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Monday, November 21, 2011

Brave and the Bold: "Mitefall!"

And so its come to this--the final episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold!

This episode opens fairly typically, with Gorilla Grodd launching an attack on a floating sea lab:
Grodd and his gorilla army throw ropes around the lab and start towing it out to sea, but luckily there are two heroes on hand to stop his latest nefarious plan: Batman and Aquaman, who make quick work of the seagoing simians:
Then we begin to pan out, and out, and we learn that this is merely an episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold being watched by...Bat-Mite, in his geeked-out, Batman-centric moderately-furnished basement:
Bat-Mite is very critical of the show he once loved, saying its grown predictable and tired, with sillier and sillier plots that his hero has had to wade through. He warmly recalls the early days, and talks about the voice of Batman (Deidrich Bader) and the show's "breakout character", Aquaman:
Bat-Mite, wanting the show to end before it gets any worse, works up a typically-perverse plan: to make the show so bad that it has to be cancelled!

As he sets about his plan, we see another member of the DCU watching all this, and he's aghast over the idea of Brave and the Bold being cancelled: the one and only Ambush Bug!
Bat-Mite sets right to work making the show bad as possible, while Batman and Aquaman, still in their own reality, continue to chase after Gorilla Grodd, who is busy turning citizens of Gotham City into giant bananas.

Bat-Mite gives Batman a wise-cracking "Bat-Luge", a prop only a toy manufacturer would love. To help grease the skids to cancellation even more, Bat-Mite replaces John DiMaggio as the voice of Aquaman with the kiss of death, actor Ted McGinley!
Ambush Bug shows up, and tries to convince Batman and Aquaman about what's happening. As fans start to turn the show off en masse, we can literally see bits of the environment disappear and turn into static. The Bug grows so desperate he addresses us, the viewers:
As things get worse, Bat-Mite only ramps up the awfulness. He has Batman use guns, transfers him to sunny Malibu, and, in the final act of denigration, adds a dog--no, not Ace the Bat-Hound ("a respected member of the Batman canon", Bug concedes), but Ace's nephew, Punchi-chi!
While fighting crime in Malibu, Ambush Bug is finally able to convince Batman that everything is wrong. Batman, starting to recognize that this might be the end, finds himself back in Gotham City. He and Aquaman decide that, if this truly is the end, then the least they can do is take out the trash one last time:
Ambush Bug explains to our heroes what's been happening, which triggers Aquaman's voice to go back to DiMaggio (after McGinley admits, "I don't really get this show"). We pan out again, to find this is all being watched by WB executives, including Producers James Tucker and Michael Jelenic. Its time, apparently, for a new take on Batman.

Bat-Mite is overjoyed that he's going to get a new, more "serious" version of his hero. He clears out space in his pad for all the new swag, but is a little put off when he sees the new Batman show stars...Batgirl?
Bat-Mite's feelings are mixed. He loves the dark, CG-looking show, and while he's happy Batman is involved, he's nervous the show seems to be called Batgirl. But, overall, he got what he wanted. Or did he?

Ambush Bug arrives to point out that if the Batman of Brave and the Bold is going away, to be replaced by a darker take, then there's hardly a place in continuity for a silly inter-dimensional imp. Bat-Mite argues against that, but as he begins to disappear, bit by bit, he accepts his fate, bidding us all an appropriate adieu: "That's all, folks."

But not quite: we catch up with Batman, who finds himself at a party, populated by all of his guest stars and guest villains: Aquaman, Green Arrow, Plastic Man, B'Wana Beast, Deadman, Superman, Prez...everyone has made it.
As stage-hands take away the Bat props and melancholy music plays overhead, the Dark Knight Detective promises he will never stop fighting for the cause of justice, and says one final goodbye:
...The End.

Well, what's to say about this? I knew I'd be sad when Brave and the Bold finally ended, but I didn't expect how sad. The final scene, seen above, is set to some sad piano music, and I don't mind saying that I got ever-so-slightly emotional watching it. After all, this era of Batman (and the greater DCU) is really the era I grew up on, so seeing it consigned to the dustbin of history reawakens those same feelings I had when DC did it in print.

This episode is almost M.C. Escher-like in its self-awareness; at some point I expected to turn around and see Tucker, Jelenic, and the animators watching me watch this show. Heck, they may all be watching me write this. I was of course thrilled that Aquaman got to be in the last show, almost on par with Batman. The acknowledgement that he was the "breakout character" was just the cherry on top.

I truly, truly loved Batman: Brave and the Bold. Not only for what it did for Aquaman, but for delivering a weekly trip back to a DCU that I truly loved, one that I thought was gone forever. I will miss this show tremendously, and a big thanks is owed to James Tucker, Michael Jelenic, and everyone at Warner Bros. who helped put this B:BATB together, and make it work.

Speaking of, since James has been so kind to the Shrine in sharing his thoughts about Aquaman and the show in general, we're going to follow up today's post with one more talk with him. So be here tomorrow for one last interview with Brave and the Bold Producer James Tucker!


Anthony said...

I loved this last episode, as well...hilarious from start to end!

I'll miss this series. It reminded me how, despite my dislike of Batman in the current comics (the "angry jerk" personality, the Joker's one-note, adolescent shock-value violence that's as "unpredictable" as an Amtrak schedule, etc.), why I still ultimately like Bats. And that Batman can still be entertaining even in a "lighter" setting. And an "OUTRAGEOUS!" Aquaman, of course!

Joseph Brian Scott said...

My word, that last scene got me a little verklempt. Kudos to the Fonz for his funny, yet bittersweet delivery.

Joe Slab said...

All in all, one of the most well-executed, viewer-satisfying conclusions to an animated or any series that I've seen in a long time.

Loved the cameos at the end by Aqualad, Black Manta, Mera & AJ! Can we hope that we will see a Currys of Atlantis short as a part of DC Nation?

Joe Slab

Earth 2 Chris said...

I feel like B&B was the last vestige of the old, fun DCU. The DCU I loved has been ailing since 1986, and they recently pulled the plug on it. B&B was the second cousin who sat it it's bedside until the end, but now it's packed up and left.

I'm really going to miss this show.

And I hate to fall into the trap Batmite spoke of, but the Batgirl series they showed here looks more appealing than "Beware The Bamtan", the REAL B&B follow-up Batman series.


EdTheUniqueGeek said...

Loved this episode also. I will definitely miss the series.
I've not heard anything about it but is it true that they will be making a Batgirl CG series next fall. Was that segment all made up just for this finale or is it true? If it is exactly as they presented it in this final episode, I will totally be tuning in to Batgirl each week.

Orin's dad said...

I loved this show, and this episode was a fantastic way to send it off. What a brilliant way to finish the show! Like you rob!, this show reminded me so much of the comics I grew up on, and both Orin and I got many hours of enjoyment watching this show. It's one I'll definitely have to pick up when the series dvd comes out.

Jon K said...

Very sad to see this show end -- is it my imagination, or does Warner's think they are only allowed to make so many eps and then stop? I would've loved to see not only this show continue, but also the previous Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans, and Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes!

I would love that cgi Batgirl show, however, and hope thats at least going to be a DC Nation short.