DCAU #334: Gotham Girls Season 1

IN THIS ONE... Harley, Ivy, Catwoman, Batgirl and Zatanna star in flash animation comedy skits.

CREDITS: Written by Paul Dini and Hilary J. Bader.

REVIEW: The first season of Gotham Girls represents 11 2-3 minute episodes in Flash animation, basically short amusing sketches starring the contemporary DCAU female stars (Batman side). The television show had already proof of concept when they put Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy together and it somehow turned into a delightful sitcom. There's more of that here, though some skits throw Catwoman into the mix, or Batgirl. Zatanna gets one episode all to herself (ep.5) and it's just about where the show starts to get the humor right.

Really, every time an episode angles for a punch line, it falls rather flat. When the humor is laced throughout and slightly random (Harley fighting tiny plant Harleys, Batman '66 fight music, the Mayor's Batman underoos, "apple abuse", Pinocchio seeds, Goldilocks and the Three Babes...), it gets it right. Originally, the animations might have included games and branching choices, best represented on the Birds of Prey DVD (where you can - one hopes - conveniently get access to all three seasons of the show) in episode 7, where we see how Batgirl would have caught each of the Girls during a particular heist. The more Gotham Girls goes into whimsy, the better it is, and though it sometimes attempts more straightforward "plots", these are usually underdeveloped and not too memorable (I think Lady X could have been something, but the we never even get an inkling of where she comes from).

Overall, despite the strong focus on villains, the show's light touch works because all they are ever involved in is either harmless heists or activism. If there are victims, they'll be corrupt politicians or faceless pawn shops. Even the use of Batgirl as an antagonist is playful, a sort of cat and mouse game (in reverse, if we go by the animals) right out of Tom & Jerry cartoons.

IN THE COMICS: The criminal Gotham Girls did team up in a similar way in the mainstream DCU eventually, in a series called Gotham City Sirens (2009-2011), originally written by DCAU scribe Paul Dini.

SOUNDS LIKE: Instead of Julie Brown, B-movie actress Stacie Randall (Puppet Master 4, Trancers 4-5, Excessive Force 2: Force on Force) voices Zatanna.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Takes a few episodes for the smiles to come, but less than halfway in, the characters and gags are fun.

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