DC Animated Universe

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"Baby-Doll" is the fourth episode of the third season of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on October 1, 1994.


Brian Daly is stunned

A little blonde girl puts her foot on the face of Brian Daly, who shortly after was knocked out by one of her thugs.

Brian Daly, one of the stars of the play "Death of a Salesman," exits a theater with two co-stars after a performance, only to hear a girl sobbing. Curious, Daly follows the sound and finds a little blonde girl leaning against the wall and crying. He kneels beside her and asks if she's lost. The girl, shielding her face with her hands, claims that her big brother has left her by herself. Daly offers her a handkerchief. The girl takes it and thanks Daly, finally revealing her face. A shocked expression crosses his face, but before he can react, he's knocked out cold by a silhouette from behind. The girl tiptoes around him, apologizing for "playing rough."

The next day, Batman & Robin are browsing through photos of missing actors from a 20-year-old sitcom called "Love that Baby," which Robin remembers from when he was a kid, but admits he never liked the show. Daly's the latest actor from the show to disappear. The blonde girl, as it turns out, is Mary Louise Dahl, the show's titular "Baby-Doll." According to Batman, Dahl suffers from severe systemic hypoplasia, an extremely rare medical condition that prevented her body from physically aging (in her case, she stopped growing past the age of 5). Though she would be 30 years old now, she still has the looks and body of a small child.

They are interrupted by a radio call from Detective Bullock, requesting immediate backup in stopping an attack at the same theatre where Brian Daly disappeared from. Batman & Robin arrive but are unable to stop the attackers from kidnapping another old costar from the show: Tammy Vance, who's also appearing in "Death of a Salesman." They try to give chase in the Batmobile but Baby throws herself in front of the car, forcing Batman to avoid her. The Batmobile crashes, and the attackers manage to escape.

Robin holds a crying Baby-Doll in his arms while the girl keeps asking for "her mommy." A red-haired woman emerges from the crowd and takes the little girl into her arms and starts scolding her. Baby replies with her trademark line from the TV show, "I didn't mean to," and Batman and Robin realize who she is. Baby-Doll throws a kickball-smoke bomb and disappears in the smoke along with her "mommy."

Baby-Doll quit

The archives on the cancellation of Love that Baby after the hassle of Baby-Doll against Spunky Spencer.

The Dynamic Duo go to Summer Gleeson and ask her why Dahl would hate her former costars enough to kidnap them. Summer tells them it's the exact opposite: They should hate her as she got them laid off when she left the show. She gives them tapes about the show so Batman & Robin can review its history of it, including its end. Back at her hideout, Baby-Doll is setting up a birthday cake stating her last birthday with her former costars didn't go so well. Tod roars in disgust "You mean you had us brought here just so you could throw yourself a surprise party?! That's it! I always knew you were a selfish little brat! Always throwing your temper tantrums and making life miserable for the rest of us! Well, this time you've gone too far! Expect a call from my lawyer!” Tod then tries to leave but the red-haired woman knocks him back. Baby-Doll scolds her "father" for losing his cool. Tod reminds her she's not his daughter and they're not a family adding "We're actors, remember?! You canceled our show because you whined you weren't getting enough attention!" Baby-Doll adds she realized she made a mistake. In her real voice, she explains she's had it hard out there and that's why she's bringing the show back. Back at the Batcave, Batman & Robin have been watching the tapes and reading old newspaper clippings about the show. During their research, Robin claims that the show is worse than what any of the supervillains they've fought have ever done to them. But on a more serious note, Robin tells Batman that it turns out that during the show's last season, ratings started to go down, and in an attempt to boost them, the show's executives added a new character called "Cousin Spunky" who quickly replaced Baby as the favorite character on the show. He became so popular in fact that even people who hated the show such as Robin liked Spunky. Feeling that Spunky was stealing her spotlight, Dahl angrily quit the show, forcing its cancellation and putting her costars out of their jobs, and attempted to launch a career as a serious actress. The attempt failed due to her performances receiving a "P.U." from the critics and she hasn't been heard from since. The actor who played Spunky is the only cast member who hasn't been kidnapped, and Batman and Robin form a plan to trap Baby-Doll and rescue her former costars.

