series Batman Beyond episode as the episode "Eyewitness", sees Barbara Gordon herself fulfills the role that she feared her father would play in the former before Terry proves that Spellbinder faked Mad Stan's death. Though likely her bad relationship with Bruce clouded her judgement.
  • Compare Joker's behavior towards Charlie Collins in "Joker's Favor" over a minor incident to how modern day internet trolls often stalk, harass and even threaten their targets, which often results from the troll becoming severely offended over a minor issue.
  • The Scarecrow's method of delivering his fear toxin in "Fear of Victory" takes shades of this post 9-11 when one recalls news stories of individuals receiving suspicious letters with no return address laced with a strange white powdery substance.
  • In "Deep Freeze", Mr. Freeze is horrified by Grant Walker's desire to be like him, knowing that while he desires only to revive his wife, all Walker cares about is his warped idea for a perfect world. Then came New 52, a contested reboot of the DC Comics universe where one of many controversial changes made was that they retconned Mr. Freeze's origin so that Nora was never his wife, rendering him just another psychopath with no redeeming qualities. What's worse is that Mr. Freeze's wife Nora originated in the DCAU before she was incorporated into Freeze's backstory in the comics, so the New 52 Mr. Freeze having that aspect of his origin stripped of its humanizing qualities can be seen as a slap to the face of the incarnation that made Mr. Freeze a popular villain in the first place.
  • At the end of "Growing Pains", Batman says to Robin (Tim Drake) that sometimes there are no happy endings. Robin nods sadly and silently. Now take Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker into account.
  • At the start of "Batgirl Returns", Barbara has a dream when she starts making out with Batman. The animated version of Batman: The Killing Joke has an actual sex scene between the two.
  • Pretty much all the slapstick between Harley and Joker before "Mad Love," wherein it's revealed the low brow comedy is basically Joker getting off on torturing Harley for giggles.
  • "Harlequinade" has the Joker planning a nuclear terrorist attack on Gotham City. Need we say more?
  • In "Heart of Steel" and "His Silicon Soul" Batman had to end the threat to humanity by the H.A.R.D.A.C. computer A.I. Years later in the comics, Batman himself creates an even more terrible A.I. called Brother EYE.
  • While Mister Freeze's condition was horrible enough, in more recent times we have learned that physical touch (which he can never have, due to being in his suit 24/7) is not only highly beneficial but likely necessary, as what's now known as "touch starvation" can lead to other symptoms such as depression and anxiety. This takes his condition from Blessed with Suck to a straight up And I Must Scream.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Two instances in this series regarding characters voiced by Jeff Bennett:
    • In "Almost Got 'Im", Joker mocks Poison Ivy's use of "exploding pumpkins." A few years, Mark Hamill would be voicing the Hobgoblin, whose signature weapon is the pumpkin bomb.
      • Also in that same episode, Ivy was inexplicably barefoot in the flashback. Now it's perfectly normal for her to be barefoot.
    • "Joker's Wild" won't be the last time Bruce Wayne and The Joker get friendly with each other.
      • Also mixed with harsher in hindsight but Charlie won't be the last person to owe The Joker a favor...
    • Alfred's "Are we developing an interest in rock and roll, sir?" from "On Leather Wings", after Atop the Fourth Wall started the Running Gag of Batman hating rock and roll.
    • During the flashbacks in "Robin's Reckoning," the young Dick Grayson is credited as "Robin - Age 10." Though off by a few years, it's hard not to think of the "Dick Grayson - Age 12" meme that spawned from All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder.
    • In "Eternal Youth", Alfred and a friend of his go to a spa secretly run by Poison Ivy, where the people eat green food, and then Ivy turns them into trees, which becomes funny if you imagine that the spa is called Nilbog.
    • In "Beware the Gray Ghost", Bruce hands the titular character's actor what is presumably a home video re-release of the long-lost Gray Ghost serial, probably on VHS. Thing is, the design of the box, specifically the blue borders, makes it look exactly like a modern-day Blu-ray case!
    • Admittedly, a little dark, but in "Legends of the Dark Knight", Michael McKean voiced the 1950s version of The Joker and the episode later had a segment based on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. McKean later appears in the actual animated adaptation of the latter as Dr. Wolper. If you're familiar with either version, then you know Wolper's fate and who kills him.
