Love Is a Croc

  Killer Croc and Baby Doll team up and shack up.
  Original Airdate: July 11, 1998
  Episode # 13
  Rating: * *

Credits Cast

Written by Steve Gerber
Directed by Butch Lukic
Music by Harvey Cohen
Animation by Koko/Dong Yang

Kevin Conroy as Batman
Tara Charendoff as Batgirl
Brooks Gardiner as Killer Croc
Larraine Newman as Baby Doll

Jeff Glen Bennett as Dad
Richard Doyle as Harry
Lauri Johnson as Mom
Buster Jones as Judge

"Love Is a Croc" shows that if you smoosh two weakly developed, second-string characters into a story, you are not guaranteed something greater than the sum of the parts. In fact, you have every chance of getting ... a story that smooshes together two weakly developed, second-string characters.

Mary Dahl (a.k.a. Baby Doll) was a character of real potential in her introductory episode. She was a person of genuine but limited gifts who was at war with her own aspirations to something greater and frustrated by the expectations that everyone else had for her. "Baby-Doll," however, failed to adequately dramatize this inner conflict—it only talked about it and seemed confused whether to treat her as a comic figure or a tragic one; and it occasionally condescended to her as cruelly as the other characters did. And, let's get down to cases: her "baby talk" schtick got real gooey before long.

"Love Is a Croc," however, mistakes that liability for an asset, and although it makes her the brains of a smart criminal team, it can do nothing better with her dialogue than have her prattle endlessly. The sight and sound of this "kewpie doll" is so revolting that Killer Croc's ill-disguised contempt becomes depressingly justified. And that's the real mistake the episode makes. For he and she are supposed to be a "Bonnie & Clyde" team of outlaw lovers: that's what Baby Doll thinks they are, and that's how the newspapers and Batman and Batgirl talk about them. But the story realizes none of the Grand Guignol potential in their pairing because Croc refuses to show her even a bit of sympathy. He doesn't even bother with a little transparent manipulation, so that throughout the episode Baby doesn't look like she is suffering under an illusion; she comes off as merely pathetic. And, for a story that has nothing else but fight scenes, that is a disaster.

Croc himself is just a gruff musclehead, and he showed more feeling in "Sideshow" (which was little enough) than he does here. His recalcitrance toward human tenderness is a crippling defect, not only for his personality but also for our ability to show him any tenderness ourselves. Wanna slap away anyone who tries to get close to you, Croc? Well, f--- you too.

Pairing these two in a love story is like trying to melt together sugar and tin. The only thing Baby Doll and Killer Croc have in common is that they are "different." I suppose the episode intends to show they are too different even from each other to come together, and so it means to prove that they are in fact entirely alone. But it's a perverse kind of story that tries to be its own reductio: What's the point of bringing together incompatible characters for no purpose but to deny that a moving and worthwhile drama can develop around them?

Related Episodes
   * Baby Doll
   * Sideshow
   * Mad Love
   * Birds of a Feather
   * Essay: Black Widows and Widowers

What Others Are Saying ...
"Emotion in this episode is very real, and I feel that even though the emphasis in this episode was on Baby-Doll, Killer Croc still was portrayed very well."Two Face's Tower of Tranquility and Terror

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