What if you woke up one day and your life was completely different? What if all the things you wished for were suddenly a reality -- you have the job you always wanted, the person you want to be with loves you back, and the people you thought were lost forever are alive again?
One of the most remembered episodes of Batman: The Animated Series is "Perchance to Dream," a powerfully dark story in which Bruce Wayne essentially wakes up to a "perfect" life. His parents, Martha and Thomas Wayne, are alive and well; he is engaged to Selina Kyle; and he is no longer burdened with the job of being the Batman. In fact, Bruce learns that someone else, some other disguised vigilante, is effectively ridding the streets of criminals. No need for him to be Batman anymore. Bruce is initially ecstatic, grateful, almost relieved to learn he can live a normal life. "The nightmare is over," he tells himself.
Only it's not.
We discuss the fascinating neuroscience of dreams and the growing research supporting our ability to control our actions in dreams. Furthermore, by raising the scenario of being "plugged into a dream machine," this episode dares us to contemplate the importance of an existence in which we have free will, motivation, and actual contact with an unfiltered reality. Before The Matrix, The Nexus, and Inception, there was Batman: The Animated Series.
Does Poison Ivy's strong dedication and ideology differ much from the Caped Crusader's mission to rid the city of criminals? (Crusader is his nickname, after all.)
In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we delve deeper into Poison Ivy's psychology with her second appearance in Batman: The Animated Series by exploring her predilection for plants and her fanatic, destructive level of devotion to protect them.
If Batman ended up in an Arkham Asylum cell, would he be deemed "normal," or would the Gotham facility known for housing the "criminally insane" keep him under lock and key?
In an episode of Batman: The Animated Series called "Dreams in Darkness," the Dark Knight's worst nightmare may have come true when he finds himself being evaluated by psychiatrist Dr. Bartholomew at Arkham Asylum. The doc asserts that Batman is very "ill" and that the one place where "costumed persons with delusional personalities come to find compassionate help" seems like the best place for him. Fighting the onset of paranoid delusions and vivid hallucinations, Batman struggles to reveal the real cause of his insanity: The Scarecrow.
In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we discuss the experience of being hospitalized for psychiatric reasons, the dangers of labeling people with disorders, and the feelings of dehumanization sometimes perceived by patients in the mental health care system.
How far would you go to earn the affection of someone you love? Send them a roomful of gifts? Surprise them at their doorstep? Advance the science of neurotechnology to a whole new level by developing mind-controlling head accessories?
Through the practice of animal experimentation (of course), scientist Jervis Tetch has found a way to manipulate neuronal connections of brains in order to "control another creature's mind." But rather than use this new power to increase his wealth or destroy the Batman like most of Gotham's Rogues would do, Jervis decides to use mind control to manipulate his office assistant, Alice, into falling in love with him. As he heads further and further down the experimental rabbit hole, however, Jervis realizes more drastic measures are required to win Alice’s love.
Home invasion, kidnapping, and mind control take this episode of Batman: The Animated Series to a new level of creepy; writer Paul Dini ingeniously entertains the imagination of young viewers with Alice in Wonderland themes while also suggesting levels of subversion -- possessiveness, coercion, stalking -- that adult viewers find unshakably disturbing.
In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we explore the delusions and dangers of obsessive, unrequited love as only personified by the Mad Hatter.
Based on a 1976 Detective Comics story by Dennis O'Neil and Dick Giordano, "Appointment in Crime Alley" is a memorable and heartfelt episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Gritty and sorrowful, the episode is centered around the anniversary of Thomas and Martha Wayne's murder in Park Row 30 years ago, and Bruce Wayne's annual appointment to visit the site of their death. We also learn more about Dr. Leslie Thompkins, the longtime friend and colleague of Thomas Wayne who consoled young Bruce on the night his parents were murdered. We realize Leslie's life was also greatly affected by the tragedy, and the two share a unique bond.
Are Bruce and Leslie enacting a healthy coping method by commemorating the Waynes every year in "Crime Alley", or is this a sign of prolonged grief and their inability to move on? In this episode of the Arkham Sessions, we discuss how some people who experience trauma and negative life events can get "stuck" on bad thoughts which keep them from overcoming the tragedies in their lives.
It's about time! The Arkham Sessions returns to the analysis of every episode of Batman: The Animated Series with a classic favorite, "The Clock King." The title villain is a seemingly harmless, time-obsessed efficiency expert who learns the unfortunate lesson that one small change in his schedule can turn him into a vengeful killer. Of course, Batman won't let him get away with demolishing trains, overriding the city's traffic controls, and strapping Gotham's mayor to the top of the clock tower. With some insight from the episode's writer, the show delves into the traits and states of people who are obsessive-compulsive. The psychologically satisfying episode has us asking if rigidity and extreme order can actually cause more harm than good.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Tim Burton's Batman movie, The Arkham Sessions takes a break from analyzing the psychology of Batman: The Animated Series to pay special tribute to the legendary film that influenced the style, music, and dark themes of the animated show. Consistent with her measured, analytical approach to the characters and stories of BTAS, Dr. Andrea Letamendi offers psychological conceptualizations of Burton's Batman and Joker with the help of co-host Brian Ward.
Is the film, as Burton once described, a story about the intertwined paths of Batman and the Joker, culminating in a "fight between two disturbed people?" Furthermore, how does Keaton's Bruce Wayne compare to Kevin Conroy's version when it comes to the maintenance -- or fusion -- of multiple identities? How is Nicholson's Joker more destructive and dangerous than Hamill's? Listen to this special edition of the The Arkham Sessions and reminisce about Batman '89 in a whole new way.
Did you know that most of us will experience a panic attack at some point in our lives? And over 11% of people will suffer from panic attacks to the point that it interferes with their ability to function.
Did you also know which superhero happens to be an expert on panic attacks? Batman! In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we discuss the episode “Fear of Victory” from Batman: The Animated Series.
The Arkham Sessions, hosted by clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the psychological analysis of Batman: The Animated Series. Nostalgic, humorous, and even a little educational, each episode promises to lend some insight into the heroes, villains, and classic stories of the Dark Knight.
As a special exclusive for ComicsAlliance visitors, new episodes of The Arkham Sessions will stream on CA several days in advance of their syndication to iTunes.
This week: One of the toughest, scariest and scaliest villains in Gotham City is on the loose, and the Dark Knight is on his tail! In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, the Psych Doc wrestles Killer Croc!
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