66: “This Town Needs An Enema!” – Tim Burton’s Batman

Every generation gets the BATMAN it deserves, and ours is hands-down the best to ever glower down at us from the big screen — Michael Keaton’s scowling, brooding Caped Crusader, and his equally brooding (but also very neurotic) take on orphaned playboy Bruce Wayne.

Early in his career, Tim Burton controversially cast everyman Keaton as the superhero who redefined the modern blockbuster as more than just a movie — with a pop soundtrack by Prince, fast food tie-ins, and an iconic logo everyone was wearing back in 1989. (And ever since.) Jack Nicholson’s unforgettably over-the-top Joker also raised the bar for movie villains (and movie star paydays) in one of the decade’s very biggest films.

The mass-marketing returned in 1992’s BATMAN RETURNS, which upped the ante with two larger-than-life adversaries — the oozy, outrageous Penguin, played with gruesome gusto by Danny DeVito, and Michelle Pfeiffer’s seductive but deeply damaged Catwoman.

The podcast invites When We Were Young superfan Jan to reminisce on all the Batman merch, cosplay, and fan fiction of our youths, before revisiting Burton’s Batman films with a critical eye. Does the macabre camp of 1989’s Batman hold up against the more somber Batmen of recent years? Is its chilly, gleefully anarchic, and disturbingly erotic sequel decidedly not okay for kids? And, in a movie landscape that’s now littered with superheroes, do these Batman films look quaint alongside Marvel’s colossal conquest of the multiplex — or is Tim Burton’s singular vision just so much yummier?

Strap on your utility belt, fire up the Bat-vehicle of your choice, and have your butler ready a dirty limerick to excuse your absence, because Gotham City’s most wanted are wreaking havoc upon our podcast — and only your nostalgia can stop them!

When We Were Young is a podcast devoted to the most beloved pop culture of our formative years (roughly 1980-2000). Join us for a look back to the past with a critical eye on how these movies, songs, TV shows and more hold up now. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @WWWYshow, on Facebook at Facebook.com/WWWYShow and email your episode suggestions to wwwyshow@gmail.com. Don’t forget to subscribe and review us on iTunes so more folks check out the show!

Help us defray the costs of creating this show, which includes purchasing movies/shows/music to review, delivery food to eat our feelings, and producing & editing in-house at the MFP Studio in Los Angeles, California, by donating to our Patreon account at patreon.com/WhenWeWereYoung

One Response To  “66: “This Town Needs An Enema!” – Tim Burton’s Batman”

  • Mat


    Great podcast, but can I have your thoughts on a few enquiries?

    At one stage you describe Max Shreck as a ‘blue-blood’, but surely that isn’t the case. He’s a self-described ‘poor schmoe who got lucky’ and he berates Bruce Wayne for being a ‘trust-fund goody-goody’ and derides blue-bloods for ‘tiring easily’. Surely Max is a self-made man who came up from the school of hard knocks.

    Also, in emphasising the Trump-Penguin parallels, you talk about the Penguin being a fake populist because like Trump he hails from an upper-class family. But surely, The Penguin, who was abandoned as an infant, never really knew who his parents were, and was raised as part of a collection of circus freaks, is as underclass as one can get, and upon discovering that he was tossed aside by his parents, his vendetta is against Gotham’s blue-blooded elite, including the rich first-born kids he attempts to kidnap and drown, and not on the common people. I see The Penguin as a semi-pitiful/semi-sympathetic villain because although his actions are repugnant, he is punching up against those with power, privilege and respectability, rather than punching down at immigrants and the poor, as Trump does.

    Just one final observation, I absolutely adore the Ice Princess do. She’s so sexy. But do you have any thoughts on the character apart from how hot she looks? Have you also read the novelisation and the original screenplay where she is portrayed as cowardly pushing an old lady down to the ground to escape the Red Triangle Circus Gang? I personally wish they had kept that in the film, to emphasise the point that one doesn’t have to look as physically grotesque as The Penguin to be a bad person, and that one can be a gorgeous blonde beauty and still be ugly on the inside. Seeing how our society is so appearance-obsessed and tends to ostracise and abuse people for looking like The Penguin, it would have been a positive message to project in my humble opinion.

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