Home > B-plus, Batman: The Animated Series, Episode Reviews > Batman: The Animated Series, Episode 106 – “Girl’s Night Out”

Batman: The Animated Series, Episode 106 – “Girl’s Night Out”

October 27, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Girls Night Out

Written by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Curt Geda
Original Airdate: October 17, 1998
DVD: Batman: TAS, Volume 4

Summary: When Live Wire escapes while being transported through Gotham City and hooks up with Harley and Ivy, Batgirl needs metahuman help in the form of Supergirl in order to deal with the trio.

Background:

Harley Quinn is commonly referred to as the most successful DCAU original character, as in the eighteen years or so since her creation she’s become a permanent fixture in the DCAU. The team attempted to do something similar with Live Wire, a female Superman antagonist whose origin as a shock jock radio host positively screams mid-90s. It didn’t take nearly as well – whether it be that Live Wire wasn’t attached to a popular villain like the Joker before breaking out as a solo character or that she’s just more annoying that Harley’s annoying-yet-earnest psychosis, something about Live Wire just never played right.

On the other hand, since basically everything Harley touched turned to gold during the BTAS era, the pairing of her with Poison Ivy wound up basically creating a cottage industry, to the point that DC has kept them paired up and starring in their own comic series as of this writing. Of course, at least part of that is the transparent lesbian subtext at the heart of the relationship, but contrasting Harley with a more straight-laced (pardon the punnery) companion in Ivy is the same trick is pulled off as with the Green Lantern / Flash duo that we talked about in the last Justice League episode and works just as well here.

This episode is the first we’ve seen that features Supergirl, but as we’re going to talk about her debut proper as the Darkseid arc continues, might as well just leave her aside for now.

Thoughts on the Episode:

Once again, in spite of what whiny wanna-be comics intelligencia would tell you, crossovers are a whole lot of fun. In contrast with the movie-length “World’s Finest”, this is five characters (and even Bullock) jammed into 22 minutes, but it’s superbly structured and therefore doesn’t really feel rushed. It’s not exactly friendly for new viewers, but assuming you’re familiar with most of the participants, you’re going to have a good time. Once again, the bottom line in this episode is that Batgirl’s probably more tenacious than she is talented, although she’s far more competent here (it’s been a few years since “Batgirl Returns”) than in the earlier series.

The insanely quick pace of the episode allows for a nice series of escalating conflicts – first, Batgirl and Supergirl are outclassed by Live Wire, then they plan for her and win but are knocked off-guard by the arrival of Harley and Ivy. After that, they plan for all three, but even then have to come up with a nicely improvised solution to take out Live Wire (and the other two via collateral damage). Heck, the writers even found the room for a quick Penguin cameo in his newer role as the owner of the Iceberg Lounge.

The final fight is pretty complicated for a single-part episode, as even though Harley doesn’t do much Supergirl’s given an appropriate challenge via Ivy’s army of plant monsters while Batgirl, her original plan having failed spectacularly, simply tries to stay alive against Live Wire.  After all the telgraphing earlier, it’s pretty obvious that Live Wire is going for a dip before the end of the episode, and the relatively easy manner that she’s eventually dispatched is really the only weak part of the episode.

Harley and Ivy have always been presented as far less of a threat together than on their own – rather than Ivy trying to take on polluters, when she’s with Harley she’s content to knock over banks and department stores. Here, Live Wire makes them a bit more of a threat, but ultimately Harley’s still there to bring the laughs, whether it be her uniquely single-minded approach to breaking and entering or reviving Live Wire by dousing her with water (which is a great way of telegraphing the eventual conclusion, although they unfortunately had to hammer it home when the trio winds up talking with Penguin.

While it is a bit transparent in its method of getting all the girls together – one wonders why Catwoman wasn’t invited, or why Lois didn’t get a cameo – this one’s a lot of fun. That’s true for a lot of the new-style Batman episodes, as we’ll see as things go along; whatever athmosphere is lost by the new style is more than made up by the fact that the production team was so experienced by the point these episodes saw air that they were cramming in the same amount of plot points that they’d originally use in a two-part episode into one of these.

Grade: B+. All fun here. And isn’t it nice to think that while Batman’s such an untrusting bastard that he can’t fully trust Superman, Batgirl gets on famously with Supergirl at first sight?

Random Thoughts:

  • Another minor continuity note – this episode fits before the Supergirl-centric Superman episode “Unity”, as Kara makes mention of her friendship with Barbara in that one.
  • I like this version of the Batgirl outfit a lot more – as long as Batman’s not sporting the black-and-yellow, someone might as well take advantage. Also, the more pixie-ish look for the women in general in this season was a better fit in general – as Bruce Timm said, it looked as though the old Poison Ivy could knock out Batman simply by turning around.
  • This episode was my goddaughter’s favourite to watch when she was growing up, for obvious reasons.
  • Apparently the studio guard from the Warner lot found employment in Gotham.
  • After all the secret-identity-related drama in “World’s Finest”, there’s nothing in that regard here. Supergirl pretty obviously isn’t in the loop at the start of the episode, but Batgirl is pretty open with her secret ID.
  • Isn’t Babs a bit… old… at this point to be palling around with the teenaged Supergirl? She graduated college during the intermezzo after the original run of episodes.

Line of the Episode: “Your hyenas have been watering my plants again.” Ivy, who believes in natural fertilisers.

Next Side Story: No more screwing around – time for some of B:TAS’ marquee episodes, in this case a pair dealing with classic comic heroes coming into contact with modern ones. “Beware the Grey Ghost” is first on the list, and I may even toss in a… GASP… live action episode.

Next Time: Back to Justice League for an episode with more girl power than the Spice Girls before Geri left, “Fury.”

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  1. JFink
    October 28, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    See, I prefer the older BTAS character designs myself.

  2. kyle747
    June 17, 2010 at 8:58 am

    You’re dead on here about the age thing. ‘babs’ must be early twenties by now, while Kara is a sweeet sixteen – as Ollie mentions in JLU ep2 (and you noted in your blog) during his creepy dream dialgue

    I may be a minority or one but I find the ‘babs’ Gordon from ‘The batman’ to be a much more enjoyable Batgirl vs BTAS Batgirl. Probably because BTAS Batgirl has so much dialogue with Robin – who is whiny little $%nt.

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