"I've Got Batman in My Basement" is the twentieth episode of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on September 30, 1992. A young amateur detective, Sherman Grant, and his best friend Roberta witness The Penguin receiving the stolen Vonalster Fabergé Egg from his thugs. When Batman appears, Penguin hits him with a gas pellet that severely weakens him. Now, it's up Sherman and Roberta to protect him.
It's night in Gotham City and, typically, a crime is being committed. Two thugs swipe a Fabergé egg and attempt to make their escape. Before they can get far, Batman confronts them. However, before Batman can attack the thugs, a giant South American Vulture attacks him. While Batman manages to fight it off, the thugs get away. The only clue left behind is a bunch of birdseed.
Elsewhere, in Gotham's suburbs, two children, Sherman and Roberta, look through a Jr. Detective kit filled with novelty spy items. As they look through it, two older boys, Frank and Nick, show up and start hassling the couple by taking the stuff. Frank takes the binoculars and sees Penguin's vulture, which he believes to be a hawk. Sherman sees it and decides that its presence is a mystery and he and Roberta follow after it.
The vulture flies into an abandoned birdseed factory. The children follow and spy on the thugs from the heist before. Soon the Penguin shows up and demands the egg. Sherman immediately recognizes it as the Vonalster Fabergé Egg, as well as recognizing the Penguin, and decides that they have to alert the authorities. However, Penguin's vulture, Scrap, notices them and tries to attack, but Batman catches it in a net and buries Penguin and his men in birdseed. The two kids try to escape, but accidentally activate a conveyor belt leading to a grinder. Batman manages to save the kids and advances on the Penguin, but is hit with a gas pellet from the umbrella that causes him to weaken. Staggering into the Batmobile, he collapses. Sherman and Roberta, who are nearby, shove him in and get into the vehicle themselves. Desperate to close the car, Sherman starts erratically pushing buttons and eventually manages to get the car shut just before the crooks get there. However, Penguin and his men climb onto the car and try to break in. Frightened, the kids start the car and take the criminals on a wild, hazardous ride. Eventually, the criminals are thrown from the car, and the kids manage to escape.
Back in Sherman's basement, Batman is laid upon a couch and manages to force out the word "cap...sule". The kids don't understand his meaning and Batman tries to further explain but only manages to say "visor". This doesn't help anything either. Roberta decides that it's time to call the police, but Sherman refuses, claiming they must protect the identity of their client.
Later, Frank and Nick show up and discover the Batmobile after knocking over the boxes that hide it. While playing around in it, they discover a package of capsules under the car's visor. Sherman suddenly realizes what Batman meant and takes the capsules, but Scrap arrives and sees the Batmobile. Sherman manages to run inside and is followed by the older boys. Upon discovering Batman, they try to unmask him, but Sherman stops them. Just then, the Penguin and his men arrive and disable the phones, thereby preventing the kids from calling the police. The trio breaks in and begins to search the place. As they do, they run into traps set by the kids using equipment from Batman's utility belt. Unfortunately, the traps only prove to be minor delays.
After being ineffectually assaulted by the kids, Penguin and his men chase them into the basement, where Penguin finds the egg and tries to kill Batman with a blade from his umbrella. However, Batman finally snaps out of his stupor and attacks. He easily manages to beat Penguin's thugs and, after a brief sword fight with the Penguin (in which Batman uses a screwdriver), he manages to capture the criminal mastermind. Just then, Mrs. Grant arrives and is furious to find her house in such a state. However, she forgets about being angry when she sees Batman.
Later, Sherman hangs up two newspaper articles about the Penguin's humiliating capture to send on Arkham and Scrap being taken to the Gotham Zoo. Sherman now has the respect of Nick and Frank, who are now working with him on his own Jr. Detective agency.
Home video releases
- Batman: Out of the Shadows (VHS)
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume One (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: Out of the Shadows (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- When Sherman and Roberta are snooping around in the factory, Sherman accidentally touches a button to activate a conveyor belt. However, the button he touched was clearly marked "Off" rather than "On".
- In Sherman's basement a book is seen with the title "CRIME AND IT'S CASES", which has a spelling mistake.
- When Sherman is punching buttons in the Batmobile, some of the weaponry deployed seems uncharacteristically lethal for Batman, including a bank of missiles.
- When Penguin picks up his umbrella after Raven is defeated, a cell error makes it look as if there are two umbrellas.
- When Sherman is hanging up the newspaper clippings, in the closeup shot, the clippings overlap each other on the wall, but, in the next shot, there is a space in between them.
- Sherman mentions that his basement is nothing like the Batcave, however, there is no reason for anyone in the general public to even know a Batcave exists.
- This episode marks the first appearance of the Penguin.
- The Penguin was deliberately modeled after the appearance of the character in the film Batman Returns, released in the same year as the series premiered: long hair and webbed fingers. The character's appearance for The New Batman Adventures was revamped to more closely resemble a normal person.
- Many fans do not like the episode for its alleged cuteness and poor script. Bruce Timm himself has commented that the script and story are terrible.
- The theme music that plays in this episode's title card is later incorporated throughout the series as the Penguin's own theme.
- The newspaper headline refers to Sherman and Roberta as "Pinkertons", after Pinkerton's Detective Agency, a security firm in the United States named after its founder, Allan Pinkerton.
|Lindsay Crouse||Mrs. Grant|
Roberta: Can't you find any of your own species to play with?!
Sherman: Don't you read the papers?
Penguin: Be-fowled by a couple of fledglings!
Roberta: We just saved Batman's life, Mrs. Grant, and now, we're protecting him from some bad criminals.
Penguin: Ohh, how bourgeois. Tearing this place apart could only improve it!
Penguin: I'll clip your wings, you flying rodent!
Nick: (After Penguin is defeated) We're safe!
“ "The script came in and it was terrible. Normally, I tell the director to do what he can to make it interesting, and nobody could figure out a way to make it interesting. The storyboard artists didn't care, and it shows". ”
— Bruce Timm