Batman: The Animated Series

Episode 41- Tyger Tyger
harkovast at 10:18AM, Oct. 1, 2009
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Summary
This episode is pretty much an Island of Doctor Munroe knock off.
A mad scientists kidnaps catwoman and turns her into a furry. No seriously. She is now an actual woman-cat, rather then just a cat-woman, if you see what I mean.
He has also made a goofy gorilla called Garth and a giant cat man/man cat called Tygrus (though he is clearly black and thus not a tiger).
Tygus flips out and destroys the lab, Batman takes the whacky doctor off to jail.
Catwoman gets turned back to normal, Tygrus remains on the island, having turned down an offer to have the human Catwoman as his girlfriend (idiot), and Garth the gorilla is largely forgotten.
Yes, this episode blows.
Philby reminded me of this episode and brought back bad memories, so now I am going to have to review it in order to exercise my demons!


Villains
The mad scientist in this episode is called Doctor Emile Dorian, though in his own words “that doesn’t begin to tell you who I am”.
Sorry Doc, but you have that the wrong way around. It does BEGIN to tell us who you are, but you just never finish!
What is this guys motivation?
He likes cats a lot.
No really, that’s it.
He likes cats so he tries to turn people into cats.
It is a lot like the bat obsessed scientist in “On Leather Wings” only far more cheesy and boring.
He dresses like the stereotypical evil scientist and even has a villainous sounding English accent. You can tell they were really reaching for ideas for this guy.
He has so little depth it is almost painful to watch.
He has a cool shotgun near the end though, so points for that (just not many!)

He has two minions and frankly I don’t know which of these genetic cock ups is more pitiful!

First up we have Garth, a talking gorilla. You read that correctly. He wears trousers, a jacket and a cap. Unfortunately, despite being a gorilla, what most people would consider a fairly big strong animal, Garth spends the entire episode getting beaten up variously by Tygrus and Batman.
Garth apparently started out as a human, at least this is implied. Why did Garth want to be a Gorilla? Why does he get clothes when none of the other furries on the island do?
Why does he stay loyal to Dorian when he seems to spend the whole time getting his silver-backside kicked? Who knows! He gets exactly zero character development and even at the end of the episode they don’t even explain his fate. He seems tagged on to the whole situation, and could just have easily have been a human henchman.
Why is he a monkey anyway? I thought Dorian liked cats!
Next up in this furry freak show is Tygrus, a huge, black furred cat man (I suppose Panthrus just didn’t have the same ring to it?)
Tygrus is described by his creator as the ultimate life form.
Sadly he is not the ultimate life form, which I can prove by the following evidence-
1) He has a very small head in relation to his body and lives up to expectation by being remarkably dumb and easily convinced. He switches sides at the end because cat woman asked him nicely!
2) He only has three fingers and a thumb on each hand. This does not make him the ultimate life form, more the ultimate Looney Toon.
3) He has no genitals, which sort of limits his ability to make much progress as a life form! He is interested in Catwoman sexually, but what he plans to do with her if he ever gets her is anyone’s guess! He is like a dog chasing a car!

Tygrus is at least big and agile and looks pretty cool so he gives Batman a run for his money in a fight. But this fight has no depth, no substance! There is no deep motivation, no psychological force driving them into conflict. The Doctor just decides to have Tygrus kill Batman to prove how great his creation is.
Tygrus does have one genetic advantage, aside from being big. He is virtually impossible to kill, or even hurt. Now I don’t mean this as a cool plot point sort of way. I mean at one point he literally falls off a cliff and then comes back and actually over takes Batman and is completely unharmed. What the hell? Am I supposed to believe he landed on his feet? Or is this more evidence that he really is a Loony Toon?

