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"Joker's Favor"

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Batman: The Animated Series episode
Jokers Favor-Title Card
"Joker's Favor"
Airdate: September 11, 1992
Production Number: 22
Airdate Order: 7
Animation Services by: Dong Yang Animation Co., LTD.
Written by: Paul Dini
Directed by: Boyd Kirkland
Episode images (9)

"Joker's Favor" is the seventh episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on September 11, 1992. When an ordinary man inadvertently crosses paths with the Joker, he is plunged into a nightmare. This episode marks the first appearance of Harley Quinn in any medium.

Plot

Joker's Favor Realize

Charlie Collins realizes, to his dismay, he's just cussed out the Joker.

Charlie Collins, a normal everyday guy, inadvertently cusses out the Joker when the latter's getaway car cuts him off on the highway after a particularly bad day. The Joker runs him off the road and corners him. Desperate to save his life, Charlie mentions he has a wife and son and promises to do anything the Joker asks of him. He accepts, and takes Charlie's license and leaves. When Charlie asks what the favor will be, Joker says he has not thought of it yet, but when he does, he will be in touch.

Two years later, the Joker learns that Commissioner Gordon is to be given an award, and decides to call in the favor that Mr. Collins owes him. The Joker has kept tabs on Charlie this time, even though Charlie has changed his name and moved to a different city. Charlie is terrified when the maniacal clown calls him, and drops a thinly-veiled threat to his family's safety. Charlie has no choice but to travel to Gotham.

When he arrives, Charlie is surprised when he learns what the favor is to be: Holding a door open for the Joker's right-hand woman, Harley Quinn, when she wheels a cake into Gordon's testimonial dinner. Nevertheless, the Joker promises to send Charlie home immediately afterwards.

Joker's Favor Discover

Bruce Wayne discovers the makeshift Bat-signal inside the club.

Not knowing what the Joker is planning, but desperate to avoid it, Charlie fashions a crude Bat-signal, which is seen by Bruce Wayne as he is leaving the dinner. Just then, Charlie is called to hold up his end of the bargain. Charlie dutifully opens the door for Harley, but then finds that his hand has been glued to the handle. Harley slips Charlie a gas mask and dons one herself before the candles on the tables release a gas that paralyzes everybody else in the room. As the guests watch, immobile and helpless, the Joker enters the room in grand fashion and "congratulates" Gordon by pinning a miniature bomb on his lapel. The Joker and Harley leave, explaining, to Charlie's horror, that the Joker does intend to let him go home, but not alive.

With only a few seconds left, Batman jumps down into the room. Acting upon Charlie's warning, Batman grabs the bomb and launches it outside with his grapple gun. Hearing an explosion from outside rather than inside, the Joker realizes something is amiss, but then sees that the bomb has blown up their getaway van.

Batman frees Charlie from the glue, while Charlie explains that the Joker called Charlie his "hobby", keeping watch on him for years and threatening his family.

Joker's Favor Threaten

Charlie Collins threatens to kill the Joker to save his family.

Batman pursues the Joker through the building, dealing in turn with Harley and two thugs. The Joker manages to escape the building, only to then see Charlie waiting for him in an alley. The Joker laughs this off, but is surprised when Charlie belts him in the gut, knocking him into some garbage. In a rage, the Joker repeats his threat to attack Charlie's family. But, driven to mad desperation, Charlie holds up another one of the Joker's bombs, vowing to protect his family by doing them both in and robbing Joker of the only dream he has—defeating Batman in a huge spectacle or dying in the effort—and making sure he'll only be remembered as having been blown up by "a miserable little nobody". Panicking, the Joker tries to talk Charlie down while simultaneously screaming for Batman's help. Batman arrives and tries to persuade Charlie to back down, but Charlie refuses to listen, as he's sick and tired of being under the Joker's thumb. Believing that Charlie has lost it and feeling he has no other choice, the Joker gives up his notebook containing all the information he has on Charlie and his family. After the Joker surrenders the information, Charlie tosses the bomb towards him anyway. The Joker screams and hides behind Batman, but the bomb is revealed to be a harmless confetti firework. Batman laughs, surprisingly, and promptly takes a greatly-irritated Joker into custody. Free of the Joker at last, Charlie finally gets to go home, looking forward to his "ordinary" life more than he ever has before.

Background information

Home video releases

Production inconsistencies

  • When Joker reads Charlie Collins' driver's license, he includes the middle name Michael; however, the name on the license is simply "Charles Collins".
  • Springdale, Ohio is an actual city (though it does not have a Marigold Lane), but the area code is 513, not 614 as listed on Joker's note.

