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Western Animation / Batman: The Animated Series

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"I am vengeance. I am the night. I... am... BATMAN!"

Batman: The Animated Series (or Batman: TAS), which originally aired on the Fox Kids block from 1992 to 1995, is one of the most popular and groundbreaking series in Western Animation. Towards the end, it was given a minor Retool into The Adventures of Batman & Robin, which promoted the latter hero from recurring role to regular star. A more noticeable retool occurred in 1997, where a Channel Hop and an uncancellation order led to The WB's The New Batman Adventures (also known as Batman: Gotham Knights). This retool streamlined the character designs to better match those of Superman: The Animated Series (which it aired alongside as The New Batman/Superman Adventures), allowing for the inevitable Bat Family Crossovers.

As the title suggests, the series is an animated adaptation of the adventures of the popular comic book character Batman. It drew heavily from the Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams era in the '70s and the live-action films directed by Tim Burton (although some of the latter's baggage, such as the mutated version of the Penguin, caused them some problems). The often-minimalist look of the show was largely influenced by the 1940s Superman Theatrical Cartoons, with character designs resembling those of Jack Kirby, Chester Gould, and Alex Toth. The resulting product, revolutionary for its time, was dubbed "dark deco"; it was also the result of co-producer Eric Radomski's standing order to the animators that all backgrounds be drawn with light colors on black paper (instead of dark colors on white paper, as is the industry standard) to ensure that the artwork stayed as dark as possible. Head producer Bruce Timm — who also took on other roles — carried his design style over into other shows, thus making Batman: The Animated Series the first entry in the fully-realized canon known as the DC Animated Universe.


Batman: TAS's brief venture into primetimenote  showed off its well-known edgier themes, pushing the limits of what had been acceptable in Western animation (notably, sparse application of The Hit Flash, use of Censor Decoys, and overt use of realistic — if unlikely — guns, rather than dubious stand-ins).

Most of the episodes took place entirely in Gotham City, although Batman and Robin occasionally ventured to other cities and even other countries. Besides the familiar villains, this series introduced other characters from the comics, such as Ra's al-Ghul, to the television audience. It even introduced a new character, Harley Quinn, who proved to be so popular that she eventually made her way into the comics. The series also marked the first major exposure of Two-Face outside of the comics, and its revised origin for Mr. Freeze soon became the definitive version of that story.


The new designs in the second series, The New Batman Adventures, notably restored the Penguin to the comics version and emphasized Poison Ivy's plant-like nature. Since The WB's broadcast standards were more relaxed than FOX's, the producers were allowed to use more action and violence and somewhat stronger language than before. The status quo of this show was close to the comics of its time, as Batman was partnered with a younger Robin named Tim Drake, although Tim's origin in the show was taken from the character of Jason Todd, and Dick Grayson was the independent hero Nightwing due to a falling out occurring during the interim between the two series. Batgirl, who only had three appearances in the original series, became a recurring character and Batman's primary assistant.

Four movies based on the series were produced: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (which had a limited theatrical run), Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (a pseudo-tie-in to the live action movie Batman & Robin), Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (created and set after the end of the series), and Batman and Harley Quinn (likewise created and set after the series).

The series also had an official tie-in comic, The Batman Adventures, which also received critical and financial success (most notably, the Eisner-Award-winning Mad Love, which detailed Harley Quinn's origin and was later adapted as an episode of the TV series). Harley & Ivy was another tie-in miniseries released in 2004 and based around Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Then there is also the one-shot Batgirl Adventures from 1997, featuring Batgirl, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, in the style of The New Batman Adventures.

Four completely different Licensed Games based on the series were released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, and Game Gear, all titled The Adventures of Batman and Robin. Also, while it's not officially part of the DC Animated Universe, the 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum is (in some ways) considered a Darker and Edgier spiritual successor; Paul Dini returned to write the script, while Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Arleen Sorkin (Harley Quinn) reprised their characters from the original series. The game was so popular it led to two sequels and a prequel, respectively Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Knight, and Batman: Arkham Origins.

This series provides examples of:

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  • Action Girl:
  • Action Series: The show centers on Batman duking it out with Gotham's criminal underworld.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In The New Batman Adventures episode "Mad Love", The Joker, voiced by Mark Hamill, quips "May the floss be with you!" Hamill also happens to be married to a dental hygienist, saying he's heard that joke a number of times.
    • The Penguin is voiced by Paul Williams, who also notably played a cruel, cunning, narcissistic gentleman and criminal mastermind obsessed with birds in the film Phantom of the Paradise by Brian De Palma.
    • Grant Walker, a character played by Daniel O'Herlihy, has decided that things are too rough and wants to implement a new city to replace an old society, but is willing to destroy the old one first? Walker's a bit more extreme, but we've seen this before.
    • This was the second time the late Roddy McDowell played a Batman villain with an obsession over classical literature, except whereas the Bookworm was more of a jack of all trades with his literary references, the Mad Hatter specifically focuses on the works of Lewis Carroll.
    • In a "What Could Have Been" example, had Tim Curry been cast as the Joker as the production team had originally planned this would have been the result, as Curry had only a few years previous famously played another famous Monster Clown.
  • Adam Westing: The star of the '60s series and Trope Namer, Adam West, appears as a washed-up actor who played "The Gray Ghost," a fictional superhero whom Bruce Wayne idolized as a child. The dramatic variant of the usual Adam-West-as-himself gag works, and this rendition is a more sincere experience for West and fans. ("So it wasn't all for nothing.") Also doubles as Remake Cameo and Actor Allusion.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The episodic nature replicated the feel of the comics, and the various characters were streamlined into their most efficient archetype.
    • Some episodes that were based on stories from Batman comic books went through this as well. "The Laughing Fish" was a streamlined version of a classic story by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers, but the ending (pitting Batman against a shark) was taken from Denny O'Neil's classic "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge".
      • Harley Quinn also had to be shoehorned into the plot since she didn't exist yet when the comic had been written.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • For whatever reason, Blackgate becomes Stonegate.
    • Killer Croc's last name is "Morgan" not Jones.
    • Anthony Romulus's last name in the comics was "Lupis".
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Bane debuts while Dick Grayson is still Robin and after Barbara Gordon recently became Batgirl, instead of shortly after Tim Drake had taken on the Robin mantle.
    • For a example of a costume doing this Tim Drake's classic Robin suit was given to Dick Grayson when he was still Robin for Adaptational Modesty purposes.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • In the comics, Hamilton Hill was a Corrupt Politician who was in the pocket of Rupert Thorne. While initially against Batman here, this version of Hill is a good and honest person.
    • The same goes for Harvey Bullock, who initially started a Dirty Cop and a pawn of Hill before making a Heel–Face Turn, is an honest cop from day one here. However, as with even post-Heel–Face Turn comics, Bullock is still prone to roughing up suspects. Bullock in this series is also usually antagonistic towards Batman for professional reasons, not because he's corrupt.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Several villains whose comics incarnations were essentially doing things For the Evulz gained sympathetic motives or personalities. The Mad Hatter originally had no backstory in the comics, but was introduced in the series as a victim of Love Makes You Evil; minor gimmick crook Mister Freeze's reimagining as an Anti-Villain was so successful it was later imported into the comics, albeit with Darker and Edgier elements.
    • The Crime Doctor was introduced in Detective Comics #77 as an outright villainous character. The Batman: TAS episode of the same name turns the character into a sympathetic figure through portraying him as a good-intentioned doctor who helped his brother (crime boss Rupert Thorne) in the hopes that the latter would use his influence to restore his medical license.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Crime bosses Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni are nowhere to be seen, with Falcone's role as Gotham City's most powerful crime boss and Maroni's role in Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face going to Rupert Thorne.note 
    • Jason Todd, the second Robin, was completely skipped over. Though some argue that their version of Tim Drake is more a Composite Character of Tim and Jason, both in origin and personality.
  • Adaptational Sympathy: Victor Fries is revised from a standard ice theme criminal into a scientist who is trying to cure his terminally ill wife. His transformation into Mr. Freeze was caused by a corrupted business man and any crime he commits is only done to fund his research for a cure for his wife.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The Penguin uses this a lot. Also, in "Lock-Up", a reporter refers to Poison Ivy as a "villainous vixen of vines".
  • Adventure Rebuff: Batgirl was rebuffed by Batman and Robin a couple times, but she eventually became Batman's partner and stayed even after Robin had left. In Batman Beyond Bruce Wayne refuses to help Terry at first. Once Terry steals the batsuit, Bruce shuts it down remotely, but eventually decides to let him become the next Batman.
    • It's very common for Batman to initially rebuff Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, meaning she has to fight tooth and nail for his respect, at least initially. He might show a similar sentiment to his various Robins as well.
      Barbara: I hear you wrangled yourself a new errand boy.
      Bruce: I never wrangled anyone. You all came to me.
      Barbara: Maybe for once you should try to talk someone out of it.
      Bruce: Would it have worked for you?
      (Barbara smiles)
  • An Aesop:
    • The episode "Mean Seasons" has a moral about how beauty standards are absurd and put extreme pressure on women. The masked Villain of the Week Calendar Girl, who was once a renowned model but was fired for being unable to compete with younger women. When the police unmask her, she begins to scream and writhe on the ground, horrified that they see her "ugly" face. She's in her late-thirties and just as attractive as the other models seen.
      Batgirl: She's beautiful.
      Batman: She can't see that anymore. All she can see are the flaws.
    • A huge one regarding domestic abuse is dropped in "Mad Love". Not only does it portray it as a serious issue, but it also shows why victims keep going back to their abusers; the Joker convinces Harley that he still loves her and that's enough to get her back in his grip.
    • The episode "Never Fear" has the lesson that having no fear is not a good thing. Scarecrow uses a poison that causes a person to act without fear. A man who fears heights foolishly swings through Gotham like Batman and almost plummets to his death. A timid employee at Wayne Industries storms into Bruce's office, loudly quits and kisses Wayne's secretary without her consent. Batman murders a crocodile, nearly gets himself killed several times, and threatens to have a man fall to his death for information on where Scarecrow is and doesn't bother saving him when it happens, though fortunately Robin (Tim Drake) steps in. Fear might be something that holds us back, but it can also keep us in check so we don't foolishly endanger our lives or anyone else's.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Catwoman when she's a villain. She seems to have a soft spot for both Batman and Batgirl.
    • Harley Quinn most of the time (unless she's really pissed off). Thing is, she's not actually a bad person, but she won't come to understand that she's dating a psychopath.
    • Minor villain Roxy Rocket also gets this to a certain extent.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The computer system H.A.R.D.A.C. attempted to replace all of humanity's leaders with androids, with Gotham as the pilot project.
  • All According to Plan: "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne", when Bruce Wayne is chained and Alfred is tied in Doctor Strange's basement:
    Alfred: Oh master Bruce! I am so sorry, this is all my fault!
    Bruce Wayne: Nonsense, Alfred; believe it or not, this is working out, Just as Planned.
    Alfred: How reassuring!
  • All Just a Dream: "Over the Edge" ends with the revelation that the episode's events were actually a hallucination Barbara Gordon experienced from the Scarecrow's fear toxin while recovering from injuries she sustained during the fight that appeared to kill her.
  • All Take and No Give: Exaggerated with The Joker and Harley Quinn. She has an almost doglike unconditional love and loyalty towards him, and he treats her like shit and doesn't really love her or give a damn.
  • All-Loving Hero: Batman himself, unlike his usual characterization. He almost always tries to Save the Villain at the end, even horrible people like The Joker or The Sewer King.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation (In-Universe): In "Legends of the Dark Knight", several children discuss what they believe Batman to really be like. The first alluded to story portrays Batman as a giant pterodactyl, the second is a brightly lit homage to the Batman TV series and The Silver Age of Comic Books, the third (never seen) version is a contempt-filled reference to Batman & Robin, and the fourth is an adaptation of a section from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, with Michael Ironside as the man himself.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The show has a very upbeat theme in Italy. Same with the Arabic theme.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The plot of the episode "Joker's Millions", where the Joker goes on a crime spree to raise money to avoid going to jail for tax evasion. As absurd as it might sound, the United States actually does have tax laws specifically stipulating that money earned through crime is still subject to income taxes, and there are criminals who have been jailed for failing to pay taxes on their illegally earned money. (This was in fact how Al Capone was eventually busted.)
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's never made clear whether Arnold Wesker has multiple personalities and Scarface is one of them, if Scarface really is alive, or if Wesker is just faking being insane so people will sympathize with him, although the first seems the most likely.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Intentionally enforced by the creators. Not a single date is given while all the anachronism makes the date impossible to pinpoint. Or at least that's how it was intended. In "Beware the Gray Ghost", a magazine cover has the year 1992 on it. It can be easy to forget it takes place in a contemporary era if it didn't feature modern objects like computers.
  • Amnesiac Liar: "The Forgotten" has Bruce Wayne/Batman posing as a drifter to investigate a human trafficking ring. However, he ends up beaten by the criminals, and for a while believes himself to be nothing more than his cover identity suggests.
  • Anachronic Order: You can't really win here.
    • There are arguments over whether the production order or broadcast order is better.
    • Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero was released during the first season of The New Batman Adventures but takes place before the Time Skip between the two versions of the show.
    • Clayface and Tim Drake appear in The New Batman Adventures series premiere "Holiday Knights" despite Tim Drake's origin episode being "Sins of the Father" and Clayface not reconstituting until "Growing Pains".
  • Anachronism Stew: Intentionally invoked by the creators to make when the series takes place ambiguous. For instance, the clothing and cars are from the 1940s. The weapons are 1930-70-ish. The uniforms are from the 1960s. TVs are in black and white. SWAT teams and Liebherr-style cranes exist already. The helicopters are from the 1980s. Computers and video ovo188 exist. The social status of women and minorities is modern. The list goes on, too... This became a Downplayed Trope in The New Batman Adventures, however to match up with the more modern styles of the rest of the DCAU.
  • Animation Bump: The episodes that are done by TMS Entertainment and Spectrum Animation. Special mentions have go to "On Leather Wings", "Heart of Ice", "Robin's Reckoning: Part 1" and "Feat of Clay: Part 2", just for impressing the production staff. Episodes done by Junio and Sunrise have this as well, depending on what team is animating.
  • Animesque: Several episodes seem to adopt this look (as part of the series was outsourced to four Japanese studios), particularly "Feat of Clay: Part 2" and "Pretty Poison". "Growing Pains" of The New Batman Adventures also has this look, due in part of it being animated by some Studio Ghibli alumni.
  • The Anticipator: Batman does this quite a few times: in one episode, two mooks are sent to look for Batman in a house. Batman is waiting for the two mooks to enter the bedroom he is hiding in. When one of them looks inside, Batman gives him a daring look. The other mook asks if anyone is inside the room. The mook says there's no one there.
  • Anti-Climactic Unmasking:
    • When Batman rips the mask off Bane, one might expect... something... but no. What is under the mask is simply a youngish, vaguely handsome man.
    • Played for Drama when it comes to Calendar Girl. As Batman moves to unmask her, she panics, screaming and sobbing about how no-one can be allowed to see how hideous she is. This sets up the expectation that maybe she has some form of horrific scar from botched plastic surgery after she was forced away from modelling... but, when the mask is removed, Calendar Girl looks exactly like an attractive woman in her late thirties.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Mr. Freeze. His re-imagining from a one-note gimmick villain was so acclaimed that his new, tragic backstory was incorporated into the DCU canon — as well as a live-action film, and the video game.
    • Catwoman, who seeks to protect endangered wildlife and really only wants her freedom. The first season showed her genuinely reforming, but by the second season she had fallen back into more criminal habits.
    • Poison Ivy, by the end of the original series. Even Batman recognizes that all she wants is a quiet and peaceful life—the problems only arise because she wants them on her terms.
    • Clayface, at least in his first few appearances. Most of his crimes revolve around him regaining his humanity and living a normal life.
    • Whereas in the comics the Crime Doctor treated criminals all on his own, in the cartoon he's forced to do it against his will by brother Rupert Thorne.
  • Anything but That!: As "Joker's Millions" shows, Joker does pick his targets: "I'm crazy enough to take on Batman, but the IRS? No, thank you!"
  • Apathetic Clerk: After being being exposed to Joker's laughing gas and thrown into a vat of chemicals, news anchor Jack Ryder is transformed into The Creeper. One of his first acts is to go to a clothing store in order to make his superhero costume. He manages to scare everyone out of the store, except for a store clerk who watches him as he finds his costume and asks how he'll pay in a monotone voice. Despite her total screen time being less than a minute, fans have named her Thrifty. Given she works in Gotham City, she probably has a high tolerance for weirdness.
  • Arrow Catch: Not an arrow per se, but during "The Last Laugh", Batman catches one of Joker's razor playing cards out of the air, and it's impressive enough to give Joker an Oh, Crap! moment.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Girls' Night Out", The Penguin demands that someone get him chainsaws, dump trucks, hedgeclippers... and a bottle of aspirin.
  • Art Evolution: The "revamp" to The New Batman Adventures saw a more streamlined design applied to the character models in order to match Superman: The Animated Series.
  • Art Shift: "Legends of the Dark Knight" features two stories told by children about what they believe Batman is really like. Each story has its own visual style which corresponds to different past incarnations of the Batman character.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The "Heart of Steel" and "His Silicon Soul" arc deals with intelligent computers, and also ponders questions of morality and life for mechanical beings.
  • Artistic License: The world of Batman is, as admitted by the creators, illogical and contradictory; technology from different eras (And many technologies that never existed at all) exist side-by-side and without comment. The creators admit in DVD commentaries and interviews that the contradictions were deliberate in order to create a specific and unique atmosphere for the series, even if practical considerations would normally make them ridiculous (Police blimps were specifically mentioned in the audio commentary for "On Leather Wings," the first episode of the series).
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Batgirl was a minor supporting character in the initial seasons, only appearing as Batgirl in three episodes, but becomes part of the primary cast after the revamp with her, Batman and Robin in most episodes.
    • To a lesser extent, Dick Grayson as Robin. He was already a recurring character, but he started appearing in every episode in The Adventures of Batman & Robin era. In The New Batman Adventures era he was Demoted to Extra with a handful of appearances as Nightwing.
    • Harley Quinn originated as one of Joker's colorful henchmen, but there was something magical about her appearance and personality that slowly developed their Love Makes You Crazy relationship. Harley eventually became a Canon Immigrant, headlining separate comic runs, TV shows and movies.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Batman himself in "Beware the Gray Ghost" - he even keeps Grey Ghost merchandise in the Batcave and explains that he actually based its design on the Grey Ghost's lair.
  • Ascended Meme: The Joker sings the "Jingle Bells/Batman smells" song in "Christmas with the Joker".
  • A-Team Firing: Though guns are frequently used by standard mobsters and criminals, they rarely (if ever) even wound characters. The strongest aversion comes when Jim Gordon is shot and spends the episode in critical condition.
  • Auction of Evil: Twice. In "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne" (for Batman's secret identity) and "Harlequinade" (for an atomic bomb).
  • Author Appeal: The Harley/Ivy Les Yay. Even Wikipedia notes it. The Powers That Be also claim Paul Dini had a crush on Zatanna. Since he actually married a real life magician, Misty Lee (who bears a striking resemblance to Zatanna), this only furthers the evidence.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis:
    • In "Feat of Clay: Part 1" Batman identifies a crook based solely on how the guy's face felt like when Bats was punching him.
    • The Clock King (who's a middle-aged civil servant) is able to go hand to hand with Batman simply from having studied Batman's tendencies in a fight.
  • Badass Back:
  • Badass Normal: A random factory worker in "See No Evil" sneaks up on Bats and almost flattens him under a shelving unit.
  • Bad Future: In "Over the Edge" we see just how far Commissioner Gordon would go for revenge if Barbara was ever killed in the line of Bat-duty. It's not pretty. Then again, it's a Scarecrow fear-induced hallucination, so it might be more of her fear of her father going after Batman, rather than how he actually would react in that situation.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Stacked Deck Club, which Batgirl describes as the roughest place in town. "Almost Got 'Im" takes place almost entirely there, except for the flashbacks and conclusion.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?", Batman and Robin stopped the Riddler from killing Daniel Mockridge, but the Riddler still escaped at the end and for all intents and purposes still won when he destroyed Mockridge's peace of mind and made him live in paranoid fear of the Riddler's return. Fortunately, Mockridge is a bit of a jerk.
    Bruce: How much is a good night's sleep worth? Now there's a riddle for you.
  • Bandaged Face: Harvey Dent's is probably the best known, but Calendar Girl, the villain of "Mean Seasons", had one as well.
  • Batman in My Basement: Trope Namer and one of the episodes the writers would deeply love to forget.
  • Batman Gambit: From the Trope Namer himself in "Lock-Up". When a trial for allegations of abuse to the inmates of Arkham Asylum by new head of security Lyle Bolton, none of the inmates brought in (Harley, Scarecrow, and The Ventriloquist/Scarface) seem to want to testify. Batman, who's attending as Bruce Wayne due to him appointing Bolton to the job in the first place, says that they should keep Bolton in charge for another year and a half. This leads to all of the inmates present to plead for him not to and exposes Bolton's crimes. Also in "Mad Love" Batman counts on the Jokers "The Only One Allowed to Defeat You" mentality to save him froma death trap created by Harley Quinn.
    • Not just limited to Batman himself either. In the episode "Joker's Favor" Charlie, who had been blackmailed by the Joker, used the villains own methods and mindset against him, faking a psychotic break and threatening to take them both out with a (fake) bomb therby robbing the Joker of his final "blaze of glory" moment with Batman. Batman even gives an approving chuckle after the plan works.
  • Bat Signal: The classic signal features in the series, where it is used both to summon Batman and, on two occasions, lay a trap for him when the police suspect him in a crime.
  • Battle Butler: Alfred is a former British secret agent and gets a few opportunities to utilize those skills in Batman's service, while Harley Quinn shows her fanatical devotion to the Joker on a regular basis.
  • Battle in the Rain: Batman and Clayface have a fight in the rain at the end of "Mudslide". While this is often done just because it looks cool, here it is plot relevant: Clayface absorbs the rain, and actually starts to dissolve.
  • Bedlam House: Arkham Asylum is less a case of Bedlam House than in the source comic. The architecture is still oppressive, and the better-known inmates seem to enjoy making life hell for each other, but it is shown to have some good doctors, who have some sadly temporary success with Harvey Dent, Harley Quinn, and Edward Nygma. Harely herself was also a therapist at Arkham that fell in love with the Joker. It shows the place isn't that great for its staff either. The episode Lock-Up, however, features Arkham guard Lyle Bolton, who gets fired after it's revealed he's on a serious power trip that has made him violently abusive to inmates including Harley and Jonathan Crane.
  • Berserk Button:
    Thug: Gee, boss, you're scaring me. You're talking kinda crazy.
    • Joker goes nuts when he's the butt of jokes or is pranked by someone else. In a posthumous Spiteful Will, rival boss King Barlowe got the last laugh when he told that the Unexpected Inheritance was fake and knew that Joker would binge-spend before the IRS came for the taxes. Realizing he was duped, the Joker shoots the television playing the Video Will in rage.
  • Best Served Cold: "This is how I'll always remember you: surrounded by winter, forever young, forever beautiful... Rest well, my love! The monster who took you from me will soon learn that revenge is a dish best served cold."
  • Between My Legs: Harley in "Mad Love", Miriam in "Baby-Doll", and Bruce in "The Last Laugh".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Robin is always good cop to Batman's bad cop, and generally does his best to keep Batman from going too far into the darkness. "Robin's Reckoning" showed that he can be just as brutal and frightening as Bruce when properly provoked.
  • Big Bad: The Joker, Batman's Archenemy, is the most recurring villain and the main antagonist of the series.
  • Big Damn Kiss: While never good for the person on the receiving end, Poison Ivy's kisses are always memorably passionate. You get a sense she not only enjoys it but takes pride in her talent as a kisser.
  • Big "NO!": All the time and at least one from every character throughout the series. Poison Ivy gets several in her introduction episode alone.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: Anthony Romulus in "Moon of the Wolf".
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Though DC kept it as subtexty as possible for years, Harley is head-over-heels for her boyfriend, The Joker. The Joker is extremely physically and emotionally abusive but Harley always goes back to him in the end. Ivy on the other hand has feelings for Harley and the two have a much more stable relationship, but Depending on the Writer Harley is either oblivious, knows of Ivy's feeling but ignores her, or has flings with Ivy when she and the Joker are separate. Starting with the New 52 reboot, DC revamped Ivy and Harley's relationship to be more obviously romantic and requited. They're either Friends with Benefits or a non-monogamous couple.
  • Bittersweet Ending: A number of villains are not really that villainous, just victims of horrible circumstance leading to endings that save the day, but leave the pitiful, broken villain crying on the ground.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: The Joker and Mr. Freeze in the revamp.
  • Blank Book: In "Perchance to Dream", some books are blank, others are just full of jibberish. This is because reading is a function of the right side of the brain, which is inactive when sleeping.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: One of Batman's tactics for dealing with gun-toting foes is to disarm them with a well-aimed batarang.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Selina Kyle's assistant, Maven.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
    • Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. (Though Catwoman was blonde until the later redesign of all the characters.)
    • The Terrible Trio.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Both Poison Ivy and The Clock King seem to work on this. Poison Ivy apparently considers killing plants just a bad murdering people (Which makes you wonder what the hell she actually eats), while The Clock King, in his first episode, wants to kill Mayor Hamilton Hill for making him LATE.
  • The Board Game: 2018's Gotham City Under Siege, a cooperative game where players take on the role of Bat-Family members and play through scenarios based on the series' first season.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Man-Bat. Both of them.
    • Matt Hagen changing into Clayface.
    • "Eternal Youth" has this in spades for the victims of the villain, mixed with And I Must Scream.
    • Bane's defeat. After Batman breaks Bane's venom pump mechanism, his muscles begin to get enormously pumped while he screams in agony. It keeps going for quite a while until Batman severs the pump from Bane's head.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Played straight throughout the series.
  • Book Ends:
    • The original run of Batman: The Animated Series/The Adventures of Batman & Robin in broadcast order opens and closes with Red Claw stories.
    • "Harley's Holiday" starts with Harley being released from Arkham and the Scarecrow being brought in. And it ends with Harley being brought in.
    • "Joker's Wild" begins and ends with Joker and the other inmates (Notably Poison Ivy) fighting over the TV.
  • Bound and Gagged:
    • Catwoman is tied to a conveyor belt in "Almost Got 'Im." This also happen to her in other episodes such as "Tyger, Tyger" and "Catwalk".
    • Three fashion executives in "Mean Seasons" are tied up for judgement from Calendar Girl.
    • Leslie Tompkins in "Appointment in Crime Alley."
    • Mayor Hill in "The Clock King."
    • Batman himself in multiple episodes (Including twice in "Almost Got 'Im")...
    • Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl in "Heart of Steel, Part 2" and "Batgirl Returns".
    • Lily and Violet in "Eternal Youth".
    • Clio in "Fire from Olympus".
    • Three law enforcement officials in "Christmas with the Joker", including Commissioner Gordon and Bullock.
    • Dick Grayson in "House and Garden."
    • Summer Gleason in "Christmas with the Joker" and "Night of the Ninja".
    • Harley Quinn in "Trial".
  • Brainwashed: Several villains utilize brainwashing to further their schemes, whatever they may be.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Most of the Mad Hatter's brainwashed victims end up becoming this.
  • Brake Angrily: In "House And Garden," Poison Ivy has apparently rehabilitated and has married her doctor, Professor Steven Carlyle, to help him raise his twin sons. Batman thinks Ivy may still be up to something when a number of wealthy bachelors succumb to a mysterious toxin, but all his leads come up zilch. Driving back to the Batcave, Robin tells Batman that Prof. Carlyle actually has twin girls. SCREEEEEEECHHHHH!!!!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Several times by The Joker commenting on his plans.
    • At one point in "Christmas with the Joker," Joker (who is hosting a TV show) ends a scene with "But first, a word from our sponsors!" Cut to a commercial break.
    • Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn's shopping-spree fashion-show in "Holiday Knights", particularly the moment Ivy & Haley get pushed off the screen by another Ivy.
  • Breakout Villain: Harley Quinn has rivaled The Joker in popularity, both from her introduction in this show, and ever since.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Harley Quinn is the quintessential example. As a psychiatrist working at Arkham Asylum she was a naive and reserved doctor, inexplicably drawn to the Joker and hoping to eventually cure his rampant insanity. He, in turn, drives her completely mad. (The psychiatric term for this is "folie à deux" - French for "madness for two." Apropos.) After months (years?) as his assistant, moll and emotional punching bag, she slowly drags herself back to sanity and, through a series of innocent misunderstandings, is thrown right back into Arkham after a single day of genuinely trying to reform. Her entire depressing story is encapsulated when the Joker finds out that she captured and was about to kill Batman instead of him: he punches her and throws her out of a third story window. Awful enough — and then the prone, injured Harley whispers:
    "My fault... I didn't get the joke..."
    • In "Growing Pains," happens to Tim Drake after Clayface absorbs Annie, causing Tim to brutally attack Clayface.
    • Mary Dahl, who only wanted to be taken seriously as an actor despite being trapped in the body of a child.
  • Bribe Backfire: At the conclusion of "The Terrible Trio," Fox tries to pay off Batman with $10 million, explaining that it "buys a lot of batarangs." Batman refuses not just because he already has a lot of batarangs, but because he refuses to let Fox just buy his way out of his troubles.
  • Brick Joke: "Time Out of Joint" involves Clock King getting his hands on a device that lets him walk in Bullet Time; he passes a woman conveniently in mid-fall while sneaking into the mayor's office, but when Batman appears, Clock King makes his escape - only to trip over that woman as she is picking up her stuff.
  • Brits Love Tea: Alfred, as the most British of gentlemen, frequently offers an actual 'spot of tea.'
  • Broken Aesop: In "P.O.V." Bullock lands Montoya and her partner in trouble by going in alone at a sting operation. When Montoya deduces the gang's hideout, she does the same thing (only she succeeds)—and then, at the end of the episode, preaches teamwork. Um...
  • The Bronze Age of Comic Books: The series is very similar in tone to Bronze Age Batman.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: This Batman partially avoids the traditional Rich Idiot With No Day Job portrayal by acting like one of these. He's the head of the Wayne Enterprises and a very shrewd tycoon... with quite the social life, who leaves the day-to-day minutia to Lucius Fox and other business officers.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Harvey Bullock for the good guys, as his stubbornness, bad temper, and overall loutishness make him act quite foolish most of the time.
    • Another good guy example is Mayor Hill, but you can say that you're invoking it if you chose to run for Mayor of a Wretched Hive like Gotham City.
    • Harley Quinn is a (relatively) rare female example. Not only does her general incompetence make her look pretty stupid (at least in the early episodes), the verbal and, yes, physical abuse she takes from the Joker is Played for Laughs much of the time... unless it's being Played for Drama.
    • "Almost Got 'Im" has an unusual one-episode example for Killer Croc. Throughout the episode he acts even stupider than normal, and is constantly treated with condescension by the other villain characters (especially the Joker) every time he says something buffoonish. But Croc eventually has the last laugh when, after hearing the Joker brag about capturing Catwoman and planning to have her ground up into cat food, he reveals himself to be Batman in disguise, knocks the Clown Prince on his ass, and has the other villains arrested after revealing that all the other patrons in the nightclub are undercover cops, remarking as he leaves that "I'm not bad with traps myself."
    • Inverted with Sidney Debris, a.k.a. "Sid the Squid," in "The Man Who Killed Batman." This bumbling wannabe crook, through several bizarre twists of fate, experiences incredible good luck throughout the entire episode, managing to make monkeys of Rupert Thorne, the Joker and (temporarily) Batman and earning widespread praise he doesn't deserve for an incredible feat that, due to a freakish coincidence, he only appears to have performed. Thorne even lampshades the possibility that Sid's "loser" shtick may all be an act.
    Thorne: Nobody's that lucky or stupid!
  • Call-Back:
    • In "Almost Got 'Im", we hear Killer Croc's story as told by Batman about how he'd almost gotten Batman because "I threw a rock at him!" Come the Joker Jury episode, and he yells out "Hit him with a rock!" as his preferred sentencing.
    • The line in "Almost Got 'Im" itself was a callback to "Sideshow," where Croc really did throw a huge rock at Batman.
    • Also from "Almost Got 'Im", after Two-Face expresses a desire to kill Ivy, Ivy quips to the other villains, "We used to date." This calls back to Ivy's first appearance, "Pretty Poison", when she seduced Harvey Dent (before he became Two-Face) with the intention of killing him.
    • In Harley's Holiday, Harley meets up with Boxy, who mentions that the last time she came by she brought the Batman on his roof, the events of which were told in the episode "Harlequinade".
    • In Riddler's Reform, we get another one when Robin's questioning the Riddler about what's in the puzzle box. "The last time you sent one of these, it almost killed Commissioner Gordon." This is in reference to the previous Riddler episode, "What is Reality?"
  • Canon Foreigner: Summer Gleeson, Roland Daggett, Red Claw, Calendar Girl, Baby Doll, H.A.R.D.A.C, Kyodai Ken, Josiah Wormwood, and Farmer Brown.
  • Canon Immigrant: Had several.
    • Harley Quinn is the most popular of the immigrants and has starred in her own comic series and guest-starred in several ongoing series, serving as the Joker's henchwoman and as a villain (and sometimes hero) in her own right. The partnership/friendship/something more relationship between her and Poison Ivy has likewise been adapted into the comics, and in December 2009 the two began co-starring (along with Catwoman) in Gotham City Sirens.
    • Arguably the second most popular immigrant would have to be Mister Freeze's reimagining as an Anti-Villain with a tragic backstory rather than an ice themed gimmicky one, having been adopted by the mainstream comics as well as the Batman: Arkham Series.
    • Detective Renee Montoya is an interesting conundrum; though created for the show, because it took so long to produce the episodes she actually appeared in the comics first. She guest-starred in numerous Bat-Family titles until the launch of Gotham Central, in which she was one of the primary characters. During the events of 52 she apprenticed with The Question and took the title herself after his death.