Batcrap crazy
Dorien is clearly bonkers, but not in an interesting way. He is just some douche who wants to turn people into cats, because….he is a douche.
He is just generic evil.
Perhaps he was thrown out of the furry convention for drawing furry porn too disturbing even for the other furries and the shame of it sent him mad?
Who knows? More importantly, who cares?
I put more effort into that silly explanation about the furry convention then the writers put into his character.

Garth is even worse. This gorilla is really phoning it in as an evil minion!

Tygrus has daddy issues and wants to get laid but beyond that, he is an uninteresting plank. The craziest thing he does is refusing to go with Catwoman at the end. Yeah she is going to become human, but she clearly likes him (I don’t know why, they don’t seem to get on at all. It seems more contractually required rather then explained. I guess furries just have a natural bond or something) Frankly, this big lug is never going to do any better, so he might as well take what he can get! Perhaps he finally realised that he has no balls and so wondered off to be alone in his shame?

There are implications from Dorien that Catwoman might have wanted to be a furry all along. Yeah Dorien, everyone is a furry really, you keep telling yourself that.
Her mental state is meant to be confused, but it is more confusing to the audience. At times she seems animal like, at others like she doesn’t remember being human and at other times she is perfectly normal mentally.
But she, like Tygrus, appears to have no genitals or butt crack, so perhaps that would screw anybody up?

Holy shitty moments, Batman
This whole episode is one big shitty moment.
A few good action sequences against Tygrus and some a continuity nod are really the only highlights. Everything else is just stupid.
Even the references to Blake’s poem “The Tyger” seem tagged on and pretentious.
Now I want you to understand, I am not dismissing this out of hand or just going “oh it’s furry, it must be shit!”
I am involved in 3 web comics and all of them feature talking animals! Specifically talking cats!
My freaking avatar is a talking cat! Look at it up there!
My favourite cartoons as a kid were ones like Bucky O’Hare, SWAT Kats and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
I think talking animals kick ass!
So when I come out and say this is total furry shit, you know it must be bad!

Continuity Nod
Okay, the one redeeming feature of this episode is that Batman goes to see Kirk Langstrom, the man who previously became the Man Bat for help. Obviously, when whacky animal people show up, he seems like the logical guy to speak too.
When Langstrom says that Dorian is obsessed with cats I half expected Batman to say something about how “wasn’t the last scientist obsessed with bats? Whats next? The guy with a nat fixation?”

The idea of humans turning into animals comes up again in the vastly superior “Moon of the Wolf” and also is explored further in the spin off series, Batman Beyond.

Summary
Cat shit.

Final Bat score
1 out of 5



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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Wordweaver_three at 12:22PM, Oct. 1, 2009
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You got it all wrong. Dorian didn't actually turn them to cats, he just stuffed em in furry suits. That's why they aren't anatomically correct. Turning Catwoman back involved little more then finding the cleverly concealed zipper on the back.

Yeah, a sucky episode. It's uncomfortably close to nudity in a program geared towards kids, even the Man-bat got to keep his dignity. It could be partly attributed to the Korean animators, but that's letting the writers off the hook. Someone really dropped the ball on this one, it seemed like a cut n paste job. Let's take a little bit of Man-bat, a little bit of The Island of Dr. Moreau, a smidgen of furry, and throw Batman into the mix. Oh, and as a kicker lets make the motivations of the characters completely unremarkable.

There's one thing I always hated about this type of comic-book scenario, that applies to the Man-bat too. How do you cause such horrific mutations in a human, both physically and psychologically, then give them a magic pill that returns them completely unscathed to their human form? I know I'm looking too deeply into it, but this scenario happens so often in comics and cartoons that it doesn't faze the audience. There is no shock to it. Everyone, even the characters in the comic or cartoon, assumes there's an antidote somewhere that will reverse the effects with no lingering harm to the character. It's just like that, instead of the characters being appalled at the transformation and how it will affect the remainder of their lives, they simply say, “Well, lets go find Dr. Whogivesacrap's lair, get the antidote, and go on to live our happy lives”. The only exception to this is if the mutation is part of the characters back-story (Bruce Banner has been dealing with his Hulk mutation since the early 60s). Sure, once in a while there's an obligatory time limit, “If we don't find the antidote in 24 hours, he'll be stuck this way forever!” This of course leads to the “race against time” scenario where they find the antidote and inject him/her 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 58 seconds after being infected with the mutation. Really? 2 seconds to spare?
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Phillby at 1:13PM, Oct. 1, 2009
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That's the one real flaw of BTAS, while it got away with a lot it's still an episodic kids show so the satus-quo pills come out in full force at the end of most episodes.

