"Joker's Wild" is the forty-second episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on November 19, 1992.
An argument over the TV erupts in the rec room of Arkham Asylum between Poison Ivy and the Joker. Ivy is watching a gardening show while the Joker wants to watch some comedy. The argument is eventually resolved when a nearby guard, Irving, breaks it up and changes the channel at random, hitting on a news report about the opening of billionaire Cameron Kaiser's latest luxury casino outside Gotham City. The theme of the casino has been a carefully kept secret.
Kaiser snips the ribbon, and to everyone's shock and horror, including the Joker, the new casino is dubbed "Joker's Wild", complete with a laughing effigy of Joker's head on top. Kaiser laughs off the idea that he is honoring Joker, instead saying that he is paying tribute to the symbol's classic roots, not caring if it does resemble "some criminal fruitcake". Outraged, the Joker hurls Ivy's potted plant towards the television, smashing it in the process as he rages about how someone would use his image for their own benefit.
Joker fakes an illness to be taken to the infirmary, and quickly gives Irving the slip, but Irving appears to be letting him go on purpose. He quickly escapes the asylum and grabs a passing truck.
Bruce Wayne, a guest at the opening gala, quickly gives his date the push, and summons Alfred with a Batsuit. Bruce is suspicious of Kaiser's motives, as the casino's resemblance to the Joker is all too obvious. Bruce looks beneath the decor of his room, and finds the Joker wallpaper hastily laid over a medieval theme.
Infiltrating Kaiser's office as Batman, he sees a model of the proposed casino, where the Joker's head has been slipped over a building labeled "Camelot". Then he examines Kaiser's private files and sees massive construction bills for the casino, and a dossier on Joker. He is interrupted by Irving (actually one of Kaiser's security guards), who attacks him. Batman easily gives him the slip.
Joker enters the casino, and seeing all the clown-themed and suit of cards decor, gloats that he is in a place where it is all dedicated to him and feels almost sorry to destroy the casino. Joker is mistaken for a dealer since they are all dressed as him. On a whim, he decides to spend a little time dealing at the blackjack tables. After he wins several rounds in a row, the players leave in disgust. The security camera sees Joker cheating, and a guard recommends action against him, but it is vetoed by Kaiser, who is actually pleased to see the suspicious dealer there. Bruce is on the floor and happens to come across Joker's card table. To test whether it is the actual Joker, he drops some casual comments about the kitschy decor, and to top things off, wins the round with a little sleight of hand much to the Joker's shock. Joker can barely restrain his rage, giving himself away.
Bruce slips out of the casino and is back almost instantly as Batman. But when he grabs the Joker, it is revealed to only be one of the legitimate employees, causing commotion and allowing Joker to run. He disappears into the crowd and grabs a Joker-themed roadster parked in the casino, driving it into a crash and disappearing.
Kaiser watches on the video cameras as Joker rigs the basement of the casino with explosives. He prepares to leave, but Batman appears and confronts him. He's figured out that Kaiser bankrupted himself building his "Camelot" casino, so he altered it to invite the Joker's wrath, and allowing him to collect the insurance money when it's destroyed. Kaiser admits it, then disables Batman with an electric device hidden in his desk. He calls Irving and another thug and tells them to send Batman down to the basement. As soon as he arrives, Joker knocks him out.
Batman comes around strapped to a giant roulette wheel, which Joker has rigged to detonate the explosives. But Batman then explains that Kaiser is playing him for a fool, manipulating him to destroy the casino to collect money in an insurance scam. Joker is outraged and, with a change of plans, he disconnects the explosives and resolves to catch up with Kaiser before he flees the casino. Before leaving, however, he spins the wheel, and tosses a grenade onto it. Batman manages to escape the trap by shooting the grenade away with his grapple gun.
Kaiser rushes to the helipad and boards his personal helicopter, which lifts off, then stops. Joker reveals himself to be piloting the chopper. He frankly congratulates Kaiser for the deviousness of his plot, then announces that he plans to kill Kaiser and run the casino from behind the scenes.