    • In "Dreams in Darkness", Batman thought he saw the Joker's reflection on the Bat-computer. Years later in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the Joker really does visit the Batcave.
    • In "Harley's Holiday", Veronica Vreeland tells Bruce he needs a woman in his life to keep him up on fashion trends. About ten years later, it would become more common than not for young, wealthy men like Bruce to do that for themselves.
    • Lieutenant Hackle in "P.O.V." looks very much like an older Apollo Justice. He even uses the same Giving Someone the Pointer Finger pose!
    • "Deep Freeze" could be titled as "Batman predicted BioShock" due to the similarities between both stories and setting. A rich, ambitious, Objectivist magnate creates an Art Deco Underwater City for him and those he invites to escape the corrupt surface world. There, he and his fellow members create a plethora of advanced robotics and genetic engineering that inevitably results in the end of the city and its founder. The fact Grant Walker and Andrew Ryan look like an evil Walt Disney helps the comparison.
    • "Christmas with the Joker" becomes this after watching "The Man Who Killed Batman". During the Joker's funeral services for Batman (and Sid), he suggests hitting Batman in the face with a cyanide pie. Guess he thought of it AFTER he'd already successfully nailed him with a pie in the earlier episode.
    • In "Tyger, Tyger", Jim Cummings voices a cat monster.
    • "Trial" has Batman dealing with his villains at Arkham itself.
    • Poison Ivy's voice-actress, Diane Pershing, over a decade earlier did a series (and film) in which her character had to contend with a vamp with red hair trying to possess her boyfriend.
      • What's more, one time that same redhaired vamp had to struggle against a Man-Eating Plant. And the voice actress of that character had voiced Batgirl in a 1977 Batman cartoon.
    • "See No Evil" is one of the first acting roles by Elizabeth Moss as the daughter of the invisible villain. Fast forward to The Invisible Man (2020).
  • Ho Yay: Matt Hagen and Teddy Lupin in "Feat of Clay", two friends who are definitely Ambiguously Gay with all of Teddy's fawning over Matt's violent mood swings being very much like an abusive relationship.
  • Inferred Holocaust:
    • In "Nothing to Fear", a zeppelin crashes into a skyscraper and blows up. Granted, this was after office hours, so the building would presumably have been at least mostly empty, but any destruction on that scale downtown will realistically claim some victims.
      • The lights were on in the building. It's unlikely it was empty. . . .
    • The Mad Bomber's large-scale terrorism in "Beware the Gray Ghost" is a similar phenomenon, where we also see a downtown skyscraper fall. Again, he strikes at night, but there must certainly be significant collateral damage.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Many, many of the villains — their Day in the Limelight really shows just how much their lives suck.
    • Lloyd Ventris from "See No Evil", who is a criminal, a scumbag, a thief, and a liar, but whose entire motivation was to see his daughter.
    • Jervis Tetch, AKA The Mad Hatter. It's hard not to feel for him when he's being so damn Adorkable around Alice. Especially after he manages to ask her out.
    • Mr. Freeze went from Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds to this in "Cold Comfort", because of his wife leaving him and his body having deteriorated entirely except for his head.
    • Clayface: obscenely egotistical, completely devoid of empathy and with a nasty temper to boot yet his horrible physical mutations are so painful to watch that you can't help feeling sorry for him.
    • Arnold Stromwell from "It's Never Too Late". He is a mob boss involved in illegal drug manufacturing and was a delinquent since his youth. On the other hand, because of his criminal activities, he's now estranged with his wife and his son. He's also deeply haunted by an incident during his childhood, when his brother lost his leg saving him from a train. The plot of his episode is that his criminal empire is threatened by Rupert Thorne and a conflict finally erupt when Stromwell's son goes missing. However, Thorne isn't the culprit. Stromwell is horrified to discover that his son had been taking drugs manufactured by his organization and had to be hospitalized. In the end of his episode, Stromwell is convinced by Batman and by his brother to surrender himself to the police.
    • Calendar Girl from "Mean Seasons". She's a former model and actress who developed a severe form of body dysmorphia after her career faded. She's convinced that she's old and hideous despite still being very beautiful and breaks down into tears after her mask is removed. She'd be a full-on woobie if she didn't kidnap and attempt to kill her former employers.