Spunky, now in his twenties, is playing guitar in his garage, when he's kidnapped by Dahl and Mariam, under the ruse of a passing mother and baby disturbed by the loud music. He is taken to her hideout, which has been decorated into a mock-up of the show's set. As the actors protest –- pointing out that, after all, it was technically Mary's fault the show got canceled in the first place -– she angrily retorts that her life after the show was a failure, so she's "going back" to the way things were before.

She plans to re-enact a birthday party episode, only with dynamite planted in the cake. She also doesn't step away from the rigged cake, indicating that she intends to commit suicide and kill her former costars in the process. At the last second, "Spunky" grabs the dynamite in his mouth and flings it away, saving the others and revealing himself to be Robin in disguise.

Enraged, Baby-Doll points her rag doll, Mr. Happy-Head (a disguised machine gun), at "Spunky," when Batman makes his entrance, disarming both Baby and her guards. Batman and Robin explained that they managed to get the real Spunky to safety after explaining to him what was going on, and disguised Robin as him while also planting a tracking device on him so they could find where Dahl and the costars were being hidden. But then Baby's "mommy," who is revealed to be Baby's henchwoman named Mariam, attacks Batman and Robin with her impressive martial arts skills, giving Baby the chance to run away. The duo is quick to dispose of the woman and Batman continues to pursue Dahl while Robin frees the actors and guides them to safety.

Baby-Doll breaks down

Baby-Doll decides to go to Batman and he places an understanding hand on her head at her words: "I didn't mean to."

The pursuit takes the pair into the Funland amusement park, where Dahl ends up in the House of Mirrors. As she lies in wait for Batman, Dahl sees her reflection in the various trick mirrors. One of them elongates her reflection to make her appear like what she might have looked like as an adult if not for her medical condition. But this, she realizes in her true voice, is just as much of an illusion as the recreation she was trying to make. Breaking down, she begins shooting mirrors at random, aiming to shoot Batman, before finally turning to the reflection of her real adult self. With tears streaming down her face, she shoots it and continues to pull the trigger even after she's exhausted all of her ammunition. Batman appears and gently takes the doll from her unresisting hands. She cries as she clutches tightly at Batman's leg, and he places an understanding hand on her head at her words: "I didn't mean to."

Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • When reviewing the storyboards for this episode, BS&P told the production staff that Baby-Doll can't bash Batman in the face with Mr. Happy Head.[1] Despite being directly referenced, the hits in pages c124-125 (see below) made it into the final episode.
  • Paul Dini has stated that Baby-Doll's creation was somewhat reverse-engineered from "the idea of when you're a villain in Gotham City you also become this kind of weird celebrity."[2]

Production Gallery[]

Production inconsistencies[]

  • The sign above the theater's entrance at the start of the episode clearly reads "Diath" of a Salesman, as opposed to "Death".
  • Another spelling error occurs later in the episode; the sign on the concession booth Batman was standing atop to draw the children away from Dahl reads "POPCONE" (instead of "POPCORN").
  • When Summer sets her Baby-Doll tapes on her desk, they are clearly way out of Robin's reach, yet he somehow manages to reach them as if they were right in front of him.
  • Also, Robin only took one tape. When he and Batman left Summer's office, the rest are still on her desk, yet back at the Batcave, they are present on the counter next to Robin.


