Joker's Millions is the seventh episode of The New Batman Adventures. It first aired on February 21, 1998. The Joker is revealed to be having money problems, but all of that soon changes when he inherits a massive fortune from his old rival King Barlowe. The Joker is made a free and wealthy man, however the Clown Prince soon realizes that his fortune is not what he thought it was, as King Barlowe has pulled one last joke from beyond the grave.
The Joker and Harley Quinn flee a botched attempt at a robbery, pursued by Batman and Batgirl. Joker's money problems come up constantly during the battle, as they cannot afford ammo for their gun, acid for Joker's boutonniere, gas for the getaway car, or more than a single ejector seat, which Joker uses to escape, ditching Harley to be caught and returned to Arkham Asylum.
Joker retreats to his low-income apartment and gets a sudden burst of glee when he reads a letter revealing that one of his criminal enemies, Edward "King" Barlowe, has passed away and left a staggering fortune of $250 million to him. The first thing Joker does with his money is assemble a team of shady lawyers and psychological experts who are able to erase Joker's criminal records and have him declared sane. Although Batgirl believes that Joker may give up crime now that he's rich, she agrees to keep an eye on him.
Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon crash a "going legit" party being thrown for the Joker at the Penguin's Iceberg Lounge. To their chagrin, they wind up saving Joker when a disgruntled former bodyguard of Barlowe attempts to kill him. Laughing at the thought that Batman's "family" can't touch him now, Joker continues to enjoy his new wealth: purchasing a luxurious mansion, playing golf while driving around in a golf cart, and cruising through the city in an open-air limousine, scattering money to the people.
At Arkham, Harley is confident that Joker will eventually set her free, only to be outraged when she learns from Poison Ivy that Joker is holding auditions for a new "henchgirl". The Joker soon hires a new hench-girl, whom he dubs "Fake Harley" though he quickly regrets it after discovering she has a very annoying voice and laugh (and also a tendency to pronounce "Mr. J" as "Mr. G").
Problems soon arise for Joker when he learns that he owes the Internal Revenue Service a large inheritance tax -- $137 million. When he opens his vault to gather the necessary cash, he finds that all of his remaining money is counterfeit by seeing that every pack of bills has Barlowe's portrait on them. He also finds a videotape, on which Barlowe leaves a message from his deathbed, explaining that he only gave Joker $10 million, which was only 4 percent of the original inheritance (and had been already spent as of that moment), where the rest of which was a ruse to get Joker into exactly the fix in which he now finds himself: having to choose between going to jail for tax evasion, or else admitting that Barlowe fooled him, thus becoming a laughingstock in Gotham's underworld. As he admits that his hatred for Joker is still strong as ever, Barlowe finishes by cackling that he had the last laugh on his old rival after all. Pulling out his gun, Joker shoots the television in rage before walking off.
Joker laments over the situation he's in now since he knows that if he doesn't pay his taxes, he will go to jail. But if he admits Barlowe duped him, he'll look like a fool. Ernie suggests he pulls off one of his classic routines, like The Laughing Fish, but is angrily pushed back by the Joker as such a thing would ruin his free life and get him sent right back into Arkham by Batman. He decides to return to crime to rebuild his fortune, but commit a normal one without his trademarks or gimmicks so that no one (especially Batman) suspects he is behind it and have his name protected. He plans to steal a load of money from the Gotham Mint as it is transported by boat. So that no one will notice his absence, the Joker instructs Ernie to pose as him in the Iceberg Lounge, but Batman sees through the disguise and interrogates him in the bathroom.
Batman, Batgirl, and Nightwing are able to successfully capture the Joker, Fake Harley and their goons, even though at one point Joker tries to commit suicide as an alternative to losing his money. Batman also sarcastically provided Joker with a free nickel to call his fancy lawyers in light of his bankruptcy. In the police van, Joker is ready to laugh off the whole fiasco, but he finds that the police officer supervising him is actually a disguised Harley, who had escaped from Arkham to get back at him, and she repays his disloyalty by beating him with a nightstick, much to his discomfort.
- Joker's poverty, a result of Batman's success in shutting down his operations, was first referenced in Superman: The Animated Series, "World's Finest", when he comes to Metropolis and offers to kill Superman for Lex Luthor in exchange for a billion dollars. Thanks in large part to Batman's interference, Joker didn't get the job done. Joker's money problems appear to remain unresolved, and how he survived the Lexwing explosion is left unexplained.
- Ernie suggests he pulls another scam similar to the one he did in the Batman: The Animated Series episode, "The Laughing Fish".
- Batman isn't convinced the Joker will give up a life of crime, even with all the money he now has. He had a similar concern with the Riddler in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Riddler's Reform".
