DC Animated Universe

"Joker's Favor" is the seventh episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on September 11, 1992. When an ordinary man inadvertently crosses paths with the Joker, he is plunged into a nightmare. This episode marks the first appearance of Harley Quinn in any medium.


Charlie cussing the Joker

Charlie Collins realizes, to his dismay, he's just cussed out the Joker.

Charlie Collins, an unremarkable Gotham citizen, inadvertently curses out the Joker when the latter's getaway car cuts him off on the highway after a particularly bad day. The Joker runs him off the road and corners him. Desperate to save his life, Charlie mentions he has a wife and son and promises to do anything the Joker asks of him. The Joker accepts and takes Charlie's license; to Charlie's surprise, Joker says he has no idea what the favor will be and leaves with a promise to keep in touch.

Two years later, the Joker learns that Commissioner Gordon is to be given an award and decides to call in the favor. To Charlie's horror, the Joker has effortlessly kept tabs on him, even though Charlie has changed his name and moved to a different city. When the maniacal clown calls him and drops a thinly veiled threat on his family. Charlie finds he has no choice but to travel to Gotham.

Upon arriving, a bemused Charlie learns he is to hold a door open for the Joker's right-hand woman Harley Quinn while she wheels a cake into Gordon's testimonial dinner at the elite Peregrinators Club. Regardless, the Joker promises to send Charlie home immediately after.

Make-shift Bat-signal

Bruce Wayne discovers the makeshift Bat-signal inside the club.

Not knowing the Joker's aim, but desperate to avoid it, Charlie fashions a crude Bat-signal, which is seen by dinner attendee (and early absentee) Bruce Wayne. Just then, Charlie is called to perform his favor. Charlie dutifully opens the door for Harley, only to find his hand glued to the handle. Harley slips Charlie a gas mask and dons one herself before gimmicked candelabras in the room spraying a gas that paralyzes everybody else. As the guests watch, immobile and helpless, the Joker enters grandly and "congratulates" Gordon by pinning a bomb to his lapel. The Joker and Harley then leave, explaining to a horrified Charlie that they never promised to send him home alive.

Seconds before the bomb goes off, Batman arrives on the scene. Acting on Charlie's warning, Batman grabs the bomb and launches it outside with his grapple gun. Hearing an explosion from outside rather than inside, the Joker realizes something is amiss; moments later, he sees the bomb has blown up their getaway van.

Inside the Peregrinators Club, Batman frees Charlie from the glue, while Charlie explains that the Joker called him his "hobby", keeping watch on him for two years and threatening his family.

Charlie threatens the Joker

Charlie Collins threatens to kill the Joker to save his family.

Batman pursues the Joker through the club, dealing in turn with Harley and two thugs. The Joker himself manages to escape the club, only to find Charlie waiting for him in an alley. The Joker laughs this off but is surprised when Charlie punches him into some garbage. In a rage, the Joker repeats his threat to Charlie's family. But, driven to mad desperation, Charlie holds up another one of the Joker's bombs, vowing to protect his family with a murder-suicide that will rob Joker of the only dream he has—defeating Batman in a huge spectacle or dying in the effort—and ensure he'll only be remembered as the victim of "a miserable little nobody". Panicking, the Joker tries to talk Charlie down while simultaneously screaming for Batman's help. Batman arrives and tries to reason with Charlie, but Charlie insists only his way can keep his family safe. Finally breaking, the Joker surrenders all the information he has gathered on the Collins family, only for Charlie to toss the bomb at him anyway. The Joker screams and hides behind Batman, but the bomb is revealed to be a harmless confetti firework.

As an amused Batman takes a disgruntled Joker into custody, Charlie heads for home, free at last and looking forward to his "ordinary" life more than he ever has before.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • Charlie Collins is visually based on Alan Burnett. "I got a big kick out of it. After seeing it, I told the other producers boy, do I have to lose some weight!"[1]
  • According to Paul Dini, he created Harley Quinn because "specifically, in one episode, the Joker had a plot where he needed a girl accomplice. He just had to have a pretty girl bring a cake into the room like a showgirl, and then leave. And we thought, well, in the TV Shows, the villain usually had a moll with him. Why don't we make this character into something more?"[2]

Production inconsistencies[]

  • When Joker reads Charlie Collins' driver's license, he includes the middle name Michael; however, the name on the license is simply "Charles Collins".
  • Springdale, Ohio is an actual city (though it does not have a Marigold Lane), but the area code is 513, not 614 as listed on Joker's note.



Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman/Bruce Wayne
Bob Hastings Commissioner Gordon
Robert Costanzo Harvey Bullock
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Alfred
Mark Hamill The Joker
Arleen Sorkin Harley Quinn
Ed Begley, Jr. Charlie Collins

Uncredited appearances[]


Charlie: Boss turns me down for a raise, my kid needs braces, and Bonnie's cooking meat loaf for dinner...at what point did I become life's punching bag?

Joker: Now, look, my rude friend, we can't have people cursing at each on the freeway. It's simply not polite! (jumps and grabs Charlie) I'm just going to have to teach you some manners.

Gordon: If anyone should be getting a testimonial, it's you.
Batman: I'm just the night shift. You deal with this mess twenty-four hours a day.

Joker: Jumping Jiminy Christmas! Charlie Collins. It's been forever. How are you man? You look great! Lost a little weight. Lost a little hair, too.

Bruce Wayne: Congratulations, Jim. I'm sorry I'm unable to stay for dinner.
Gordon: Ah, the life of a busy socialite. (leans in and whispers) Any way I could sneak out with you?

Harley: Here's to Gotham's Commissioner G., you lock up the weirdos, the crooks, and the geeks. You're a hero to all the boys in blue, but this time, baby, the joke's on you.

Charlie: Wait! You promised to send me home!
Joker: I never said "alive"...
Charlie: You dirty, evil...(angrily tries to punch the Joker, without success)
Joker: Sayonara, sucker. (laughs and walks away, while Charlie looks in horror at Gordon wearing a bomb)

Joker: Guess I'll have to find a new hobby now that old Charlie's... Pfft!
Harley: Macrame's nice.
Joker: That came from outside! Rocco, Henshaw! I smell a bat! Quick! To the van!

(Harley tries to run away, but Batman intercepts her)
Harley: I know... you're thinking, what a shame! (looks aside and sees a pair of daggers in a weapon rack) A pure and sweet thing like her, led straigth by bad companion...(runs and grabs a dagger, but Batman easily subdues her)
Batman: (forcing her to drop the dagger) Right. Tell me another.
(Batman handcuffs Harley to an old cannon)
Harley: My... beauty school's starting to look pretty good about now!

Joker makes it into an alley, where he finds the infuriated Charlie
Charlie: Hold it!
Joker: Aw, c'mon! Hmmm, hmm, hmmm! (pats Charlie's head with false affection and tries to run, but Charlie grabs his arm and turns him over)
Charlie: I said, HOLD IT!
(Charlie punches the Joker in the stomach, and he crashes against dumpsters)
Joker: You miserable little nobody! If I get caught, your wife and son are history!
Charlie: You're not getting caught, not this time! (shows him the bomb) I found this blown out of the van. This is how it ends, Joker! No big schemes! No grand fight to the finish with the Dark Knight! Tomorrow, all the papers will say is that the great Joker was found blown to bits in an alley alongside a miserable little nobody! Kind of funny. Ironic, really. See, I can destroy a man's dreams too, and that's really the only dream you've got, isn't it?
Joker: Look...Charlie! You've had a busy day. All this running around, all this excitement with...(cups a hand to his mouth and yells) BATMAN! Stop! You're...you're crazy!
Charlie: I had a good teacher. (laughs madly) Say goodnight, Gracie!
Joker: No! Batman! BATMAN!!! (suddenly smiles in relief on seeing Batman waiting at the other end of the alley) How long you've been there?
Batman: Long enough. Put it down, Charlie.
Charlie: You know he'll just escape again! This is the only way to keep my family safe!

Charlie: (smiling smugly after the confetti bomb explodes harmlessly) GOTCHA!
(Batman laughs in genuine amusement, while the Joker is not pleased at all)
Joker: (clearly dismayed) Ooh! Very funny! A million laughs...
Batman: (taking the Joker away) Go home, Mr. Collins.
Charlie: Home. I never thought that could sound so good. (walks and kicks a piece of the detonated confetti bomb) I wonder what Bonnie's making for dinner. Right now, anything would taste great. Even meat loaf.


  1. "Animated Knights" by Pat Jankiewicz - Comics Scene Magazine #29 (October 1992)
  2. "The Joker's Keeper" by Bob Miller - Comics Scene Magazine #31 (February 1993)
  3. Batman Reanimated (Wild Cartoon Kingdom #1, June 1993)
  4. Boyd Kirkland Interview (Apr. 1, 1998)