    • Lock-Up and Roxy Rocket are more minor immigrants. Lock-Up has a similar origin and motive, but appears infrequently, and Roxy Rocket has only had one or two appearances since her first adventure.
    • The Sewer King turned up dead in one panel of 52 when they needed some C-List Fodder villains.
    • The Condiment King has made a few appearances in the mainstream DCU, filling the niche of a villain who seems goofy but can be quite deadly.
    • The original Clock King was simply a clock-themed crook. A new version was introduced in 2008 based off of the Temple Fugate version, sharing his name, manner of dress, and Awesomeness by Analysis.
  • Can Only Move the Eyes: The victims of the Joker's paralyzing gas in "Joker's Favor", which shows that they're conscious as the Joker reveals what's going to happen to them next.
  • Cape Busters: Gotham City's orange-uniformed SWAT officers. Their effectiveness varies.
  • Captain Ersatz: Joker has three Mooks based off The Three Stooges. Similarly, Baby Doll's henchmen to Gilligan and Skipper.
  • Captive Date: In "Mad as a Hatter", Jervis Tetch tries to win his co-worker Alice's heart after her recent breakup. She is charmed by Jervis but mistakes his romantic overtures as platonic attempts to cheer her up and she later reconciles with her boyfriend. Jervis then uses his Mind Control technology on her and takes her on a "date" at a Wonderland-themed amusement park.
  • Capture and Replicate: HARDAC captures several prominent citizens of Gotham City and replaces them with androids.
  • Cardboard Prison: Lampshaded in Lock-Up. Arkham is described as having a revolving door.
  • Cast as a Mask:
    • Both John Rhys-Davies and Aron Kincaid had the opportunity to play Batman himself in "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy" and "Almost Got 'Im," respectively.
    • Kevin Conroy voices The Mad Hatter, Clayface, and Dick Grayson in different episodes ("Perchance to Dream", "Feat of Clay, Parts 1 and 2", and "The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne", respectively).
  • Casting Gag
  • Catapult Nightmare:
    • Multiple episodes, but notably in both parts of the two-partner "Two-Face". Practically every nightmare a character has will end with a Catapult Nightmare
    • Subverted in season 2 episode "Perchance to Dream", in which Bruce Wayne wakes up from a Catapult Nightmare...into an extended dream sequence. The first part of the episode is not a dream but reality, and the rest (after the Catapult Nightmare wake up) is a dream world created by the Mad Hatter.
  • Catchphrase. Many, including:
    Batman: That's not the answer I want.
  • Cat Girl: Catwoman. Taken to extremes in "Tyger Tyger", where Dr. Dorian kidnaps Selina Kyle and mutates her into an ACTUAL catwoman.
  • Cat Scare: Happens in "The Forgotten".
  • Cement Shoes: In "Two-Face" a mobster being bothered by crusading DA Harvey Dent considers "fitting him for a cement overcoat"
  • Censor Steam: In "Heart of Steel, Part 1," some very well placed steam hides the Gordon robot's nether regions as it comes out of HARDAC's press.
  • Character Development:
    • Over the course of the series Robin grows continuously more frustrated with Batman's domination of their partnership and cold, emotionless personality. It comes to a head during the revamp into The New Batman Adventures, where he abandons the Robin persona and strikes out on his own as Nightwing.
    • Barbara Gordon initially appears as the normal daughter of Commissioner Gordon, but she gets dragged into a plot for world domination and, at the end of the episode, mentioned that she liked the experience. She later masquerades as Batman when she feels that he needs to be seen at a public event. She then begins to fight crime on her own as Batgirl, eventually becoming an official member of the Bat-family and replacing Robin when he ends his partnership with Batman.
    • Batman himself starts out as anti-heroic yet optimistic, and is friendly towards his allies, but he grows more cold, pragmatic, and cynical throughout the entire DC Animated Universe. His relentless dedication to fighting crime at the cost of his own happiness, as well as his increasingly standoffish personality alienates many of his friends and love interests, which leads to him becoming the bitter, old recluse seen in Batman Beyond.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Batman and the Bat-Family counts as this. So does Catwoman.
  • Chase Fight: In "His Silicon Soul," the android Batman chases the real Batman around the Bat Cave as they fight.
  • Cheap Costume: The Condiment King wears an actual pair of underwear as part of his costume.
  • Cheated Angle: Commissioner Gordon's cowlick. In an audio commentary, one of the artists laments that the cowlick is always slightly to the side, even when it should have shifted with the angle.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Harvey Dent appears twice as a heroic character before becoming Two Face, and in his first appearance he is even shown flipping a coin.
    • Jack Ryder is set up as the regular news reporter in The New Batman Adventures before he becomes The Creeper near the end of the series.
  • Chiaroscuro: As to be expected considering its inspiration from Frank Miller.
  • Christmas Episode: Season 1's "Christmas with the Joker" (which aired on Nov. 13, 1992, oddly enough) featured the Joker hijacking a broadcast of It's a Wonderful Life with his own program, which features Commissioner Gordon and others as hostages.
  • Chronically Crashed Car: In the episode "Harley's Holiday", Bullock's car is victim of a hit and run from Harley... And it gets worse. And worse. And worse.
  • Chronic Villainy:
    • The Riddler sells his persona for a fortune and decides to abandon crime altogether in order to avoid risking his newfound wealth and freedom. However, because he has such a compulsion, he reasons that the only way he can do so is to kill Batman. Naturally, he fails, gets found out and arrested.
    • Harley Quinn went through extensive therapy and treatment for her obsession with the Joker and was certified legally sane by the staff of Arkham Asylum. However, on her first day out out, a series of comical misunderstandings resulted in her taking a hostage and being pursued by Bullock, the hostage's father (a general in a tank!) and a vengeful gangster, winding up right back in Arkham by the end of the day. In this case it seems that everybody involved (including Batman himself) was rooting for Harley's successful recovery and the end of the episode implied that she would make it there eventually, but that storyline was never followed up. Unless you count Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker where an aged, reformed Harley bails her delinquent granddaughters out of jail and berates them for becoming criminals like she used to be.
    • The Penguin decided to abandon crime one day when he was released from Stonegate, deciding that he never wanted to return to jail again, but when he learned that the woman he began to fall in love with was only spending time with him to mock his uncultured ways he relapsed into villainy. However, unlike the other villains, he does manage to stay out of jail in The New Batman Adventures. He didn't really reform and uses his nightclub as a front for shady deals, but he does a much better job of ensuring his legal safety. Batman is well-aware that Penguin hasn't changed, but keeps him around because he is just as often a good source of information about other, more dangerous criminals.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Selina Kyle's assistant Maven simply vanishes after two appearances.
  • City Noir: Achieved by doing the art for the series on black paper.
  • Classy Catburglar: Who else but the real deal?
  • Clear My Name:
    • "On Leather Wings," the first episode, has Batman accused of several vicious attacks when Man-Bat goes on a rampage.
    • In "Feat of Clay," Batman must clear his name when Roland Daggett blackmails Matt Hagan into posing as Bruce Wayne to get important evidence against Daggett away from Lucius Fox.
    • In "Shadow of the Bat," Commissioner Gordon is accused of being an employee of Rupert Thorne, Gotham's ranking mob boss.
  • Clingy Costume: Mr. Freeze's temperature-regulating suit.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Baby Doll, for Killer Croc.
    • Harley eventually becomes jealous of all the attention that Batman gets from the Joker, and this grows into homicidal tendencies.
  • Clock King: Temple Fugate did not invent the trope, but he certainly named it.
  • Cloning Splits Attributes: Riddler lured Batman into a virtual reality. Batman replicated himself again and again until there were 64 of him. Riddler duplicated himself each time to match, which was Batman's plan because by splitting his focus 64 times he rendered himself incapable of maintaining the virtual world, and the simulation started to collapse.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: The Gray Ghost.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Bane defies the trope, waiting until he knows exactly where Batman is and calling him to point out that, if he were a common sniper, Batman would be dead by then.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting:
    • Randa Duane's appearance was based upon that of Marilyn Monroe.
    • Donna Day, the fashion designer Calender Girl kidnaps in "Mean Seasons", was modeled after iconic fashion editor Carrie Donovan.
    • Annie from "Growing Pains" was modeled after Natalie Portman in Léon: The Professional.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames:
    • While his second episode and Justice League Unlimited would avert this, Temple Fugate's debut doesn't see him called "the Clock King".
    • Thomas Blake is a cult leader, not a costumed villain called "Catman".
  • Complexity Addiction: A recurring feature, but particularly showcased in "Almost Got 'Im", the episode where several villains swap stories about how they almost got Batman. In nearly every case, they would have got him easily if they'd been straightforward about it instead of going for an elaborate and artistic doom involving hummingbirds with poison-tipped beaks, giant pennies, or whatever.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: The original appears in his traditional role.
  • Composite Character:
    • Clayface is a combo of the first three people to assume the name. He is an actor like the original Basil Karlo version, has the name and powers of Matt Hagen and was disfigured like Preston Payne.
    • Tim Drake, who replaced Dick Grayson as Robin, has characteristics of both the Tim Drake from the comics and also Jason Todd. He has Tim Drake's name and light-hearted personality (several episodes suggest he has Tim's intellect too), but Jason Todd's origin story, position as the second Robin, and a little bit of his attitude.
    • Rupert Thorne had ties to the mob in the comics, but his role here as Gotham's most powerful crime boss is taken from Carmine Falcone. He also Sal Maroni's role in Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • "Almost Got 'Im" has a bit where Killer Croc claims to have hurled a rock at Batman - this happened in the episode "Sideshow" (which was made and aired after "Almost Got 'Im"); later on in "Trial", assorted Arkham inmates are baying for Batman's blood while Killer Croc suggests they "Hit'im with a rock!"
    • In "Almost Got 'Im", Two-Face is very aggrieved with Poison Ivy, who claims "we used to date"; in "Trial" she makes a reference to trying to kill Harvey Dent. Both are references to "Pretty Poison", Ivy's debut episode.
    • In "House & Garden," as Poison Ivy flees at the end of the episode she looks over a photo album of her time in Gotham. Included in this album is a picture of Bruce Wayne & Harvey Dent (A reproduction of their groundbreaking at Stonegate Penitentiary in "Pretty Poison") and a picture of Ivy and Harley Quinn (A reproduction of their team-up in "Harley & Ivy").
    • In "Joker's Millions," the actor impersonating the Joker gives himself away when Bruce Wayne references the last time they met, stumping him on the specific events and when they happened. Namely, that the Joker threw Bruce off a rooftop only last month. This happened when they both guest-starred in the three-part Superman: The Animated Series episode "World's Finest," the first Crossover between the two series and the first confirmation of their Shared Universe. "Joker's Millions" itself is a sequel to that episode, as it first established that the Joker was short on money, which serves as the foundation for the story in this episode.
    • In "Harley's Holiday," Boxey points out that the last time Harley Quinn showed up at his door she not only destroyed his club, but brought Batman down on him as well. This occurred in "Harlequinade," where Harley was helping Batman find the Joker.
    • When the Clock King reappears in "Time Out of Joint," Batman deduces that he is moving very fast and that they are not up against another invisible man. They last faced an invisible foe in "See No Evil," where a man had stolen an invisibility suit and used it to commit robberies and kidnap his daughter from his ex-wife.
    • In "Mad Love" the Joker remembers his plan to feed Batman to smiling piranhas, which he had to scrap as he couldn't get them to smile, noting that they were even immune to his scheme from "The Laughing Fish."
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: "Almost Got 'Im," which includes a wonderful variety of Doomy Dooms of Doom.
  • Cool Bike: Robin used one of these from time to time.
  • Cool Car: The Batmobile.
  • Cool Garage: The Batcave.
  • Cool Old Guy: Alfred and Commissioner Gordon, naturally. An elderly Jonah Hex, who appears in an extended flashback in the episode, "Showdown", and Simon Trent in "Beware the Grey Ghost", who in turn is voiced by real life Cool Old Guy Adam West.
  • Cool Plane: The Batjet.
  • Cope by Pretending: In the episode "Baby Doll", Mary Louise Dahl, aka "Baby Doll" (which doubles as the episode's title) is a woman with a rare condition that makes her appear forever three years old, even in her twenties and thirties. Baby Doll was a star in an old sitcom show called Love That Baby where she played the title character. After the show's end, Baby Doll tries to get into real acting, but her young appearance keeps her from being taken serious. In the episode, she kidnaps the cast of Love That Baby so the she can have her old fictional family back (and also get revenge on Spunky, a Cousin Oliver character in the show that doubled as a Spotlight-Stealing Squad).
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Roland Daggett is a recurring villain in the first two seasons who gradually lose his fortune as legal fees and criminal charges catch up to him.
    • Dan Mockridge from "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" stole the fortune-making gaming products of one of his employees then fired him.
    • "Deep Freeze" features Grant Walker, who takes Walt Disney's...eccentricities...taken to their fearful logical conclusions.
    • Ferris Boyle, whose forcefulness causes an accident that he believes kills Victor Fries. Instead of owning up to it, he evidently swept it under the rug so well that he was almost given a humanitarian award without anyone even bringing it up.
    • Kaiser, who realizes that his casino is a bad investment, and so hastily changes the theme to one based on The Joker, and arranges Joker's escape for Arkham, banking on Joker's penchant for Stuff Blowing Up so Kaiser can collect insurance money after his casino is destroyed.
  • Cousin Oliver: In-Universe, in "Baby Doll", the titular villain's Start of Darkness came after one of these stole her spotlight. In a Shout-Out to the Trope Namer, the grown-up version of the character's actor is modeled after Robbie Rist, who played Oliver.
  • Cranium Chase: Parodied when the wooden dummy Scarface's head is severed, and the Ventriloquist chases after it.
  • Crashing Dreams: "Two-Face".
  • Create Your Own Villain:
    • It was Rupert Thorne's attempt to blackmail Harvey Dent that lead to Dent's transformation into Two-Face, the transformation itself led to Two-Face's extra-legal war on Thorne's criminal organization. Candace, Thorne's right hand, is well aware of this.
    Mook: I thought we got rid of this guy.
    Candace: Are you kidding? We created him.
    • Roland Daggett's attempts to control Matt Hagen with his highly addictive facelift-in-a-jar concoction eventually turned the man into Clayface.
    • In "Trial," the Arkham Asylum inmates put Batman on trial, accusing him of creating them. This trial leads to the revelation that even if Batman had not pushed them off the edge, they were all deeply disturbed people and would have entered villainy anyway from their own motivations. In fact, they created him. The villains then come to terms with this and find Batman innocent... and then, because they are such bad guys, they try to kill him anyway.
    • In "Lock-Up," the eponymous villain was formerly a guard at Arkham Asylum who got his position due to endorsement and support from Wayne Enterprises. When he goes insane and begins kidnapping the people he blames for the city's problems (the police, bureaucrats and reporters that he says cause the criminals), Robin snarkily comments "Another fine villain brought to you by the Wayne Foundation." The look Batman shoots him is not happy.
    • An inversion occurs in "Beware the Creeper": A villain (The Joker) creates his own hero (the Creeper). And he even does it referencing the way he claims Batman created him, throwing someone into a chemical vat:
    The Joker: I will be Batman, and you will be me.
    • Deconstructed with the Clock King, Hill was Just Trying to Help Temple Fugate.
    • In the episode "Over the Edge", the plot is set by Batgirl's fear that this trope will enact if she would be a casualty of the collateral damage from a super - battle: The Commissioner Gordon would become a Knight Templar Parent that will destroy the Bat-family, being created by the death of heroine Batgirl.
    • "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" features Daniel Mockridge, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who had Edward Nygma as an intern, and created the company's best-selling video game. To prevent Nygma from getting his share of the profitsand suing for royalties, he showed him the door. Cue the Riddler two years later.
    Edward: You are a fool, Mockridge, to think you can get away with this. Your amoral greed is no match for an intellect like mine!
  • Creator Cameo: A couple here and there, most notably the Mad Bomber villain who is both voiced by and bears a striking resemblance to Bruce Timm, and Paul Dini standing in the line up for the Joker's new henchgirl, wearing a Harley Quinn costume.
    Joker: "... Maybe I should've hired the fat guy!"
  • Creepy Monotone: Both Batman and Mr. Freeze put this to good use, the latter especially.
  • Crossover: "Girl's Night Out" featured guest appearances by Supergirl and Livewire from Superman: The Animated Series, both of whom traveled to Gotham City and teamed up with Batgirl and Harley Quinn & Posion Ivy, respectively.
  • Cruel Mercy: Let's face it, there are far worse ways to die than kissing Poison Ivy's soft, delicious lips. It certainly helps that Ivy gives it her all.
  • Crush Blush: Bruce Wayne when meeting Selina Kyle in her debut episode.
  • Cuckoo Nest: In the episode "Perchance to Dream," Bruce Wayne wakes up in a world where he isn't Batman and nearly gets institutionalized by his parents and fiancee (Selina Kyle) for maintaining against all evidence that he's a superhero. He spends the episode evading the police until he gets into an altercation with Batman. It turns out it was all a dream induced by one of the Mad Hatter's gadgets.
  • Cunning People Play Poker: In "Almost Got 'im", Batman's rogues, many of whom are well known for creating elaborate death traps, are playing a "friendly" game of poker while talking about how they almost got Batman. Turns out Batman had an ace up his sleeve, as he was impersonating Killer Croc.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check:
    • In "Fear of Victory" the Scarecrow begins rigging sports and then betting on the ovo188; he himself points out that chemicals are expensive and his usual crimes of causing wanton terror are not very lucrative.
    • In "Riddler's Reform," Riddler has sold the license to his persona to a toy developer for a completely legal fortune. However, Batman is convinced that he will continue to commit riddle-crimes, even though it will jeopardize his freedom and financial well-being. When Robin wonders why he would take such a risk, Batman explains that for him it is not about the money, it is an obsession. As it turns out, Batman's right; Riddler is uneasy with his new life, and eventually decides to try to kill Batman once and for all just to remove the temptation to backslide.
    • Discussed by the creators during the DVD commentary of "Critters." The episode does explain why Farmer Brown cannot make money with his actual discoveries (Court orders and lawsuits shut him down), but he has obviously found some way of getting rich given the technology and equipment he employs. The weapons and tools he uses during the episode must have cost millions and the producers themselves did not understand why Farmer Brown would be demanding payment from the city, since he obviously already has cash. Revenge makes perfect sense, but extortion does not and they offered no explanation.
    • Poison Ivy somehow managed to afford a gigantic mansion with its own power plant and extensive grounds in order to set up a fake health spa for one episode... complete with a staff of women loyal enough to kill on her part and try fighting the Batman, and a greenhouse full of extremely rare, nearly extinct, fully-grown trees found only in the depths of the Amazon.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: In an episode where the villain is an obsessive toy collector, one of the toys in his lair is a creepy-looking drum-playing monkey of similar design to the classic cymbal-playing monkey.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Scarface.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to previous Batman shows and every other family-friendly animated show on at the time, it was definitely this.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Harley keeps a dart-riddled photo of Batman in her cell at Arkham, as shown in "Joker's Millions".
  • Dating Catwoman: With Catwoman.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
  • Deadline News: A non-lethal example, involving the Joker and laughing gas.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Sometimes Batman and Robin took turns in this role (With Robin sometimes giving Spidey himself a run for his money in the snarky battle banter department), but usually Alfred had at least one sarcastic remark per episode.
    • Weirdly enough, the Bat-Plane gets one in: in "The Forgotten", when Alfred has the plane's autopilot computer take him to the secret labor camp where Batman is being held prisoner, the plane locates Batman but is unable to find a safe place to land. Alfred demands that the "tin can" land them at once, to which the Bat-Plane replies(!) "your funeral."
    • Both Robins. Tim Drake had a particularly fun moment:
    Tim: I know [the American justice system] is bogus.
    Bruce: And how did you come to that well-thought-out conclusion?
    Tim: Watching you.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Gil Mason is put into a coma moments after ripping the mask off Batgirl's face in "Shadow of the Bat, Part 2".
    • Kyoudai Ken.
  • Death Trap: A staple of the series, though special mention goes to the Riddler's and Josiah Wormwood's.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • There are several instances within the series, i.e. "Pretty Poison", "It's Never Too Late", that use a distinct sepia tone to indicate a Flashback sequence.
    • Throughout the first couple seasons before the visuals were retooled to match Superman: The Animated Series, the animators were consistent that any in-series TV or film footage was in black and white.
  • Depending on the Artist (TMS Entertainment): Much like on Tiny Toon Adventures, TMS's staff went uncredited for their work (for the first show, at least. There were staff listings on The New Batman Adventures). Listed here are the Animation Directors and outsourcing units listing for the first show.
    • Opening: Kazuhide Tomonaga; In house.
    • “Two-Face Part 1”: Kenji Hachizaki; In house.
    • “Feat Of Clay Part 2”: Kazuhide Tomonaga; In house.
    • “Fear Of Victory”: Toshihiko Masuda; In house.
    • “The Demon's Quest Part 1”: Kazuhide Tomonaga; Nakamura Productions (some Key, Assistant and In-Between Animation), Dong Yang (Animation co-producer).
    • “The Demon's Quest Part 2”: Kenji Hachizaki; Nakamura Production, Dong Yang (same as above), Anime Spot (Key, Assistant and In-Between Animation).
    • The cut scenes to the Sega CD version of The Adventures Of Batman And Robin: Toshihiko Masuda; In house.
    • “Read My Lips”: Yuichiro Yano; Tama Productions.
    • Bonus; Layouts for “Harley And Ivy”: Kazuhide Tomonaga; Main episode is done by Koko Enterprises/Dong Yang.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • When the planned police sting goes awry in "P.O.V.," with the intended target getting away and taking the bait money, the Internal Affairs investigator looking into the event suspects that the three officers involved are "on the take."
    • In "Shadow of the Bat," Commissioner Gordon is accused of being an employee of Rupert Thorne, Gotham's ranking mob boss. There are bank accounts in his name, tickets to Rio de Janeiro to flee the country and he is broken out of jail by criminals who explain that Thorne never forgets his friends. He is being framed by his own Deputy Commissioner, a straight example of this trope, who is working for Two-Face, to clear the way for him to become commissioner.
    • In "A Bullet for Bullock", Bullock enlists Batman's help in a private matter, claiming he does not want internal affairs looking too closely at him. Batman immediately asks if he is on the take; Bullock vehemently insists that he does not take bribes, but he admits he might be a little careless with suspect rights and police brutality.
  • Disposable Vagrant: Batman gets involved in a city-wide kidnapping and forced labor plot in "The Forgotten" because the police are too busy to bother with homeless people disappearing.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Joker was guilty of this on more or less a regular basis.
    • "The Laughing Fish": The Joker introduces his "smile" toxin into the fish supply of Gotham Harbor, hoping to trademark the red-lipped, grinning ichthyoids and sell them in supermarkets. When told that he cannot trademark fish he retaliates by carrying out an elaborate scheme to murder everyone in the Gotham City patent office until he gets his way.
    • "The Joker's Wild": An entrepreneur opens a casino in Gotham City based on the Joker's likeness and gimmicks. Joker is so incensed that a complete stranger would try to "cash in on my image" that he plots to blow the casino up. Ironically, the entire point of the entrepreneur cashing in on Joker's image was that he wanted Joker to come and trash the place. The entire place was set up for an insurance scam. Too bad for him, once Batman told the Joker what was going on, he decided he would rather kill the guy and run the place himself...
    • "Be a Clown": Mayor Hamilton Hill (who despises Batman) appears on television claiming that Batman and the Joker are equally as bad. Joker finds this comparison so insulting that (disguised as a party clown) he crashes a birthday party held at the mayor's estate for his son, Jordan, and attempts to blow up Jordan's birthday party (along with all the guests) with a stick of dynamite in the cake.
    • "Make 'Em Laugh": Bitter about being disqualified from an annual stand-up comedy competition (Because he hadn't registered as a competitor), the Joker steals some mind-control implants from the Mad Hatter, kidnaps the three comedians who serve as judges in the annual competition, fits them with the implants and warps them into becoming costumed criminals who attempt reckless capers (with one of the brainwashed judges winding up in the hospital after falling off a bridge) and replaces the judges with his own men just so he can win the trophy. Batman puts it well: "Only you would ruin three lives for a silly piece of tin."
      Joker: It's not about the trophy! It's the title!
    • But the most extreme example had to be that depicted in "Joker's Favor": After rudely cutting off another motorist on the freeway, Joker is yelled at by that motorist and retaliates by forcing the other man off the road and chasing him into the woods, threatening to kill him when he catches him. The man begs for his life, and Joker agrees to spare him if he will perform "a favor" for Joker sometime in the future. The man promptly changes his name and relocates his family to Ohio, but Joker obsessively stalks him and finally tracks him down, forcing him to honor the favor owed to him. Once the man has done this favor (which makes him an unwitting accessory to the attempted assassination of Commissioner Gordon), Joker tries to do him in for good. When the man survives and finally works up the nerve to confront his tormentor, Joker threatens to kill his family. All this because of a minor altercation on the freeway.
      Charlie Collins: Exactly at what point did I become life's punching bag?
    • Inverted in "The Last Laugh," after Batman destroys the Joker's pet robot, Captain Clown (which Joker considers murder, since Captain Clown was his best friend). Joker retaliates by.... dumping a forklift full of smelly garbage right on top of Batman. Alternatively, this may not be an inversion, since trash often contains heavy objects, and given the amount Joker dumps onto Batman, could believably cause serious injury or smother him to death.
    • In "Critters", not only does Farmer Brown take revenge against Gotham for shutting down his projects and forcing him and his daughter to go broke, but for calling his experiments "monsters".
    • Temple Fugate developed an obsessive, murderous grudge against Mayor Hamilton Hill...because when he was a lawyer, Hill suggested Fugate take his coffee break a little later to help him relax for a lawsuit against his company, which resulted in a series of accidents making him late, which resulted in him losing the suit. Fugate reveals that the people who sued his company were represented by Hill's law firm, and thus he believes that Hill was intentionally trying to sabotage him. Thus it's not quite as disproportionate as it sounds initially, but he's still completely off-base and Hill honestly was trying to help.
    • In the episode which introduces Poison Ivy, she tries to kill Harvey Dent for building a corrections facility on top of a field containing a flower that was endangered. There is no evidence he knew about the endangered flower. She saved the flower before trying to kill him, anyway. Maybe he should've done an ecological survey to check for endangered species and done an environmental impact statement before starting construction, but she could've tried telling him there was an endangered flower before he started building to see if he would alter his plans in response.
    • She gets another one when she runs a spa and send out invitations to millionaires who have done some environmental wrong, turning them into living plants with her treatment. She targets Bruce when his company was planning on tearing down a forest for building space...except Bruce had found out and stopped the plans long beforehand and she never bothered to look further into this. What's more when Bruce lets his butler Alfred and Alfred's girlfriend go in his place as a vacation, Ivy figures she'll make due with him cause "someone gotta be punished". Keep in mind, she is, like most of Batman's enemies, a lunatic.
    • And in one hilarious scene in "Fear of Victory", Batman intercepts a telegram believing that it is a fear-toxin laced letter sent by Scarecrow to make the recipient unable to play at his best. It's just an ordinary telegram, and the delivery boy comes to the conclusion that Batman was lying in wait for him because he double-parked.
  • Distant Prologue:
    • "Joker's Favor" opens with Charlie Collins accidentally cursing off the Joker, leading him to be forcibly hired by the Clown Prince of Crime to perform a favor that he has not thought of yet. It takes two years for "Mistah J." to think of something and track Collins down.
    • The debut episodes of the Riddler, the Clock King, and Lock-Up begin at their Starts of Darkness before skipping ahead to their actions as supervillains.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • A non-comedic example — the Joker and Harley's Mad Love relationship was possibly the most spot-on example of Domestic Abuse portrayed in animation, particularly with the trope-naming episode "Mad Love" (where Harley is pushed out a window). She swears him off entirely by the end of it...until she sees that he left her a single flower and a "get-well-soon" note and practically swoons in her body cast.
    • Practically every thing Roxy says in "The Ultimate Thrill", even going so far as to say she was the best (chase) that Batman had ever had. She spends most of the episode riding around on a human-sized rocket.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Batman. It's a plot point in several episodes.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In "Double Talk", The Ventriloquist finally gets fed up with Scarface, and blows him to smithereens.
  • Domestic Abuse: The Joker and Harley have what is, beneath the make-up, a classic abusive relationship filled with emotional trauma and physical violence.
  • The Don: Rupert Thorne and Arnold Stromwell deconstruct this trope: They follow it completely except at The Patriarch part: Rupert Thorne cares for his brother Mathew, but he is the cause his brother has become a Back-Alley Doctor. Stromwell has destroyed his marriage, driven his son to drugs, and has not seen his priest brother in years. Both of them are a curse on their loved ones.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": After his transformation, Harvey Dent is very clear that he is now Two-Face, even to his fiance.
    • Riddler's plot in "What is Reality" is to simply keep Batman and Robin occupied long enough saving Gordon so that he could destroy any information of him being Edward Nigma, stating flat out near the end that "Edward Nigma no longer exists."
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Bullock.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: While everyone likes to bring up "Mad Love" as an example of the Joker being extremely abusive to Harley, they seem to forget that "Joker's Millions" ended with Harley beating the hell out of HIM because he hadn't paid to get her freed from Arkham, opting to hire a "replacement" Harley instead. The scene is played pretty much for laughs.
    • Also notable, "Harlequinade." Harley gives it her genuine best shot to murder the Joker, not to defend herself from any clear and present danger, nor even because he had almost blown up Gotham with her in it. She was just mad about not being included in his plan to the point that she tried to kill him out of jealousy.
  • The Dragon:
    • Candace, Rupert Thorne's associate, is his right-hand in almost all criminal activities.
    • Miriam is Baby-Doll's confidant and all-around assistant.
  • Dramatic Spotlight: In the episode in which Baby Doll first appears.
  • Drugged Lipstick: Poison Ivy.
  • Dungeon Bypass:
    • The Riddler's maze in "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" Batman hijacks a flying "Hand of Fate".
    The Riddler: That is grand-scale cheating, Batman! You're not supposed to tamper with the Hand of Fate!
    Batman: I don't believe in fate!
    • Harley's hyena's burst through a wall to attack Boxey after Harley calls for them.
    • In the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns section of "Legends of the Dark Knight," Batman first appears by crashing through a wall to grab a thug.
  • Dude Magnet: Poison Ivy, luscious sexpot that she is, hasn't a shortage of male admirers, something she isn't shy about exploiting, often just for her own sultry amusement.
  • Dutch Angle: Used in a lot of episodes, for instance in "Double Talk", where it represents The Ventriloquist's confusion as to what is real and what is imaginary.
  • Dynamic Entry: A staple of any Batman story, its occurrences are too numerous to list.

