Batman's enemies reminisce about the times they "almost got 'im."
Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Eric Radomski
Music by Stuart V. Balcomb
Animation by Dong Yang
Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne
Adrienne Barbeau as Catwoman
Mark Hamill as The Joker
Aron Kincaid as Killer Croc
Richard Moll as Two Face
Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn
Paul Williams as The Penguin
Rub two sticks together. Slowly, the heat begins to build. Rub them harder, and the kindling begins to smoke. Rub them faster,and they scrape and bite and bind at each other. Then there's a spark and a leap and a sudden spurt of flame, and then everything is warm and gentle and nurturing. Excitement has quickened the senses; now the burning fire can dull them, pleasurably.
Now, rub two characters together. It's the same thing. Call it woodlore, story development, or foreplay. Fun with friction.
It's the climactic eruption that matters, everyone will tell you. In comics and action cartoons, it's when the villain has the hero in his clutches, usually after springing a fantastic trap. A buzzsaw, a giant penny, an atomic warhead: some kind of fabulous toy to whet the excitement. Then the tension explodes as the good guy escapes and leaps upon the bad guy, hammering him with blow after blow after blow. Then the baddie sags, the conflict discharges, and the story relaxes. Hard, fast, and decisive; if only all of life were like that, we smile as we swoon with pleasure.
Well, maybe. Foreplay is just flirting if it goes no place fun. But fun is a relative term ("fun" compared to what?), and the climax needs slow and careful development if it is to have maximal effect.
Sexy and sassy, "Almost Got 'Im" goes to work on its audience with the practiced hands of a very expensive courtesan. Fanboys live for the big showdown, and "Almost Got 'Im" has five of them. There is much good, raunchy fun as the supervillains reminisce over cards about all the times they had Batman cornered (only to lose him); it's like an orgiastic fuck-for-all, as the villains try to top each other with stories of the times they almost topped Batman. It's all incredibly shallow and incredibly cynical, and those who like to cuddle up with a good character study are apt to swoon more out of boredom than pleasureuntil the smart little twist in the third act, when we discover that all those "flashbacks" were just dirty talk to work you up to the real climax, which has Batman rescuing Catwoman from the Joker's foul embrace. Unless you are fatally consumed by self-conceit, you can only ruefully grin at the revelation that you've been licked up one side and down the other, like an all-day sucker.
This is one of the few eps that gives itself over entirely to a lot of dirty funa good test that shows the resiliency of the material and the dextrerity of its makers. It's a shock, I suppose, to come home and find your wife in the proverbial "saranwrap and a smile." But only the worst kind of prude would deny it to us.
Paul Dini: Director Eric Radomski "did a terrific job on changing the sequence of the villains' stories from my script so the action would build, with each story more elaborate than the other until the Joker's segment, which nothing can top. It's great and allows the wrap-up with Harley Quinn and Catwoman to be this nice, funny release."
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