    • Mary Dahl (aka Baby Doll) is said by her colleague to have been a pain to work with due to being temperamental actress always throwing fits if she didn't get what she wanted, and is introduced kidnapping her former co-stars. She also has a rare medical condition that prevented her body from physically aging after the age of 5. Thus, she was never able to escape the role she first played. After her life and career fell apart, she began to obsess over the perfect (but fake) family life she had in her old sitcom, and began taking on the personality of the character she played so as to reclaim it.
  • Les Yay:
    • Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, just like the comics. Word of God confirms that the two are in an on-again-off-again relationship whenever the Joker is out of the picture, but the show itself "merely" lays on incredibly thick subtext whenever they're in the same room together.
    • Batgirl and Supergirl in "Girls' Night Out" become extremely close very... quickly, and in the Justice League Christmas episode, they are absent 'on a skiing holiday together'.
    • During the same episode, Livewire's interactions with Poison Ivy are laced with flirtation and Livewire even remarks that Ivy made her blush with a compliment.
    • In "Eternal Youth", Poison Ivy sits on a petrified fat rich widow's behind.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • The urbane, sophisticated Ra's Al-Ghul is acknowledged by Batman as his greatest and most deadly adversary. Forming the worldwide, powerful League of Shadows, Ra's secretly tests Batman with a series of clever plots to determine if he is worthy to be his heir in the League and inherit Ra's own wish to save the planet. When Batman refuses, Ra's decides to enact a plan to wipe out most of humanity for the betterment of the world, and each time returns to drive Batman to his limits. Even after his seeming death, Ra's survives by ordering his daughter Talia, Bruce's onetime lover, to allow him to possess her body, so he may rejuvenate and possess Bruce himself in the future. Time and again, Ra's shows exactly why Batman himself calls him his greatest enemy.
    • Temple Fugate, the Clock King, starts out as an overly-punctual, high-strung businessman, but after a recommended schedule change by Hamilton Hill, Fugate's business crashed and burned, driving the man into a planned revenge scheme on Hill. Spending years concocting his plans, Fugate began a smear campaign against Mayor Hill, making his running of the city seem incompetent and useless before trying to kill Hill. When confronted by Batman, Fugate displays his exceptional fighting skills, going toe-to-toe with the Dark Knight and escaping him several times with ease. Later manipulating and assisting a scientist in the creation of a time-altering device, Fugate uses it to trap Batman and Robin in a time vortex for days, nearly succeeding in another attempt on Hill by seconds' time. In arguably his finest outing in The Batman Adventures, Fugate disguises himself so well that even Batman is fooled and rigs the Gotham mayoral elections to force Hill's expulsion from the mayoral office, getting away scot-free with it for months until only the combined ingenuity of Batman and Riddler discovers the truth.
  • Memetic Badass: Charlie Collins, a one-shot character from "Joker's Favor". He starts off as a timid Extreme Doormat blackmailed into becoming the Joker's accomplice, before taking a level in badass at the end of the episode. How badass you may ask? Well, in the span of two minutes, he punched the Joker hard enough that he couldn't strike back, scared the hell out of the Joker, made the Joker actually call Batman for help, pranked the Joker and made Batman laugh.
  • Memetic Loser: The Condiment King, a oneshot crook from "Make 'Em Laugh" became popular only because he's one of the most ridiculous and pathetic villains to ever appear in the entire Batman franchise, which is saying a lot.
  • Memetic Molester: Poison Ivy gets this tag due to her attempt to kill Robin with her trademark kiss in The New Batman Adventures episode "Chemistry". Bear in mind that the then-current Robin was Tim Drake, who was thirteen. Ivy's tone, wording and aggressive motions such as grabbing him by the shirt don't help either.
    Poison Ivy: Time for a good night kiss.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • There are feminist fans online who praise Poison Ivy for fighting the patriarchy by dismantling a men's club in "Harley and Ivy", ignoring that Poison Ivy is a dangerous extremist who kills and punishes men and women indiscriminately, controls Harley nearly as much as Joker does, and that in that very episode they were essentially just using their status as women to commit whatever crimes they wanted. Subverted when Renee Montoya takes them down. Oh, and the little fact that she is completely insane.