- Bruce tests the fake Joker by referring to when he pushed him off a building a month ago. This event also occurred in Part II of "World's Finest", when Joker kidnapped Lois Lane and had Bruce tossed over the edge for laughs.
- Joker's lawyer reappears in "Over the Edge".
- This episode reveals the names of Joker and Harley's pet hyenas, "Bud and Lou." The hyenas are named after the classic comedy duo Bud Abbot and Lou Costello.
- The ejector chair of the Joker's car was later used by the Creeper in "Beware the Creeper" to catch the Joker and Harley.
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Four (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Best of Batman (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- When the Joker blows up the TV set, the resulting explosion is reused footage from the scene of the Superman: The Animated Series episode, "World's Finest, Part III" where one Wayne/Lex T-7 blows up another droid.
- The episode is directly based on the comic book story "Joker's Millions", first published in Detective Comics #180 in February 1952.
- There are also some similarities with the 1985 film Brewster's Millions, including the mocking videotape message delivered to the main character (Richard Pryor) by his elderly benefactor (Hume Cronyn). "Brewster's Millions" was first published as a novel in 1902, and adapted to film in 1914 and 1921 (though the 1985 version remains the most well-known); it thus may have partially inspired the original comics story.
- Joker must be entirely destitute: Small-caliber bullets (like the .22 rounds Joker's handgun uses) were pennies each at the time this episode was made, especially in the United States. Magazines, however, are much more expensive. Joker is seen ejecting one and leaving it at the scene.
- This is Penguin's first appearance in The New Batman Adventures; his appearance, which at first was deliberately modeled after that of the freakish Danny DeVito version of the character in Batman Returns, is remade to be more of the normal, classic version of the character before that movie came out. It is also the first appearance of his Iceberg Lounge and kicks off Penguin's new gimmick in the series, where he wears the public facade of a legitimate businessman.
- Harley's police officer costume resembles the one she wore during her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series, "Joker's Favor".
- The episode contains a musical montage of Joker enjoying his fortune. The music would be reused in a different montage in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Superman's Pal".
- The male candidate for replacement Harley is based on writer Paul Dini, although his voice more closely resembles the Freakazoid! character Fanboy.
- The scene where Joker uses lawyers to buy his freedom is a satire of the O.J. Simpson murder case. One of the Joker's lawyers resembles Johnnie Cochran, one of Simpson's defense attorneys. The lawyer's statement, "If a man's filled with glee, that man must go free!" is a clear parody of Cochran's now-famous catchphrase regarding a glove; "If it does not fit, you must acquit!" This phrase was parodied twice more during the DCAU, in the The New Batman Adventures episode "Over the Edge" and the Justice League episode "In Blackest Night".
- In the comics, being declared insane is the only thing that saves Joker from the death penalty, which his crimes have merited many times over. Similarly, the insanity defense has worked for pretty much every "revolving door" Bat-villain in Arkham Asylum. His frustration with this system led Lyle Bolton to become the vigilante Lock-Up.
|Kevin Conroy||Batman/Bruce Wayne|
|Tara Charendoff||Batgirl/Barbara Gordon|
Software Expo woman (uncredited)
|Loren Lester||Nightwing/Dick Grayson|
Arkham guard (uncredited)
|Mark Hamill||The Joker|
|Arleen Sorkin||Harley Quinn|
|Paul Williams||The Penguin|
|Diane Pershing||Poison Ivy|
|Jeff Bennett||Jack Ryder|
Barlowe's Bodyguard (uncredited)
|Allan Rich||King Barlowe|
|Maggie Wheeler||Fake Harley|
|John Garry||Joker's Lawyer|
Joker: I thought I told you to get gas!
(Joker escapes via the ejector seat)
Joker: (over Bud and Lou's barking) Yeah, yeah, you're hungry, I'm hungry. Do me a favor and eat each other.
Ernie: 137 million?
King Barlowe: Hiya, Joker. If you're playing this tape, you've probably figured out you've been had. Yeah, I left you some cash, but only ten million, which, knowing you, you've already blown. All the other stuff — money, jewels, gold — it's all fake. See, I always hated your guts, and this was the perfect payback. By now you're probably out of real money. The I.R.S. is after you, and you can't admit I fooled you, or you'll be the laughingstock of the underworld. The joke's on you, sucker. I got the last laugh after all!
Joker: If I don't pay my taxes, I'll go to jail, but if I admit Barlowe duped me, I'll look like a fool!
Guard 1: Harley Quinn's escaped!
Ernie: (as Joker) Well, well, Bruce Wayne. Join me. A bottle of your best, my dear, for my guest.
Batgirl: Don't be stupid! You can't save that money!
Batman: You'd better call your fancy lawyers. (tosses Joker a nickel) Here, it's on me.