  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • In early episodes of the first season, color television is available, but later in the same season, all television seems to be exclusively monochromatic.
    • Scarecrow's first appearance gave him a really scrawny head and mask that magically widened to normal size when he took his mask off at the end of the episode. Later appearances redesigned his mask to be the same width as his head.
    • Robin appears in "Christmas With The Joker", but doesn't appear again for a considerable amount of time.
    • For the DCAU as a whole, there's the fact that Gotham seems more like a retro-futuristic version of the 1940s, with people wearing period fashions and hairstyles, rather than the "modern, but fancier" look of later entries. It's implied that Gotham was slowly gentrifying in TNBA, with Joker finding it impossible to stay and operate in Gotham like the old days, and other criminals such as Penguin moving up the crime ladder, and by the time of Batman Beyond, what used to be "Old Gotham" is more or less an abandoned ghost-town that only Bruce Wayne feels should still be invested in (with his middle-class apprentice Terry mocking his sentimental paternalism).
    • Likewise, Batman in the early episodes is not quite the grim, super-serious gruff Deadpan Snarker he would later be in Justice League, he smiles, displays warmth, has an affable Cool Big Bro dynamic with Robin (especially in "Christmas with the Joker"). Indeed, as part of his overall Myth Arc, Batman becomes a much colder, darker, and asocial person, alienating his allies, showing the true cost of his "war on crime".
    • Harley Quinn made her first appearence here, and is a lot different from how she would later become. Mainly, her villainy and general craziness is due to a combination of Love Makes You Crazy and being abused into going insane and being a villain by the Joker, and is portrayed as rather tragic. The later comics and DCEU movies would up her craziness considerably (with some claiming she was crazy even before she met the Joker), and, more troublingly, treat her mental illness as more of a cute personality quirk than a disease.
  • Easy Amnesia: "The Forgotten"
  • Eat the Camera: Happens several times throughout the show.
    • In Harlequinade, Batman struggles against Harley's pet hyenas, one of whom eats the camera while pinning him down. Later, as Harley grapples up with Batman, the camera zooms out from behind Harley's swaying uvula when she screams.
  • Edible Ammunition: The Condiment King in "Make 'Em Laugh".
  • Embarrassed by a Child: In an episode, Clayface disguises himself as an elderly lady and gets on a bus. When his disguise starts to slip, a child says "Mommy, that lady has dirt all over her!"
  • Empty Quiver: "The Lion and the Unicorn" revolves around Red Claw's hijacking of a nuclear missile.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Gotham's new District Attorney blames Batman for the city's problems. When the villains capture them, put Batman on trial and force the DA to serve as his lawyer, she ends up defending Batman and he later returns the favor.
    • In "Harlequinade", Batman recruits Harley to catch Joker before he blows up the city. Being Batman, he handcuffs her to the Batmobile.
    Harley:...I sense a lack of trust.
  • Episode Title Card: Every episode save two in the first three seasons: "The Laughing Fish" and "The Demon's Quest", plus one from The New Batman Adventures, "Joker's Millions." Even more impressive than the title cards, every episode has its own theme song.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The original opening titles of the series, which feature Batman foiling a couple of bank robbers. Numerous people have noted that within the minute-long sequence, you learn everything you need to know about Batman not only without any dialogue or captions being used, but without the name 'Batman' being mentioned even once.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • In "P.O.V.", Officer Wilkes hears one of the captured criminals refer to "Doc," and Officer Montoya hears another criminal refer to "Hathcock." It is only when she is taking the train home later that she makes the realization that 'Doc' is 'Dock', and she goes to the Hathcock warehouse at Gotham Harbor.
    • In "Beware the Gray Ghost", when the evidence points to Simon Trent being the Mad Bomber, since he has all the merchandise and knows all about the episode, he told Batman he had sold everything to the toy collector.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Rival crime bosses Rupert Thorne and Arnold Stromwell are locked in a bitter, violent gang war for control of Gotham, but when Stromwell's son goes missing and he accuses Thorne of being behind it, Thorne points out that he never goes after a person's family. Thorne is actually planning to kill Stromwell right then, betraying him at a peace summit, but he is legitimately shocked at the accusation and is completely sincere in his assertion of innocence.
    • In "Almost Got 'Em", The Joker reveals his intent to draw out Batman by having Catwoman ground up into cat food. Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Penguin, and Killer Croc (really Batman in disguise) are visibly disturbed.
    • Done hilariously in "Joker's Millions". Joker is a psychopathic criminal who commits heinous crimes on insane levels, but he won't commit tax fraud.
      Joker: I'm crazy enough to take on Batman, but the IRS!? NOOOOOO thank you!
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Mark Hamill as The Joker refined this into an art. They talked about the art in an interview for the DVD.
    • In "Mad Love," Batman manages to churn one out — it creeps out Harley Quinn, at any rate, and given that she works for the Joker...
  • Exact Words:
    • In "Harley and Ivy," Ivy loudly proclaims that "no man can take us prisoner." Enter, stage right: Renee Montoya.
    • In "Blind as a Bat", the Penguin has stolen a highly advanced stealth helicopter and is threatening Gotham for ransom. After Batman approaches him with a plan, Mayor Hill goes on television to announce that the Penguin has won, and if he returns the helicopter to the agreed drop-site, "you'll get everything that's coming to you."
    • In "Joker's Favor," Joker uses this to mess with the poor bastard he has been stalking for two years. He said he would send Charlie home, not send him home ALIVE.
    • Also used behind the scenes when the executives would try to edit a scene to make it less scary; the creators had a policy of following the instructions to the letter and making the scene scarier in the process.
  • Expressive Hair: Harley's "hat."
  • Expressive Mask: For everyone who wears a mask, particularly the domino crowd.
  • Expy:
    • Summer Gleeson was a recreation of Vicki Vale, a reporter and love interest from the comics.
    • Josiah Wormwood of "The Cape & Cowl Conspiracy" is essentially a prototype Riddler for the show—a deathtrap specialist who uses riddles in his crimes and has an obsession with knowing secrets and matching wits. A few episodes later, the legit Riddler made his debut.
    • A rather blatant one of Johnny Cochrane shows up as one of the Joker's lawyers in "Joker's Millions." He turns up again in "Over the Edge."
    • While Calendar Girl has additional gimmicks, she is obviously a Gender Flip and stand-in for Calendar Man.
    • "Mean Seasons" also features the GWB network, which even has a WB-style water tower.
    • Grant Walker could be described as "Evil Walt Disney."
    • The Sewer King from "The Underdwellers" seems to be based on Captain Hook from Peter Pan, in some rather interesting ways- he resembles the Disney version, albeit is missing an eye rather than a hand. He has two pet crocodiles that saved him from deep water (as opposed to Hook being pursued by one that wishes to eat him), and while he doesn't lead any pirates, his enslaving of the children could almost be regarded as Hook enslaving the lost boys.
  • Extreme Doormat:
    • The Ventriloquist deals with all the abuse Scarface inflicts on him, until his final appearance when he stands up for himself.
    • Harley Quinn is this for the Joker, but even she stands up for herself from time to time.
    • The true winner is Sid "The Squid" Debris, who only complains that "this is not fun anymore" when the Joker puts him in a Death Trap, and when Batman confesses to Sid that he used him as a pawn through various MookHorrorShows, Sid only says:
      Well, glad to be of service! See ya!
  • The Faceless: We never did see what the crime boss from P.O.V's face looked like.
  • Faceplanting into Food:In "Pretty Poison" Haver Dent falls face-forward into his food after being poisoned by Poison Ivy.
  • The Fagin: The Sewer King.
  • Fairplay Whodunit: In "Shadow of the Bat", Robin realizes that Gil Mason is complicit in the scheme when he ducks before the shots are fired at his staged assassination. This clue was animated and included for the audience to see earlier in the episode.
  • Fake Static: Bruce pulls this on Barbara in ''Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman" after she starts hinting about wanting them to go out while she is home from college.
  • Faking the Dead: Clayface pulled this in an epic fashion at the end of his introduction episode.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom:
    • In "Two-Face," stray machine-gun fire during the show-down between Two-Face and mob boss Rupert Thorne severs the rope of a chandelier and it falls on Thorne. Sadly, it is quite a small chandelier and he survives.
    • In "Harlequinade," Harley swings atop a chandelier with a significant suspension cord, severs it, and sends it crashing onto baddies with an accuracy worthy of the Batman himself. Naturally, this was also a non-lethal chandelier crash.
    • Batman himself uses this tactic on no fewer than five separate occasions; victims include the Penguin, Two-Face, and the Mad Hatter.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: In the Penguin's first appearance, he and his henchmen are continuously foiled by the local children who have Batman in their basement. This is one of the reasons that the production team does not think very highly of this episode, since they were hoping the series would avoid kid heroes and bumbling villains.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Averted in most cases. Some supervillains, like Mr. Freeze, would carry more fantastic weaponry, but many of Batman's foes used normal firearms. In one episode, Gordon was shot, and actual blood was seen. In the director's commentary of one episode, one writer wonders aloud how they got away with one big shoot-out scene, and one of the directors says because they were using machineguns instead of handguns, it was considered "not imitatable."
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • Though many episodes are dark in tone, few can compete with the episode where the Joker manages to infect all of Gotham City with his Joker poison on April Fool's Day, rendering all residents of Gotham City into laughing fits with huge, grotesque smiles as they slowly die.
    • Clayface lent himself to scenes like this. Two most shocking examples were when he absorbed Batman, and we see Batman's silhouette flailing around inside him, and almost not making it out alive, and when he absorbed his "daughter," a creation of his clay that had mutated into its own personality. The episode with the "daughter" is made extra disturbing by the fact that although she has a totally separate and distinct personality she is still a part of Clayface, which allows him to find her no matter where she runs. It also doesn't help that at the end of the episode, Robin observes that Clayface has essentially committed murder in a way that cannot be prosecuted.
    • So the Ventriloquist has a split criminal personality manifested as a Demonic Dummy, Scarface. Scarface technically isn't alive, so he would get butchered in various methods, onscreen. He's been shot up by machine guns (twice) and shredded repeatedly.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The makers have stated that since they could not show a character getting killed, they took revenge by demolishing The Ventriloquist's puppet, Scarface, in ever-more-gruesome ways, ultimately having him be ground up in a ventilation fan.
  • Fanservice: It is frequent throughout the series for both men and women.
  • Fan Disservice: Only slightly less frequent.
    • Any time we had to see the Joker without his pants on. Or in just his sleeveless undershirt. Or (most horrific of all) a bathing suit. (Yes, it was a 1920s bathing suit, but it still didn't cover enough.)
    • Poison Ivy's deliciously curvy body melting down into a puddle of steaming green goo. note 
    • Clayface had a few moments.
      • Toward the end of "Feat of Clay", we get to see Matt Hagen naked (although in profile, of course). Then we see his body go all clay-ey.
      • Another scene in "Feat of Clay" showed Hagen masquerading as a sexy dark-haired girl. "She" began to giggle...and then her squeaky laughter became more like that of Jabba the Hutt as Hagen's golden, pupil-less eyes appeared...
    • Zoologist Francine Langstrom is pretty cute. But not as the female Man-Bat.
    • Hunky Anthony Romulus turns into a werewolf. But that's not nearly as horrible as when he turns into a half-werewol.
    • Randa, one of HARDAC's stunningly humanlike robots, is a dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe - and wiggle-walks like her, too. Then she gets half her face blown off, and we learn that she resembles a T-1000 under there. Throw in freakish robot strength and more than a little of the Uncanny Valley, and you've got a surprisingly effective lower-tier villain.
  • Fashion Show: "Mean Season" opens with one.
  • Fat Bastard:
    • Detective Harvey Bullock, who is rude, filthy, in love with donuts and a general mess. His only saving graces are his fundamental loyalty to Commissioner Gordon and tendency to get results (which is why they keep him on the payroll).
    • One-Shot villain Boss Biggis in "The Forgotten." Morbidly obese (The voice-actor acually ate while recording his lines to give the proper feel for the character) and running an actual slave labor camp, where he has his men kidnap homeless men off the street to work in his mines.
  • Femme Fatale: The only female villain that does not fall into this in some way is Baby Doll, on account of her bearing the physical form of a five-year-old.
  • The Fettered: When fighting the Sewer King, Batman rescues him from being run over by a subway train. When the Sewer king asks why he didn't let him die (and remember, this guy had kept a bunch of runaway children as his thieving underlings), Bats simply states " I don't pass sentence; that's for the courts! But this time...this time, I'm sorely tempted to do the job myself!"
  • Fiction 500: Wayne Enterprises, which funds Bruce Wayne's exploits both as himself and as Batman. This series also shows Wayne taking an active interest in the day-to-day business of his company more often than other Batman shows, having high-level meetings with other corporate executives (and wealthy socialites such as Selina Kyle) and sometimes rubbing shoulders with various plot-relevant subordinates.
  • Fictional Disability: Baby Doll suffers from "systemic hypoplasia"note , meaning that she can never grow up, and resembles a little girl despite being well into adulthood.
  • Fighting Fingerprint: In the episode "Night of the Ninja," the titular ninja figures out that Bruce Wayne is Batman after fighting him, because they both studied martial arts under the same master in the past and had fought before.
  • Film Noir: To date, possibly the best example in Western animation. Or animation period, really.
  • First Time in the Sun: In the end of the Sewer King episode, his captured orphans are brought into the sunlight at last.
  • Flashback: Used often—at least half of the episode "Mad Love" is one.
  • Fluffy Tamer:
    • Harley Quinn. To everyone else the Joker's snarling pet hyenas are a menace; to her, they are her "babies."
    • Exaggerated with Farmer Brown's daughter Emmylou and his genetically-modified farm animals in "Critters".
  • Fog of Doom: The cloud of Joker Venom that the Joker doses Gotham with in one episode could qualify as the 'insanity-inducing' variant... But you had to be exposed to it for a long time in order for the insanity to take effect.
  • Forceful Kiss: Seymour Gray, the quiet mousey guy who has not spoken up in his eighteen years at Wayne Enterprises, grabs and kisses Sarah, Bruce Wayne's secretary, after barging into Bruce's office, shouting out his ideas and then loudly quitting the company.
    • When Poison Ivy decides to "seal Batman's fate" her killer flytrap, which'd already ensnared him with it's Tentacle Rope, accommodates her by rotating him and tightly wrapping two tendrils around Batman's head, holding him in place, making it easier for Ivy to pull him in for a smoldering kiss.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Supergirl in "Girl's Night Out". Several times she could have really used her heat vision (such as when she's pinned by a giant plant) but she never thinks to, not even when Livewire accidentally set one on fire.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Not really the costumes, save for Ivy's and Harley's. Plus the shirts they wear when not in costume.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • "I've Got Batman in My Basement," a "lighter" episode in which Batman is actually out of commission for most of the adventure (after suffering a poison gas attack) and a group of suburban kids are forced to protect him.
    • "Showdown", though it features Ra's al Ghul, is ultimately a story about Jonah Hex and his quest to arrest Arkady Duvall, who is the son of Ra's al Ghul.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Our first ever glimpse of DA Harvey Dent in "On Leather Wings" is him sitting in a chair repeatedly flipping a coin.
    • In "Pretty Poison," Bruce, Harvey Dent, and Pamela Isley are having dinner together. We see them laughing at some anecdote, while Bruce says, "You should have seen Harvey's face!"
    • In "Two-Face" Pt. 1, during Harvey Dent's hypnotherapy session there is a brief lightning flash; during the flash a split-second shot of the left side of Dent's face is hideously scarred.
    • Early on in "Harlequinade", when the mayor is on the phone, one can see that his sleeve is purple...
    • In "Zatanna," the eponymous magician offers young Bruce Wayne a spread of cards and asks him to pick one, offering to predict his future. She guesses the two of hearts, hoping for romance, but the card he pulled was The Joker.
    • From the cutscenes of the Sega CD game, which plays like an episode of the series(they were animated by the same studio), we have Poison Ivy's plant monster that looks like Clayface, and when Rupert Thorne smashes the boat's console in anger his hands do not bleed despite breaking glass with his bare hands. Those are easily overlooked until Thorne reveals he was actually Clayface the entire time, behind the other villains.
    • The second Man-Bat's pink pants foreshadow the fact that it's actually female.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage:
    • "Pretty Poison" has Poison Ivy induce Harvey Dent into proposing to her a week after they first meet.
    • In "Chemistry", Veronica Vreeland marries her fourth husband after two weeks of dating. And Bruce proposes to Susan on their second meeting. Ivy's behind both of these couples, as well.
  • Franchise Codifier: While the IP had already gone on and been repeatedly adapted for decades by the show's premiere, The Animated Series set the definitive template for most later takes on the franchise, both in and out of the comics (beyond the occasional Silver Age throwback, and even many of those take a page or two from this show's book). The "Dark Deco" visuals, character designs, dark yet optimistic tone, and characterization all had an extensive influence on subsequent adaptations, most heavily represented by Mr. Freeze's Adaptational Sympathy being incorporated into all following takes on the character and series original Harley Quinn becoming a Canon Immigrant who the franchise treats with the same level of importance as the Joker himself.
  • Freak Lab Accident: The Joker, Two-Face, and Mr. Freeze all feature this in their origin.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The closest thing we get to a definitive date for the series is Leslie Thompkins's yearbook in "Paging the Crime Doctor", which identifies Matt Thorne's graduating class as 1901 (and since he can't be much older than his early sixties when we meet him, this would strongly suggest that the stories are taking place in the 1940s or earlier - roughly the time Batman was created).
    • In "Joker's Favor," Charles Collin's drivers license can be seen with an expiration date of 03-17-95.
  • Freeze Ray: Mr. Freeze.
  • Freudian Excuse: While it's played straight with most of the villains (most notably Mr. Freeze, whose revamped origin made him a Canon Immigrant to the comics), the Joker uses this to get out of trouble and manipulate Harley.
    Harleen Quinzel: It soon became clear to me that the Joker, so often described as a raving, homicidal madman, was actually a tortured soul crying out for love and acceptance. A lost, injured child trying to make the world laugh at his antics. And there, as always, was the self-righteous Batman, determined to make life miserable for my angel.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: In the episode "Trial", Gotham's new District Attorney, Janet van Dorn, blames Batman for the city's problems; she believes that Batman created each of the city's villains and wants to put him on trial. The inmates of Arkham kidnap her and Batman and put Batman on trial, accusing him of creating them, and Janet is given the task of defending him. Throughout the trial, she disproves that Batman is to blame for their crimes, finding that the villains would either blame Batman for their problems when it was their own fault, or denied or downplayed their crimes. At the end of the trial, after showing a successful defense, in her closing argument Janet realizes that she was wrong about Batman "creating" the criminals - even without him, the Rogues would have most likely turned out the same way. While Batman may have inspired some of their costumes and dramatic poses, they made their own choice to become criminals. To her own astonishment, the jury finds Batman not guilty, with the Joker congratulating her.
    Janet: I used to believe Batman was responsible for you people, but now I see nearly everyone here would have ended up exactly the same, Batman or not. Oh, the gimmicks might be different, but you'd all be out there in some form or another, bringing misery to Gotham. The truth is, you created him.
    Joker: Well done, counselor. You've proven that Batman didn't create us. That we in fact messed up our own rotten lives.
  • Friend to Psychos: Most of The Joker's minions (save for Harley Quinn) don't seem to share his psychosis, but help him pull off his crime sprees anyway.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Series. Basically, if you trouble or fire someone with an ironic name in Gotham City, you're asking for serious trouble down the line:
    • Temple Fulgate is a prissy company owner who loses a court case after being made late one morning, turning him into the murderous Clock King.
    • Dr. Victor Fries goes from unassuming Gotham Corp scientist to the cold-hearted villain Mr. Freeze.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In the episode "Heart of Ice", as the reporter is finishing up on Mr. Freeze's latest crime, you can see several kids run up to the snow and start playing with it. A policeman chases them off, as this is a crime scene. However just as he shoos them away the kids pelt him with snowballs.
    • In "Almost Got'Im," after Poison Ivy swipes Killer Croc's chair, in the background you can see him throwing another bar patron out of his chair, grabbing it and coming back to the table.
  • Genki Girl: Harley Quinn.
  • German Expressionism: Exaggerated architecture is reasonably common throughout the series, and is especially prevalent in the episode "Growing Pains."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The writers occasionally found ways against BS&P's absolute rule against killing. As story editor Michael Reeves said in Animato magazine regarding the episode "Mudslide", which ends with Clayface slipping through Batman's fingers as he melts::
    Since Warner Brothers was paying for the series, Fox could give suggestions, but we didn't have to take them. The only people we had to listen to was Broadcast Standards and Practices and their only flat-out taboo was that we couldn't kill anybody, and we even got around that a couple of times. In this episode Clayface went off that cliff and melted. He's dead.
  • Gilligan Cut: A dramatic example: the end of "The Terrible Trio" has the rich playboy Warren declaring his family's lawyers will undoubtedly get him off as Batman apprehends him. The very next scene is him being pushed into a jail cell.
    • A less dramatic example:in "Eternal Youth," Bruce offers to let Alfred and his friend Maggey attend a free spa weekend in his place. Alfred insists that it's out of the question. Cut to Alfred sitting in Maggey's car as they drive off to the spa.
      Alfred: I've been shanghaied.
  • Girl's Night Out Episode: Trope Namer, featuring Batgirl and Supergirl going up against Livewire, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.
  • Girlish Pigtails: A villainous example in Harley Quinn — but not at first. The earliest she's seen out of costume, she's just in a ponytail.
  • Giving Them the Strip: In "Christmas With the Joker", Batman attempts to grab the fleeing Joker, only to end up holding the Joker's cardigan, complete with a false set of arms.
  • A Glass in the Hand:
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: In "Perchance to Dream", the Mad Hatter traps Batman in a Lotus-Eater Machine where his parents are still alive and well, and some other guy is out there beating up crooks in a bat costume every night instead of him. The way he realized he was dreaming was that the newspaper he was reading was gibberish. Then he remembered that the brain hemisphere used for dreaming was not the one used for reading. While that's nonsense (both hemispheres are used for dreaming, and he got it the wrong way around about which is used for reading), it is true that dreams typically fail to produce readable text.
  • A God Am I: Maxie Zeus thinks he's the god of the same name. This delusion kicks the trope into effect when he gets a hold of electron discharge weaponry and mistakes it as his own ability to summon lightning. At the end he is taken to Arkham, which he thinks is Mount Olympus. He also thinks the other inmates are various Greek or Roman gods.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Inverted when Batman survives the Riddler's death-trap, but will not tell him how he did it. The episode ends with Riddler ranting and raving as he tries to figure out how it was done.
  • Go Out with a Smile: As Harley Quinn falls to her death, clinging to the straw of a giant neon soda bottle, she remarks that at least she is going out on a joke.
    "Talk about grasping at straws."
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Standard issue for the Batfamily. Harley tries to get in on the action, but just ends up konking herself on the head.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks:
    • In "On Leather Wings," when Batman confronts Dr. Kirk Langstrom, there's a long table covered in lab glassware, in particular two huge globes of purple liquid that connect to one another and nothing else, seemingly serving no purpose. Langstrom uses nothing on the table, instead taking the formula he uses to become ManBat out of his Lab Coat Of Science And Medicine. When he transforms, he of course smashes everything on the table, then picks up the table itself and throws it at Batman for good measure.
    • An ever more complicated-looking array of flasks, test tubes and beakers connected by spiraling glass tubes is seen in "Terror in the Sky." Oddly, all the liquid in them is green (perhaps the colorists were lazy). Once again, Langstrom doesn't do anything with them, but at least this time, they don't get smashed.
    • Vertigo's laboratory in "Off Balance" isn't quite as elaborately equipped, but its shiny glass apparatuses are even more completely incidental to the plot.
  • Great Detective: Batman. In fact, Ra's so respects his skills that he solely addresses the vigilante as "Detective."
  • Green Gators: Zig-zagged. The Sewer King's Sewer Gator minions are green. Killer Croc, however, is a more realistic pale gray color, at least until the Art Shift.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Poison Ivy kicked The Joker in the balls after his attempt to poison her failed — and she kicked him hard enough to knock him onto his back. He gives out a high-pitched remark before collapsing again. He does recover rather quickly.
    • Another episode features Robin nut-punching one of Ra's Al Ghul's cronies. You don't actually see the impact, but the look on the mook's expressive mask is unmistakable.
  • Grudging "Thank You": Bullock gives one to Batman in "A Bullet for Bullock".
  • Hanging Judge: The Joker takes on this role in "Trial".
  • Hear Me the Money: In "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne," a thug thumbing money to his ears was appropriately named "Numbers".
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Usually when a villain does this it is either temporary or a fake. However, Catwoman's is particularly notable in that happens in her second appearance and she remains genuinely reformed for a majority of the first series until she reverts to thievery in her last two appearances in the original series. The comics based on the series also particularly have the Riddler.
    • Also, Arnold Wesker, when he's finally free from Scarface.
  • Heist Clash: In "Harley And Ivy", Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy meet when they simultaneously rob the Gotham Museum of Natural History. Instead of fighting, they team up to escape the police (It helps that they are there to steal different things). They become partners in crime for the rest of the episode and remain good friends or possibly more for the rest of the series.
  • Hello, Attorney!: Janet Van Dorn, at least in "Trial." In "Shadow of the Bat, part 1," Van Dorn looked more like a frigid, 40-something old maid. But "Trial" was a Paul Dini episode, so Van Dorn gets a Hello Makeover.
    • Harley passes herself off as one - even giving her name as Harleen Quinzel, demonstrating that Bullock never bothers to read files on supervillains apparently - to bail out Sid the Squid. She even makes a risque joke at Bullock's expense when he wonders if he's seen her before.
    Harley: "I think I served you a subpoena once. It was a small... subpoena.
  • Heroic BSoD: Batman gets a brief one in "I Am the Night" after he blames himself for Commissioner Gordon getting shot.
  • Heroic Build: Anthony Romulus in "Moon of the Wolf". To be fair, he is an Olympian athlete.
    • No one, even the aforementioned Olympian, seems to really notice that Bruce Wayne is built on approximately the same lines as a dumptruck.
  • Heroic Bystander: When the Mad Hatter sends his People Puppets after Batman to keep him from rescuing Alice, Batman is initially overwhelmed until he manages to disable the mind control device on one of them. The man he frees is Alice's boyfriend Billy, who returns the favor by removing the rest of the Hatter's devices.
  • Heroic Fatigue: Batman in "I Am the Night".
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Batman does it to a mook in the pilot/promo. This short is included on the DVD set of the first season.
  • Hidden Eyes: Annie from Growing Pains has them as soon as she realizes she's a part of Clayface.
  • High-Class Gloves:
    • In the background of society events, a fair number of the ladies will be wearing fancy gloves.
    • In "Perchance to Dream", Selena appears as Bruce's fiance. She's dressed like a society lady, and her outfit includes white gloves, which she takes off when she's affectionate to Bruce.
  • Hollywood rich palms no deposit bonus codesly: Invoked; the prevalence of the trope drives the plot of one episode. Page Monroe is a former supermodel-turned-villain who was fired when she was viewed as "too old." However, once unmasked, both Batgirl and Batman comment that she is still startlingly attractive, but she considers herself ugly, which Batman states is because she can only see her minor "imperfections." This is also a case of Actor Allusion as Page Monroe was voiced by Sela Ward, who was famous for having been dumped as a model in favor of younger women.
  • Hollywood Kiss: Say what you will about Poison Ivy, but the woman knows how to kiss. Every time she's forcibly locked lips with Batman it comes across less like a homicide in progress and more like two lovers in a tender, romantic embrace. Her passionate moaning as they kiss doesn't help.
  • Homage:
    • A shot where Batman (seen only in shadow) takes apart Poison Ivy's plant monster with an axe perfectly mirrors Mickey's destruction of the broom in The Sorceror's Apprentice.
    • In "Fear of Victory," the football player Brian and what is revealed of his life seems to be a reference to the book and film Brian's Song.
    • In "Mudslide," Clayface reveals the first name of his accomplice when he shouts... "STELLAAAAAAA!", and "Dr. Bates once owned a motel..."
    • Fictional example, Batman based the layout of the Batcave on his superhero idol "The Gray Ghost."
    • "Legends of the Dark Knight." Four kids share their views of the Bat. One boy says he is a metahuman with wings. Another says he is a cheery guy who calls Robin "chum." The girl retells an iconic scene from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: with Darkseid's voice.
    • In "Perchance to Dream", Gordon says to Batman "Any idea what it [the mind-control helmet] is?" and Batman deadpans back the final line of The Maltese Falcon:
      Batman: Yes. The stuff that dreams are made of.
    • In "Almost Got 'Im", Poison Ivy's hat and coat (and the general atmosphere of the underworld club they're in) is a shoutout to Ilsa's in Casablanca. Especially the way shadows fall across her face, with that hat.
    • "It's Never Too Late" has a homage to the gangster film Angels with Dirty Faces—the two boys, one of whom becomes a priest (Michael), the other a gangster (Arnold Stromwell). And the scene on the railroad tracks alludes to a similiar scene in the film.
    • "Heart of Steel" has a boatload — Blade Runner (Karl Rossum, "Duplicants"), Metropolis (Randa Duane's jumpsuit), Terminator (Randa Duane's eventual fate), and The Killing Joke (The scene at Commissioner Gordon's house). "His Silicon Soul" was the premise of Blade Runner, with Batman's replicant believing it was Batman.
    • Lupin III's The Castle of Cagliostro is given an homage with a battle in a clock tower that has many similar shots.
    • In "Over The Edge", when Gordon is hanging off the roof, the shots are mimicking Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.
  • rich palms no deposit bonus codesmade Sweater from Hell: The Joker wears a rather subdued example for his "Christmas special."
  • Horrifying Hero: This version of Batman strikes so much terror into evil that he's often seen as a monster outright rather than man, as shown for example in The Forgotten.
    Poor Random Mook (Running into bosse's office, terrified out of his wits): A Bat!! A GIANT BAT!! HORRIBLE!!
  • Human Popsicle: Nora Fries, wife of Mr. Freeze, was placed into cryogenic stasis in order to save her life from her terminal disease.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • The Condiment King only has one single scene, but he slips in about a dozen condiment-related puns in that short time.
    • The Riddler's hints in "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?"
    (Batman and Robin come across a sign that says "Loser's Ahead.")
    Robin: "Loser's Ahead?"
    (The duo turns a corner, two giant shurikens come out of nowhere, and the duo ducks just before the blades lob their heads off.)
  • The Hyena: The Joker, as brilliantly played by Mark Hamill.
    • He even keeps two actual hyenas as pets!

