Batman: The Animated Series

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Batman: The Animated Series (or BTAS), which debuted in 1992 on the FOX children's block, restored the original vision for the character. The show aired from 1992 to 1995 on FOX. Towards the end, it was given a minor Retool into The Adventures of Batman & Robin, promoting the latter hero from recurring role to regular star. A much more noticeable retool occurred in 1997, where a Channel Hop and an Uncanceled 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 the Superman the Animated Series designs that were produced in between, which allowed for the inevitable Bat Family Crossovers.

It drew heavily from Frank Miller's 1986 graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns 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 DCAU.

Batman: The Animated Series‍'‍s brief venture into primetime 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, 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, made Poison Ivy more plant-like, and made Scarecrow scary; other new designs, like The Joker, Catwoman, The Mad Hatter, and The Riddler, were less effective. (Joker's design was changed again in Justice League, to one closer to his look in the first seasons of this show.) Since The WB's broadcast standards were more relaxed than FOX's, the producers were allowed to use more action and violence 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 a different source) and Dick Grayson was the grown-up hero Nightwing due to a falling out occurring during the interim between the two series (which was explained in a flashback episode).

Three movies based on the series were produced: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (which had a limited theatrical run), Batman and Mister Freeze Sub Zero (a pseudo-tie-in to the live action movie Batman and Robin), and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (created and set after the end of the series). The movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker also partially takes place during Batman: The Animated 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).

While it's not officially part of the DCAU, 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.

Tropes used in Batman: The Animated Series include:


  • Action Girl:
  • Action Series
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adam Westing: The star of the '60s series 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.
  • Adaptational Weakling: Batman lucked out when facing Bane. In the comics, Bane made his debut by releasing all the crooks in Gotham and successfully breaking the Bat's back. BTAS Bane fortunately likes to play with his food; he taunts Batman by trashing the Batmobile, and kidnaps Robin as bait to lure Batman into a trap. Batman is able to find an opening in their fight and deliver him unmasked to his employer, Rupert Thorne. It still was a close call and Robin was unable to help because he was fighting Thorne's assistant Candice in the water.
  • Adult Fear:
    • "See No Evil" is, essentially, the story of a woman dealing with her ex-con ex-husband who keeps breaking into her house and eventually kidnaps her daughter.
    • In "The Underdwellers," Batman is logically angry when the child picks up and plays with a decorative gun on the wall of Wayne Manor, since it could have been loaded.
  • 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 I planned.
Alfred: How reassuring!

  • All Just a Dream: "Perchance to Dream," "Over The Edge".
  • All There in the Manual: In the redrawing of character designs during the revamp between Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, Commissioner Gordon received a newer, much thinner appearance. Fans complained heavily about the new look, saying it made Gordon look sick, and DVD commentary from the producers reveals that this is what they thought as well. The theory they had was that, some time between the two series, Gordon had some debilitating disease (Prostate cancer was named as one potential candidate) that resulted in his current, gaunt look.
  • Aloof Ally: Nightwing, at first in "You Scratch My Back".
  • Amazon Admirer:
    • Usually Batman's real tastes in women tend to run this way when he's not playing the part of the playboy. He has an on-off flirtation with Selina Kyle aka Catwoman, is attracted to Talia al Ghul, and has done playful sparring with Andrea Beaumont who he would have married. We'll just ignore his relationship with Barbara Gordon because that was weird given their age gap.
    • In the crossover between Superman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series, this is why Bruce Wayne falls for Lois Lane. He sees that she's not afraid to speak her mind or try to rescue innocents. As he tells a suspicious Clark Kent, Lois deserves someone that knows the person she is. Lois is also no pushover; as she tells a would-be assailant, "Daddy was a black belt."
  • Amnesiac Liar: "The Forgotten".
  • 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. SWAT teams and Liebherr-style cranes exist already. The helicopters are from the 1980s. The social status of women and minorities is modern. The list goes on, too...
  • Ancient Grome: At the end of the episode "Fire from Olympus," Maxie Zeus identifies Two-Face as Janus, a Roman god, despite imagining himself to be a modern incarnation of a Greek god. Janus did not have a Greek counterpart and should have been completely unknown to "Zeus."
  • Animation Bump: The episodes that are done by TMS Entertainment and Spectrum.
  • 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...
    • Catwoman, who just wants to protect the animals most of all. The first season showed her genuinely reforming, but by the second season she had fallen back into more criminal habits. A comment by Bruce in Batman Beyond indicates that she probably never got past this.
    • Poison Ivy. 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.
  • 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.
  • And I Must Scream: Grant Walker pays a heavy price for seeking immortality.
  • 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 Fanboy: Batman himself in the Grey Ghost episode - 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 the Christmas Episode.
  • A-Team Firing: While 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
  • 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: 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. This is also one of Batman's own methods; he does this often when caught by surprise, allowing him to defeat his enemy or, should the situation become too great (it happens, but rarely), retreat to fight another day.
  • Badass Back: Just try to sneak attack Batman from behind. I DARE you.
  • Badass Longcoat
  • 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 is not pretty.
  • Bad Guy Bar
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Batman and Robin prevented 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.
  • Bandaged Face: Harvey Dent's is probably the best known, but the villain of "Mean Seasons" had one as well.
  • Batman in My Basement: Trope Namers and one of the episodes the writers would deeply love to forget.
  • Bat Signal: The classic signal features in the series, where it 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.
  • Berserk Button: By the time of "Riddler's Reform", being called crazy is this for The Riddler.

