The World's Finest Presents
Episode #033 - The Laughing Fish
Original Airdate - January 10th, 1993

The Joker has developed a chemical which induces "Joker" smiles on fish. He makes a visit to the Gotham copyright offices, demanding a copyright for his Joker fish. When the frightened bureaucrats tell him that such a copyright is impossible, he threatens to kill them one by one until he gets what he wants. 

Media by Borg4of3
Review by Robin III, Batman Fan
Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Bruce W. Timm
Music Composed by Shirley Walker
Animation by Dong Yang Animation Co., LTD.

Kevin Conroy as Batman
Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred
Robert Costanzo as Rocco
George Dzundza as G. Carl Francis
Mark Hamill as The Joker
Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn

Screen Grabs


FISHERMAN #1: Okay, let's see what we got! Eww... It's impossible!
FISHERMAN #2: I'm gonna be sick.
FISHERMAN #1: All of them. . . with the Joker's face!
FISHERMAN #3: Looks just like him!
FISHERMAN #2: Can't be. . .
FISHERMAN #1: Call the police.
BATMAN: He's made his move.
ALFRED: Dining in tonight, sir?
BATMAN: The dissection tray please, Alfred.
ALFRED: Any idea what our happy friend is up to now?
BATMAN: Normal criminals usually have logical motives, but the Joker's insane schemes make sense to him alone.
FRANCIS: Great Scott!
JOKER: Actually, I'm Irish.
JOKER: As I was saying, since every fish in Gotham now bears my famous, and frankly, fabulous face, I should be getting a profit from every fish product sold. Let's say a nickel per fish sandwich? Fifty cents for sardines! Millions of dollars a day to finance my happy hedonistic lifestyle! So which of your tedious copyright forms do I fill out first? You may speak now.
FRANCIS: No one can copyright fish. They're natural resource!
JOKER: But they share my unique face! Colonel What's-His-Name has chickens, and they don't even have mustaches!
HARLEY (TV singer): They're finny and funny and oh so delish! They're joyful and jolly Joker fish!
JOKER (TV announcer): Say, mom, wondering what to feed the family tonight?
HARLEY (TV mom): What'll I feed the family tonight?
JOKER (TV seaman): Harr! Try me famous Joker fish! There's Smilin' Smelt, Gigglin' Groupe, and Happy Haddock!
ALFRED: This could cause a stampede to pork.
JOKER (TV seaman): Yummy yum yum! Eat it.
HARLEY (TV): Uh, Mr. J? I have this little problem with fish.
HARLEY (TV): Yummy yum yum!
JOKER (TV seaman): Yes, friends, that's Joker fish.
JOKER (TV seaman): Tasty, tempting, and of course. . .
HENCHMEN (TV children): Naturally low in cholesterol.
JOKER (TV seaman): Coming to your local store!
JOKER (TV): Just as soon as that nasty old G. Carl Francis decides to give me my legal cut of the profits!
FRANCIS: Uh, Bat-man? Why is this happening to me? I've never done anything to this Jo-ker. I'm just a paper pusher. I can't change the laws. I'm harmless.
BATMAN: And in his sick mind that's the joke, Mr. Francis.
BULLOCK: Oh, this is just dandy, Commish! Your pet bat's playing dress-up while the Joker's poppin' off pencil pushers right and left! Well I ain't stickin' around to see who's next! I got my own methods!
BULLOCK: You won't get away with this!
JOKER: He's right, y'know.
HARLEY: You're kiddin'?
JOKER: If this lunch meat figured out where we are, Batman won't be far behind! And why spoil my sharkey's appetite when I can feed him bigger fish? Hmm?
HARLEY: Euch! Again with the fish! I hate fish! Uh, no offence, Mr. J!
JOKER: Poor Harley, this caper's been kinda rough on you, hasn't it?
HARLEY: Uh huh.
JOKER: Cheer up! You can be my very own little mermaid!
HARLEY: You're really sick, you know that, Boss?
JOKER: Mmm Hmm.
JOKER: Now this fella here. . . came with his own grin! See the resemblance?
JOKER: You're right, Harley. Fish are disgusting. I think I'll start using my toxin on cattle. Joker burgers! Ha! Talk about a happy meal!
BATMAN: You okay?
BULLOCK: Just give him one for me, will ya?
JOKER: Meanwhile, back at the wrench! Since my side splitters don't tickle you, how 'bout a skull splitter?!
HARLEY: Oh, my poor, poor, puddin'.
BULLOCK: Come on! He was a demented, abusive, psychotic maniac.
HARLEY: Yeah. . . I'm really gonna miss him!
GORDON: Do you think he's gone for good?
BATMAN: Believe me, Jim. I wish it were true but deep inside I doubt it.