  • I Am Not Spock: invoked Trent, who played the Grey Ghost when Bruce was a child, has trouble getting an acting job because he is so remembered as the Grey Ghost.
  • I Am the Noun: A famous example.
    Batman: I am vengeance. I am the night! I! AM! BATMAN!
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Batgirl tells Catwoman not to kill Roland Daggett or else she will be no better than he; Catwoman just tells her to "grow up."
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Penelope attempts this with Maxie Zeus. It almost works.
    Maxie Zeus: Penelope? I... *the Zeus personality reasserts himself*
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Several times from The Bat himself, like when Batman stops "the Jazzman" from killing Gordon by flinging a batarang right into the muzzle of his gun in slow motion.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Many, many Mooks, plus several of the main villains.
    • In "P.O.V.", a mook with a machine gun opens fire on Batman and Montoya at close range. Multiple ricochets spark off the wall behind them but neither of them are hit.
  • Implausible Deniability: Harley Quinn really was trying to go straight, but after her first day out of Arkham ended with her taking a hostage she pointed out that, with her history, even she would not believe the story that it was all a big misunderstanding.
  • Impossible Shadow Puppets: Sid the Squid makes a squid shadow on the wall, using just his fingers.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: As usual for superheroes and supervillains.
  • I'm Your Worst Nightmare: Practically Batman's catch phrase when getting information.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: Batman's standard tracking device, seen in multiple episodes, beeps and flashes. And it's shaped like a bat.
  • Informed Ability: Apparently, Lock-Up is such a horrific guard that he has driven even the already-insane inmates of Arkham insane, paralyzing the Scarecrow, "The God of Fear," with fear. When his offenses against the patients are actually given, however, it is debatable as to whether they are extreme or standard asylum fare, apart from his mental abuse of the Ventriloquist, possibly because the show could not portray anything worse.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • There's two, in the episode "Beware the Gray Ghost":
    • Harley Quinn, the Joker's lovable henchwoman, was based on her voice-actress, Arleen Sorkin. The producers are apparently amazed that she still talks to them.
    • Although this version of the Penguin was based on Danny Devito's appearance in Batman Returns, he ultimately ends up looking like his voice actor, Paul Williams.
    • In "Prophecy of Doom", Ethan Clark is modeled after his voice actor William Windom.
    • In the H.A.R.D.A.C. Trilogy [(both parts of "Heart of Steel" and "His Silicon Soul") Karl Rossum is a dead ringer for his voice actor William Sanderson.
  • Insane No More:
    • In "Harley's Holiday", Harley Quinn receives a clean bill of mental health and is thus paroled. Harley declares she is a Reformed Criminal and, thinking her outfit (rather than her pet hyenas) was freaking out passersby, she buys a new outfit but leaves before the security tag can be removed which sets off the alarm, so the clerk sends a security guard to remove the tag. Harley thinks she's being arrested again, panics and sets off a chain of events that cause her to kidnap Veronica Vreeland and subsequently return to crime. At the end, her psychiatrist states she is on a path to recovery.
    • In her Backstory episode "Mad Love", Dr. Harleen Quinzel diagnoses The Joker as Obfuscating Insanity. Though she believes his stories, falls in love with him and becomes his girlfriend/henchwoman, it's implied she's right.
    • In "Sideshow", Killer Croc was reclassified as sane and thus guilty of his crimes, so that he could be sentenced to a term in Levitz Prison instead of Arkham Asylum. However, he soon escapes from the train that was supposed to take him there.
  • Insane Troll Logic: In "Trial", members of the rogue gallery explain how Batman created them. Batman's attorney points out how poor their excuses are.
  • Inside a Computer System: Batman had to go in a virtual reality simulator to rescue Commissioner Gordon, who was held hostage in the computer by Riddler.
  • Instant Knots: This trope is used All. The. Time. Even in situations it shouldn't really be needed, such as when he uses his Grappling Gun, the end of the line actually has a hook/claw on the end, and it still wraps around something rather than grabbing or hooking onto/into it.
  • Instant Sedation:
    • Averted in "Sideshow". A tranquilizer dart takes a few minutes to affect Killer Croc at all, and he has plenty of time to stumble about looking for a place to hide before finally passing out.
    • Justified somewhat as a Magic Antidote in "Dreams in Darkness": Dr. Wu tells Batman that he has made an antidote that can eliminate the fear toxin in his body, but with one side effect: instant drowsiness that can render the antidote taker asleep for two days. Batman, however, decides to put the antidote on hold until he can stop Scarecrow and his evil plans of poisoning the water supply.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Initially an adaptation of Danny Elfman's theme from the Tim Burton movies; Shirley Walker's own theme was eventually promoted to main title status. The series eventually had a soundtrack album released featuring its scores (though sadly Walker had passed away a few years before).
  • In Spite of a Nail: In "Trial," the attorney defending Batman says in her closing statement that the villains — who are blaming Batman for their turns to villainy — would still have become villains without Batman, though she admits in some cases the gimmicks might have been different.
  • Insult Friendly Fire: It would sometimes happens.
  • Intercom Villainy: The Joker uses televised skits to threaten Gotham's populace and tell Batman jokes without walking into Batarang range. He does this as early as the second episode and famously does it again in "The Laughing Fish".
  • Internal Affairs: The episode "P.O.V." revolves around an Internal Affairs investigation into a failed sting where the intended target, a Gotham drug lord, managed to escape and take the two million dollars in seed money that the police had laid in as bait.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: The Joker, like all other sapient beings, fears the I.R.S. above and beyond even Batman.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • From the episode "Baby Doll." Baby's catch-phrase on the show (after causing some mayhem) was "I didn't mean to!" a la Bart's "I didn't do it." At the end, she's hugging Batman's leg and crying, saying simply "I didn't mean to..."
    • In the episode "Mad As a Hatter," Tetch asks Alice if she remembers the Mock Turtle's song, reciting "Will you, won't you, will you, won't you... won't you join the dance?" before dancing with her in the park. Later, as she is hugging her fiancé Billy, while the Hatter lies trapped in the claws of a Jabberwock, he moans softly, "Would not... could not, would not, could not... oh, could not join the dance" as the camera pans out to a statue of a crying Mock Turtle.
    • In "Two-Face, Part 2", Grace tries to talk Harvey out of his persona.
      Grace: Take control of your life, Harvey!
      • After Thorne reveals she led him to Two-Face, under the pretense of a police chase, Harvey walks away from her.
      Two-Face: So much for taking control of my life, huh Grace?
      • When he's about to kill Thorne:
      Grace: Harvey! What are you doing!?
      Two-Face: Taking control of my life.
    • Interestingly, this one is two episodes apart:
      • In "Appointment in Crime Alley":
      Bruce: Roland Daggett is up to something, Alfred.
      Alfred: That almost goes without saying, doesn't it sir?
      • "Cat Scratch Fever":
      Lucius Fox: You think [Roland Daggett]'s up to something?
      Bruce: That goes without saying, doesn't it?
  • Is That What He Told You?: When Batman attempts to get through to Harley about the problems with her relationship with the Joker, Harley does her best to defend herself and her love, pointing out all the trust he placed in her when he told her his true history. Oh really? Batman heard that same "true story" years ago, and several different versions of it. ("Like any comedian, he uses whatever material will work.")
  • The Jailer: Lock-Up.
  • Jerkass: A lot of the villains, but especially arrogant richboy Warren, AKA Fox of the Terrible Trio. At least the other villains had reason for being so messed up and turning to crime. Warren, on the other hand, went to committing crimes and stealing even though he's already got such a cushy lifestyle and a more than sizable inheritance which ensured that he'd be set for life. So why hurt and steal from people when he doesn't even need or want what he robs from his victims? Because he was bored. He committed all those crimes just because he wanted something to do.
    Batman: "Scoundrels like these are worse than the Joker. At least HE had madness as an excuse."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Batman seems like one, but the real example is Harvey Bullock who despite being a grouch, a curmudgeon, an uncaring selfish person who hates the Batman and a jerk, always does the right thing.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Batman admits to toying with the idea when he catches the Sewer King, but his ideals prevail.
  • Judicial Wig: A villain-of-the-week dubbing himself The Judge (actually, Two-Face's third personality) wears one when going after Gotham rogues with an intent to bring them to his particular brand of vigilante "justice".
  • Jumping Out of a Cake:
    • The Joker during Harley's debut episode "Joker's Favor."
    • Harley did slinkily emerge from an oversized lemon custard pie in "Beware The Creeper."
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Catwoman, who funds animal reserves and the like.
  • Kangaroo Court: In "Trial", the villains of Gotham take over Arkham Asylum, where they kidnap Batman to face an obviously one-sided trial (with several villains as the jury, Two-Face as the prosecutor, and JOKER as the judge). Also, Batman's defense attorney is Janet Van Dorn, who was also kidnapped for this and happens to be anti-Batman. They actually DO win the trial, but since they're dealing with psychopathic villains, said villains were going to kill them off anyway.
  • Karma Houdini: The Riddler gets away scot-free at the end of "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" The producers have stated that they let the Riddler escape as a testament to his intellect.
  • "Kick Me" Prank: In "The Man Who Killed Batman", the criminals hold a funeral for Batman, who is believed dead. The Joker attaches a "Kick Me" sign to Batman's empty cape and cowl before it is to be sealed in a coffin.
  • Kick the Dog: Mr. Freeze, trying to hit Batman, accidentally freezes one of his henchmen's legs. He then blames the accident on said henchman and leaves him for dead while the poor guy begs them to help him. It happens the same way to one of his ice maidens in "Cold Comfort."
  • Knight Templar:
    • Ra's al-Ghul lies between this and Well-Intentioned Extremist.
    • Lock-up may be one of the purest examples of this, being a former head of security at Arkham who was fired for brutalizing the inmates, who comes back as a villain trying to imprison forever the "scum" that he feels represent the people that allowed Gotham to get this way (including the head doctor at Arkham, Commisioner Gordon, Mayor Hill, and Summer Gleeson). In true Knight Templar fashion, he has no idea that he's gone too far (he views Batman as a potential partner, much to the other's disgust).
    • Grant Walker. He plans to make a crime-free utopia and freeze Gotham thinking it's too corrupt to survive. Granted, he may have a point there.
    • Poison Ivy, as she is an environmentalist villain who considers killing plants to be as bad as murder, and thus thinks killing people who kill plants is completely justified.
  • Large Ham:
    • The Joker
    "You're going to be cooked like a griiilled cheeeeese sandwich!"
    • Bane: "I must... BREAK YOU!!!"
    • The Creeper, but that just comes with the madness.
    • Even a mook working for Dagget in "Feat of Clay" was not immune to this, though, seeing as he was a professional actor alongside Clayface, this is justified.
    • Nostromos takes this up to eleven
  • Laser Cutter: A surgical laser is ineffectively used as an improvised weapon.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Most of the villains have their own theme tune and many of the heroes as well including Batman, Robin and Batgirl. At one point, the Joker actually whistles his own leitmotif.
    • Everyman Charlie Collins, protagonist of the episode "Joker's Favor", had a very upbeat, grating leitmotif consisting of unusually cheery whistling and trombones blowing in a manner reminiscent of Leave It to Beaver-esque, 1950's family sitcom background music. It becomes unexpectedly epic when it plays as he triumphantly walks away from staring down The Joker and wondering what his wife is cooking for dinner.
  • Laughing Gas: The Joker has a laughing gas that can cause people to laugh uncontrollably to the point of pain. It shows up in several episodes, from Joker floating a barge filled with garbage laced with the stuff to poison anyone in range, to a mention in "The Man Who Killed Batman" when he uses it to distract the police after he realizes Batman isn't showing up to the scene of his latest robbery.
  • Like a Son to Me: Alfred gives a double moment with a single line; in "Old Wounds," at Dick Grayson's college graduation he says that Dick is like a second son to him. Alfred is childless: His first "son" is Bruce Wayne. Earlier, in "Never Fear," there's his line when fear toxin has caused Bruce to hallucinate his father saying he's disappointed in how Bruce turned out:
    Alfred: I know your father would be proud of you, because I'm so proud of you.
  • Lightning Reveal: Look at the page image. It's the single image from the intro that is -not- in black-on-red Chiaroscuro, which only makes it all the more dramatic.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Honestly, you would think a rich guy like Bruce Wayne could afford more than one suit. In "Harley's Holiday" Bruce actually goes suit shopping with Veronica Vreeland, who points out that Bruce needs a better sense of style. Even one of the DVD commentaries joked about it.
  • Little Black Dress: Loads of the socialites wore them.
  • "London, England" Syndrome: When Alfred visits London and tells Bruce where he is, he explains there is only one London after Bruce exclaims "In England?"
  • Longevity Treatment: Poison Ivy, under the guise of Dr. Demeter, offers this treatment to rich industrialists but in reality is turning them into trees as karmic justice for their environmental destruction. She has no qualms about going after their friends or loved ones as well.
  • The Lost Lenore: Nora Fries.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: "Perchance to Dream" catches Batman in this.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Prominent in the series, with both Harley Quinn and Mr. Freeze. In Harley's case it could be perceived as Evil Makes You Love.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: A few of the episodes in the series shift the focus away from Batman and his Rogues Gallery to Gotham City in general. There's P.O.V. that looks at Gotham's police force, Joker's Favour that focuses on a Muggle named Charlie Collins getting involved in the Joker's scheme and The Man Who Killed Batman which deals with the underworld from the perspective of Sid the Squid, a one-shot character.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Downplayed, but Arkham Asylum seems pretty mild in general. Each of the inmates gets their own cell to themselves, and the cells are pretty roomy. The people in charge are even nice enough to let Poison Ivy have plants in her cell so she'll be more comfortable.