They are interrupted by Batman, flying after the chopper in his Bat-glider. Joker fires his pistol, which damages the glider, but Batman manages to grab the chopper. As he wrestles with Joker, the chopper dives toward the casino, and crashes through the front doors. Joker tries to run, but Batman floors him with a well-aimed kick, sending him crashing into a slot machine, which jackpots and covers him with quarters.
Joker is returned to Arkham, where he watches Summer Gleeson's news report on his own arrest and Kaiser's downfall. He disgustedly changes the channel, but it's now three against one—Ivy, Mad Hatter, and Scarecrow. He nervously changes the channel back, and angrily mutters to himself "Ah, you bunch of no good, whacked-out losers, ya make me sick".
- The notion that 'Jack Napier' was the Joker's real name was previously mentioned in "Dreams in Darkness". However, as Joker's identity is cited as unknown in both The New Batman Adventures episode "Beware the Creeper" and the movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, 'Jack Napier' could just be another of his many aliases.
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Two (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- DC Comics Super-Villains: The Joker's Last Laugh (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- The animation for this episode was cited by Bruce Timm as being so bad that the production team would no longer work with AKOM.
- When Batman aims a flashlight at a particular area on Kaiser's desk, there is nothing. In the next frame, there are two folders.
- When Joker starts his car, which is on display at the casino, he removes a placard which is supposed to say "WIN THE ORIGINAL JOKERMOBILE", but because of the unfamiliarity with English script of the Japanese animators, it says, "WAN THE CIRIN GNAL JOKERNOCILE". This was fixed in the Blu-ray release, where the text was edited to "WIN THE ORIGINAL".
- The dark circles around Joker's eyes disappear several times throughout the episode.
- When Batman is tied to the giant roulette wheel, he takes his grapple out of his belt. However, the compartment that opens is bigger than physically possible.
- Joker changes the rec room TV channel to The David Letterman Show.
- The episode of The David Letterman Show that Joker watches is later watched by the Parasite in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Double Dose".
- Joker's threat ("I'll rip his lungs out") is reminiscent of the line said by Jack Nicholson's Joker in the 1989 film Batman.
- The name Jack Napier is also a reference to the 1989 film, where it is given as the character's real name. Later materials frequently treat it as one of his aliases.
- Joker states "then again, all work and no play..." in the casino, Likely referencing The Shining, where Jack Nicholson's character repeats the full phrase hundreds of times while spiraling into madness.
- Kaiser's henchman Irving is voiced by Brion James, who would go on to voice the Parasite in Superman: The Animated Series.
- Joker uses the line of Looney Tunes character Beaky Buzzard, "Oh, no, no, no. Don't want to".
- Joker also whistles the Looney Tunes theme when being escorted into the Rec Room.
- Joker also says "If you try to get close to me, I'll slug ya!" to Poison Ivy, before she attempts to call over one of the guards to escort him away, referring to something Sally Brown said to Linus van Pelt in the Peanuts animated Halloween Special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!"
- As Joker escapes from the medical room, he quips "What a maroon" in a Brooklyn accent- a reference to the Looney Tunes character Bugs Bunny.
- At the end, when Joker changes the rec room TV channel, a Looney Tunes cartoon is showing.
- In Henderson, Nevada (just outside Las Vegas), there actually is a casino called "Joker's Wild," thought it has nothing to do with the Batman villain.
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne/Batman|
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred|
|Mari Devon||Summer Gleeson|
|Harry Hamlin||Cameron Kaiser|
|Ernie Hudson||Security Guard|
|Diane Pershing||Poison Ivy|
|Roger Rose||TV Host|
Joker: How dare that smug, preening fool try to cash in on my image!
Joker: Don't try this at home, kids.
Joker: Jumpin' Jiminy Christmas! It's an homage to me! I'm kind of sorry I have to blow it up.
Joker: Once I spin the wheel, you, the casino, and that strutting fool Kaiser will all be blown sky-high. Not bad, eh?
Joker: Why can't he ever stay dead?!
Joker: That's right, chew him up and spit him out!
Joker: (muttering) Ah, you bunch of no-good, whacked-out losers, ya make me sick.