Review (Robin III): An excellent adaptation of the comic book by the same title. There are some alterations which were made, but they just made the story all the better. A lot of new Joker jokes were added, along with the addition of Harley which actually worked in this episode. One particularly good addition was the pirated Joker TV advertisement. It's a hoot to watch!

The story seemed a little rushed though, but it was great nonetheless. It leapt to the exact scene of action and didn't take time in between to build the plot.

The animation was great, but there were some problems. Joker often had chubby cheeks, especially towards the end in the Aquarium. This may have been because his mouth was too small. Harley didn't look very good either. The worst scene was when the Friendly Fish truck fired the fish missile into Francis' home. The first 'person' point of view from the fish's view attacking Francis was horrible. The walls of the home were moving everywhere and characters were out of proportion.

Review (Batman Fan): The Laughing Fish is the ultimate Joker episode because it's able to brilliantly blend together all of the Joker's traits and show every mood and personality he has, by making him scary, funny, and sadistic all in one episode.

Let's start off with the caper, probably one of the most memorable of Joker's plots, or heck, any of the villains plots on the show. The Laughing Fish are Joker's next attempt to frighten Gotham City and get a good laugh out of it. And let me tell you, these fish are pretty creepy. Joker's plan is brilliant in the fact that he's able to spread so much fear and chaos in the city, just by putting happy faces on fish, when in actuality they're harmless, so Joker is really able to get the last laugh from this crime because of the way he causes a lot of controversy over nothing. This shows us just how much of a trickster the Joker can be, using some practical joke, yet arousing so much fear, and it's fun to see and hear the reactions from the people in Gotham, from the fisherman, to the police, to Batman; they're all strung up on these fish that are completely harmless, so it's fun to watch our hero go on sort of a wild goose chase, while Joker's out their going after what he really wants: money!

Now that leads to just how creepy and sadistic Joker is in this episode. But not being able to copyright his fish, he takes a vendetta out on Mr. Francis, an agent who is just a pawn in Joker's plan. Joker toys and manipulates him for his own sick pleasure and then decides to finish him with a fate worse than death, the hideous, creepy, Joker grin. This is the debut of that famous, eerie grin that we've all come to love, and it displays just how sick and twisted Joker's sense of humor is. Then, he finds a second victim to torture, and uses his cat to get at him. Not only is the grin freaky on humans, but it's freaky on cats too!

Then there's the comedy aspect, the great jokes, puns, visual and audible effects, and one-liners are done brilliantly to provide some nice humor to this dark tale. Harley Quinn is able to further that goal, by providing some great comic relief, especially with her dislike of fish, and the Joker using that to his advantage to get a nice laugh out of it. This shows us that Joker is willing to do whatever he pleases just to get a good laugh out of anything. The dialogue was clever and funny, and was able to creepy when it needed to be and humorous when it needed.

The animation in this episode definitely stands out. Character movement are very subtle and they flow very smoothly, especially shots like Batman grappling out of the Batmobile, and him sneaking into the aquarium with his cape flowing very stealthy. Action sequences were nicely done, especially scenes like Batman vs. the giant shark, which shows us how sadistic Joker is, watching it from above, he has about four distinct laughs just to show you how much pleasure and enjoyment he has in watching others in pain. Characters looked really good in this episode as well, the were very colorful and vivid, yet they were able to look dark to fit the mood. The music definitely played a big role, by making it sound creepy and suspenseful at appropriate times and light and humorous in others.

So to sum this up, the great thing about this episode and what makes it so enjoyable is the fact that it combines creepy with funny in a way that the contrast so nicely yet it works to fit the dark, eerie mood of the tale, yet the fun aspect of it being Joker's plan. Also, the different characterizations of the Joker in this episode definitely make this a must see Joker episode, showing just how insane and crazy he really is and by making him scary and funny all at once, really makes this episode all the more worth while. And if you don't remember the episode for these things, then you have to love it for the eccentric laughing fish plan, the dark, gothic mood, the great humor provided by smart and funny dialogue, and the amazing animation and music should make this enough for anyone to sit down and enjoy this episode. Truly a classic in the series, and is definitely what I'd call THE Joker story to see.


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