Thug: Gee, boss, you're scaring me. You're talking kinda crazy.

  • 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," and Miriam in "Baby Doll."
  • 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 frighting as Bruce when properly provoked.
  • Big No: All the time and at least one from every character throughout the series. Poison Ivy gets several in her introduction episode alone.
  • Bi the Way: Paul Dini has confirmed that Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy were in a physical relationship while together, even though they could never explicitly confirm that on the show.
  • 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.
  • Blank Book: When Bruce was trapped in the Hatter's dream.
  • Blind Without'Em: Selina Kyle's assistant, Maven.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Man-Bat. Both of them.
    • Matt Hagen changing into Clayface.
    • The episode "Eternal Youth" has this in spades for the victims of the villain, mixed with And I Must Scream.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Played straight throughout the series.
  • Bound and Gagged:
    • Catwoman in tied to a conveyor belt in "Almost Got 'Im."
    • 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")...
    • Three law enforcement officials in "Christmas with the Joker", including Commissioner Gordon and Bullock.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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 after a life of being trapped in the body of a child.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 currently-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 as of December, 2009 the two are co-starring (Along with Catwoman) in Gotham City Sirens.
    • 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.
  • 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", Jarvis Tetch tries to win his co-worker Alice's heart after her recent breakup. She is charmed by Jarvis but mistakes his romantic overtures as attempts to cheer her up and she later reconciles with her boyfriend. Jarvis then uses his Mind Control technology on her and takes her on a "date" at a Wonderland-themed amusement park.
  • 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 Robin in different episodes.
  • Catapult Nightmare: multiple episodes, but notably in both parts of the two-partner "Two-Face"
  • Catch Phrase. Many, including:

Batman: That's not the answer I want.

  • Catgirl: Catwoman. Taken to extremes in "Tyger Tyger", where Dr. Dorian kidnaps Selina Kyle and mutates her into an ACTUAL catwoman.
  • Cat Scare: "The Forgotten".
  • Cat Suit: Who else?
  • 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 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.
  • Cheap Costume: The Condiment King wears an actual pair of Underwear of Power 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.
  • 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 (Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker shows that she eventually did reform and have a normal life, but only after Joker was dead).
    • 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.
  • City Noir: Achieved by doing the art for the series on black paper.
  • Classy Cat Burglar: 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: Did not invent the trope, but certainly named it.
  • 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.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: The original appears in his traditional role.
  • Common Knowledge: "Girl's Night Out," the episode of the DCAU featuring Batgirl and Supergirl squaring off against Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Livewire is commonly thought to be a Superman the Animated Series episode, but in reality is officially a Batman: The Animated Series episode. According to both the episode list on the official website and the fact that it was on the B: TAS Volume 4 DVD rather than Volume 3 of S: TAS (which included the last third of the series, including Supergirl's debut).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
  • Cousin Oliver: In-universe. The cause of Baby Doll's descent into madness.
  • 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 lead 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."

