A week spent rushing around like a lunatic draws to a close and I suddenly remember: last week I was asked to choose my best ever episode of the 60s surrealist show Batman. And I concluded that episode had to be: Surf's Up, Joker's Under.
One reason is that in a third season of very low impact value - not the same as saying it wasn't good - this episode easily stood out. The other reasons centered upon the fact that it tackled the topical issue of surfing culture, ridiculed its own lack of budget in brilliant fashion, and demonstrated the hilarious consequences of what would happen if one aspect of the show - in this case, the humor - were taken to the extremes.
Those who analyze this episode from the action angle are missing the point. Surf's Up Joker's Under is what happens when a bunch of childish middle-aged men get together and give tgemsves complete free reign over the amount if stupidity put on screen. On this analysis, they produced a masterpiece.
I will release my book on the 3rd series of Batman next year. Yesterday night, I watched the final episode of Season 3: Minerva, Mayhem and Millionaires, starring Zha Zha Gabor. I was very tired and needed something to ease the tension: the episode was perfect for that!
As with so many third season episodes, this one - at face value - looks to be highly uninspiring and haphazardly cobbled together. And yet! And yet!
When you get inside the mindset of the writers and producers, and view this episode in the context of one merciless rant against Fox network executives, you can see elements of genius in it! Also, some of the writing at the end uses beautiful word play and appears razor sharp.
The mere act of turning an uncontrolled rant into a regular Batman story with an impeccably smooth fast-moving plot is a fantastic feat. I'll explain exactly how... er... next year.