The Eggbaby

  Terry must babsit a computerized doll while foiling a family of jewel robbers.
  Original Airdate: April 1, 2000
  Episode # 34
  Rating: * * * *

Credits Cast

Story by Hilary J. Bader & Alan Burnett
Teleplay by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by James Tucker
Music by Michael McCuistion
Animation by Koko/Dong Yang

Will Friedle as Terry McGinnis
Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne
Cree Summer as Max Gibson
Lauren Tom as Dana Tan
Kathleen Freeman as Ma Mayhem
Andy Dick as Stan

Mark Rolston as Carl
Seth Green as Nelson Nash
Max Brooks as Howard Groote
Melissa Disney as Blade
Michael Ensign as Butler
Ruth Zalduondo as Ms. Pinto

To the charge that it is Olympian in demeanor, overbearing in style, obnoxious in attitude and opinionated in the extreme, this episode guide can only plead "No contest." If asked to identify any extenuating circumstances that might incline the Gentle Browser to respond to its manifest arrogance with mercy and good humor, this episode guide would like to plead idiosyncracy: The opinions stated herein are highly personal and often individual to the critic who maintains it—certainly he has yet to encounter another living soul who likes "Heroes"—and so must be stated with the kind of provoking hauteur that will, it is hoped, bring them a second glance. Moreover, it is the considered belief of this critic that opinions (deeply held or not) should be stated with force, the better for them to be understood; glop too much frosting around and the cake tends to disappear.

As I say, the episode guide would like to plead this kind of idiosyncracy as an extenuating circumstance. And yet I'm not sure it can—too often the old Vox Dei thunders through. (Were this page looking for a narrator, Malachi Throne of "Judgement Day" would be its first choice.) So perhaps I ought to admit that its zeal is rarely feigned or merely tactical. If this guide seems to assert that the superiority of "Harlequinade" to "I Am the Night" is simply an objective feature of the world, on a par with the combustability of hydrogen, the extinction of the dodo and the current exchange rate of the euro, then perhaps it should assert just that: along with physical, biological and economic facts there are aesthetic facts, and the above is one of them. "About taste there can be no dispute"? A highly disputable hypothesis, this web-page sputters; indeed, a false one!

And then this guide runs into "The Eggbaby" and rolls helplessly over onto its back. Oh, sure, it's loved other comic episodes before—"Joker's Millions," "Beware the Creeper," the above-mentioned "Harlequinade"—but always with a purpose and a reason. So "Joker's Millions" and "Harlequinade" are further chapters in Paul Dini's continuing critique of villain-psychology, and "Beware the Creeper" introduces a character from the comic-books who was goofy from the get-go. But confronted with "The Eggbaby" I can only giggle and gurgle with pleasure, and can no more justify this reaction than I can justify the pleasure of flicking boogers at the TV screen when a Pokemon ad comes on. To those who do not share in the enjoyment, I can only shrug helplessly and offer my condolences; it must be awful to take Batman, or superheroes, or cartoons, or life, so seriously that this little string of firecrackers cannot make you squeal with delight. To those who also enjoy "The Eggbaby," I can only wink conspiratorially.

I suppose something like a justification could be offered, but my heart's really not in it. About seventy percent of the episode is made up of closely-stitched gags, draped loosely about a throwaway story about people's love for throwaway items. Ma Mayhem's rubies have only sentimental value for her, while Terry's synthetic "eggbaby" is important only for a grade in class; nonetheless, both will heedlessly leap off of tall buildings to save their precious baubles. It's the story of the mothering and fathering instinct gone wonderfully awry. Details about the Mayhem clan's dysfunctional history and dynamics, a larcenous butler, Nelson Nash revealing his nurturing side—these and other little surprises (hidden about like Easter eggs) explode with small but satisfying effect. This is minor stuff to be sure, but think of "The Trouble with Tribbles" when you watch it, and you'll understand the idea and tone.

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What Others Are Saying ...
"This was a very funny and enjoyable episode. It doesn't have a dark edge or major dramatic plot, but its decidedly whimsical storyline was very entertaining."Zanna, for World's Finest

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