The New Batman Adventures: Season 2, Episode 11

Mad Love (16 Jan. 1999)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Animation, Action, Adventure
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Harley Quinn tries to impress her love while the origin of her career as The Joker's sidekick is revealed.



(story), (staff writer) (as Robert Goodman) , 1 more credit »
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Title: Mad Love (16 Jan 1999)

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Episode cast overview:
Batman / Bruce Wayne (voice)
The Joker (voice)
Suzanne Stone ...
Dr. Joan Leland (voice)


Harley Quinn tries to impress her love while the origin of her career as The Joker's sidekick is revealed.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

16 January 1999 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode based on the award-winning single issue graphic comic written by Paul Dini and Bruce W. Timm. See more »


Dr. Harleen Quinzel: [narrating] It soon became clear to me the Joker, so often described as a raving, homicidal madman... was actually a tortured soul crying out for love and acceptance. A lost, injured child trying to make the world laugh at his antics. And there, as always, was the self-righteous Batman. Determined to make life miserable for my angel. Yes, I admit it. As unprofessional as it sounds, I had fallen in love with my patient. Pretty crazy, huh?
The Joker: Not at all. As a dedicated career-oriented you woman, you ...
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Featured in Atop the Fourth Wall: Marville #1 (2012) See more »


Batman The Animated Series
Written by Danny Elfman & Shirley Walker
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User Reviews

My first exposure to Batman TAS is a good one
17 December 2013 | by (Bailey Downs!) – See all my reviews

In terms of cartoons from the 90's, the only two that I really saw more than one episode of was the Spiderman cartoon (which was awful) and X-Men TAS (which is very good within the realms of superhero cartoons). I heard all 'round that Batman TAS was not only better than both these shows, some even rated it as the best superhero show of all time. This sparked my interest but because it had a huge ensemble of villains, I wanted to start on the right foot. I chose an episode that was based off a comic book that won the Eisner award for "Best Story" that also happened to have my favourite Batman character; Harley Quinn. With those things in mind, lets take a look.

First off, I have to say that Harley Quinn actually became my favourite Batman character because of this episode. One thing you don't see in kids shows and not even the majority of adult audience shows is sympathy for the villain. I'm not saying its never happened before but its very rare that a show takes time to show the villain's back story.

The plot revolves around Harley Quinn, she is thrown out of The Joker's hideout after one of his plans failed yet again. One of them that is seen rather randomly at first involves hanging Batman over a vent of Piranhas but the reason it doesn't work within the realms of The Joker is that they don't smile (seriously, this is a major plot point). Harley has a flashback to when she was actually a psychiatrist that had started work at Arkham Asylum. The Joker sends her a love letter and she begins to analyze him. The back story The Joker gives is actually worked in just right. You actually don't know if he's lying or if its legitimate, a lot like The Dark Knight.

Through the sessions she has with him she begins to fall in love with him and she decides to break him out as Harley Quinn. Cut back to modern day, Harley has a way to make the Piranha plan work, to hang Batman upside down so they can be perceived as smiling. The Joker's ego doesn't take to kindly to that and he throws her out a building. Batman and Joker have their final fight, Harley goes to Arkham and actually forgives him after slipping a note into her cell.

This is where I have to compliment the storytellers for their work. To bring an issue such as an abusive relationship and try to tell that to children is ballsy. Does it work? If the objective was to make you feel sorry for Harley, yes. I mean she gets thrown out a building in this episode, The Joker gives her a rose and she completely forgives him. Granted, she sounds like the Bella Swan that was intended to be this self destructive mind when devoting herself to her lover but it just makes me feel the more sorrier for what she goes through.

In terms of the technical aspect of the show, the voice acting is spot on, the animation is stylized like that of the Tim Burton films (a huge plus in my book) but the only thing that I really have a problem with is the character design of The Joker. He's supposed to be this colorful and cheerily insane character, the complete opposite of Batman and in this he has deep sunken eyes, pointed chin and nose, dark green hair and spends most of the episode in dark grey. Granted he did dress up in his trademark purple suit in the non-Arkham scenes but still how does that resemble colorful? If you think that was too little a description, go to google images and type in "Joker Batman TAS Redesign" and you'll see what I mean.

In conclusion, I was surprised by this episode. Again, it had the balls to show domestic abuse in a kids show, it made you feel sorry for a villain (who happens to be my new favourite Batman character because of it) and yet never takes its focus off of what makes a superhero cartoon work - the presence of the superhero. Batman doesn't play a huge part in this episode but he isn't supposed to. Its Harley's show and if you go in with that expectation, it will be pretty hard to not appreciate the effort put in and the themes it presents in a superhero genre, often perceived as being just dumb entertainment. Even if you're not a fan, I'd definitely suggest taking a look.

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