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Batman 66 Bat-Probe Episode 13: The Thirteenth Hat
Reviewed by Geena Phillips, © 2014

Format: TV
Genre:   Batman!
Review Date:   September 30, 2014

(Is the alignment of the episode number with the title a coincidence? Hmmm…)

Criminy, do I love the Mad Hatter, especially in this incarnation. From the hypno pop-top gag on his top hat, to the unbelievable gravitas with which he delivers his lines (all props to actor David Wayne); there's just nothing I can't adore. And his scheme here is adorably nutty: Find prominent guys in fields that normally wear hats, and kidnap 'em (and taking their hats too, of course; otherwise, what would be the point?).

Also, this is the first time that a criminal on the show with an alter ego has their real name mentioned (with a handle like Jervis Tetch, why wouldn't you? Don't you just love saying it?). "It was a sad day indeed when the word 'parole' was coined," bemoans Commissioner Gordon; because lifelong imprisonment for all criminal offenses is a totally workable idea, and not even a little bit Sheriff Arpaio-esque. (Note: it made me really sad to see that AutoCorrect got Joe Arpaio's name exactly correct; it's almost like the guy is a publicity-whore, instead of an effective and fair law enforcement official).

”Forgive me for interrupting, sir, but [really loud stage whisper] it's the Batphone.” Alfred and Bruce really need to work out some sort of less-conspicuous code word for when Commissioner Gordon calls. Maybe ”Grain futures are short-selling again,” or ”You asked me to remind you when the Three Stooges marathon begins on television, sir.” Just spitball it a while, boys, and see what sounds good to you.*

Editor’s note: Try it yourself! See the contest at the bottom of this story!

”They just called to report they sighted a Black-footed Albatross at Sailors' Slew.” Be careful what you wish for, folks; I asked the show to switch it up on the excuses to get Bruce and Dick out of the house, and the show fucking delivered.

Chief O'Hara:Where will he stop?”

Batman: ”In a court of law, Chief O'Hara; where he's been stopped before.”

Careful, Bats. You're dangerously close to reaching an understanding about our nation's criminal justice system; this could seriously up the burnout factor in a line of work such as yours.

Meanwhile, in the Man Hatter's secret hideout… he tries on a child's toy fireman's hat; capital job, prop department.

Before we get to the next victim, when do we get to the next meal? Gettin' bonnets for these dummies ain't fillin' our stomachs, boss.” In so saying, the Mad Hatter's henchman offers up a tantalizing question about the economics of being a super villain. Will the show take this opportunity to explore the socio-economic circumstances that lead a pasty middle-aged white guy to come into the employ of an obvious lunatic like The Mad Hatter? Eh, probably not.

The Mad Hatter's palpable delight at the thought of using the machinery in his Wonka-esque "hat factory" to murderize Batman in the most gruesome manner possible comes across as downright unseemly (that his girlfriend seems to get a serious rise out of his grisly descriptions of the upcoming Bat-carnage only enhances this impression).

So, the Mad Hatter's "jury" of kidnapping victims is, so far, all-white and all-male. Next time, Jervis, let your lawyer handle the jury selection, 'kay?

And I'm not summarizing the Mad Hatter's scheme here because:
A) it's predictably hat-centric; and
B) it's perfectly potty and doesn't make an OUNCE of sense.
Finally! The Mad Hatter's kidnapping victim this time is a woman, the proprietrix of a high-end hat shop in Gotham City (and, in case you were wondering, YES: the entire scene IS a "say-something hat" day).
The follow-up interrogation by B&R is priceless.

Real dialogue: ”I’m sure the Communists had something to do with this.”
Imaginary Batman thought-balloon: ”THIS is my primary eyewitness' Christ in a sidecar, I hope there's some DNA evidence around here somewhere.”

If "Giant Lighted Lucite Map of Gotham City" isn't the name of a band somewhere . . . well, then, I don't know what the world is coming to.

I don't always give the music on this show sufficient credit. When the Mad Hatter abducts the sculptor (interrupting the sculptor's very important work of haphazardly chiseling away at an already-completed sculpture), the music cue immediately following the hypno-zap contains several notes of "Rock-a-Bye Baby." Genius!

I'm fairly certain that, nowadays, the Mad Hatter's impression of a French guy would land him almost instantly in front of the World Court.

"Remove my cowl?” asks Batman at the mere suggestion, and his tone suggests that of an eight-year-old who's just been told there's no Santa Claus (“Cowl? You mean my head DOESN'T actually look like this?”).

Mad Hatter: "It's working better than I dreamed; Batman's in the dressing room with Boy Wonder!" Whoa, Jervis! Are you trying to steal Batman's cowl, or trying to score some candid webcam photos to use as click-bait?

Dude: You're paying your henchmen to take a serious(ly dangerously-choreographed) beating from Batman and Robin; you're not paying them to laugh at your stupid jokes (that sort of thing takes Joker money, which you ain't got). You've got Batman entombed in a slathering of wet plaster; it's time to take your ball and go home.

#samebattimesamebatchannel

Contest! Send funny suggestions for a better way for Alfred to tell Bruce it's the Batphone. Send them to @RevolutionSF with hashtag #itstheBatphonesir. Or send email to geenacanblowme@gmail.com!

Our favorite one will win a Bat-related Box of Likable Or Remarkable Things! (Also known as BLORT.)


Check out the archive of all the Bat-Probes: Batman 66: All The Bat-Episodes.

 
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