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"Joker's Favor" is episode twenty-two of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. It first aired on September 11, 1992 on Fox Kids. The episode is significant as it features the first ever appearance of The Joker's sidekick and love interest Harley Quinn, who would go on to be incorporated into the Batman comic book series and eventually become a popular character in her own right.


Charlie Collins, an unremarkable Gotham citizen, inadvertently curses out the Joker when the latter's getaway car cuts him off on the highway after a particularly bad day. The Joker runs him off the road and corners him. Desperate to save his life, Charlie mentions he has a wife and son and promises to do anything the Joker asks of him. The Joker accepts and takes Charlie's license; to Charlie's surprise, Joker says he has no idea what the favor will be and leaves with a promise to keep in touch.

Two years later, the Joker learns that Commissioner Gordon is to be given an award and decides to call in the favor. To Charlie's horror, the Joker has effortlessly kept tabs on him, even though Charlie has changed his name and moved to a different city. When the maniacal clown calls him and drops a thinly veiled threat on his family. Charlie finds he has no choice but to travel to Gotham.

Upon arriving, a bemused Charlie learns he is to hold a door open for the Joker's right-hand woman Harley Quinn while she wheels a cake into Gordon's testimonial dinner at the elite Peregrinators Club. Regardless, the Joker promises to send Charlie home immediately after.

Not knowing the Joker's aim, but desperate to avoid it, Charlie fashions a crude Bat-signal, which is seen by dinner attendee (and early absentee) Bruce Wayne. Just then, Charlie is called to perform his favor. Charlie dutifully opens the door for Harley, only to find his hand glued to the handle. Harley slips Charlie a gas mask and dons one herself before gimmicked candelabras in the room spraying a gas that paralyzes everybody else. As the guests watch, immobile and helpless, the Joker enters grandly and "congratulates" Gordon by pinning a bomb to his lapel. The Joker and Harley then leave, explaining to a horrified Charlie that they never promised to send him home alive.

Seconds before the bomb goes off, Batman arrives on the scene. Acting on Charlie's warning, Batman grabs the bomb and launches it outside with his grapple gun. Hearing an explosion from outside rather than inside, the Joker realizes something is amiss; moments later, he sees the bomb has blown up their getaway van.

Inside the Peregrinators Club, Batman frees Charlie from the glue, while Charlie explains that the Joker called Charlie his "hobby", keeping watch on him for years and threatening his family.

Batman pursues the Joker through the club, dealing in turn with Harley and two thugs. The Joker himself manages to escape the club, only to find Charlie waiting for him in an alley. The Joker laughs this off but is surprised when Charlie punches him into some garbage. In a rage, the Joker repeats his threat to Charlie's family. But, driven to mad desperation, Charlie holds up another one of the Joker's bombs, vowing to protect his family with a murder-suicide that will rob Joker of the only dream he has—defeating Batman in a huge spectacle or dying in the effort—and ensure he'll only be remembered as the victim of "a miserable little nobody". Panicking, the Joker tries to talk Charlie down while simultaneously screaming for Batman's help. Batman arrives and tries to reason with Charlie, but Charlie insists only his way can keep his family safe. Finally breaking, the Joker surrenders all the information he has gathered on the Collins family, only for Charlie to toss the bomb at him anyway. The Joker screams and hides behind Batman, but the bomb is revealed to be a harmless confetti firework.

As an amused Batman takes a disgruntled Joker into custody, Charlie heads for home, free at last and looking forward to his "ordinary" life more than he ever has before.



  • Like all season one Joker episodes this was animated based on Tim Curry's performance and Curry's lines were later replaced during the ADR process by Mark Hamill.
  • When the Joker is looking at one of his unclapping henchmen, he is reading a comic titled "Tiny Toon Adventures", which is the name of a show being made by Warner Brothers at the time.
  • Harley Quinn made her very first appearance in the DC universe in this episode.

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