The Joker Blogs
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Joker: Y'know, there are three kinds of people in this world: The optimistic who find the glass half full, and the pessimistic that see it as half-empty. Then there's the paranoid; they just think someone's drinking out of their glass.
"The Joker Blogs" is a YouTube web series created by a user of the same name. The series is set between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, depicting the time The Joker spends in Arkham Asylum. The videos are framed as taped recording sessions between the Joker and his therapist, Dr. Harleen Quinzel and tapes shown as evidence after the Gotham police capture Joker. Throughout the series is a parade of fan service for Bat-fans everywhere while still connecting thematically and visually with Christopher Nolan's movie series and working incredibly well as a result. Although the earlier episodes still had the actor trying to find his definitive voice and makeup style, the atmosphere very quickly developed into something genuinely eerie. As a whole, the series is a very professional fan project with excellent writing and acting.
After being captured and put into Arkham to determine his sanity, Joker decides he likes being in Arkham, but seems to realize under current management he's more likely to be sent to Blackgate with the large selection of criminals he tried to kill in the movie. So he starts sucking up to Dr. Harleen Quinzel and preparing a plan. For her part, Quinzel tries to get a handle on the Joker's psyche while he makes her and everyone he meets more and more unnerved, beginning with him mentioning how the session tapes will end up on YouTube. After murdering a guard and seemingly starting to 'make progress' with Harleen, he learns that she is getting married and moving away to Metropolis, which will ruin his plan. This starts a chain of events that will engulf many lives, and perhaps all of Gotham, in a whirl of violence and mayhem.
On October 21st, the "mini-series" Further Evidence began; each episode will center on a different character and lay groundwork for the events of 2012. The first episode focuses on Mr J early in the series, revealing exactly when and how he came up with his plan.
- Actor Allusion: The Joker's patient number is 4479. Heath Ledger was born on April 4, 1979.
- Similarly, Scarecrow's patient number is 52576, which is Cillian Murphy 's birthday.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After everything Joker's put Dr. Arkham through, littering still bothers him. Later, he frets that Pearl's going to wear down the car battery by listening to the radio with the engine off and he'll have to pay a hundred dollars to replace it, when they both have much, MUCH bigger things to worry about.
- Aside Glance: He's got an In-Universe camera.
- Beat: In episode 17, there's a half-count one between when Joker says he's going to kill Kopski and when he actually does.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: When Dr. Quinzel presses Joker on making "a friend of his" stop putting up the medical videos on Youtube...he gives her exactly what she requests. The videos keep going up, though.
- Be Yourself: The Joker advocates this in the first episode. Considering who's saying it, though...
- Beard of Evil: For some reason, the Scarecrow shows up with one in his first appearance. The second time we see him, it's gone.
- Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: "You didn't wanna go through with that wedding anyway."
- Breather Episode: Episode 15 could count as this, especially when you compare it to what just happened, and the proceeding two ones.
- Bound and Gagged: Dr. and Mrs. Arkham.
- Break the Cutie: Finally happens to Harley when Joker crashes her wedding and kills her fiancé. She even goes so far as to shoot Batman with Joker's shotgun (which he dropped) and then shoots Joker in the arm, whilst stating that "Payback's a bitch, puddin'" before disappearing.
- Illustrated in the trailer for series two.
- The Cameo: A lot of people thoughtKevin Spacey as Lex Luthor in Episode 19. The commentary for 3 confirmed that it wasn't. At least, not physically.
- Camera Abuse
- Call Back: 'I do love wedding cake,' and 'Is there a method to the madness?'
- Catch Phrase: Far enough into the series that it's all but forgotten, the Joker asks a hostage if she'd like to know how he got his scars.
- "That's a complement," seems to be his new one.
- Chekhov's Gun: What happened to the fork?
- It's on the ground by the chalk outline. See here.
- Episode 8 shows that gun has already gone off.
- Comedic Sociopathy : Subversion. You can watch this series, laugh at the Joker's antics, and then be chillingly horrified at what he's done and the fact you're laughing because of how sympathetic the characters he does things to are.
- Compliment Backfire: When the Joker tells Dr. Quinzel she has beautiful eyes. Not that he would put them out and carry them around on a keychain...
- Continuity Nod: The Scarecrow makes an appearance in the asylum's cafeteria.
- Theodore the bum mentions how his car was destroyed via the Batpod.
- Carmine Falcone is still constantly muttering "Scarecrow" whilst otherwise comatose and Joker apparently has "conversations" with him.
- In episode 17, thanks to Joker's video uploads, even Jack Ryder knows that Hugo Strange and his wife have a water bed.
