"Joker's Favor" is the seventh episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It was directed by Boyd Kirkland and written by Paul Dini, and first aired on September 11, 1992. The episode is significant in that it features the first ever appearance of the Joker's sidekick and love interest Harley Quinn, who would go on to be incorporated into the Batman comic book series and eventually become a popular character in her own right. Batman himself only appears briefly in the episode.
|Batman: The Animated Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Boyd Kirkland|
|Written by||Paul Dini|
|Original air date||September 11, 1992|
Charlie Collins, a mild-mannered Gotham City accountant, is coming home from a bad day at work when he curses at a bad driver after other drivers have pushed him aside — who turns out to be the Joker. He tries to escape, but the Joker follows him and he is forced into the woods, where his car stops. He gets out, thinking he has escaped, but the Joker suddenly appears. Pleading for his life, he promises the Joker he will do anything if only he lets him go. Joker agrees to let him go and makes Charlie promise to do him a favor in return, taking his driver's license.
Two years later, Charlie (who has changed his name to Don Wallace and moved to Springdale, Ohio with his wife and son just to get away from The Clown Prince of Crime) receives a phone call from the Joker, who wants Charlie to make good on his promise, saying his men are watching the house. He goes to the airport, where Harley Quinn is waiting for him. The favor is as follows: Charlie must open the door for Harley Quinn to bring a cake in which the Joker is hiding so he can infiltrate a testimonial dinner for Commissioner Gordon and plant a bomb. When Charlie tries to leave, he finds out that his hand is glued to the door-handle. At the dinner party, the Joker pops out of the cake and Harley sets off the tear gas, immobilizing everyone in the room except for her and Charlie, who are both wearing gas masks. The Joker steps out, attaches the bomb to the Commissioner's chest. Charlie had set off a makeshift Bat-Signal prior to this attack and Batman arrives just in time to get rid of the bomb, which destroys the Joker's getaway van. A small fight ensues between Batman, his goons and Harley before he faces off with the Joker, who tries to set off another bomb. Batman is able to throw the bomb underground before it detonates.
Joker escapes in the commotion, only to bump into Charlie in an alleyway. The Joker laughs this off, but is surprised when Charlie belts him in the gut, knocking him into some garbage. In rage, the Joker repeats his threat, but Charlie produces a bomb of his own, and threatens to blow them both up to protect his family. Batman arrives just in time, and tells Charlie to stop, but he says if the Joker is jailed he'll just escape. Terrified, the Joker, thinking Charlie is no fun anymore, gives Charlie all the information he has on him to stop him. Charlie insists and throws the bomb at the Joker, who hides behind Batman. However, the bomb turns out to be a fake gag. The scene ends with Charlie saying "Gotcha!". Batman laughs and tells Charlie to go home. Charlie then walks away happily.
- This episode marks Harley Quinn’s first appearance in the Batman universe (animated or otherwise).
- One of the Joker’s two henchmen (either Rocco or Henshaw) is shown reading a Tiny Toon Adventures comic book.
- Rocco and Henshaw are named after the two henchmen of Sgt Bilko.
- Near the end of the episode Charlie says “Say goodnight Gracie” to the Joker—a reference to George Burns and Gracie Allen, who would end all their routines with this line.
- According to the map Charlie looks at in one scene, Gotham City appears to be based on the East Coast around New Jersey. Indeed, Post-Crisis continuity has Gotham in the state of New Jersey — although on Charlie’s license, his address says he lives in “Gotham Estates” in New York. This mimics naming disparities in real life, like the city of West New York, New Jersey.
- The note the Joker has that says Charlie has changed his name to Don Wallace lists his address as 12 Marigold Lane, Springdale, Ohio a city near Cincinnati; however his area code is listed as 614, which is the Columbus, Ohio area code.
- The Joker reads “Charles Michael Collins” from Charlie’s card, but later, when he shows it to the camera, there is no middle name on it.
- While on the phone with Charlie, The Joker calls him Charlie Brown, the iconic Peanuts character created by Charles M. Schulz. Charlie Brown was first introduced in 1947 in Li'l Folks comic strips.
- Padnick, Steven (December 16, 2012). "Batman: The Animated Series Rewatch: "Joker's Favor" & "Vendetta"". Tor.com. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
- Couch, Aaron (August 5, 2016). "The Story of Harley Quinn: How a '90s Cartoon Character Became an Icon". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
- Bond, John-Michael (March 4, 2018). "The 30 greatest episodes of 'Batman: the Animated Series'". The Daily Dot. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
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