Batman: 09 Be a Clown

Batman is a DC Comics character, and Batman: The Animated Series is owned by Warner Home Video. If you'd like to purchase this episode, you may do so here; if you'd like to buy the DVD box set, you may do so here. The episode was written by Ted Pedersen and Steve Hayes; and directed by Frank Paur.

Brass instruments play over calliope music, as a shadowy figure holds hands with a boy in front of that champion of the midway, a Ferris wheel.

Gotham Acres, where – holy shit, what's wrong with their faces?

Is this the Joker's scheme? Did he turn these people into moaning rage mannequins, their eyes slitted against his madness, their hollow mouths turned up in a never-ending rictus?

No, ha ha! It's just the Mayor's poor choice of an ad firm. At the groundbreaking of a new building, the mayor is boasting about how hard he's fought against crime in Gotham. The car chase that busts through the fence somewhat undercuts his credibility.

Reporters and men in suits flee. The car hits some sort of tower, and the Mayor dives for cover. A mook climbs out of the car, and opens fire with a Gotham City bottle opener, aka a Tommy Gun.

One mook becomes two, and that's when Batman swoops from the sky astride a steel girder. He uses it to clothesline both men into a dumpster. Our hero then darts away.

Summer Gleeson interviews the rubble ensconced Mayor about city safety. The man says it's merely bad individuals, like Batman, and the Joker. He'll make the entire city as safe as his own mansion!

This prompts an angry outburst from the Clown Prince of Crime, who's watching at home. First off, he's nothing like Batman; second, we'll see about the mansion safety issue. For now, the answer is a pie at the screen.

At the Mayor's mansion, thing are underway for his son Jordan's birthday.

The boy of the hour is practicing magic tricks in his room for an audience of toys. His dad bursts in, and makes it clear that he feels about magic the way the Reverend in Footloose felt about dancing.

Furthermore, the subtext is that Jordan's birthday party will be a glorified political function . The Mayor says he invited children like they were a Bounce house, for rent by the hour. Jordan is crushed.

And what boy wouldn't want a state senator at his birthday party? Luckily for Jordan, there's a clown! Jekko the Clown! Who totally isn't the Joker in disguise!

The clown joy buzzers the Mayor, and then proceeds to ingratiate himself with Jordan by teaching him how to be a great magician. Rule one is run away, it seems.

Bruce Wayne arrives at the party, pretending to struggle with the present he brought. The Mayor wants his son to come greet Mr. Wayne, but the boy refuses. He has angry words with his father, and storms away.

After some ominous puns, Jekko pulls out a stick of blue dynamite with a Joker face on it and plops it on the birthday cake.

Commercial break!

The Joker candle sizzles, and the clown wheels it to the center of a crowd. The Mayor and Bruce Wayne stand talking, and Jekko walks by laughing. Bruce would know that laugh anywhere! He looks around, and notices the candle.

He struggles through the crowd, using his present like a blow. Then, with obfuscating Clark Kent clumsiness, he knocks the birthday cake into the pool.

Chagrin turns to shock among partygoers as there is an explosion of water and icing. The Joker laughs wildly behind the wheel of Jekko’s purloined ride. The Mayor is incensed; he demands answers!

And here's Commissioner Gordon with a nearly naked man in clown makeup, which usually raises more questions than it answers. It's the real Jekko, and Bruce finally asks where Jordan is.

In the back of the mysterious van, of course!

The van pulls into an abandoned amusement park, narrowly avoiding a collision with the Mystery Machine. The Joker hops out, congratulating himself on his explosive success. Jordan appears in the clown's sanctum, ready to get this Master/Apprentice show going.

After some initial bluster, the Joker accepts. Why not? The kid got rule one right.

Back at the Mayor's house, the man swears things will be different if he can get his son back. Bruce comforts his friend, but he rushes off in grief. The police watch the video of the party, as does ole' Brucie.

The Joker is teaching Jordan the tricks of the trade, when an alarm goes off – it's Batman! Jordan is recruited to help the Joker play a little game with our hero.

Batman prowls the promenade, when he spies Jordan acting as a carnival barker. He rushes after the kid, but our little runaway darts into The Funhouse. Terrified, the kid signals where “Jekko” is with his eyes.

And not a moment too late, as razor sharp playing cards fly at the Dark Knight! The Joker walks out of the shadows like a bad dream, and the chase is on. But it's a ruse, and a sleeping gas loaded Ace of Spades brings Batman down.

The Joker waxes Shakespearean to the boy, and pops a coin into the fortune teller machine to decide Batman's fate. (It's a good thing Harvey Dent is still compos mentis, or he'd be irate.)

Commercial break!

Batman wakes up upside down, in a straightjacket, feet shackled, and with water filling the container he's in. To the Joker, this is prime bonding time with the boy.

Our hero slips the straightjacket, gets his feet free, and sets about busting the tank open. When Jordan sees that he can't, he disobeys the Joker and takes an axe to the plexiglass. Enraged, the Joker restrains the boy, and it's off with the Jekko mask.

Confronted with Gotham's most notorious criminal, Jordan sprays seltzer in his face. That kid has more cahones that all of Gotham PD.

The clown chases Jordan, giving Batman time to exploit the cracks in the plexiglass Jordan left. Outside, the boy is being hunted by the Joker in the abandoned amusement park.

Jordan is crouched in a roller coaster car, hiding in the shadows. That's when Batman turns all the lights and rides on. A startled Jordan leaps up, into the arms of the Joker.

Batman rushes to the rescue as the Joker tries to pry Jordan from his spot. Then, for the second time this episode, the Joker says, “What the hell?” and goes with it. He hops on and sets the coaster in motion.
Our hero scrambles for the second set of cars, but the fun's just beginning. The Joker lobs explosive Kewpie dolls at Batman, laughing wildly.

The third one's the charm, and we see Batman's car detonate. The Joker's triumph is short lived, as Batman swings into their car moments later. With a feral growl, the Joker throws himself at our hero.

Despite the Joker's many terrifying talents, he's not a hand to hand match for Batman. With a powerful kick, the clown goes flying into the water below.

All would be well, but the track is out ahead. Jordan greets the probable end of his life with an “Oh my gosh!” Instead of grabbing the youth, Batman tells the boy to reach for him. At the last moment, he does so.

Batman pulls them to safety, and they watch as the errant car somehow destroys the rest of the park. They don’t build abandoned amusement parks like the used to.

The mayor stares at a top hat, probably wondering if he could pull another son out of it if he tried. Jordan runs up, and his father is both overjoyed and contrite. The two hug, and Jordan shares a thumbs-up with Batman.

End credits. Batman is awesome.