    • Lyle Bolton has some unapologetic fans who believe his aggressive actions in "Lock-Up" were vindicated by the actions of Arkham's prisoners and their poor track record with them, but it blatantly overlooks that he's an emotionally unstable sadist who is hardly any different from the inmates he tortures, and he goes well over the line to enforce the law, even trying to bring in innocent people and actual police like Commissioner Gordon because he sees them as no different than the criminals he watched over. Batman himself is horrified at Bolton's overzealousness, and is openly disgusted that Bolton believed he would side with his actions.
    • Like Harley Quinn? Fine. That's normal. Shipping Harley and the Joker? Somewhat less normal; might trigger some awkwardly intense conversations, but still, fundamentally, fine. You ship what you like. Modelling your romantic relationships on Harley and the Joker? What the heck is wrong with you? You're crazy and you know it.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Joker's serial murder spree (complete with victim photos) using laughing gas in one of the earlier episodes.
    • Roland Daggett crosses this in "Appointment in Crime Alley" when he tries to blow up Crime Alley, knowing fully well that there are people that live there. It was also shown some of the residents are children. Daggett's actions would have resulted in several people dying and he would have no problem or remorse to indirectly murder them for his own gain.
    • Warren Lawford aka Fox from "The Terrible Trio" crosses the line when he tries to kill his own girlfriend after she knows too much. Even his friends were shocked at his actions.
    • Poison Ivy" crosses this in "House & Garden". Before, the worst she would do to people was poison them or turn them into trees, from a warped sense of morality, and she has the sense to keep antidotes on hand for some of them. In this episode, she brainwashed an Arkham doctor by kissing him, so that he signs her release papers and marries her. To confirm it wasn't consensual, he's terrified of her in the climax when the pheromones have long worn off. Then she "takes his DNA" to make clones of him so that she can have a family on her terms with two boys, since Ivy is infertile. Essentially, she performed a G-rated version of rape. Batman is disgusted when a clone of Ivy explains her entire plan, especially when he and Robin find a visibly traumatized Carlyle trapped and naked in her greenhouse. Clone!Ivy admits there was no environmental agenda; this was what she wanted, a "normal" life whether or not Carlyle wanted it. And to hit home that this was so bad, Ivy escapes by the end of the episode, looking regretfully at pictures of former loves and Harley.
  • Narm: Unfortunately, it has its own page.
  • Narm Charm: The aforementioned chicken soup in "Heart of Ice" is silly, but it's also a Combat Pragmatist move that's totally in-character for Batman.
  • Never Live It Down: A decent example would be when Batman says his "I am vengeance" speech only once in the series, but it's usually considered if not his catch-phrase than at least his Badass Creed. The later episode titled "I Am the Night" in the second season merely reinforced it to the point that it later became spoofed in a Batman Beyond episode. It was recycled in Batman: Arkham Knight with Kevin Conroy doing the honors again, while facing off against Scarecrow hallucinations, as he did in the episode where he first said it.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The Super Nintendo version is noted as being one of the best licensed titles from that era with graphics that look like it's straight out of the cartoon, music true to the show, and a lot of fun variations to the gameplay. The Genesis title, while vastly different, is overall considered a pretty decent 2-player run-and-gun/Shoot 'em Up, though it's also considered extremely difficult.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Turning Mr. Freeze into a more sympathetic and complex character was something the Adam West Batman show had tried to do decades earlier, by having Batman be partly responsible for the accident that changed his physiology, leaving Batman feeling conflicted and Freeze wanting revenge despite considering Batman and Robin fine people he otherwise wouldn't want to kill.
    • H.A.R.D.A.C. was not the first talking computer a.i. that Batman had to stop. Batman had to deal with one of those back in the 1968-69 cartoon. That computer was also a giant-sized machine created by one man working alone, and it was also destroyed by an explosion.
      • Part of that same 1968-69 episode was also similar to the BTAS episode "Time Out of Joint", with both featuring an elderly, reclusive scientist unknowingly employing a villain as an assistant, and having his work being used behind his back for crime.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Among the other things that Batman: TAS is well-known for doing, the series specialized in featuring great one-shot characters:
    • Charlie Collins, the ordinary average joe who terrified the Joker is also highly beloved and the episode, "Joker's Favor" (which introduced Harley Quinn) is considered one of the greatest Batman and Joker stories.
    • Sid "the Squid", aka The Man Who Killed Batman, appeared in just one episode and yet he's considered one of the most popular characters in the entire franchise. Being voiced by Matt Frewer likely helped.