  • Baby-Doll's character is partly based on real ex-child actors such as Gary Coleman,[2][3] Shirley Temple,[3] and Emmanuel Lewis.[2]
  • While writing the episode, Paul Dini was under the impression that it may piss off Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett.[4] However, Timm has stated that despite some finding the character weird, he found both Baby-Doll episodes to be "terrific"[5]
  • The voice recording for this episode was conducted at Sound Castle on June 17th, 1994, the day of O.J. Simpson's notorious white Bronco chase. According to Paul Dini, Alison LaPlaca who voiced Baby-Doll in this episode, lived near Simpson's house at the time and had no clue how she was going to get home after the recording.[2]
  • Paul Dini has said that Baby-Doll's speech mannerisms were based off his friend, Lana Clarkson, who would often make a point of adding an extra "s" to the end of sentences while goofing around.[2]
  • The carousel music at the carnival in this episode is the same music used in "Robin's Reckoning, Part II" and "World's Finest".
  • Baby-Doll has recently returned to comics in Batman: White Knight, Lil Gotham, Batman: The Adventures Continue, and Paul Dini's ''Sirens Soiree" in Harley Quinn: 30th Anniversary Special. She was also added to the story of Mad Love in the 2018 novelization by Dini and Pat Cadigan.
  • The backstory of Doll's sitcom—the introduction of a cute kid cousin, "Cousin Spunky", who stole the audience's attention and caused Doll to quit in protest—is a parody of the TV phenomenon known as the "Cousin Oliver Syndrome". There have been several instances where a television show with falling ratings has attempted to boost its popularity by introducing a new "cute kid" character to appeal to younger viewers. The term "Cousin Oliver Syndrome" takes its name from Oliver Tyler, a new character introduced in a later season of The Brady Bunch, after the original "children" had all reached teenage years. Unlike Cousin Spunky, Cousin Oliver was not a success, and so the term has come to refer to all such failed attempts.
    • It is also worth noting that Cousin Oliver was played by Robbie Rist, who plays Brian Daly in this episode.
    • Shane Sweet, who appeared later in the DCAU, played a similar short-lived child character, "Seven" on Married...with Children, with David Faustino.
  • Hypoplasia is a real condition, but it usually affects only parts of the body, such as organs, which are underdeveloped in the mature adult.
  • Baby-Doll's henchmen bear a striking resemblance to Gilligan and the Skipper from Gilligan's Island, a sitcom which aired beside shows similar to the episode's own "Love that Baby."
  • Jason Marsden voices his first role in the DCAU; he would later go on to voice numerous roles on Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, and Justice League.
  • Baby-Doll's failed attempt to launch a serious career was a production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, a play rumored to be cursed.


Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman/Bruce Wayne
Loren Lester Robin/Dick Grayson
Bob Hastings Commissioner Gordon
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Alfred
Robert Costanzo Harvey Bullock
Mari Devon Summer Gleeson
Alison LaPlaca Baby-Doll/Mary Louise Dahl
June Winthrop (uncredited)
Jason Marsden Spunky Spencer
Robbie Rist Brian Daly
Judy Strangis Tammy Vance
Tasia Valenza Mariam
Alan Young Tod Baker


Baby Doll: I didn't mean to.

Batman: (stopping Baby-Doll) Hold it!
Baby-Doll: Naughty Mister Batmans! You play too rough.

Robin: (Watching Baby-Doll's "Love that Baby") Remember that time Poison Ivy nearly smothered us in those vines with the really sharp thorns?
Batman: Yes.
Robin: This is worse.

Robin: Wow, lady... you're good.
Mariam: It's a living.

Baby-Doll: (looking at her adult reflection) That's me in there. The real me. There I am. But it's not really real, is it? Just made-up and pretend, like my family and my life and everything else in it. Why couldn't you just let me make-believe?!


  1. Batman Animated
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Batman: The Animated Podcast Episode 11. Baby-Doll - Paul Dini, Mark Rennie, Kirby Howell-Baptiste
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Dark Knight Returns... Again!!!" by Joe Funk in Hero Special Edition Volume 1, Issue 1 October 1993
  4. "@heartattack4444 'I was just wondering WTF you were thinking when you wrote Baby-Doll.' ME: 'Hey, this'll really piss off Bruce & Alan.'" by @Paul_Dini on Twitter (Feb 27, 2011)
  5. Modern Masters Volume 3: Bruce Timm