- Also in episode 17, Batman mentions that he still wonders if he made a mistake in not killing Joker at the end of The Dark Knight. Naturally, Joker encourages him.
- Cosmic Plaything: Theodore the bum. Possibly Played for Laughs, depending on how dark your sense of humor is.
- Couch Gag: The title for each episode appears in a more bizarre way than the last.
- Subverted in Episode 8 when it becomes a Vanity Plate.
- Covert Pervert: Jack Ryder tries at this when filming Pamela Isley, but the Father calls him out on it.
- Danger Takes a Backseat: Not usually, though. Normally he's sitting front-seat, passenger side.
- That is to say, he's riding shotgun. Which is odd, since the shotgun was in the trunk.
- Darker and Edgier: There's a lot more blood and violence onscreen than in The Dark Knight.
- Deadpan Snarker: When he isn't overcome by horror, outrage or mortal peril -- which is often, unfortunately -- Dr. Arkham displays a remarkably deadpan attitude.
- Dull Surprise: Harleen's actress. Your Mileage May Vary.
- Your Mileage May Also Vary, but that might be some Fridge Brilliance. The Joker's main point toward Harleen is that she needs to stop living only for her career and live a little, take exactly what she wants. The actress's Dull Surprise, then, might actually be the mask Harley hides herself behind in order to appear competent enough for her career. The mask breaks when the cutie breaks; you can see her mascara running and the rage in her eyes when she shoots Batman and then Joker.
- The trailer for season two, linked above, implies it may be a subversion. Harley gradually and quietly appears to be losing it.
- Electrified Bathtub: How the Joker kills Guy's brother
- Eye Scream: Part of the Sadistic Choice down below.
- The Faceless: Dr. Quinzel was always behind the camera. Until she asked for help, that is...
- Fan Sequel: Follows up on Joker's capture at the end of The Dark Knight.
- Foe Yay: Much like in the film that inspired it, The Joker makes some stunningly suggestive remarks to Batman. "We belong together. There's a wedding ceremony upstairs, just waiting for us to make it official ..."
- Foreshadowing : When Pamela kicks Jack Ryder out of Harley's dressing room, you can see a poster of a girl in a harlequin sort of outfit on her door.
- Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter
- Good Cop, Bad Cop: Jim Corrigan and Harvey Bullock.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Played with-The Joker uses this shot to kill Garrett Kopski
- Hannibal Lecture
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Believe it or not, Batman. The entire series is full of mentions about him, but he is never seen.Until episode 17 where he attacks The Joker during his wedding crashing and then is shot by Harley.
- Hero Antagonist: Batman, even when he only shows up for 5 minutes in Episode 17.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: The guy playing Thomas Elliot (the future Hush) is the same guy who plays The Joker. Look at the nose.
- I Have Your Wife: How the Joker is able to make Dr. Arkham do his bidding.
- In Medias Res: The second half of the first season starts with a police tape of the Joker after his recapture - the last of eight tapes being kept as evidence. Apart from the Grand Finale, the rest of the season consists of the other seven tapes (taken by the Joker himself), which show what the Joker got up to.
- Improbable Age: Though family connections probably had a lot to do with it, Dr. Arkham looks way too young to be a hospital administrator. Lampshaded in Further Evidence 2, wherein he mentions that his youth makes people question his authority a lot.
- Considering the themes carried over from the comics, this may be Jeremiah Arkham, who is currently still very young for the head of Arkham. Then again, remembering Arkham's reputation, few else may be interested.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Joker manages to shoot McHale right after the "speak now" bit. While Harley and Kopski are standing in front of him.
- Ironic Echo: "A method...to the madness?"
- Irony: In Car Trouble (10) a guard of some sort stops Dr. Arkham on his way off the hospital grounds and asks if there's been any developments on patient 4479's whereabouts. Arkham says no and that "hopefully the worst is behind us." When he says this, Joker is behind him in the back seat, gun to Arkham's neck.
- Actually a Multitasked Conversation. It goes over the guard's head, but not Joker's.
- Kick the Dog: Joker's plan for Ted the Bum all along was to let him live - and part of what he (and Ted) classed as the joke was to make him really appreciate life by turning him into a violent criminal and murderer. Ted's original reason for playing along was that he assumed the Joker would kill him.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Father McHale
- Lampshade Hanging: Invoked as a way to make the comic book setting more believable.
- Large Ham: Father McHale.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Joker constantly addresses the viewer, yet it makes sense as the viewers exist in universe.
- Lethal Chef: Subverted. The Joker doesn't cook anything, but instead leaves a time bomb in front of Mrs. Arkham on a covered dinner tray.