Trivia

  • This episode marks the first appearances of The Joker (air date-wise), and Harley Quinn.
  • The first-produced episode featuring the Joker was "Christmas With the Joker", but this was the first aired.
  • This episode is one of the few instances in the entire DCAU when Batman laughs, and the only time he laughs from genuine amusement. Batman later laughs sarcastically in The New Batman Adventures episode "Mad Love" in order to provoke Harley Quinn. Then in a scene from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Terry McGinnis storms the Batcave to find a nearly-dead Bruce Wayne laughing after he had been attacked by the Joker and dosed with Joker venom.
  • The Peregrinators Club re-appears in "Harley and Ivy".
  • Charlie's drivers license (before leaving Gotham) includes one of several references in Batman related media to Gotham City (or in this case its suburbs) being located in the state of New York, possibly near New York City or a replacement section thereof.
  • While cheering for the Joker at the testimonial dinner, Harley mimics the trademark "woof-woof-woof" hand gesture of talk show host Arsenio Hall.
  • Harley's disguise as a chauffeur would later be used for Mercy Graves's design.
  • During the pan of Springdale, Ohio, background characters include Sherman Grant and Roberta from "I've Got Batman in My Basement".
  • According to his driver's license, Charles Michael Collins was born on March 17, 1946. His license was issued on September 25, 1991 and expired on March 17, 1995.

Cast

Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman/Bruce Wayne
Bob Hastings Commissioner Gordon
Robert Costanzo Harvey Bullock
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Alfred
Mark Hamill The Joker
Arleen Sorkin Harley Quinn
Ed Begley, Jr. Charlie Collins

Uncredited appearances

Quotes

Charlie: Boss turns me down for a raise, my kid needs braces, and Bonnie's cooking meat loaf for dinner... at what point did I become life's punching bag?


Joker: Now, look, my rude friend, we can't have people cursing at each on the freeway. It's simply not polite! (jumps and grabs Charlie) I'm just going to have to teach you some manners.


Gordon: If anyone should be getting a testimonial, it's you.
Batman: I'm just the night shift. You deal with this mess twenty-four hours a day.


Joker: Jumping Jiminy Christmas! Charlie Collins. It’s been forever. How are you man? You look great! Lost a little weight. Lost a little hair, too.


Bruce Wayne: Congratulations, Jim. I'm sorry I'm unable to stay for dinner.
Gordon: Ah, the life of a busy socialite. (leans in and whispers) Any way I could sneak out with you?


Harley: Here's to Gotham's Commissioner G., you lock up the weirdos, the crooks, and the geeks. You're a hero to all the boys in blue, but this time, baby, the joke's on you.


Charlie: Wait! You promised to send me home!
Joker: I never said "alive"!
Charlie: You dirty, evil...
Joker: Sayonara, sucker! (laughs; Charlie looks in horror at Gordon wearing a bomb)


Joker: Guess I'll have to find a new hobby now that old Charlie Collins is... Pfft!
Harley: Macrame's nice.
(explosion)
Joker: That came from outside! Rocco, Henshaw! I smell a bat! Quick! To the van!


Joker: You miserable little nobody! If I get caught, your wife and son are history!
Charlie: You're not getting caught, not this time. (shows him the bomb) I found this blown out of the van. This is how it ends, Joker. No big schemes. No grand fight to the finish with the Dark Knight. Tomorrow, all the papers will say is that the great Joker was found blown to bits in an alley alongside a miserable little nobody. Kind of funny. Ironic, really. See, I can destroy a man's dreams too, and that's really the only dream you've got, isn't it?
Joker: Look... Charlie! You've had a busy day. All this running around, all this excitement with... (cups a hand to his mouth and yells) BATMAN!


Joker: Stop! You're crazy!
Charlie: I had a good teacher. (laughs madly) Say goodnight, Gracie.


Batman: Put it down, Charlie.
Charlie: You know he'll just escape again! This is the only way to keep my family safe!


Batman: Go home, Mr. Collins.
Charlie: Home. I never thought that could sound so good. I wonder what Bonnie's making for dinner. Right now, anything would taste great. Even meat loaf.


External links


Previously produced episode:
"Feat of Clay (Part II)"
Episodes of
Batman: The Animated Series
Next produced episode:
"Vendetta"
Previously aired episode:
"It's Never Too Late"
Next aired episode:
"The Cat and the Claw (Part II)"

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