  • Made of Iron: The WB network's relative leniency regarding violence led to much more over-the-top action sequences in which the characters take impossible amounts of punishment. Even before that, though: in "The Man Who Killed Batman" a guy was punched across the room and hit his head on the front of a desk. The desk did not even have a dent and the guy did not even have a concussion. Similar examples, such as Batman surviving a cascade of platinum bars, abound.
  • Mad Love: Trope Namers, Harley and the Joker; briefly, Baby Doll and Killer Croc.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Farmer Brown's daughter. Added bonus that she wears short shorts.
  • Magical Security Cam: When Batman watches a recording of Mister Freeze's origin the angle changes several times, despite their supposedly only being one camera. The creators admitted it made no sense when you thought about it, but it was dramatic.
    Batman: (after watching the video) My God.
    Mr. Freeze: Yes... it would move me to tears. If I still had tears to shed.
  • Magicians Are Wizards: Averted with Zatanna. In the comics, Zatanna is the poster girl for this trope, but her appearance in Batman: TAS clearly has her as just a very talented stage magician. Although, she does gain magical abilities later on in the DCAU.
  • Magic Skirt:
    • Barbara Gordon in The New Batman Adventures revamp.
    • Harley Quinn gets one at the beginning of the episode "Mad Love".
    • Baby Doll's skirt stays where it is when Killer Croc holds her upside down in "Love Is A Croc."
  • Manipulative Bastard: Dick Grayson believed Batman to be this, which was why he quit being Robin and started his gig as Nightwing.
  • Marrying the Mark: There was an episode where Poison Ivy creates a bunch of Trophy Wife plant people who control the rich and powerful men of Gotham via spores, Bruce Wayne among them.
  • Match Cut: In "Mean Seasons", a dissolve from Batman in the field to Bruce Wayne in his office.
  • Masquerading As the Unseen:
    • Barbara Gordon's career as Batgirl started by her impersonating Batman at a charity event.
    • An episode has the Joker going around as Batman committing crimes. No one seems to notice that this version of Batman is much skinnier.
  • Master Computer: The computer HARDAC tried to take over Gotham City by replacing key individuals with robot replicas.
  • McNinja: Batman himself, as well as Red Claw.
  • Meaningful Name: But then, all Batman media have meaningful villain names, even for the original ones (Harley Quinn, anyone?).
  • Mecha-Mooks: Robotic minions were thrown into the mix every once in a while, and the producers exploited this as far they could. Since the censors did not object when they destroyed robots they would make their destruction as violent as possible.
  • Merchandising the Monster: In "Joker's Wild", a businessman unveils a new casino with a Joker-based theme. It turns out that his intention isn't really to exploit the Joker's infamy for profit — it's to provoke the Joker into destroying the casino so he can collect the insurance.
  • Meta Casting:
    • See Adam Westing.
    • There's also William Sanderson playing a near-Expy of J.F. Sebastian in "Heart of Steel" and "Deep Freeze."
    • Surprisingly subverted in the episode "Baby Doll" which features an Expy of Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch introduced in the final season of the Show Within the Show, who in the present is a rock musician. Robbie Rist who played Cousin Oliver and is a rock musician in addition to acting is in the episode...but not as the Cousin Oliver Expy. Instead, he voices Brian Daly who played the brother on the show from the get-go.
  • Mickey Mousing: Happens a lot during action or otherwise non-dialogue scenes.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Thomas Wayne during “Perchance to Dream” makes a giant swinging motion as he explains that he and "Martha" are going to go golfing. Evidently, the Thomas Wayne in this continuity REALLY likes golf.
  • Mind Control: See Brainwashed.
  • Mind-Control Device: The Mad Hatter uses various devices to control the minds of his victims.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Sid the Squid, a minor incompetent hood who accidentally knocks the Batman onto an exploding propane tank. He is a generally nice guy (he even apologizes to Batman when he accidentally hits him) and is so ineffective as a hood that he almost does not count as a criminal at all.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: The eponymous "Calendar Girl" views herself as a hideous and deformed person whose dreadful appearance has only been exacerbated by countless rounds of plastic surgery. Beneath her mask, however, she is a beautiful woman whose self-image was destroyed when she was kicked out of the modeling community in favor of younger women.
  • Mistaken for Clown: In the episode "Joker's Wild", The Joker, after hearing that someone made a casino based on his likeness, goes to said casino to wreak who-knows-what sort of havoc... but another guy dressed as him shoves some chips in his hands and tells him to man the blackjack table.
  • The Mole: Nightwing to Catwoman in "You Scratch My Back".
  • Monster Clown: The Joker.
    • In "Animal Act", a particularly mischievous clown of Haley's Circus turns out to be the Mad Hatter incognito, masterminding a series of robberies using the circus animals as pawns.
  • Monster of the Week:
    • An episode, "The Underdwellers", spotlighted a villain called the Sewer King who never appeared again. He was sufficiently creepy for a Batman villain, but it's just as well he never returned, since he was really only good for one story (that is, showcasing the evils of child slavery). He does however reappear in the 52 DC Comics reboot, where he is murdered by Intergang leader Bruno Mannheim, along with fellow obscure Batman villain Kiteman.
    • The same could be said of Baby Doll, as she only ever had 2 appearances, and was limited in both motive and ability compared to other, more menacing Batman villains.
  • Mook Horror Show: In "The Trial," when Batman escapes his straight jacket after the light is broken the villains are in a dark room lit only by Two-Face's lighter. Batman circles around the edges of room, outside the lighter's light, and grabs the villains one by one. The Joker finally says it is okay to panic when he notices Harley suspended from the ceiling and bound with the straight jacket Batman had just escaped from. To make things worse for the villains, Harley was the one who was holding onto Batman's utility belt.
  • Moral Myopia: In “Mad Love”, when Harley is reading a newspaper with the front page article titled "Joker Still At Large” and presents “Body Count Rises", she is more concerned for the Joker than for the victims.
  • Most Common Card Game: Averted as the villains are seen playing poker in "Almost Got 'Im".
  • Motive Decay: Mr. Freeze in "Cold Comfort". In his earlier appearances, he was committing crimes because he was absolutely determined restore to his ailing wife, who finally recovered after Batman And Mister Freeze Subzero. But by the time of "Cold Comfort", he's become utterly merciless, determined to destroy everything and everyone held dear to the people of Gotham City, after he apparently never got in touch with his wife, who eventually got tired of waiting and remarried. Batman and Batgirl lampshade it, as Batman notes "Nothing about Freeze makes sense anymore". Though they eventually learn that Mr. Freeze's body has almost completely deteriorated except for his head, and it has firmly convinced him he has no hope for a normal life anymore.
  • The Movie: There were several DTV films, but general consensus agrees that the theatrical film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the best. Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero is seen as what Batman & Robin should have been, and the less well regarded Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman is a competent production.
  • Mr. Alt Disney: Grant Walker. A pioneer on animatronics and amusement parks owner, his design of an underwater utopia with no crime is loosely based on the original concept for Epcot Center. He also wants to be frozen like Mr. Freeze, a clear gag on the urban legend that Walt Disney is in cryogenic storage.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Nightwing is, shall we say, quite a handsome fellow.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Nearly all the female cast, particularly the villainesses.
  • Mugging the Monster: "Fear Of Victory" features a bookie sending one of his cronies to rough up a gambler who's been winning a little too often. Unbeknownst to the bookie or his thug, the gambler is actually the Scarecrow using his fear chemicals to fix ovo188, and what the poor henchman thinks is going to be a standard shakedown quickly turns into a terrifying encounter with the Master of Fear.
  • Multilayer Façade: In one episode, a villain is hired to obtain Batman's cape and cowl. When he ultimately succeeds, Batman reveals a second mask underneath the cowl to protect his identity.
  • Murder by Cremation: The Joker plans an acid bath variant for Sid the Squid.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Tygrus' solution to Batman and Catwoman's relationship in "Tyger, Tyger".
  • Musicalis Interruptus: In "Joker's Favor", The Leave It to Beaver-esque Leitmotif used for everyman Charlie Collins suddenly stops dead as he realizes, with a look of horror upon his face, that two of Joker's underlings have managed to track him down to Ohio after living for two years in some form of peace and quiet under a new name.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • The death of his parents is the ultimate driving force behind Batman, as it is revealed at several points in the series that he blames himself for not being able to save them. This is compounded by Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face, which cost him a personal friend and crime-fighting associate, and which he views in same light as his parents' death.
    • Karl Rossum was distraught over what HARDAC has done, fulfilling the goal to replace humans with robots. Thus preventing accidental human deaths, which is what happened to Karl's wife and daughter. He regretted ever creating HARDAC in the first place.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In a flashback during part 1 of "Robin's Reckoning", one circus performer refers to Dick Grayson as a boy wonder.
    • In multiple episodes, the Joker's alias from before his transformation is given as "Jack Napier," which was his real name in the first Tim Burton movie.
    • In the Scarecrow's first appearance, Batman checked a list of places where the villain could have acquired the chemicals used for his crimes. Star Labs was in the list.
    • The girl in "Legends of the Dark Knight" is modeled on Carrie Kelley, the Robin from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and she retells a section of that series.
    • The fourth child in "Legend's of the Dark Knight" is an effeminate boy named Joel standing under a sign that says "Shoemaker", who talks about how Batman wears rubber armor and has a car that can drive up walls. The other kids dismiss his theories, and him, out of hand.
    • In one episode, the Joker gets his own car with his face plastered all over it.
    • In "Bane", Killer Croc wears a hat and trenchcoat, like in his pre-Crisis debut.
    • In "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy", Woodwood said that Batman "is only human after all", which is what one of the Joker's henchmen said in the Tim Burton film.
    • In "Deep Freeze”, Sanderson the robot maker has a flying robot of Bat-Mite, who even says "I just want to help" after he malfunctions.
    • An extremely subtle one: "Double Talk" reveals that the warden of Arkham is named Crichton, the same as the prison warden from Batman.
    • Another subtle one (and possibly just incidental), but Batman's reason for giving Harley Quinn the benefit of the doubt in "Harley's Holiday"? "He'd had a bad day too, once."
    • A pretty grim one: in his debut episode, Tim Drake gets smacked once with a crowbar. In the comics, Jason Todd (whose origin story was embroidered a bit for this Tim) suffered a bad beating from the Joker wielding a crowbar as a prelude to his death.
  • Never Found the Body: Joker pulled this off often during the series.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted, mostly. There is still the odd instance, like the Riddler threatening to "destroy" someone by stabbing him through the chest with a ten-foot sword. Word of God is that the Joker's Jokerizing gas was created because they initially were not allowed to kill people. It is arguably worse.
  • New Year's Resolution: The Joker gives one in "Holiday Knights" not to kill people in the New Year—and plans to kill everyone in Gotham Square at New Year's Eve. Of course, even if Batman hadn't stopped his plan, the Joker would probably break it, anyway.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Fox of the Terrible Trio is honestly shocked when Bruce Wayne thanks his golf caddy for his assistance, and sarcastically asks if Bruce also thanks the man who takes out his garbage. Bruce, being a genuinely nice guy, says that he would if he ever happened to run into him.
  • Ninja: Kyodai Ken.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lisa Loraine / Mighty Mom is very obviously a Roseanne Barr.
  • No Man of Woman Born: "No man can take us prisoner!" It is a good thing Renee Montoya is ready to step in and take up the slack.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Bruce Wayne.
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
    • In her first appearance Baby Doll looked suspiciously like a Tiny Toon Adventures character, specifically Elmyra (doubtless a Shout-Out by Paul Dini). Her TNBA redesign brings her more in line with other Bruce Timm characters.
    • The Joker's redesign made for TNBA made him look quite alien compared to the other characters because of his minimalistic features, solid black eyes and exaggerated smile (even for him), which contributed to its poor reception. He was redesigned again for other DCAU works because of it.
  • No One Could Survive That!:
    • They Never Found the Body, but the criminals from "The Man Who Killed Batman" believe that not even he could have escaped the massive explosion that left only his cape and cowl behind.
    • When Temple Fugate made his first appearance, he was believed to have died in that episode's last fight. Batman pointed out that, if he survived, so could Fugate.
  • No OSHA Compliance: In "The Forgotten", the chain-gang Bruce gets shanghaied into has workers in a mine without lights, helmets, or any sort of safety equipment. The mine is being operated illegally and the operators do not care if their employees live or die, since they are grabbing them off the street.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Within-the-show example: Baby Doll.
  • Not Himself: Barbara Gordon is able to determine that her father has been replaced by something due to his suddenly strange persona and actions.
  • Not His Sled: In "Bane," Bane lifts the worn and tired Batman overhead and breaks his back over his knee! No, wait, that was Knightfall. That said, unlike the comics, The Batman, and The Dark Knight Rises, this Bruce was well-rested (unlike the comics, where even shortly before Knightfall, Bruce was suffering from issues that Bane just made worse), had plenty of experience fighting super villains when he and Bane fought (unlike The Batman, where Bane was literally the second super villain its version of Bruce fought), and wasn't quasi-suicidal (Unlike in Rises, where Bruce was over the Despair Event Horizon thanks to the events of The Dark Knight).
  • Not My Driver:
    • There's an episode where the Joker impersonates the helicopter pilot of Cameron Kaiser, a one-shot character, to try and kill him.
    • Also happens to Bruce and Summer Gleason in "Night of the Ninja," where they wind up getting in a cab driven by Kyodai Ken, an old rival of Bruce's who wants revenge for Wayne exposing him as a thief back when they trained under the same master.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Bullock suggests this to Batman in “A Bullet for Bullock” while explaining that he (Bullock) doesn't want Internal Affairs involved in a case because Bullock is implied to have leaked information to the press and violated the rights of suspects. Batman rejects it but considering that a few minutes later he intimidates a drug dealer for information by dangling him in front of a car...
  • Not So Stoic:
    • "Two-Face, Part 1": Upon seeing the effects of the chemical explosion on his childhood friend (and one of few real friends "Bruce Wayne" has) Harvey Dent, Batman's anguish is palpable.
    • "Mad Love": Batman's reaction to Harley's idea of settling down with the Joker is to start laughing. Harley rightly points out how creepy it is to hear the Batman laugh.
    • "Robin's Reckoning": Batman purposely forces Robin out of an investigation that leads to Tony Zucco, the man who engineered the death of Robin's parents, and stonewalls him when he tries to interfere. At the end of the 2nd episode, Robin tells Batman that he understands now why Batman kept him out: because he knew Robin would make matters personal and try to kill Zucco. Batman replies, with palpable sorrow in his voice that his reason was completely different: that Zucco had already taken so much away from Robin, and he was afraid that he would take Robin's life as well.
    • Charles Collins' revenge on Joker in "Joker's Favor" gets a brief chuckle out of Batman — a two bit Joe Average had managed to completely freak out Joker — with one of Joker's fake bombs.
    • "Deep Freeze" sees Mr. Freeze express fear at a robot that breaks into Arkham to kidnap him.
  • Nuclear Candle: In "The Trial", Two-Face lights up a room with his lighter. The fire does not quite illuminate the entire room, leaving the edges in shadow for Batman to hide in and grab the villains one by one.
  • Offhand Backhand: To the point that a mook's chances of hitting Batman actually decrease if he attacks from behind. Also played hilariously with the Creeper, who uses it on Joker's mooks and Batman himself.
  • Off-Model: Not strange for a series like this where multiple companies would be used, but most evident whenever Sunrise or AKOM animated an episode. Constant issues regarding this was what got both studios fired from the series.note 
    • One example of this ended up changing a character's design completely. Namely that of The Scarecrow- The animators of "Nothing to Fear" changed his posture from hunched over to standing straight, a change carried over to the character's later appearances.
  • Off on a Technicality: "Trial" demonstrates that Batman's vigilante work can lead to this.
  • Offscreen Breakup: Dick and Barbara break up during the Time Skip, due to Barbara keeping her Batgirl identity a secret from him.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Temple Fugate lost everything in his Start of Darkness (an appeal for twenty million dollars against his company seven years ago), but when he appears at the episode “The Clock King”, he has enough money to buy bombs and an Abandoned Warehouse Supervillain Lair at his name. At the episode “Time Out Of Joint”, he can throw off a clock valued at 600,000 dollars.
    Batman What kind of saboteur uses a $6000 Metronex to trigger a time bomb?
    Alfred: A saboteur with too much money?
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Charles Collins in "Joker's Favor" ironically gets The Joker to do this after the Joker tormented him for the entire episode. It becomes a truly satisfying conclusion.
    • Though, of course, Charlie has his own moment at the start of the episode when he realizes just who the other driver he was yelling at really is:
    Charlie: "That was the Joker! I just cussed out the Joker!"
    • During the Superman: The Animated Series episode Knight Time, Superman impersonates Batman, as Bruce Wayne has gone missing and Gotham's supervillains are getting bolder. Bane's face after seeing "Batman" throw a Moai statute across a room is a study in this trope.
    • Implicit in the show's opening sequence, when the two suspects are intercepted on the rooftop by Batman and their eyes get big.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Averted with the presence of Harvey Dent and Harvey Bullock.
    • Averted with Matthew Hagen (Clayface's real name) and the one-shot character Matthew Thorne from "Paging the Crime Doctor".
    • Averted with Thomas Wayne and the one-shot villain Thomas Blake from "Cult of the Cat".
    • Bruce Wayne himself isn't exempted. According to a short scene in "Torch Song", the DCAU has a famous action movies actor named "Bruce Wallas".
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: There are some eps that has Joker showcasing this trope:
    • In "The Man Who Killed Batman", Joker is really pissed at Sidney Debris because Sid killed Batman instead of him. (Batman got better).
    • Inverted in "Joker's Favor", when Joker gets a Villainous Breakdown being confronted with the mere idea of being killed by any other than Batman.
    • "Mad Love", especially when even Harley is not exempt from this.
  • Oral Fixation: Harvey Bullock is perpetually chewing on a toothpick, and on one occasion was implicated in a crime because of its presence.
  • Orphaned Punchline: In "Birds of a Feather", Penguin has one: "—and I said, 'But, warden—those aren't my pants!"
  • Out-of-Character Moment: When Harley captures Batman, hanging him upside down over a tank of piranhas, she lavishes at how the Joker will be pleased with her for capturing his greatest enemy. Next thing she knows, Batman was LAUGHING. Not just laughing, but laughing HARD. Harley notes that Batman NEVER laughs, and that it creeped her out. Batman stops and stoicly tells her why he's laughing and proceeds to reveal the truth about Joker to her (See "Is That What He Told You?" above).
  • Out of Focus: Dick Grayson was originally a Recurring Character, but after the first Retool, he earned Regular Character status. The second Re Tool, however, made Batgirl a regular as well and added Tim Drake, so Grayson as Nightwing was seen far less often. Regardless, he was still considered a regular character and treated as such by production. (Voice actor Loren Lester was consistently credited in the main cast, as opposed to with - say - recurring guest star Mark Hamill). Word of God flat-out admitted this trope as a blunder on their part.
  • Out of Order: The original air dates don't correspond at all with the order that the episodes were written or recorded in. This resulted in a confused mishmash of continuity.
  • Pac Man Fever: The Riddler's "wildly popular" video game creation has graphics and gameplay at Intelli Vision levels around the time the Super Nintendo was hitting its stride, though it fits considering the 1930s aesthetic and deliberate Anachronism Stew of the series. It uses sound effects from the original Super Mario Bros., distorted a little bit to make them sound different.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Batman's one principle is to never take a life, but if you dare to enslave innocent children to steal for you like The Sewer King did, you better damn well pray that he does hold onto it.
    Batman: I don't pass sentence. That's for the courts to decide. But this time, this time, I am sorely tempted to do the job myself.
    • "Over the Edge" shows just how far Jim Gordon will go for his daughter. Or rather, what she fears he will do.
    • "Harley's Holiday" has General Vreeland. When his daughter Veronica gets accidentally kidnapped by Harley, his solution is pursue them in a tank.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Kyodai Ken.
  • Parking Payback: In "Fear of Victory", Batman lies in wait inside the Gotham Knight's locker room, believing that Scarecrow would be coming to sabotage the game by delivering a fear drug-tainted telegram to a key player. A perfectly ordinary telegram delivery man shows up and is intercepted by Batman, who utterly freaks, thinking that Batman was waiting to ambush him because he had double-parked.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": In "The Lion and the Unicorn", the two-part password to arm a nuclear warhead based in the UK is the address of the missile silo and "the lion and the unicorn", famous symbols of England.
  • The Patient Has Left the Building: In one episode, an injured Bruce Wayne considered his Batman duties important enough to defy his doctor's orders to stay in bed and recuperate.
    • At the end of the first half of his two episode origin story ("Two-Face, Part 1"), Harvey Dent (as well as his fiancée Grace) freaks at the sight of his newly disfigured visage, fleeing the hospital in anguish.
  • Perky Female Minion: Harley Quinn.
  • Pet the Dog: In "Mad as a Hatter", the abrasive Dr. Cates sits down and commiserates with Alice over her breakup while Jervis Tetch, eavesdropping, reacts with glee that she's no longer attached.
  • Phlebotinum Overdose: When Batman first defeated Bane, he broke the Venom pump, giving Bane a massive dose. Bane's eyes looked ready to pop out of his head before Bats managed to pull the line out.
  • Photo Doodle Recognition: In "Make 'em Laugh", Joker is discovered to be the one responsible for brainwashing famous comedians into committing crimes when Alfred shows Batman and Robin a video tape of the previous Gotham Comedy Competition. When they realize one of the contestants sounds familiar, Batman edits the video to show the Joker's regular eyes on the contestant's face, showing a perfect match.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth:
    • A SWAT cop does this with a tear gas grenade in "On Leather Wings".
    • When told to "bury" Batman, Batgirl and Robin, a thug in "Shadow of the Bat, Part 2" pulls the pins off two grenades at once using his teeth.
    • Harley does this with a Joker grenade in "Harley's Holiday."
  • Plot Parallel: "Mean Seasons" is about a former model who was fired because she was too old and avenges herself by kidnapping her former employers; in the B-plot, Bruce is upset at losing an employee because he has hit the mandatory retirement age (Bruce is also feeling a bit sluggish, and starts checking himself for gray hairs). In the end, Bruce does away with mandatory retirement.
  • Plunger Detonator: In "Christmas with the Joker", the Joker's goons use such a detonator to blow up a bridge.
  • Pop the Tires: Poison Ivy did that at least once with her wrist crossbow in "Harley and Ivy". At the end of the episode, her own tire is shot.
  • Posthumous Villain Victory: Joker certainly didn't expect to inherit $250 million in cash and jewels from deceased rival "King" Barlowe, except that most of the inheritance was fake as laid out by Barlowe in his Spiteful Will. Barlowe knew Joker would binge-spend the money before the IRS would come in for the taxes, and by then, Mistah J would be in trouble. He even rubs it on Joker's face with a Morton's Fork: go to jail for tax evasion (which he can't do) or become Gotham's Butt-Monkey for admitting that a dead man scammed him (which he can't stand). Indeed, what a posthumous way to troll your most hated enemy, who can't go after you because you're already dead. Unsurprisingly, Joker is pissed off.
  • Power Born of Madness: Harvey Dent appears to have this. In the episode where he finally snaps and transitions into "Big Bad Harv", he is strong enough to lift Rupert Thorne (an obese crime boss) clean off the ground and hurl him into three other thugs. The same episode sees him fling a doctor away with one arm and the next sees him as Two-Face hurl another thug like a sack of potatos. Considering this interpretation of Two-Face seems mostly based on being consumed by rage, maybe it is more "Power Born of Being Really Mad."
  • Prefer Jail to the Protagonist:
    • In "Joker's Favor", the protagonist is an ordinary man who has the misfortune to become the Joker's "hobby". After a whole episode of torment, he seemingly snaps and confronts the Joker, frightening him so much that the Joker calls Batman for help.
    • After his encounter with the Creeper, the Joker surrenders to Batman, declaring the Creeper "a lunatic" without any irony whatsoever.
  • Pretty in Mink: Quite a few of the society ladies in the background wear fur wraps.
  • Product Placement: the Warner Bros. logo on the miniature skyscraper near the end of Mask of the Phantasm. Numerous episodes have either the Joker or one of his henchman reading Tiny Toon Adventures comic books.
  • Pulling the Rug Out: In "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?", Robin knocks a thug standing on a table off his feet by pulling out the tablecloth. "I love that trick, but I can never make it work."
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...:
    • Batman vs. Rhino (no, not that one). Also, vs. Bane.
    • "The Last Laugh" involves Joker's use of a Mecha Mook to drive a garbage barge oozing laughing gas across the city, which inevitably leads to this.
  • Punched Across the Room: "Love Is A Croc" has Batman punch Killer Croc about a hundred feet across a spacious room at a power plant Superman-style that sent Croc crashing against pipework. The enraged Croc attempts to retaliate by ripping out a piece of pipe, but it was a steaming, hot water pipe, which erputs a near-fatal burst of water that delivers Croc right back to Batman's feet.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: When Batman is infected with Scarecrow's fear toxins and hallucinates a monstrous ghost telling him how much his father is disappointed in him.
    "You are not my father. I am not a disgrace. I am vengeance. I am the night. I. Am. Batman!"
  • Punishment Box: Batman becomes a captive of a forced labour camp made up of homeless people. The main punishment for failure to work is being placed in the box.
  • Punny Name: Temple Fugate, the DCAU's version of Clock King, is a pun on the Latin phrase Tempus Fugit ("Time Flies").
  • Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": With Joker, when he is torturing, maiming, or driving someone insane.