    • 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 cities 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.
    • Roland Daggett's attempts to control Matt Hagen with his highly addictive facelift-in-a-jar concoction eventually turned the man into Clayface.
  • Creepy Monotone: Both Batman and Mr. Freeze put this to good use.
  • 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.
  • Crusading Widower: Mr. Freeze.
  • Crush Blush: Bruce Wayne meeting Selina Kyle
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check:
    • In "Fear of Victory" the Scarecrow begins rigging sports and then betting on the games; 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.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Scarface.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: "Batgirl Returns" features this exchange with Roland Daggett:

Batgirl: So what are you going to do, leave us hanging over one of these vats with acid burning through the rope?
Daggett: *Evil chortle* -- If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that you crime-fighting types are very resourceful... So I'll just have my men shoot you and throw your bodies into the vats.

    • Dick shows shades of this once he becomes Nightwing.
  • Dating Catwoman: Obviously.
  • Dead Line 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 Trap
  • Deliberately Sepia Tone: 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 Flash Back sequence.
  • Depending on the Artist (TMS Entertainment): Like on Tiny Toon Adventures, TMS's staff was uncredited (for the first show, there were listed on The New Batman Adventures), here is 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 Parts 1 And 2: Kazuhide Tomonaga; In house for both parts.
    • 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, 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
  • 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, the Joker eventually 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, 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 piece of tin! It's about 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.
    • In "Critters", not only does Farmer Brown take revenge against Gotham for shutting down his projects and forcing he and his daughter to go broke, but for calling his experiments "monsters".
    • 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.
  • 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). And, just when Harley's ready to leave...

Harley: He might get a little rough sometimes, but he loves me, really.

  • Doesn't Like Guns: Is a plot point in several episodes.
  • Domestic Abuse: The Joker and Harley have what is, beneath the make-up, a classic abusive relationship filled with emotional trauma and physical violence.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": After his transformation, Harvey Dent is very clear that he is now Two-Face, even to his fiance.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Bullock.
  • The Dragon:
    • Candace, Rupert Thorne's associate, is his right-hand in almost all criminal activities.
    • Madam is Baby-Doll's combatant 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.
  • Easter Egg: 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.
  • Easy Amnesia: "The Forgotten"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Evil Is Stylish: The Joker, the Riddler, and most of his Rogues Gallery.
  • 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.
  • Expressive Hair: Harley's "hat".
  • Expressive Mask
  • 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.


  • The Fagin: The Sewer King.
  • Fainting: In "Two-Face," Harvey Dent's fiancée faints when she sees Two-Face's face for the first time. In "Feat of Clay," a baddie faints while being questioned by Batman. Considering Batman's terrifying interrogation technique, it is not surprising.
  • 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.
  • 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 "Halequinade," 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fan Service: Frequent throughout the series for both men and women.
  • Fashion Show
  • Fat Bastard
    • Detective Harvey Bullock, who is rude, filthy, in love with donuts and a general mess. His only saving grace is his fundamental loyalty to Commissioner Gordon.
    • 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 of 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.
  • Fiction 500
  • 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.
  • Flash Back
  • Fluffy Tamer:
    • Harley Quinn. To everyone else the Joker's snarling pet hyenas are a menace; to her, they are her "babies."
    • Cranked Up to Eleven with Farmer Brown's daughter Emmylou and his genetically-modified farm animals in "Critters".
  • Foot Focus: In "Almost Got Him", when Ivy tells her story for some reason she is barefooted through her entire story when she normally wears knee high boots. She even drops her exploding pumpkin in such a way that it focuses on her bare feet when it hits the ground.
  • 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.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Not really the costumes, save for Ivy's and Harley's. Plus the shirts they wear when not in costume.
  • Foreshadowing: 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.
  • 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.
  • Freeze Ray: Mr. Freeze.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Genki Girl: Harley Quinn.
  • German Expressionism: Exaggerated architecture is reasonably common throughout the series, and is especially prevalent in the episode "Growing Pains."
  • Gilligan Cut: A dramatic example: the end of "The Terrible Trio" has the Complete Monster 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.
  • Girls' Night Out Episode: Trope Namers, featuring Batgirl and Supergirl going up against Livewire, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.
  • Girlish Pigtails: A villainous example in Harley Quinn.
  • 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 Glitch in the Matrix: A Lotus Eater Machine got outed by a newspaper written in gibberish.
  • 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 Joke: 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
  • Great Detective: Batman
  • Grudging Thank You
  • Hanging Judge: The Joker takes on this role in "Trial".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Heroic BSOD: Batman gets a brief one in I Am the Night after he blames himself for Commissioner Gordon getting shot.
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Homely: 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.
  • Homage:

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.
    • The Castleof Cagliostro is given an homage with a battle in a clock tower that has many similar shots.
  • Homemade Sweater From Hell: The Joker wears a rather subdued example for his "Christmas special."
  • 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.)
Batman: Loses a head. I don't know what's worse, the traps or the puns.

  • The Hyena: The Joker, as brilliantly played by Mark Hamill.
  • I Am Not Spock: 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • I'm Your Worst Nightmare
  • 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:
    • 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 appearence in Batman Returns, he ultimately ends up looking like his voice actor, Paul Williams.
  • 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).
  • Insult Friendly Fire
  • 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 "Would you, won't you, would 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... 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.

  • 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 special mention goes to 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 despite the fact he's already got such a cushy lifestyle and a more than sizable inheritance. Why? Because he was bored.

Batman: "Scoundrels like these are worse than the Joker. At least HE had madness as an excuse."



  • Kangaroo Court: In "The 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 Enigma: 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.
  • 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.
  • Legal Jailbait: Played for tragedy in Baby-Doll's story.
  • 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.
  • 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?"
  • 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.
  • 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. In "The Man Who Killed Batman" a guy was punched across the room and had 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.
  • Mad Love: Trope Namers, Harley and the Joker; briefly, Baby Doll and Killer Croc...
  • 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. What makes it interesting is that both in the comics and the later Justice League Unlimited, set in the same contiuity, Zatanna is the poster girl for this trope. But her appearance in BTAS clearly has her as just a very talented (in more ways than one) stage magician.
  • Magic Skirt:
    • Barbara Gordon in the New Batman Adventures revamp.
    • Harley Quinn gets one at the beginning of the episode "Mad Love".
  • McNinja: Red Claw, and Batman himself.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Mickey Mousing: Happens a lot during action or otherwise non-dialogue scenes.
  • Mind Control: See Brainwashed.
  • Mind Control Device: The Mad Hatter uses various devices to control the minds of his victims.
  • Minion Shipping: "Harley and Ivy".
  • 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.
  • Mooks
  • Monster Clown: The Joker.
  • Moral Myopia: In Mad Love when Harley is reading a newspaper with the front page article titled "Joker Still At Large. Body Count Rises" she is more concerned for the Joker than for the victims.
  • Most Common Card Game
  • The Movie: There were several DTV films, but general consensus agrees that the theatrical film "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" is the best. "Batman and Mister Freeze Sub Zero" is seen as what Batman and 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.
  • Multicolored Hair: Two-Face.
  • Multilayer Facade: 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 human deaths, which is what happened to Karl's wife and daughter. He regretted ever creating HARDAC in the first place.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In "Nothing to Fear", the Scarcrow's fear gas comes out of the air vents in the same manner as Joker's sleep gas in Tim Burton's Batman film.
    • In "Legends of the Dark Knight", one of the kids thought Batman was a giant bat monster. Which in Post-Zero Hour continuity, many people believed Batman to be some kind of metahuman.
    • In multiple episodes, the Joker's alias from before his transformation is given as "Jack Napier," which was his real name in the Tim Burton movie.
  • 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
  • Ninja: Kyodai Ken.
  • 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: Guess who?
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Before her redesign Baby Doll looked suspiciously like a Tiny Toon Adventures character (doubtless a Shout-Out by Paul Dini). Her redesign brings her more in line with other Bruce Timm characters.
  • 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.
  • 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 noy 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.
  • Not My Driver
  • The Not-Secret: It is never made explicitly clear, but when Barbara tries to confess to her father that she is Batgirl his dialogue heavily implies that he already knows.
  • Not So Stoic: The writers will occasionally allow Batman's grim facade to break, with great effect. Notable examples:
    • "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. (And it is a nice twist that it is Harley, not the Joker, who manages to wring a laugh out of Batman.)
    • "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.
      • Another moment in that episode has Batman doggedly pursuing Zucco after the Grayson's deaths, almost to the exclusion of anything else. Dialogue makes it obvious that he's working out his own frustration and rage over his own parent's murder and projecting his revenge onto Zucco.
    • 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.
    • Mr. Freeze gets several of these moments as well, since part of his MO is that he is supposedly frozen to emotion. The end of "Heart of Ice" is the most notable of these. With his helmet shattered by Batman he is helpless as a kitten and sadly claws at Boyle while crying out for vengeance with the little breath he has. Once in Arkham he admits he failed to avenge his wife, begs her for forgiveness and prays that she can somehow hear him in a place where a warm hand waits for his. While crying.
  • 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 considering that multiple companies were used, but most evident whenever Sunrise or AKOM animated an episode. This was the trope that got both studios fired from the series.
  • 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.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with the presence of Harvey Dent and Harvey Bullock. Also on a meta-level with Bruce Wayne and Bruce Timm.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: There are some eps that has Joker showcasing this trope. "Mad Love" especially when even Harley is not exempt from this.
  • Oral Fixation 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.