- Love Makes You Crazy: You Should Know This Already (see below)
- Male Gaze: "What're ya doin'? Are ya lookin' at her chest! You shouldn't be lookin' at her chest boy, I can see right through you!"
- Mathematician's Answer: In the Valentine's Day special, Joker is asked why a heart-shaped box of chocolates was on Dr. Arkham's desk. His answer? "Because I put it there."
- Missing Episode: The 'safe sex' incident. Only included in the feature-length digital download of the series.
- Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate
- More Than Mind Control: No seriously, Harley...er, Dr. Quinzel really needs to find Patient #4479.
- Mythology Gag: The series is filled with them, starting with the Joker's therapist turning out to be Dr. Harleen Quinzel.
- Others, such as Dr. Hugo Strange and Lyle Bolton (a.k.a Lock-Up) appear later in the series.
- Technically, Quinzel's presence at Arkham isn't a mythology gag so much as one of the basic premises of the series, and as such the lead actress role.
- In the first episode, the Joker calls Dr. Quinzel "puddin'" and insists that she call him "Mr. J".
- The "Find Patient 4479" short has Quinzel lectured by Dr. Cavendish, who also mentions his colleague Dr. Adams. Both docs were involved in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.
- In episode 7, whilst painting her "portrait", Joker suggests that Harley (at the time a brunette) should try changing her hair to blond (like she is traditionally portrayed), as it suits her (and he was running out of brown paint). And later at her wedding, it seems she has done just that. The original Harley herself made a passing reference that she wasn't a real blonde either.
- During the Joker's escape from Arkham, the Joker hums the musical motif of the Joker from Batman: The Animated Series.
- The two cops interrogating Joker are Harvey Bullock and Jim Corrigan.
- Jack Ryder (AKA The Creeper) and Pamela Isley (AKA Poison Ivy) make an appearance in the Season 2 finale as wedding guests of Harley's.
- Also, among the guests are Quincy Sharp and Dr. Thomas Elliot (AKA Hush), who uses an Aristotle quote that his mother drilled into his head in the mainstream comics.
- Guy Kopski had his bachelor party at The Iceberg Lounge, which in the comics is owned by The Penguin. The night after his bachelor party, Gotham News mentions a piece on The Ventriloquist and Scarface shooting up the place.
- When Harley and Pamela find out Jack Ryder had been filming them the entire time Harley was having the final preparations on her dress made, Pamela calls him "such a creeper!"
- When Joker leaves Lyle in the sewers, he warns him to "watch out for crocs", alluding to Killer Croc, who actually exists in the Nolanverse if you count Gotham Knight. Episode 18 reveals Lyle did indeed run into him, and only survived thanks to Batman.
- When the Joker returns to the car at the beginning of Episode 16, he demands that the nurse start driving or "papa spank," a direct reference to an infamous Golden Age panel.
- At the end of Episode 17, the Joker refers to a line from The Killing Joke while talking to Batman. "You know what the only difference between you and me is? One. Bad. DAY."
- A case of Fridge Brilliance - in The Killing Joke, Joker says that "One Bad Day" is what they have in common, and he's usually insightful enough to guess that's what drives Batman. So perhaps, they are taking the route used by some writers, and brought up at the start of the series, that the Joker really is just an evil SOB with no Freudian Excuse. In other words, "One Bad Day. We dealt with it differently".
- Episode 18 takes the cake, giving enough references to characters of the DC universe--through the news ticker--to drive any DC fan mad from enjoyment.
- Also in Episode 18, Thomas Elliot says he likes to keep his work with the Wayne family "hush, hush".
- Another rather subtle and clever one from episode 18. Hugo Strange makes the comment that he was literally losing his hair whilst working at Arkham. Hugo Strange in the comics is bald.
- And in Episode 19, we finally learn the identity of Arkham's mysterious new owner. From the clues given in Episode 18 (floating green and purple question marks against a silhouette), as well as the April Fool's Day trailer, many fans assumed it may have been The Riddler/Edward Nygma. Turns out, this was a Red Herring employed by the makers of the series. The true identity? Lex Luthor.
- Further Evidence 1 has, among other references (Cadmus, Luthor's presidential campaign), three shout-outs to Batman: Arkham Asylum. Arkham's website is represented by the tie-in site from the game, Quincy Sharp is listed among the employees at Arkham, and Dr Arkham's ringtone is one of the game's 'update' sounds.
- The preview for Further Evidence 3 features an audio recording of the Penguin. The performance has been noted by many commenters to be reminiscent of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was rumored to have been cast as the Penguin in The Dark Knight Rises in 2009.
- Others, such as Dr. Hugo Strange and Lyle Bolton (a.k.a Lock-Up) appear later in the series.
- Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Pamela does this to Harleen, and is amused when it turns out Harleen actually was listening.
