Monday, January 30, 2012

Batman TAS S01E04: The Last Laugh

Alright, we took a week off, and almost missed this one as well because we're lazy, but we're here, and we're ready to launch into episode four: The Last Laugh.

The episode opens on a bundle of newspapers being dropped off at a local stand. The headline: Happy April Fool's day Gotham! I'm sure that most major metropolitan cities reserve the front page headline for the announcement of minor holidays. Particularly those which have comedy-themed genocidal maniacs running around. It's just generally a good idea to casually make reference to the modus operandi of your local supervillain. That always ends well.

We pan up to a garbage barge being skippered by a clown. Like we said, a great idea. The garbage barge's fumes are bright green, but I can't really tell if they're supposed to be visible to people within the show, or if the cloud is only visible for the viewer's benefit. Whatever the reason, contact with it forces people into fits of hysterical laughter. Everyone knows this is a Joker episode at this point, but how much do you want to bet that the show will still do a “big reveal” when he first appears on screen.

Back in Wayne manor, Batman cuts himself shaving. Alfred enters, and we really wish he would comment “Maybe you would have better luck with a baterang. You always seem to do perfectly with those.” Alfred immediately makes up for disappointing us with a god damned epic bat-troll. He tells Batman that he's drawn a bath, then produces this:

Batman turns on the radio whilst showering, only to immediately hear the report of the laughing citizens. He quickly deduces that it is the Joker. Because he's the world's greatest detective. At least we were wrong about there being a big reveal.

With the city in a fit of laughter, Joker and his crew steer their garbage barge to land where they disembark pushing shopping carts and wearing gas masks. The show then cuts to a bunch of unconcerned citizens, who seem far too placid, considering the news reports of a horrible city-wide laughing gas outbreak. I guess Gothamites must simply be used to this shit by now. If you lock yourself in your house every time a Supervillain attacks, you won't get jack shit done. Bosses probably don't even accept it as an excuse not to come in to work.

These laugh-attacks seem to happen in Gotham a lot. Maybe Batman ought to share some of that laughing gas antidote he's no doubt developed. Then again, given his demeanor, perhaps the reason he's refrained from making more freely available is because it has immunized him against all forms of joy. Which is why he's such a dick.

(Morrie says that if we don't call Batman a dick now and then, nobody will know she's still here.)

We can't help but notice that the store Joker robs first is called “Jewels 'R' Us.” I get that they were attempting to appeal to their younger audience, but we can't tell if this is actually an improvement over the more common naming practice in Gotham, where shop owners simply name their establishments after whatever type of establishment they are. Banks are all named “Bank,” restaurants are all named “Restaurant,” and most other Jewelry stores are simply named “Jewlery.”

Back in the Batcave, the Batman has used his Bat-weather balloon to determine that the gas which is spreading through the city will cause permanent insanity after prolonged exposure. Also, he's welding something for some reason, which as far as I remember never comes up again. Alfred starts going crazy as the gas reaches Wayne manor, and starts breaking a bunch of shit. Nobody else we've seen in the episode so far has reacted to the laughing gas by becoming destructive. Most of them are just holding their sides, or even dancing around in circles. Maybe Alfred secretly resents the fact that he's essentially a servant to his surrogate son. (Alternate ending to this sentence: resents the fact that Bruce is a dick.)

Batman heads out in the bat-boat to figure out where the Joker is, and through a series of completely unexplained events does just that. There's a fight with joker's goons, and Batman continues to be lucky in that he rarely encounters mobsters who actually carry guns. Unfortunately, he continues his unlucky trend of running into escaped mental patients who can afford robots. “Captain Clown” defeats Batman handily, and shoves him into some type of sealed metal container, which joker pokes some air/water holes into, then throws into the water.

Batman escapes just in time through judicious application of bat boat, and follows the Joker to the Ace Waste Disposal Plant. Fun Bat-Fact: the Ace Chemical Factory is where Joker acquired his unique skin, lip, and hair coloring, when he fell into an open vat of chemicals. Apparently part of his legal settlement from that accident is that the Ace corporation must provide Joker with a certain number of hideouts and/or laughing-based chemical weapons.

Batman once again easily neutralizes Jokers two goons, but finds himself again outmatched in round two with Captain Clown. The two play cat and mouse through the junk yard, and Batman's cape once again gets him in trouble when the Captain takes hold of it. Fortunately they're in a junk yard, which means it's an easy matter for Batman to trip the robot into the car smashing device which always seems to show up in cartoon junk yards.

The Joker, being without his cronies, flees into a large chamber filled with lava, giant cogwheels, pits of fire (in addition to the lava), and lots and lots of slides for the two to travel around on. The whole chase culminates in Joker once again falling over the edge of a railing to his own certain demise, only to be rescued by Batman. Where is the Christian Bale style “I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you!” batman when you need it?

And worst of all, we're treated to this un-batman-like pose:

In the closing scene, Alfred is cleaning up the mess he made of Wayne manor whilst in the grips of dementia. Bruce asks him why he appears so somber, and Alfred replies that he's depressed about destroying the “priceless Ming vase.” As he says this, he throws the vase in the garbage.

Um...he seems to know that it's priceless, so why in the world is he throwing it out? Even pottery fragments from the Ming dynasty are items of important historical value! You can't just throw it out like it's garbage!


Fuck the rich.

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