  • Pac-Man Fever: The Riddler's "wildly popular" video game creation has graphics and gameplay at Intellivision levels around the time the Super NES 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.
  • Panty Shot:
    • The DCAU-only villainess Baby Doll herself shows this in the Episode "Baby Doll".
    • Supergirl gives one as well during the episode she and Batgirl team up.
  • 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...
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Kyodai Ken.
  • 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.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: A SWAT cop does this with a tear gas grenade in "On Leather Wings".
  • Plot Parallel
  • Power Born of Madness: Harvey Dent appears to have this; in the episodes in which he finally snaps, when he transitions to "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. He does something very similar in the very next episode as Two-Face with yet another thug. Considering this interpretation of Two-Face seems mostly based on being consumed by rage, maybe it is more "Power Born of Being Really Mad."
  • 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 can be seen reading Tiny Toon Adventures comic books.
  • 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.
  • 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"). Given his personality, it may also be a Shout-Out to Temple Grandin, a famous autistic.
  • Put the Laughter In Slaughter: With Joker, when he is torturing, maiming, or driving someone insane. Also the Penguin's goons after the Batmobile explodes in "The Mechanic": "B-b-b-b-bat's all, folks!"
  • Rare Guns: Thompsons and M3 "Grease gun" SMGs seem to be the order of the day.
  • 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 component 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 Sky, Take Warning: The third and fourth seasons used red skies for the night scenes.
  • 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.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Ra's Al Ghul experiences intense rage after resurrection.
  • Ret Canon:
    • Prior to the Animated Series, 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 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.
    • The 2009 Batgirl 2009 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Reverse Mole: Nightwing to Catwoman in "You Scratch My Back".
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Most criminals use semi-automatic pistols, but whenever Commissioner Gordon and Detective Harvey Bullock draw their weapons they are are traditional revolvers.
  • 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 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 ben flirting with the whole episode, has her skin burned off by an explosion to reveal her electronic circuits.
  • 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
  • Rogues Gallery Showcase: "Almost Got 'Im," "Trial"
  • Rope Bridge: "Two-Face" (during the nightmare in part 2).
  • Rooftop Confrontation
  • 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

