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Episode #36 - The Apprentice
Original Airdate - February 11th, 2006

Jealous that Batman has a new sidekick in Batgirl, Joker decides he needs one of his own. Turning to Donnie, a misguided prankster and classmate of Barbara Gordon's, he attempts to mold the comic hopeful in his own image. But when Donnie realizes that it's not just laughs that Joker's after and wants out, the Clown Prince of Crime ominously decides it's going to take some tough love for Donnie to realize his 'comic potential.'"

Review by The Penguin
Media by Bird Boy
Written by Steven Melching
Directed by Brandon Vietti
Animation by D.R. Movie Co., LTD.
Music by Thomas Chase Jones

Rino Romano as Bruce Wayne / The Batman
Danielle Judovits as Barbara Gordon / Batgirl
Michael Reisz as Donnie / Prank
Kevin Michael Richardson as The Joker
Adam West as Mayor Grange


Screen Grabs



"Must be nice to have someone to watch your back, to mold in your own likeness, but if you have a sidekick, Batsy, I want one too."

The Joker makes his third appearance this season in this episode (provided he doesn't appear again, this will be lowest count for one season) and while the premise was interesting and harkened back to his obsession with The Batman, it just wasn't that great.

The fire engine and hot chili/attempted gassing of Mayor Grange was something I would expect from The Joker with his desire to "entertain" the people of Gotham. At the same time, it came across as hokey and was more just an 'intro crime' to tell you Joker was the villain. Other than establishing Joker's jealousy of Batman having Batgirl I didn't feel it served much of a purpose. From the perspective of it being an 'intro crime' that sets up the main action I suppose it could be compared to the Adam West series and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but I didn't feel it worked as well as those usually did.

While they don't fit with my normal quote at the beginning of my reviews, I feel I must give extra credit to Joker's line to Punch and Judy. It was just hilarious. "You two don't count, you're not sidekicks—you're goons!" And also Batgirl's corny, yet fun line, "Stop me if you've heard this one." *kicks Joker* "Shoulda stopped me." Good stuff.

Getting back the episode itself, I did like the concept of Joker wanting his 'own Batgirl' so to speak. It reminded me of how The Joker is in some ways envious of Batman and of his various attempts to copy him. I of course thought of 'The Laughing Bat' and also of something Joker said in the first episode of the series and their first encounter...

"Yet we're linked, you and I. Like comedy and tragedy—two sides, same coin."

That is really what this all about, The Joker wanting to one-up The Batman yet again. He sees the Dark Knight has a second and decides to stay competitive with his enemy he needs one as well. He may have recognized Donnie had a prankster sense of humor, but it was more about that this young man was alone on the stage with no one laughing. Stringing the teacher up the flag pole was all it took to win the boy's trust and turn him into Prank. Donnie wanted that attention and for him it was nice to feel needed and appreciated, to be included in something, to be in on the joke so to speak. When he was asked to kill, Donnie understood that some things just aren't funny.


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