  • "Rashomon"-Style: The episode “P.O.V.” does this with Harvey Bullock, Officer Renee Montoya, and rookie Officer Wilkes explaining a failed sting operation. The events shown on screen play out the way they actually happened, even though this does not match the descriptions the police give their superiors. Bullock knows what happened, but makes himself appear as the competent hero while Batman screwed up. Wilkes is honest in his belief, but makes Batman come off as a supernatural being. Montoya more or less tells the truth, and believes that Batman died in the fire.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: While being chased by Alfred in the episode "The Underdwellers," a young hooligan in the Wayne mansion discovers a collection of antique firearms. He grabs a blunderbuss off the wall and proceeds to wave it around like a toy. Alfred immediately backs off, but Batman jumps in and grabs the gun out of the boy's hands. Batman notes, "It's not loaded, but it could have been."
  • Recurring Character: Although Batman's traditional Rogues Gallery and more famous supporting characters (Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl, etc) naturally tend to appear regularly, the show also creates or reintroduces several new or more obscure characters who appear regularly to fulfill certain roles. For example, Rupert Thorne acts as the recurring "untouchable crime boss" character, Roland Daggett the "unscrupulous Corrupt Corporate Executive / scientist" type, Veronica Vreeland the ditzy trust-fund heiress and Summer Gleeson the Intrepid Reporter.
  • Red Pill, Blue Pill: In "Perchance to Dream", Batman awakens to a reality where Batman exists but it is not him; there's no Batcave under Wayne Manor; his parents are alive; and he is engaged to Selina Kyle. Despite this seemingly idyllic life, Bruce struggles to accept this reality, and in his quest for the truth, he confronts the other Batman and discovers he is being affected by the Mad Hatter, who was trying to make Batman lose interest in continuing his obsessive, vigilante life. Batman chooses to continue being Batman over the life that Bruce Wayne would have loved to have.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: The third and fourth seasons used red skies for the night scenes.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Alfred's claim that HE is Batman in "Old Wounds".
  • Replacement Goldfish: H.A.R.D.A.C. began his plan to replace the world with robot duplicates after its creator, Karl Rossum, tried to create a new version of his daugher, who had been killed in a car accident.
  • Replacement Scrappy: "Fake Harley" in "Joker's Millions" is an In-Universe example. The Joker hired her because it was cheaper than paying for the real Harley's release from Arkham, but he grows to regret it and a pissed-off Harley gets back at him for it in the end.
  • Repression Never Ends Well: Two-face's origin is a result of Harvey Dent repressing his anger since childhood. This resulted in a Split Personality, "Big Bad Harv", that he mostly kept under control. It isn't until his disfigurement during Rupert Thorne's attempt at blackmailing him that the Two-Face personality takes control with Harvey Dent occasionally breaking through. Gets exaggerated in the episode "Judgement Day" where Two-Face repressing Harvey Dent for so long, especially his passion for justice, resulted in a third personality forming. The Judge, a Vigilante Man that treats all crimes as punishable by death.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Ra's Al Ghul experiences intense rage after resurrection.
  • Ret-Canon:
    • Prior to Batman: TAS, Mister Freeze was a thug in a powered suit with an ice gun and actually was dead in the comics when the show first aired. The show gave Freeze a tragic past which DC promptly incorporated into the comics with the result of completely revitalizing the character.
    • The 2009 Batgirl series reveals that "The Gray Ghost" is now an old TV show within the DCU proper, and an ardent fan of hers assumes the "Grey Ghost" identity, complete with hat and mask, in an attempt to be her sidekick. Batgirl herself, Stephanie Brown, explains that she never watched the show, but she knows that the main character must have been smarter and saner than this guy.
    • After No Mans Land, Batman went back to wearing the costume without the yellow oval, like he did during The New Batman Adventures. Similarly, Tim Drake took to wearing a costume to the one from TNBA following Infinite Crisis's "One Year Later" Time Skip.
  • Retired Badass: "The Lion and the Unicorn" reveals that Alfred spent time as a British government operative many years ago and, even though his primary duties were behind a desk, he amassed quite a few skills.
  • Retro Universe: It is shown in "Cold Comfort" that that episode is set in August of 1997 and the technology is effectively that of the 1990s, but the industrial design is the Art Deco of the 1930s and 40s and people still wear hats. A particularly glaring example was seen in "Fear of Victory," whose plot hinges on a college football game. The athletes are shown playing without facemasks and wearing leather helmets, out of fashion since at least the 1950's. Televisions were typically black and white (though color ones existed). One episode showed that Bruce Wayne owns a black and white TV. Yeah, the billionaire with the massive, high-res computers in his basement.
    • Batman has the Batwing, a highly advanced jet (or possibly rocket) powered VTOL aircraft. All of the other planes in the series use propellers. Its also worth noting that the jet powered batwing can't outrun (but can out maneuver) the bulky retro-tastic helicopters that are popular in Gotham.
  • Revenge Is Not Justice: In Heart of Ice, this is the main reason Batman tries to stop Freeze from killing Ferris Boyle. Even though the man ruined his and his wife's lives, Batman still tries to save him out of principle. The caped crusader does give evidence of Boyle's wrongdoings and leaves him to be arrested.
    Freeze: It can't end this way... Vengeance...
    Batman: No. Justice.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Most criminals use semi-automatic pistols, but whenever Commissioner Gordon and Detective Harvey Bullock draw their weapons they are traditional revolvers. Justified in that, for many years, most police departments issued .38 Special revolvers (or occasionally, .357 Magnums loaded with .38 Special) as their sidearms - especially in the 1940s-50s era that the series somewhat emulates.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Joker and Harley have a pack of hyenas.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Of all people, it is Commissioner Gordon who loses control in his thirst for vengeance (Or does he?) When Barbara/Batgirl is murdered he loses it and nobody is safe. No, not even Batman.
  • Robot Clown: In The Last Luagh, the Joker introduces a new minion called Captain Clown. Batman is visibly confused by this new minion's superhuman strength, until he breaks the minion's face, revealing that he is actually a robot. This gives Batman the realization that killing the minion will not break his strict Thou Shalt Not Kill rule, and so the minion meets his doom in a trash compactor.
  • Robot Girl: Randa Duane, H.A.R.D.A.C.'s dragon.
  • Robotic Reveal: "Heart of Steel" has two. The first when Harvey Bullock is thrown into the Bat Signal, melting off his flesh to reveal the robotic skeleton, and the second when Randa Duane, the sexy lady Bruce has been flirting with the whole episode, has her skin burned off by an explosion to reveal her electronic circuits.
    • "His Silicon Soul" also has this at the beginning of the episode when a mook shoots Batman, only to find out that Batman isn't human, there's a hole of exposed circuitry in the robot's stomach.
  • Robot Me: "Heart of Steel" revolves around a plot by H.A.R.D.A.C. to replace the entire world with robot duplicates, the episode itself features a robotic James Gordon, Harvey Bullock and Mayor Hill. The sequel, "His Silicon Soul," features a robot Batman.
  • Rocket Ride: Roxy Rocket.
  • Rogues Gallery: Featuring one of the most well-known examples of the trope, to date.
  • Rogues Gallery Showcase: "Almost Got 'Im" and "Trial" feature this.
  • Rope Bridge: "Two-Face" (during the nightmare in part 2).
  • Rooftop Confrontation: A few examples, one being the opening sequence of the show.
  • Rotoscoping: Used here and there, but especially obvious in "Pretty Poison" - Pamela Isley walking away from Bruce and Harvey at the restaurant was very clearly animated using footage of a real person.
  • Rousseau Was Right
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever an episode focused on Roland Dagget, this exchange would usually occur:
      Alfred: You think Mr. Dagget is up to something then?
      Batman: That goes without saying
    • Batman will almost always disappear inexplicably when talking to Gordon, who then expresses his confusion.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Alfred in "Old Wounds".
    Alfred: Ms. Gordon, I uh, see you've discovered our little secret. Yes, I admit it. I am Batman.
  • Saved by the Church Bell: The episode "It's Never Too Late" ends with a cathedral bell ringing, just moments after the mob boss Stromwell hands himself to the police and repents of his life of crime.
  • Save the Villain: In the climax of "Shadow of the Bat, Part 2," Batgirl says that she should leave Gil Mason to die in the speedboat that is on a collision course with the statue in Gotham Harbor, but cannot bring herself to do it.
  • "Say My Name" Trailer: One TV commercial had a montage of several villains saying "Batman!" in varying degrees of disgust - followed by the announcer commenting: "See what everyone's talking about."
  • Scary Scarecrows: The Scarecrow, as always, is dressed like a scarecrow to terrify.
  • Scenery Porn: One of the most iconic examples in the history of TV animation.
  • Schizo Tech: The weapons used by criminals is the tommy gun, TV is largely in black and white and the cars look like they come from the 1920s or 1930s, but this same setting gives us highly sophisticated computer equipment, sentient Artificial Intelligence, machines that can read peoples' minds and CCTV security cameras... and that is not even counting the stuff Batman himself has.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Even if he was not already crazy rich to begin with, you cannot bribe Batman to do anything, least of all look the other way. Warren of the Terrible Trio learns this the hard way as his money was completely useless on Batman.
    Warren: (gets unmasked by Batman) "Wait a minute wait a minute! We can make a deal! A million dollars just to let me go! (Batman angrily whirls him around) TEN MILLION! Think about it, that buys a LOT of batarangs!"
    Batman: "Your money's no good here."
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Quite awesomely subverted in "The Terrible Trio." Warren, the rich playboy who's spent the whole episode saying his money entitles him to not be held to any moral standards, is caught by Batman and smarms that his family's lawyers will get him off. This is followed by a Gilligan Cut to him being thrown in jail.
  • Second-Person Attack: Done frequently.
  • Second Super-Identity: In one episode, Batman faces a new vigilante in town who calls himself "The Judge", who is going after the city's criminal element and has a more violent manner of dealing with them. Batman tries to stop him as he targets Two Face, only to discover at the end that The Judge is really a new multiple personality of Harvey Dent.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: In "Over the edge", it's implied at the end that Jim Gordon fully well knows his daughter's Secret Identity.
  • Seductive Mummy: Thoth Khepera from the episode "Avatar". She takes on the appearance of a beautiful woman to drain mortals of their life energy, and in her true form she's very far from this.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Jason Blood claims that Klarion turned his parents into mice. Then the camera zooms in on Klarion's cat...
  • Self-Deprecation: Ted Dymer, the Loony Fan so obsessed with the Gray Ghost and toy collecting that he holds the city for ransom as "The Mad Bomber", just for more money to spend on pop culture memorabilia, is modeled after and voiced by Bruce Timm (see Creator Cameo). Notably, while Batman is used in the episode as a positive Author Avatar to pay tribute to the Adam West series, Ted is nothing more than a creepy little jerk.
  • Senseless Violins: Used by the Jazzman in "I Am the Night".
  • Serious Business: The Joker kidnaps and brainwashes three famous comedians all so that he can rig a comedy competition. As he explains, it is not about the trophy, it is about the title.
  • Servile Snarker: Alfred has moments of this.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Penguin, more often than not. This is lampshaded in "Almost Got 'Im", when Penguin is telling a story to Joker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Croc, a disguised Batman, and they complain that he is becoming hard to follow. Penguin grudgingly relents, describing his "Aviary of Doom" as a "big bird house."
  • Sewer Gator:
    • Killer Croc generally uses the sewers of Gotham as a hideout and means of stealth travel.
    • The episode "The Underdwellers" has sewer gators in droves. They're actually the Sewer King's pets.
  • Sexy Jester: Harley Quinn
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Clayface at the end of his debut two-parter. He's faking.
  • Shipped in Shackles: One episode opened with Killer Croc being transported to prison with his arms and legs in shackles. He escapes by biting through the chains. After Batman recaptures him he is taken away chained, straight jacketed and muzzled.
  • Shirley Template: Mary Louise Dahl, aka Baby Doll, was a failed actress who was born with a rare medical condition, confining her into an apperance of a toddler despite her actually being in her thirties. Like most other examples, she also bears the hallmarks of a Shirley Temple Expy, having appeared in namby-pamby roles as well which she resented as it forever typecasted her, just as how the real Shirley's acting career declined as people associated her more with her younger roles than as a teen actress.
  • Shirtless Scene: Both Batman and Robin get in on this, and in The New Batman Adventures season Nightwing has a completely gratuitous one.
  • Shoot the Television: The episode "Joker's Millions" has the Joker shooting the Video Will in which his benefactor reveals most of the money is fake.
  • Shout-Out: See the subpage.
  • Silicon Snarker: When Alfred is flying the Batwing, the onboard computer provides a wonderful bit of snark when Alfred demands that the plane land.
    Batwing Computer: Your funeral.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: When Batgirl tells Catwoman that if she kills Roland Daggett she will be no better than him, Catwoman tells her to "grow up."
  • Single Serving Friend: In "The Mechanic" we meet Earl Cooper, Batman's personal mechanic for the Batmobile, and even explore his backstory; he was an auto engineer turned whistleblower, who Batman saved from hired thugs. The story follows Penguin forcing Earl to rig the Batmobile into a deathtrap by taking Earl's daughter hostage. Despite the battle damage the Batmobile receives before and after this episode, this is the only time Earl appears.
  • Sinister Scimitar: When fighting the android Batman in "His Silicon Soul," Batman tries a surprise attack with a straight-edged sword. Android Batman then takes a curved sword from the weapons cabinet next to it and the two clash blades a few times.
  • Skintone Sclerae: Commissioner Gordon.
  • Skyward Scream: More like an "At the ceiling of the Batcave scream," in "I Am the Night", but it still works.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Batman has arguably always been more on the cynical end then your typical superhero cartoon. However, overall the series is about in the middle.
  • Sleight of Tongue: Talia does this for Bruce in "The Demon's Quest: Part 2".
  • Smug Snake: The Terrible Trio, especially Fox, who seems to have trouble not lording it over "the little people".
  • Snooty Sports: In "The Terrible Trio", rich playboy Bruce Wayne is shown to be quite proficient at skeet shooting, and entertains his rich guests with it at a party. This is especially notable given his own hatred for guns as Batman.
  • Snow Means Love:
    • Mr Freeze's most iconic scene is him talking to the snowglobe that contains a statue of his late wife, begging for forgiveness. Sad version of this trope. The comics reveal that in college the two spent much of their courtship outside in the snow.
    • There's an episode in which Batman meets Catwoman in the snow, and she has to ask, "Are you getting soft on criminals, or just on me?"
  • Socialite: Many, either dating Bruce or in the background at upper class events and parties. Veronica Vreeland is the only named example (well, that isn't part of the Rogues Gallery).
  • Soft Water:
    • Used frequently throughout the show, including a scene in "Zatanna" where a pair of mooks fell out of a plane flying above the clouds and survived the impact with the ocean below.
    • An aversion is the episode "Off Balance." In two separate occasions someone falls from a high place into water; the first time the person resurfaces but does not make any movement or sound and disappears under the waves again. The second time the person's fate is not made clear, but it is implied in Batman and Talia's subsequent dialogue that he died.
    • Averted in "On Leather Wings." The Man-Bat throws a security guard out of a window who lands in some sort of canal. Cut to a picture of the next day's newspaper with a picture of guard recovering in the ICU, where he is alive but severely injured from the fall.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: Farmer Brown.
  • Spinning Paper:
    • Used for the crime spree early in "Harley and Ivy"
    • In an out-of-universe example, Fox Kids produced commercials for roughly the first third of episodes from the first season that depicted a spinning paper with a headline describing a key plot point of the next aired episode (example).
  • Spit Take: Bruce does one when Harvey Dent tells him he's planning on proposing to Pam Isley.
  • Spy Catsuit: Appropriately enough, Catwoman
  • Squick: (In-Universe): "Almost Got'Im." After hearing Penguin, Two Face, Ivy and Croc tell stories of their bids against Batman, The Joker reveals Harley had captured Catwoman and is about to have her chopped up into cat food. The others look suitably wigged.
  • Stage Magician: Zatanna guest stars in the episode "Zatanna", where it is revealed that Bruce studied with her and her father, Giovanni "John" Zatara, in order to hone his abilities to escape locks and traps. Unlike her comic book counterpart, Zatanna at this point in the DCAU does not seem to have any actual mystical abilities, instead she performs traditional sleight-of-hand as part of her act (which is actually in keeping with her comic counterpart - Zatanna doesn't use her magic as part of her act, considering that to be cheating).
  • Staggered Zoom: On the face of the quarterback (Robin's roommate) in "Fear of Victory", to show the Scarecrow's fear toxin taking effect.
  • Stalker with a Crush: How the Mad Hatter was first portrayed in his obsession with his co-worker Alice, and being too shy to ask her out.
  • Start of Darkness: Almost all of the villains' are shown. Mister Freeze and Harley Quinn's both established the canon.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Despite being the Trope Codifier, this is sometimes averted. It also lampshaded a number of times.
    Comissioner Gordon: One of these days, I'm going to nail his feet to the ground.
  • Stealth Pun: Batman saying "Later" as he leaves some alligators behind.
  • Steampunk: The Wild West episode starring Ra's Al Ghûl and Jonah Hex has Ra's' men construct a Cool Airship.
  • Stepford Consumer: One of the Joker's schemes involves making a commercial. Even with the Joker's usual level of trademark enthusiasm, the commercial barely seems out of place.
  • Stock Clock Hand Hang: In one episode, the Clock King kidnaps Mayor Hill in retribution for his bankruptcy and ties him to the hands of a giant clock on the 7th anniversary of the event. Both Mayor and Batman hangs from the giant hand and the giant dial.
  • The Stoic:
    • The persona that Batman cultivates for himself (although, see Not So Stoic, above).
    • There are some contenders among the villains, but only one winner:
      • Mr. Freeze invokes this trope, claiming his feelings were frozen inside him, but it's clear he's actually a Tin Man.
      • Arnold Wesker, the Ventriloquist, truly is one, but only when Scarface is talking. When something happens to Scarface, Arnold can emote like any other.
      • The winner would be the Clock King: After his Start of Darkness, he only shows cold detachment, and his only emotion is annoyance.
  • Story Arc:
    • Despite its highly episodic nature, the first two seasons chronicle the fall of traditional crime and the rise of supervillains in Gotham City. When the series begins, the Joker and the Penguin are the only active supervillains (almost every other supervillain we see it's Start of Darkness, and Ra's Al Ghul only comes to Gotham to meet the Batman). Corrupt Corporate Executive Roland Dagget and traditional gangsters Rupert Thorne and Arnold Stromwell run the city.
    • Over the course of the series, Dagget gradually loses his fortune as legal fees and criminal charges catch up to him, and Thorne and Stromwell have their operations systematically taken apart as new, colorful villains appear in the scene. This comes to a head for Dagget in "Batgirl Returns" where he's finally arrested, "It's Never Too Late" sees Stromwell have a change of heart and turn himself in, and Thorne himself gets arrested in "Shadow of the Bat" after another of his criminal operations is busted and it's revealed that Two-Face has been taking control of Gotham mobs behind the scenes. By the time of The New Batman Adventures, almost all criminal activities are provided by costumed and themed supervillains.
    • The story arc in TNBA is gentrification, with Penguin "going legit" as the owner of the Bad-Guy Bar, the Iceberg Lounge, Joker and Harley Quinn face so many setbacks and are so badly hit by Batman, that Joker is literally being made to run out of town and go to Metropolis for the "World's Finest" arc and likewise goes nuts when he becomes a millionaire ("Joker's Millions"). As per Batman Beyond, a short while later, Arkham Asylum would be shut down and the inmates would be moved to a new facility and by the time of Batman Beyond, most of the classic era of Batman's Rogues Gallery is almost entirely forgotten (referred to by Terry McGinnis as "the bad old cape and cowl days", with the poor part of Gotham becoming an abandoned section called "Old Gotham" that is overshadowed and left to disrepair by the more futuristic and middle-class Neo-Gotham of the future.
  • Strawman Political: Lock-Up. He even disparages the "liberal media."
  • Stylistic Suck: The segment of "Legends of the Dark Knight" based on the 1960s Batman series. The synchronization between lip flaps and dialogue is poor, the background music cuts between tracks suddenly, and the animation quality fluctuates wildly.
  • Success as Revenge: Joker attempts to do this in the episode "Joker's Millions", using his inheritance to clean up his reputation and live the high life right in Batman's face. Penguin even congratulates the normally erratic clown for making this decision. Unfortunately, the whole thing turns out to be a vicious last act of revenge against the Joker as most of the money turns out to be fake.
  • Superhero: Batman himself, both Robins (and by extension, Nightwing), and Batgirl.
  • Super-Stoic Shopkeeper: When The Creeper bursts into a tailor's shop, the clerk handpicked him a pair of undies and "complimented" his choice of boa without the slightest twitch. Also, the bartender in "The Man Who Killed Batman".
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: The graveyard version in "Mask of the Phantasm".
  • Take a Third Option: In "Almost Got 'Im," Harley Quinn captures Catwoman and ties her to a conveyor belt heading for a massive meatgrinder. Batman arrives and catches Harley, who then taunts that he can either bring her in or rescue Catwoman, but not both. Batman then... nonchalantly reaches over to the circuit breaker and shuts off the power to the grinder, to which Harley responds, "Good call—Help!"
  • Take That!: In addition to its Shout-Out to the Silver Age comics and Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, the episode "Legends of the Dark Knight" is renowned for its blatant Take That against the Joel Schumacher films. A flamboyant kid named Joel, wearing a feather boa and standing in front of a Shoemaker sign, gushes over Batman's "tight rubber armor" and "flashy car" which he's heard can "drive up walls." The other kids dismiss him out of hand. It is reported, however, that Schumacher himself apparently found this scene hilarious when he saw it.
  • Talkative Loon: The Creeper.
  • Talking to the Dead:
    • Batman, as in most incarnations, speaks to his parents about his motivations, feelings, successes and failures as Batman.
    • Mr. Freeze speaks to his wife, Nora Fries, who had a terminal disease and was placed in cryogenic stasis to preserve her life.
  • Talk to the Fist:
    Condiment King: "What's this? Ah, the Big Bad Bat Guy. I knew you'd ketchup to me sooner or later. How I've relished this meeting. You, the Dynamic Dark Knight, versus me, the Conceptual Condiment King! Come Batman, let's see if you can cut the mustard."
    Batman: (Batman delivers a single punch to CK's stomach) "Quiet!"
  • Tap on the Head: Almost Once an Episode.
  • Taxman Takes the Winnings: This was part of King Barlow's posthumous revenge against The Joker in the episode "Joker's Millions." Barlow left the Joker a fortune, but most of the money was fake. He figured that the Joker would quickly blow through the real money, and then the government would come for the taxes, and he'd either go to jail for tax evasion or be forced to admit that he got conned by a dead man.