  • 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."
  • Schizo-Tech: The Weapon of Choice for the criminal 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: You cannot bribe Batman of anything, even if he was not already crazy rich. 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.
  • 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 had 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 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."
  • Sexy Jester: Harley Quinn
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Clayface.
  • 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 born with a rare medical condition, confining her into an appearance of a toddler despite her actually being in her thirties. Like most other examples of this trope, she also bears the other hallmarks of a Shirley Temple expy, having appeared in namby-pamby roles as well which she resented as it forever typecast 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 Aventures 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:
    • In "Off Balance", Batman asks Talia whose side she is on. "That would be telling" she replies. Almost every episode of The Prisoner started with that dialogue.
    • 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 "Nothing to Fear" the security guard in the beginning is reading a comic book called Tiny Toon Adventures. In a later episode, Bruce is discussing a ongoing case with Barbara Gordon. When he asks, "What are you doing tonight?" she replies, "The same thing we do every night, Pinky." He does not get the reference.
    • 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 the episode "Mad Love," the Joker gives a one-liner of "May the floss be with you!" as he tosses a grenade at Batman while exiting a dentist's office. Standard Joker pun, right? But, the voice actor also played Luke Skywalker.
    • In "You Scratch My Back," a list of ships includes Andrea Doria, SS Minnow, HMS Bounty, and Poseidon.
    • Two-Face's suit is a rather obvious reference to the famous "Scarface" poster.
    • In the episode "The Laughing Fish" Joker pulls a wrench out of a box with the words "|Binford Tools" written on it.
    • Annie, a homeless girl in the episode "Growing Pains", looks very similar to Natalie Portman's character Mathilda from the movie "Léon: The Professional."
    • In the Creeper's debut, not only does he look similar to and act just like Freakazoid!, but he talks to a woman through her window and when she screams and runs...
    • Anyone who has seen Castle in The Sky will immediately recognize similarities between the film's memorable robots and the one in the opener of "Deep Freeze." And Mark Hamill gets to play the main antagonist in Disney's dub—marvelously, too. (Incidentally, there are several places where his Joker voice sneaks into his portrayal of Muska.)
    • Cybertron Industries.
    • Poison Ivy's license plate in "Harley & Ivy" is "Rosebud."
    • Karl Rossum, the owner of Cybertron Industries and one of the pioneers in A.I. research and robotics, is named for Capek's play RUR (for Rossum's Universal Robots), the origin of the term "robot."
    • 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.
    • The second episode of "Robin's Reckoning" has a shout out to Akira when Dick strikes a similar pose to Kaneda on his bike
    • The "Baby Doll" episode features a pair of mooks who were obviously Skipper and Gilligan expies.
    • In "Over The Edge", when Gordon is hanging off the roof, the shots are mimicking Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.
    • The poster for the magician The Great Prosciutto in "Be a Clown" is a cartoonified portrait of Alan Moore.
  • Skyward Scream: More like a "At the ceiling of the Batcave scream," in I Am the Night, but it still works.
  • Sleight of Tongue
  • Socialite: Many, either dating Bruce or in the background at upper class events and parties.
  • 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.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • "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.
  • Something They Would Never Say: "Cousin Frederick" knows that Alfred hates being called 'Alfie' almost as much as Frederick hates being called 'Freddie.'
  • 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.
  • Spot of Tea: Alfred, as the most British of gentlemen, frequently offers an actual 'spot of tea.'
  • Stage Magician: Zatanna guest stars in the episode "Zatanna," where it is reveled 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 character, and her later appearances in Justice League Unlimited, Zatanna does not seem to have any actual mystical abilities, instead she performs traditional sleight-of-hand as part of her act.
  • 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.
  • Stealth Pun: Batman saying "Later" s he leaves some alligators behind.
  • 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.
  • The Stoic: The persona that Batman cultivates for himself (although, see Not So Stoic, above).
  • 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 is the only active supervillain and Rupert Thorne and Arnold Stromwell, traditional gangsters, run the city. Over the course of the series Thorne and Stromwell have their operations systematically taken apart as new, colorful villains appear in the scene. It comes to a head in "Shadow of the Bat," where Thorne himself is arrested after another of his criminal operations is busted and it is 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.
  • Strawman Political: Lock-Up. He even disparages the "liberal media."
  • Superhero
  • 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!"
  • Taken for Granite
  • Take That: In addition to its Shout Outs to the Silver Age comics and Frank Miller's 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.
  • Team Rocket Wins
  • 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.
  • 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 a bit of an Art Shift, The New Batman Adventures takes place about roughly three years after the prior seasons of the series.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Transformation Trauma: Clayface again, as well as a few other villains. This is what makes Two-Face.
  • Trick and Follow Ploy
  • 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: "P.O.V."
  • Two-Faced: Take a wild guess.
  • Two-Headed Coin: Likewise.