    • Simon Trent, aka The Gray Ghost (voiced by Adam West) is also highly popular as is his episode, with many seeing him as Batman's true mentor and inspiration.
    • The Sewer King, a single one-shot villain who is a Victorian London-esque Fagin villain transplanted to Gotham is popular, all the more so since he's the one bad guy in the original series that makes Batman visibly contemplates killing then and there.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Mr. Freeze was just another villain with a lame gimmick before Batman: TAS came along. Just a few years before, he was shown in Comic-Book Limbo in Animal Man, remarking that nobody remembers him, and not long after that was killed off in the comics by writer Chuck Dixon. His reinterpretation in this series gave him such popularity that he is now considered iconic, he was quickly resurrected in the comics less than a year later, and the version of his origin story depicted in the series is now considered canon for the wider DC universe.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Josh Keaton and Elisabeth Moss appeared on the show while they were children. More specifically, Keaton (under his birth name "Joshua Wiener") voiced the young version of Arnold Stromwell's brother Michael in "It's Never Too Late" and Moss voiced Kimmy Ventrix in "See No Evil".
    • Speaking of child actors, Jordan in "Be A Clown" is voiced by Justin Shenkarow, better known as Harold Berman from Hey Arnold!.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • Mr. Freeze. More than a few fans wanted him to save his wife, even when his plans to do so involved killing other people. It doesn't hurt that each appearance made him more sympathetic, with his canonically final appearance in Batman Beyond being one of the biggest Tear Jerkers in the entire DC Animated Universe.
    • Harley Quinn is the poster-girl for Mad Love and an in-universe proponent of Draco in Leather Pants, who honestly believes that "Mr. J" is a sweet guy and the innocent victim of "that mean old bat", and frequently helps in his schemes of murder and mayhem. Many fans claim that if given the opportunity, they would do the exact same thing in her position.
    • The DCAU depicted Batsy's Rogues Gallery in general as a big, fun-loving dysfunctional family, making it easy for fans to root for them against the endlessly grim Dark Knight despite their evil deeds.
  • Signature Scene: So many...
    • The opening intro with the lightning flash on Batman's silhouette illuminating him.
    • I am vengeance...I am the night...I AM BATMAN!
    • The end of Heart of Ice with Mr. Freeze imprisoned, staring at the famous toy with a dancing ballerina in the dome, and Batman looking outside compassionately.
    • The famous reveal shot in "Almost Got 'Im", complete with Killer Croc stating that he once tried to kill Batman with a rock, a really big one.
    • "I Am the Night", the whole scenes of Batman raging in the Batcave about how fatigued and embittering being Batman is.
    • The flashback sequence of Little Bruce watching the Gray Ghost.
    • Joker's funeral elegy to Batman in “The Man Who Killed Batman” complete with Amazing Freaking Grace.
    • From TNBA, all of “Over the Edge”.
    • Bruce and Dick's falling out in “Old Wounds”.
    • The Joker's Don't Explain the Joke rant and subsequent beating of Harley in “Mad Love”.
  • Special Effects Failure: A rare instance that actually improved the presentation: the black paper that early episodes were drawn on often attracted dust and debris particles that would get caught in the image when photographed for the animation cells. These artifacts often made it into the final cut of the episode and contributed to the old timey "film reel" style the series was originally designed around. Watch the DVD commentaries and Timm and Dini will often call attention to when these artifacts appear.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Lock-Up's meant to be seen as a hard-headed conservative nutcase with his rant about the inefficient politicians and the "liberal media" being the cause of the superpowered psychos. While "cause" might be a stretch, he's quite right about them being part of the problem. The police routinely fail to combat the maniacs, leaving Batman, a vigilante, to do 90% of the work. The people running Arkham keep it a barely-functional revolving door. The politicians, as far as we can tell, are doing nothing to improve Arkham or the city itself. And for one example of the media's faults, at one point they're shown positively portraying Poison Ivy instead of focusing on the murderous ecoterrorism. If they all did their jobs more efficiently and professionally, maybe there wouldn't be so many costumed freaks terrorizing the city.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Shirley Walker's main theme is one to Danny Elfman's theme for the 1989 Tim Burton film, despite the Elfman theme being used for the opening sequence. The rest of the score also consciously attempts to ape Elfman's Signature Style.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: While some of the redesigns for the villains in The New Batman Adventures are all diverse, the Joker's redesign was outright negatively received by fans for giving him an overly cartoony redesign with all the color sucked out of his facial design including his hair and his eyes, creating a very bland redesign that doesn't match the Joker's characterization as a colorful villainous clown.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: This article pertains that Harley Quinn is one in The New Batman Adventures. The author notes that it would have been a cool development if Harley became a superhero in her own right and actively try to help the rest of the Rogues Gallery gain redemption as well. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen and she instead spends the season switching her allegiances from the Joker to Poison Ivy.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: At the end of "Harley's Holiday", Harley's psychiatrist claims she's making real progress and is on the path to recovery. This is never followed up in any future plot.
