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Episode #9 - The Big Dummy
Original Airdate - November 27th, 2004

The Batman's attempt to thwart the latest in a series of heists pits him against a team led by a ventriloquist carrying a puppet named Scarface - who by all indications is the brains of the operation.

Review by The Penguin
Media by Bird Boy
Credits
Supervising Producer Duane Capizzi
Supervising Producer Michael Goguen
Producer Linda M. Steiner, Jeff Matsuda
Associate Producer Kimberley A. Smith
Written by Robert Goodman
Directed by Sam Liu
Animation by Dong Yang Animation
Music by Thomas Chase Jones

Voices
Rino Romano as The Batman
Alastair Duncan as Alfred
Dan Castellaneta as Wesker and Scarface
John DiMaggio as Rhino and Mugsy
Jennifer Hale as Becky

Video

Screen Grabs






Pans





Review

"Nasty little puppet."

This episode did a fairly good job introducing Arnold Wesker and Scarface to the world of The Batman. One thing I found very noticeable was the fact that Wesker is never specifically referred to as The Ventriloquist. I hope it's not because "Ventriloquist" was viewed as too big of a word for a "kids' show."

While not a huge issue, Scarface's choice in apparel concerned me a little bit. Apparently, gangsters under 60 years of age in this Gotham City wear some version of a leisure suit (see Thorne, Rupert). It's not a terrible look, but sandals and an open shirt with a gold medallion just doesn't seem quite right. Wesker, with his bow-tie, sweater vest and rolled up pants, was the perfect nerd being abused by an extension of himself.

"Homer Simpson" Dan Castellaneta did an excellent job and showed great range as Arnold Wesker & Scarface. His version of Aladdin's Genie sounded like a bit like Homer every once and a while, but I that didn't happen here. Castellaneta created two separate and distinct characters that were part of the same whole and they played off each other wonderfully.

The relationship between ventriloquist and puppet was just what I expected it to be. Wesker was the meek, needy one and was pretty much totally subservient to Scarface when it came to just about everything. Scarface could do nothing but talk down to Wesker and threaten to leave him even that really isn't possible. Rhino and Mugsy (John "Bender" Di Maggio doing a fine job pulling double duty) made good henchmen for the conflicted duo and the thugs' confusion over who they should be talking to showed how difficult it is for most involved to accept and recognize that the dummy is really the puppet master.

The side story of "Bruce makes a date" was okay, but after nine episodes I am starting to tire a bit of Bruce's angst over his life as The Batman and Alfred's efforts to see his surrogate son happy and leading a normal life. I feel it is an important piece of their characters especially since Bruce is at a younger stage in his Bat-career, but Becky waiting at the café, Bruce saying The Batman is his dominate side and the comment, "We all have places we'd rather be" made me feel like I was getting hit over the head with it. Not even a kids' cartoon should come at you with this big of a blunt object.

 

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