  • Underwear of Power: The Condiment King wears an actual pair of underwear as part of his Cheap Costume.
  • 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.
  • Upper Class Twit: Big Bad Harv actually calls Bruce Wayne a 'twit' when Bruce tries to calm him down.
  • The Vamp
  • 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.
  • Vignette Episode: "Holiday Knights," "Almost Got 'Im"
  • The Villain Must Be Punished: This happens a few times. Usually Batman is all about saving criminals and rehabilitating them after the beatdown, which makes it serious when he goes for the beatdown.
    • "The Man Who Killed Batman". Batman fakes his death and makes it seem that a low-time crook named Sid the Squid offed him, figuring that an apologetic, horrified Sid would lead him to Rupert Thorne since the man offers protection to those who join his mob. When Thorne is about to kill Squid believing he must be a criminal mastermind for killing Batman and surviving a murder attempt from the Joker, Batman takes his time beating up the guy, saying this is for multiple crimes. He thanks Sid for helping bust the operation, revealing that he broke Sid out of the Joker's acid vat that nearly killed him. Sid still has to go to jail for his criminal activities, but he's happy to be alive and has a reputation as the guy who almost killed Batman and "outsmarted the Joker" which earns him the respect he sought all episode.
    • Unlike in the comics where Batman and Robin arrested Tony Zucco after the latter murdered the Graysons in cold blood, Zucco gets away when Dick is a boy, owing to Dick being stupid enough to hunt down the man alone at night, in the city slums, and Batman having to save his ward when Zucco tosses him off a bridge. A decade later, Batman gets a lead on Zucco and says he will bring in the man alone, saying that it's personal. When Robin finds out who Batman is hunting, he is furious and demands to come along and confront Zucco. Robin's arrival ends up timely as Zucco managed to sprain Batman's leg and corner him, and he scares the tar out of his parents' murderer. He ends up not killing Zucco but admits that it was tempting in the heat of the moment. Batman says that's not why he wanted to arrest Zucco solo; it's that he was terrified when he saw Zucco about to murder a young Dick, and the memory still haunts him. He can't bear anyone wanting to hurt his only child.
  • 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".
  • 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 grande battle with Batman, Joker begins to actualy scream for Batman's help to come and save 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.
  • Visual Gag:

Pamela Eisley: 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-

  • Vocal Evolution:
    • Kevin Conroy initially had a growl in both his Batman and Bruce Wayne voices that were so deep that it was almost hard to tell one from the other.
    • Mark Hamill, in his debut episode as the Joker in "Joker's Favor", had a much more noticeable lisp.
  • 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 up for Chinese?"
  • 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, the pushover Doctors, and corrupt Bureaucrats. 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 coincern for the environment and the world..
  • "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 pure Nightmare Fuel.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • White Dwarf Starlet: Mary "Baby" Dahl. In more ways than one.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Tyger, Tyger," to The Island of Doctor Moreau. Notable for including, to much delight, Selina Kyle as a literal Catwoman [dead link].
  • Why Did It Have to Be ___?: Scarecrow is the master of using this trope.
  • Wild Card: Catwoman actually fought at Batman's side a little more often than she fought against him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Batman is smart enough to not recognize genders in a fight. This is especially true if his identity is at stake. In "Almost Got 'Im" during Poison Ivy's tale, Batman punches Ivy off when she tried to take his mask off.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: The Joker, oddly enough, in "The Man Who Killed Batman", says: "[Sidney]...the weaselly little gunsel sitting there in our midst. The cowardly insignificant gonif who probably got lucky when Batman slipped on the slime trail this loser left behind him."
  • 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 I.
  • 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 1930s, even though the producers admitted that they never really existed at all, not even in the 1930s. An armoured example appears in "Showdown." In 1883.