Second Thoughts: "The Joker Goes to School/He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul"
Like we said on the podcast, on paper, this has to be one of the most ridiculous plots for Batman 66. Yes, I know we have surfing Joker in the third season, but when you consider the plots that have been done so far, this is far-fethced - Joker rigging a high school basketball game in order to beat the odds in a bet? Still, despite this, it's a hell of a lot of fun and really works well.
In looking it over again, there were a few things I picked up on:
- Of course, Dick working out with the weights makes sense in terms of him being Robin, but I had to wonder what team he was working out for. He wasn't with the basketball team practicing and he certainly wasn't with the cheerleaders. (Maybe baseball?)
- Donna Loren does a great job of showing her enthusiasm when the girls discover the milk machine is rigged. It goes a long way to making the reveal that she is Joker's protege all the more surprising.
- I have to wonder what dictated the urgency of the beeping of the Batphone. At first, I thought perhaps the more urgent beeping only occured in the Batcave's phone, but in the opening scene we see it beeps urgently in the study too.
- Bruce may be unwilling to run for mayor (which means there are those who are not satisfied with Mayor Linseed), but Batman will in the second season.
- Even though we don't get a "To the Batpoles!", I love how Alfred throws the switch and then wishes Bruce luck as he departs. And of course, we have to shoot an all new departure scene from the Batcave as Dick is as the school.
- Have to wonder if maybe part of the reason this episode was made was that the show had an impact on young people and they decided to take advantage of it by doing a story showing the easy life is not easy.
- Batman discourages the kids from approaching the Batmobile, claiming it's filled with anti-theft devices. It does have such a device, but maybe he wanted to make sure no school troublemakers got the idea to sit in it and try the buttons. Batman leaves the Batmobile on Gotham City streets quite often and doesn't warn the citizenry to leave it alone.
- When Batman holds the meeting with the students of the school, there's a great line about the gimmicked machines maybe a recruiting drive. And what's a great way to recruit others? Having someone on the inside being among those you want to recruit.
- Susie says Joker surprised her by popping out of the screen at the meeting. Why would that happen? Joker must have known about the meeting from Susie.
- Another episode without a Batfight in it. It won't occur until the end of the second episode. You know, as much as I love a good Batfight, I think this was the better way to go and having them pop up randomly throughout the two episodes as we'll see more and more was a mistake.
- I forgot the Joker tells his goons to "Cheeze it" at the start of the second episode. That's a phrase of the time.
- I like that Batman discusses the voice tape with Gordon and how it may not be evidence for the District Attorney.
- I didn't realize until now that Dick's code name, "Dog George", was his name, "Dick Grayson".
- One major problem with the "Easy Living Diner" scene is that Susie is acting like a thug when she first sees Dick, calling him Dicky Boy. It made no sense and then she quickly reverts to the innocent cheerleader type with the "Golly Gee" attitude. It was just a little weird. Burt was wonderful though trying to act tough.
- I thought it odd that the other school was called Disco Tech. I, like I think others may think, thought the word was coined in the 70s. Of course, the disk goes back to the 20s describing the record, but the word discotheque comes from the French in the 50s, a nightclub with music for dancing.
- Batman's pretty strong to be able to hurl that weight over the Joker's head.
So, where does this one land in the ratings of overall episodes. I really like - a lot.
1: The Joker is Wild
2: The Joker Goes to School
3: Hey Diddle Riddle
4: Instant Freeze
5: A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away
6: Zelda the Great
7: The Thirteenth Hat
8: Fine Feathered Finks
There you have it. Yes, I think it's the second best story so far. In fact, in retrospective, I think the Joker is my favorite of the villains on the show. Cesar Romero was fantastic and he was, for the most part, given the best stories consistently. Now, next week, we have False Face, which is another story I really like. Do I like it enought to knock Joker from his perch? We'll see. Tune in next time...