  • Team Rocket Wins: In "Mad Love", Harley Quinn actually gets closer than almost anyone to kill Batman, only being foiled by him appealing to Joker's ego and Harley's insecurity.
  • Technicolor Science: In the very first episode, "On Leather Wings" (Sept. 5, 1992) to be produced, the bad guy has the typical setup of exotic flasks and beakers bubbling with colored liquids.
  • Technicolor Toxin: Poison gases are usually given some loud color, generally a reddish-orange for the generic or green for Joker gas. "Moon of the Wolf" features a notable aversion with colorless gas — Batman doesn't notice until it's far too late.
  • Terrible Trio: The Terrible Trio, three wealthy young men who commit crimes for the thrill and excitement.
  • Terrified of Germs: One of Daggett's henchmen is nicknamed "Germs" and is scared of infection. While being chased through a hospital by Batman he accidentally traps himself in a viral pathology lab, where Batman makes him give up by threatening him with a beaker of crimson fever (which later turns out to have just been seawater.)
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Harvey was visiting a therapist to deal with his anger issues — until Thorne got a hold of his files and tried to blackmail him with them. Harley was a therapist before meeting the Joker, and is declared sane by one at the start of “Harley's Holiday” (unfortunately, the optimistic ending is never followed through on.)
  • They Called Me Mad!: The first line spoken by the man who would soon, appropriately enough, become the Mad Hatter.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: In "Nothing To Fear," immediately following Batman's "I am vengeance" speech, Shirley Walker's theme kicks in, and Batman subsequently saves the day.
  • The Tease: Poison Ivy is quite the playful flirt. Half the time her interactions with Batman come across like sweettalk during a date.
  • Title Drop: From The Riddler's debut episode:
    Nygma: You are a fool, Mockridge, to think you can get away with this. Your amoral greed is no match for an intellect like mine!
    Mockridge: Oh yeah? Then tell me something Eddie... If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?
  • Title, Please!: A variant: The episodes have title cards, but the show itself doesn't. Word of God is that they forgot to put it in.
  • Time Is Dangerous: Clock King uses a time-altering device to trap Batman and Robin in a "bubble" of slowed time, where seconds for them pass as hours on the outside. Batman points out that objects "outside" the bubble are moving relatively at tens of thousands of miles an hour while they are comparatively "standing still". Meaning there will be an enormous (think asteroid impact or nuclear weapon) explosion if anything collides with them in their "frozen" state. Fortunately Batman defuses the trap before it can happen.
  • Time Skip:
    • As well as having an Art Evolution, The New Batman Adventures takes place roughly three years after Batman: TAS.
    • "Joker's Favor" starts at some undetermined point in the series (Likely before the first episode) only to jump to two years later to the present.
  • Tin Man: Mr. Freeze. Despite claiming that he can no longer feel any emotion, his despair at losing his wife — and his cold hatred to those who took her — is demonstrable.
  • Toilet Humour: "Holiday Knights" has a bit where Harvey Bullock points out that Clayface looks like feces by calling him "Frosty the Lawn Cigar", "lawn cigar" being slang for animal excrement that's been left on the ground.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: A robot duplicate of Batman initially believes itself to be the real deal, and isn't happy to learn the truth.
  • Tomato Surprise: The Judge in "Judgement Day" is Harvey Dent, repressed by Big Bad Harv for so long that he developed into a third personality.
  • Tom Hanks Syndrome: In-universe example with Baby Doll, whose failure at a straight acting career led to her Start of Darkness.
  • To the Batpole!: Or rather, to the grandfather clock and sometimes, bookcase.
  • Tragic Monster:
    • Many of the villains, but most notably Two-Face and Mr. Freeze.
    • Joker plays at this in "Mad Love," but Batman reveals that it is all a lie.
  • Transflormation: In "Eternal Youth," this is the aim of Poison Ivy's spa treatments for the wealthy of Gotham.
  • Trick-and-Follow Ploy
  • Truer to the Text: Batman: The Animated Series, despite having had the cases of Adaptation Distillation, Adaptation Name Change, Adaptational Heroism, Adapted Out, Composite Character, and Canon Foreigner, is the most faithful (and influential) adaptation of the DC Comics series as well as Batman (along with his mythos, supporting cast, allies, and rogue gallery) in general in comparison to all of the Batman adaptations that have been created both before and after the show (both animated and live action action).
  • Truth Serum: Red Claw injects Alfred and "Cousin Freddie" with a serum in "The Lion and the Unicorn."
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The H.A.R.D.A.C super-computer and the robots it creates.
  • Turn in Your Badge: In "P.O.V.", Bullock, Montoya, and Wilkes are placed on suspension and ordered to turn in their badges after a sting operation goes wrong.
  • Two-Faced: Two-Face.
  • Two-Headed Coin: Owned by Two-Face.
  • Two-Person Love Triangle: When Alfred suggests the possibility of Bruce and Selina Kyle getting together in "Cat Scratch Fever", Bruce says Selina loves Batman, not him. Sure enough, later in that same episode Selina puts Bruce squarely in the friend zone.
  • Two Voices, One Character: The show does this a lot in-universe:
    • Bruce Wayne uses his normal voice when being himself, and a deep growl when Batman
    • Baby Doll only uses her normal, adult voice when briefly leaving her delusion
    • Two-Face has separate voices for Harvey and himself (in something like an out-of-universe dark counterpoint to Batman)
    • The Ventriloquist obviously has different voices for himself and the puppet that he projects onto.
  • Uncanny Valley: Deliberately invoked with the Joker. Unlike many other portrayals, he’s not simply a man with pale skin and a big grin, the way his face is drawn will always leave you unnerved, even when he’s being jovial and aloof. He looks human enough but something is just…. off. It has a lot to do with his eyes, which are triangular in shape, and sport yellow sclera, which, combined with his lack of eyebrows, gives him a permanent Kubrick Stare. His Batman Beyond/Justice League redesign amps up the uncanniness by also giving him red pupils and vaguely vampiric facial features.
  • Underwear of Power: Many of the characters (such as Batman himself), but the Condiment King wears an actual pair of underwear as part of his Cheap Costume.
  • Undressing the Unconscious:
    • In "Mad as a Hatter", Mad Hatter kidnaps and hypnotizes his secretary whom he crushes on then dresses her up as the title character of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
    • In "Baby-Doll", Baby-Doll goes after her old co-stars so they can all "be a family again", and she kidnaps them by knocking them out. After Mariam is knocked out and taken by Baby-Doll, she wakes up at the studio where they had filmed their television program, now wearing her old costume. It's implied Baby-Doll did this with all of her old co-stars.
  • Unexpected Kindness: "Harley's Holiday" has moments from Harley, her erstwhile hostage Veronica Vreeland, and Batman.
    • Harley promises Veronica to keep her safe after accidentally taking her hostage (It Makes Sense in Context), and honors that promise throughout the episode.
    • In turn, Veronica tells Harley, after she rescues her from a mobster who planned to ransom her, that if Harley got her out of it in one piece, she'd explain that it was a mistake. She also honors that agreement, when Harley is informed at Arkham that Ms. Vreeland won't be pressing charges.
    • And, of course, the most surprising moment of all, and perhaps the most heartwarming, is when Batman gives Harley the dress that she'd actually paid for at the end. She asks him why he stuck his neck out for her when all she ever did was give him a hard time. His response explains his entire motivation for what he does, "I had a bad day, too, once."
  • Unreliable Voiceover: "P.O.V." features three separate flashbacks, each narrated by a member of a sting operation that had gone horribly wrong and each describing their experiences in the lead-up and aftermath of the sting. Officer Wilkes is honest in his story, but misunderstood much of what he saw, so his description of Batman resembles a magical creature instead of a costumed crimefighter. Detective Harvey Bullock is aware of what happened, but is deliberately falsifying his statement to cover his own mistakes and blames it on Batman. Of the three, only Officer Renee Montoya tells an accurate story.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Most of the Bat-Clan gets in on this from time to time, but notable examples are Alfred being more concerned with whether Bruce wants an afternoon snack than he is with Clayface dissolving in "Mudslide," Bruce thinking the Sewer King got eaten by alligators in "The Underdwellers" and reacting with a shrug, and Bruce hoping the Joker got eaten by a shark in "The Laughing Fish." Absolutely no love lost there.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Big Bad Harv actually calls Bruce Wayne a 'twit' when Bruce tries to calm him down.
  • The Vamp: Poison Ivy and Talia.
  • Varying Competency Alibi: In "Read My Lips", Batman tricks Scarface into believing that one of Scarface's henchmen betrayed him, in order to get Scarface riled up. Rhino, the Dumb Muscle of the henchmen, protests that it wasn't him who betrayed Scarface. Scarface says he knows it wasn't Rhino because Rhino is too stupid to pull off a scheme like that. Rhino takes this as a compliment.
    Scarface: Which one o' you louses is it?
    Rhino: It ain't me, boss!
    Scarface: I know it ain't you, Rhino! You're too stupid to be a traitor.
    Rhino: Uh, thanks, boss.
  • Vaudeville Hook: Joker gets dragged offstage by one of these in "Make 'Em Laugh." He is outraged by the thought of being disqualified from Gotham's annual stand-up comedy competition on the flimsy grounds that he never entered that a year later he seeks Disproportionate Retribution on the judges.
  • Very Special Episode: "It's Never Too Late" starts off as a basic gang war story, before leaping into an anti-drug Aesop.
  • Vigilante Injustice: In Trial, Arkham Asylum is overtaken by the inmates, and Batman is brought to trial because they believe Batman does more harm than good, a sentiment that is shared by D.A. Janet Van Dorn. In the end however, Van Dorn decides that Gotham does need Batman and the Rogues Gallery is responsible for how their lives turned out.
  • Vignette Episode: "Holiday Knights," "Almost Got 'Im," and "Legends of the Dark Knight."
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • When threatening to share Harvey Dent's psychiatric file with the press, Thorne sarcastically quips that the people have a right to know who they're electing for office. Not that Thorne really cares, and he deliberately made the situation worse, but this is actually a pretty valid concern: Would you vote for someone if you found out they've been desperately trying to sweep their violent dissociative identity under the rug?
    • Ferris Boyle in "Heart of Ice". His actions clearly become criminal when he assaults Victor despite Fries having already backed down, and his command to pull the plug on Nora is nothing short of heartless, but his complaint is valid. Victor was using equipment that didn't belong to him, and essentially stealing money not just from Boyle, but from the whole company. The project was completely unauthorized, and that's not even going into the ethics and legal ramifications of using a human subject in a secret experiment, even if it really was their only chance at survival.
    • Lyle Bolton is meant to be seen as a hard-headed conservative nutcase with his rant about the inefficient politicians and the "liberal media" being the cause of the superpowered psychos. While "cause" might be a stretch, he's quite right about them being part of the problem. The police routinely fail to combat the maniacs, leaving a vigilante to do 90% of the work, the people running Arkham keep it a barely-functional revolving door, and the politicians for the most part do nothing at all to improve Arkham or Gotham itself. Hell, we even see the news treating Poison Ivy as a media darling instead of a murderous eco-terrorist! If they all did their jobs more efficiently and professionally, maybe there wouldn't be so many costumed freaks terrorizing the city.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • When Charlie, the timid accountant that the Joker has been tormenting for the entire episode, decides to stand up he grabs a bomb out of the Joker's vehicle and threatens to kill him. When he points out that this is how the Joker will die, killed by some schlub instead of some grand battle with Batman, Joker begins to actually scream for Batman to help him.
    • Two-Face, Mary Dahl and Clayface (in his case, also a Superpower Meltdown) all undergo a nasty snap at some point.
    • Riddler has one just because Batman will not tell him how he survived a seemingly perfect deathtrap.
    • Ivy has several in her first appearance. The first is what led to her trying to kill Harvey Dent and the second was when her greenhouse burned down, just driving her deeper into madness.
    • Bane has a terrifying one after Batman breaks the control for his Venom tube, causing him to overdose. This causes his eyes to bulge out of his head, his muscles to swell to absurd proportions, and him to begin screaming in pain.
    Bane: You can't do this to me! I AM INVINCIBLE! I AM BANE!
  • Villainous Valor
    • The Penguin tops the list. In the episode "Birds of a Feather" at least, he is a courageous fighter, beating back a gang of bullies who are trying to mug him using only his umbrella. In another episode, when Batman is accusing him of having Two-Face kidnapped, the Penguin declares that he were ever going to mess with another villain, he'd do it the honorable way: Face to face.
    • Ra's al Ghul. Despite being insufferably pompous, self-righteous, megalomaniacal, and a genocidal lunatic, he is a brave man, exposing himself to danger even though most of the time he is a frail old man; he refuses to see himself as a victim, and will not tolerate anyone else thinking that, either. When rejuvenated by a chemical pool called the Lazarus Pit, he becomes strong and athletic and is willing to fight anyone. When he challenges Batman to a sword fight in "The Demon's Quest (Part II)" he demands: "Are you man enough to face your better?" — and is immensely pleased that Batman is just that.
    • Catwoman. She takes pride in hardly ever getting scared — and, being a Combat Pragmatist, can physically get the best of men twice her size when she really wants to.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: In "Trial," the villains of the series come to the realization that Batman did not create them, but they created him. If Batman had never existed they would have lost their sanity and turned to crime anyway, but it was only because of crime that Batman himself was born.
  • Villain Team-Up: Happens on quite a few occasions. Notable episodes include "Harley and Ivy," "Almost Got 'Im," "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne" and "Trial."
  • Visual Gag:
    Pamela Isley: Shouldn't we wait for your friend?
    Harvey Dent: Bruce? Nah. He's always late. Probably got hung up at work.
    -cut to Batman hanging by his grappling hook from a helicopter-
    • The opening to "Almost Got'Im" and throughout the episode are full of them. The establishing shot is an extreme close-up of the villains' hands and includes the Joker pulling an ace from his sleeve (while saying he wants a clean, fair game), and Two-Face pouring Half-and-Half into his coffee.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • Kevin Conroy initially had a growl in his Batman voice and spoke with a higher, upbeat tone as Bruce Wayne. Starting from The New Batman Adventures, his Batman voice got higher and lost the growl and he no longer used the higher voice for Bruce Wayne. He mentions in I Know That Voice that he was fairly new to voice acting when first taking on Batman and he chose the growl not knowing how difficult it would be on his vocal chords, so he had to figure out a way to emulate the same effect without injuring himself.
    • Mark Hamill, in his debut episode as the Joker in "Joker's Favor," had a much more noticeable lisp.
    • Loren Lester's voice for Robin also got lower over time. Possibly to show him aging.
  • Wall Crawl: Catwoman does it by digging in with the claws in her suit.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: In the episode "The Man Who Killed Batman," while Batman is presumed dead, the Joker holds a "funeral" for him, which ends with Joker tossing the man whom everyone believes killed Batman into the coffin and lowering the coffin into an acid pit while Harley Quinn plays "Amazing Grace" on kazoo. After the coffin disappears into the acid, Joker waits a beat and asks, "Well, that was fun, who's for Chinese?"
  • Waxing Lyrical: The Phony Psychic Nostromos sees a bad moon rising.
  • Welcome Episode: Tim Drake has it in "Sins of the Father." Since it takes place before the third skit in "Holiday Knights."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • An ex-security guard for Arkham becomes Lock-up. He... well locks up who he thinks is the real source of the problems in Gotham, the lax Police Force (Gordon), the pushover Doctors (Dr. Bartholomew), mindless Bureaucrats (Mayor Hill), and the media (Summer Gleeson) that "glorifies" the Bat-villains. Ironically, he is probably right.
    • After Harvey Dent is transformed into Two-Face he leads an extra-legal war on Rupert Thorne's criminal organization, robbing his operations throughout Gotham, but his ultimate plan is to expose Thorne's activities and get him arrested by the police.
    • The Judge in "Judgement Day," who is determined to punish the criminals and corrupt of Gotham City.
    • Ra's al Ghul is the quintessential example, carried over from the comics where his terrorist activities are motivated by his concern for the environment and the world.
  • Wet Cement Gag: In "See No Evil", Batman pursues an invisible thief, who gives away his location by running through wet cement and leaving a trail of footprints.
  • Wham Line:
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode: Every Scarecrow appearance went like this, but it was taken to its peak in "Over The Edge," in which Batgirl hallucinates her own death and her father turning against Batman, whom he blames for it. Add in the much scarier redesign of the Scarecrow for the last season and it is truly horrifying.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "Trial," Riddler is seem among the villains as a juror in their Kangaroo Court. However, he disappears during the second half of the episode and his chair in the jury is even empty.
    • In "The Terrible Trio",we never find out whether Rebecca's father ever recovered from his coma. As for Rebecca herself, she is never seen again after Batman saves her.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Ruthlessly exploited. On the commentary for "Heart of Steel, Part 2", the producers explained that the censors and Bureau of Standards and Practices would not object when they harmed or destroyed robots, so not only did they use them as foes to be destroyed, but made their destruction as violent as possible. It is discussed in "His Silicon Soul": When a robotic Batman (mistakenly) believes that he has killed the real Batman, he becomes so horrified that he commits suicide. Batman later reflects on this, and wonders if the robot could have had a soul.
    • Similarly, Scarface could be subjected to all sorts of horrific "deaths", after which the character could be brought back by simply having the Ventriloquist show up with a new dummy.
    • As seen in "Critters" and "Never Fear", Batman's Thou Shalt Not Kill policy doesn't necessarily extend to animals.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: Parodied with Harley in "Girl's Night Out," it being a running gag that she tries to get things open by using an oversize mallet for it to do practically nothing.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Like any other Batman series, it's not clear where Gotham actually is. "The Mechanic" features a clear shot of a Gotham license plate... with the motto "The Dark Deco State".
    • Averted in "Joker's Favor": A Freeze-Frame Bonus of Charlie Collin's driver license reads: Charlie Collins, Woodrust Drive, Gotham States, N. Y.
    • Clues given by other episodes are all over the place though. For example, in Catwoman's debut episodes, a mountain lion habitat is a plot point, which would place Gotham more toward the south. Another episode has Batgirl fighting a crooked cop on a speedboat passing by what is obviously supposed to be the Statue of Liberty. It doesn't help that Gotham is an Expy of New York City, Chicago, and Detroit.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Mary "Baby" Dahl. In more ways than one.
  • White Gangbangers: Nearly all of the regular criminals and gangsters seen in Gotham are white. Justified by the '50s aesthetics and general Retro Universe nature of the setting, which would be ruined by too prominent representation by ethnic criminals. However, both of the major mob bosses (Arnold Stromwell and Rupert Thorne) have Anglo-Saxon names, which would be a little weird even in a Roaring Twenties/Great Depression-era storyline. Mask of the Phantasm adds mobsters with Italian and Jewish names like Sal Valestra and Chuckie Sol.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: To the Wild West starring Jonah Hex.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Tyger, Tyger," to The Island of Doctor Moreau. Notable for including Selina Kyle as a literal Catwoman.
    • "Blind as A Bat" is effectively a remake of the Darkwing Duck episode "Duck Blind", which was made about a year prior. Both heroes suffer temporary blindness from intense light which they work around by using technology. Penguin even repeats Megavolt's cries of "you're supposed to be helpless! Helpless!" during the final battle.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Freeze is considered immortal, and Grant Walker wishes to obtain this.
    Mr. Freeze: "Old and infirm as you are, I would trade a thousand of my frozen years for your worst day."
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Scarecrow is the master of using this trope.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Subverted with Daggett in "Batgirl Returns" who just plans to shoot Batgirl and Catwoman and then throw them into vats of acid.
    •  Played straight when Harley Quinn asks this verbatim in "Mad Love".
  • Wicked Toymaker: Combined with Mad Bomber in the episode "Beware The Gray Ghost" in which a toy collector uses remote control toys loaded with bombs to steal money to feed his obsession and buy more toys.
  • Wild Card: Catwoman actually fought at Batman's side a little more often than she fought against him.
  • The Worf Effect: To show the viewers just how much of a badass he is, Bane fights Killer Croc in the former's debut. Croc ends up in traction afterwards.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Many villains have this attitude, most notably The Joker. Batman is smart enough to not recognize genders in a fight. In "Harley and Ivy" he comments:
    Batman: Man or woman, a sick mind is capable of anything.
    Poison Ivy: A very enlightened statement, Batman. We'll carve it on your headstone.
  • Wounded Hero, Weaker Helper: The episode "I've Got Batman in my Basement" has Batman convalescing from being exposed to toxic gas in the basement of some kids, and he needs them to pick up some counter-agent capsules from a first-aid kit on the Batmobile (and while he's still recovering, the Penguin and some goons arrive to the house, forcing the kids to improvise some "rich palms no deposit bonus codes Alone" Antics with the contents of the Bat-Belt).
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: The Joker, oddly enough, occasionally peppers his speech with Yiddish. In "The Man Who Killed Batman" he refers to Sidney as "the weaselly little gunsel [Criminal, also catamite]) sitting there in our midst. The cowardly insignificant gonif [crook] who probably got lucky when Batman slipped on the slime trail this loser left behind him." In "Harliquinade," when he is listing off various ways of saying "nothing" when says that he is going to steal a bomb instead of paying for it, he closes with "bupkiss."
  • You Answered Your Own Question: Zatanna: "What do you care about some leggy dame in nylons? Or did I just answer my own question?"
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Stated word for word in “Feat of Clay, Part 1”.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: As part and parcel of the unique society that the creators developed, the Gotham City Police Department frequently uses blimps to patrol the city and transport personnel. They were included to create an atmosphere evocative of the 1930's, even though the producers admitted that they never really existed at all, not even in the 1930's. An armored example appears in "Showdown." In 1883.

Alternative Title(s): The New Batman Adventures, The Adventures Of Batman And Robin


"Wake up, Harleen"

Batman makes Harley Quinn question her relationship with the Joker by revealing how manipulative the Clown Prince of Crime really is. Batman also gives Harley second thoughts about her plan to kill him, pointing out the holes in it, and stating that the Joker would never buy it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / BreakThemByTalking

Media sources: