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
FISHERMAN #1: Okay, let's see what we got! Eww... It's
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.
BATMAN PLACES A JOKER FISH ONTO A TRAY. ALFRED LOOKS IT OVER.
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
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.
JOKER SHOVES THE FISH IN HARLEY'S MOUTH.
HARLEY (TV): Yummy yum yum!
JOKER (TV seaman): Yes, friends, that's Joker fish.
HARLEY IS HEARD RETCHING OFF SCREEN.
JOKER (TV seaman): Tasty, tempting, and of course. . .
HENCHMEN (TV children): Naturally low in cholesterol.
JOKER (TV seaman): Coming to your local store!
THE HAPPY MUSIC STOPS AND JOKER TAKES OFF HIS RAIN HAT.
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
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!
JOKER SHOVES A FISH HEAD COSTUME OVER HARLEY'S HEAD.
HARLEY: You're really sick, you know that, Boss?
JOKER: Mmm Hmm.
JOKER: Now this fella here. . . came with his own grin! See the
JOKER POINTS TO A SHARK TANK AND A MOUTHY SHARK SWIMS PAST.
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 CRACKS BATMAN OVER THE HEAD WITH A WRENCH.
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!
HARLEY BEGINS TO BAWL.
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
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
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