  • Tough Act to Follow: While there have been several Batman cartoons since this one, they all somewhat unfairly end up being compared to Batman: TAS and found lacking in one way or another.
  • Vindicated by History: The villainess Red Claw was not liked very much when the show was on the air, which was one of the factors why she never became a Canon Immigrant in the comics. These days, she has become an Ensemble Dark Horse of sorts, partially due to her likeable personality and lovely body.
  • Wangst: "I Am the Night" has this bad. It starts with Batman sitting in the Batcave wondering if he makes a difference, before going to put roses on the place where his parents were killed, which get messed up and freak Batman out. Then, when Gordon gets shot in a bad sting operation, Batman blames himself, points out that Gordon is the same age as his father when he was shot, mopes around the cave for three days, and goes into 10-Minute Retirement. It takes pep talks from Robin, Alfred, and Gordon to snap him out of it.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The show was darker than other Batman works. The creators even confirmed in an interview that they were not making a kids' show and said they just needed to make sure not to exclude any appeal to the kids they were asked to make the show fornote . They said the same thing about Batman Beyond and Justice League.
  • The Woobie:
    • Who else but the Dark Knight himself?
    • Poor, poor Harley Quinn. She's not even evil enough to be a Jerkass Woobie. The worst thing you could say about her is that she's crazy, and she wasn't always this way. Anyone who's ever been in an abusive relationship or knows someone who has probably cries a bit for Harley at the end of "Mad Love". In "Harley and Ivy", Ivy outright tells Harley that her relationship with The Joker is unhealthy, but she insists he does really love her and she still wants to work things out with him.
    • Arnold Wesker. The poor man tried so hard to get a new life in "Double Talk" only to be mentally tortured by Rhino and co. until he breaks and Scarface comes back. It makes it so satisfying when Wesker takes a gun and shoots up the Scarface doll.
    • Tim Drake had a hard life. His dad was a deadbeat working for Two-Face who abandoned Tim and was eventually killed. Batman adopts Tim, but he's cold and emotionally distant. He gets to watch his first girlfriend get reabsorbed into Clayface, and as Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker shows, Tim eventually gets kidnapped, tortured, and brainwashed by the Joker.
    • Let's not forget Mr. Freeze, a depressed scientist trying to save his wife, but doesn't think he has much other choice than to commit crimes to do it. He was also pushed into a table covered in his icy experiments that turned him into An Ice Person, and it was all because of that corrupt prick named Ferris Boyle, who tried to leave both of them to die, when Freeze only took his money to save his wife.
    • Mary Dahl, AKA Baby Doll. A woman who physically appears to be 5 or 6 despite being in her 30s due to a rare disease, her attempts to be taken seriously as an actress after leaving her show "That's Our Baby" failed. Trying to return to television in a similar series failed. After the events of her debut episode, we see her trying to move on, working as a hotel receptionist only to be harassed and manhandled by a drunken tourist who recognized her (and it's highly unlikely he's the only or even the first person to treat her in such a manner). She then believes she's found a kindred spirit and possibly even love in the form of Killer Croc, only to learn he's been using her and has no such feelings for her. Is it any surprise that Batman shows kindness and sympathy to her in both episodes?
    • Scarface's ventriloquist. He's a guy with multiple personalities (with the Scarface personality acting as the dummy). While Scarface is evil, the ventriloquist is just a normal, decent person who happens have a villain sharing his mind. Especially sad is in "Read My Lips", when, at the end, the dummy is "killed", and the ventriloquist has an epic Villainous Breakdown where he just falls to the ground sobbing as the cops take him away.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report