'Guy's nervous too, if it makes you feel better...I slept with him last night to calm him down.'
- This doubles as a Mythology Gag, in that currently-in-show botanical biochemistry student Pamela Isley eventually conducts genetic engineering on herself with plant DNA, to render herself immune to nearly all known human poisons.
- Oh Crap: Dr Arkham's expression when he realizes that, after just managing to get away from the Joker, he's literally run right up to him again. Ted even goes 'Oh crap' on his behalf. This is also the Joker's reaction when the lights in the church go out. He knows who's there.
- Ominous Fog: In Further Evidence #3, The Phantasm shows up in one of these, albeit an artificially created one (probably).
- One-Scene Wonder: Whoever's playing Father McHale, he absolutely steals the scene.
- A similar reaction was given when Tommy Elliot made an appearance, although he is played by the same guy who plays The Joker, so it's not so much "one scene" for the actor as it is the character.
- Only a Flesh Wound: The Joker doesn't seem to be affected by getting shot in the arm too much. Then again, he is The Joker.
- Oireland: Father McHale, the Catholic priest with an over-the-top fake Irish brogue.
- McHale's accent may be a tribute to the similar style of Chief Clancy in the 60s series.
- Real Song Theme Tune: FE#3 contains a brief rendition of "Don't Fear the Reaper." The Phantasm shortly thereafter slaughters Alberto Falcone and his henchmen.
- The Reveal: A VERY awesome one: while Joker's rampage across Gotham throughout the series is par for the course with him, in the final episode it's revealed that it also has a hidden purpose: he was hired by Lex Luthor to cause the chaos so Lex could acquire Arkham Asylum and establish a foothold in Gotham.
- Running Gag: Joker saying "That was a compliment," Ted the bum having been in seemingly every profession at some point in the past. Breaking and entering the wrong place.
- And, of course, "Do you know how I got these scars?"
- Sadistic Choice: When the Joker has both Dr. and Mrs. Arkham tied up, he tells Dr. Arkham to put out his own eyes with a fork or his wife will die.
- Subverted: Dr. Arkham is tied up in such a way that he can't reach his eyes.
- Played straight: Arkham, despite protesting that he did everything Joker asked of him, did not pluck out his own eyes. He does get to see Mrs. Arkham again... well, pieces of her, anyway.
- Subverted: Dr. Arkham is tied up in such a way that he can't reach his eyes.
- Should Have Thought of That Before X: Episode 17
- Shown Their Work: Joker's little lesson on the meaning of card suits roughly corresponds to the meaning of the minor arcana in Tarot.
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: The whole SERIES can be defined by this.
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Joker shoots McHale before he can finish the sentence..
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: In #15, Joker turns on the car radio to "Car Wash", changes the station to a news report, then again to Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy", then "Killing me Softly", then elevator music, then "Going to the Chapel."
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Mrs. Arkham
- Stalker with a Crush: Unlike other versions of their relationship, this time it's the Joker stalking Dr. Quinzel. It's unclear if he truly is this trope or if it's another Mind Screw - but knowing the Joker, it's probably the latter.
- It's the Joker. It's both. And neither. And a dozen other things as well.
- Stealth Hi Bye: Batman at the end of episode 17, right after he'd been shot as well! Harley Quinn also disappears at the end, and Joker somehow appears in the middle of a wedding, right in the priest's line of sight, brandishing a shotgun.
- The Stinger: After the credits, we see Batman visiting the Joker in his cell.
- Tap on the Head: Abused in the second season. Lock-Up... ah, Lyle seems more or less fine afterward, while others you never see again after Mistah Jay clocks them, so it's hard to say.
- Title Drop: The Joker does this for every episode of the first series, writing the title of the episode in some form whilst whispering it at the same time.
- Too Dumb to Live: Let's just say Steve won't be making the mistake of letting Joker out of his cell for the night again. Or ANY mistake ever again.
- Joker's "friend" who helped him put the videos on Youtube. Yeah, it was really a good idea to trust a guy like good ol' Mr. J right?
- There Are Three Kinds Of People In The World: It's right up there in the quote. Except that Joker is the fourth of three choices...
- Villain Protagonist: Lampshaded by Mr J himself in episode 17.
"You want to hear something funny? Right now, they are all rooting for me."
The Phantasm: Alberto Falcone, are you ready to pay for the sins of your family? Your Angel of Death awaits...
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Hinted at with Ted the bum. GCN cameraman, priest, medic, and delivery man.
- You Look Familiar: Several of the actors from previous episodes show up as different characters in Episode 17, including a barely recognizable Mr. J doubling as Tommy Elliott. What a difference make-up makes!