Holy ‘effing perfection, Batman! This show always bounces between good and great (with great getting more bounces than good on most occasions) but this latest installment in Batman, the Brave and the Bold was near nirvana for an all around Bat fan like myself.
In the hands of a lesser team, or a team who didn’t love each and every incarnation of the Caped Crusader, this episode, filled with terrible puns, a singing villain number and a bad guy with optic nerves on his finger tips, could have gone horribly wrong. Sure the pre-show opener was cheesy. Yes watching Batman combat a foe called “Firefly” - a bad guy whose moniker implies nothing of his spectral command of light and colors is confusing AND cheesy, and of course any tale featuring that 5th Dimensional imp, Bat – Mite runs the risk of figuratively drowning in a sea of hot melted cheese, but that’s what makes this show so great. They embrace the cheese. They cheese up the cheese. There’s more cheese in a single half hour of B&B than a weekend at the annual Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival in the cheese village of Little Chute Wisconsin, plus it’s just as delicious and the bonus part - it doesn’t bind you up.
This episode had everything that sets B&B apart from every preceding version of televised Batness. Fans of Dick Grayson’s Robin had to be enjoying his holy this and holy thats, and Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) delivered yet another brilliant turn as Batman’s number one fan, Bat-Mite. Witnessing the magical scamp’s shrine to his hero was something special for the fanboy and fangirl in all of us. It was genuinely magical to see the classic comic book covers and panels reinterpreted by this particular creative team. The fact that Batman didn’t flinch during the mention of Jason Todd’s name leads me to believe Robin number two is still a part of this Batman’s world. There’s no way of telling if the Jason in this world is dead or alive, and quite frankly, there’s no real evidence to suggest he ever existed on this plane of existence, but something tells me even if he is never mentioned again for the run of this show, the Jason Todd that Bat-Mite mentioned actually interacted with Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Speaking of interaction, The Joker couldn’t get enough interaction when it came to finding new ways of offing his nemesis, and still having an enormous feeling of fondness for my old childhood Mousetrap game, I’m a giant fan of any Rube Goldbergian contraption.
Of course, the Clown Prince of Crime’s best instance of communication came during his very own musical number. Ordinarily, I would agree that musical theater and the Masked Manhunter should not be blended together, but after the brilliance of the Neil Patrick Harris hosted “The Mayhem of the Music Meister” I truly believe there’s nothing these guys would decide to tackle that they can’t pull off.
I enjoyed Joker’s little ditty, and for those of you who may not be aware, “Smile Darn Ya Smile,” was not just a song from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but it the composition actually goes all the way back to a Merrie Melodies short of the same name. The fact that the Joker borrows and twists the pleasant phrase in his lyrical verse once again proves the level of devotion to past animation on this creative crew.
If there was ever any doubt how to end this affectionate homage to the best of cartoony fun, there shouldn’t have been. Bat-Mite pops his head through the screen ala Porky Pig. Holy stuttering porcines! I love this show.
Joe Oesterle’s latest book, Weird Hollywood is out and getting rave reviews. Check out a free unedited story from the book on his website. The Mysterious Death of The Black Dahlia’s. http://joeartistwriter.wordpress.com/