I can't recall a single case of reviving someone from a massive block of ice so it's got that.

I think Harko's failed to do Garth justice in this review. That Mummbling cap-weariing gorilla had more charisma that Tyger and Dr. GoshILoveCats put together.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 1:59PM, Oct. 1, 2009
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Okay yeah, I admitit philby! Garth did have a certain loveable goofy charm. But he was still horribly under developed.

Wordweaver actually in the man-bat episodes the second part (terror in the skies) shows that there are lingering effects, on Langstrom's mental state and on those around him.

Also in Moon of the Wolf, the werewolf is shown to have escaped at the end, but the impression is given that the change has become pretty much permanent, or at least to the extent that he cant be part of normal society anymore.

The concept of this episode involving furry suits is AWESOME!
The thing is, that actually makes more sense then the real plot, especially since we never see the transformation sequence!
The hot and sweaty conditions in the furry suit must have left her dizzy and confused, hence her lack of memory.

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Wordweaver_three at 3:53PM, Oct. 1, 2009
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Langstrom was always a bit loony-toons to begin with. Even after his own man-bat ordeal he was still convinced that only a creature such as the man-bat could survive a future apocalypse. I mean, even to come up with such a theory requires a bit of crazy. A brainless bat/man hybrid that subsists on fruit would stand a better chance at survival then an intelligent human? Doubtful. A cockroach/man hybrid maybe.

Still, Langstrom's dreams in Terror in the Skies could be attributed to the fact that he was sleeping with a (wo)man-bat, and not so much his previous gallivanting as the creature. The guy must have been a deep sleeper if she didn't wake him when she transformed.

The werewolf episode always struck me as one that the writers intended to revisit, but never did. This doesn't count as an argument because, unlike Catwoman, Anthony Romulus wasn't a regular character. His entire character revolved around becoming the wolf. It's the same with Matt Hagen, aka Clayface. These are tragic characters who's sole purpose is to become a villain of sorts for batman. A better argument would be Harvey Dent, who was well established as the DA long before becoming Two-face.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 4:47AM, Oct. 2, 2009
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Wordweaver I have to correct you there!
Langstrom was not the crazy one! It was the older doctor, Dr March, who was the nutty one that believed bats would rule the world. Langstrom was not bonkers, but accidentally transformed himself when he used himself as a guinea pig for a test and the process was addictive.
It was Dr March trying to recreate what Langstrom had done that caused “Terror in the Skies”.
Interestingly March, though rude and clearly a bit whacky in the head, is never portrayed as evil, just misguided and obsessive. At the end of Terror in the Skies he is genuinely remorseful for what his arrogance has caused. He burns all the research in order to permanently put an end to things, thus redeeming himself.

Sadly he failed to burn the script to Tyger Tyger at the same time, so the rest of us still had to endure this horror.

Also, Manbat would kick Tygrus's goofy ass! Manbat may not be quite the evolutionary perfection Dr March wanted, but he is a lot better then the evolutionary dead end of a big cat man with no balls!


I think they could have come back to the werewolf episode, but it stands up well on its own in my view. The nature of Batman is that a lot of characters will appear just to transform into bad guys, the fact they manage to subvert this trend at all (ie with Two Face) has always impressed me.

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Wordweaver_three at 8:48PM, Oct. 10, 2009
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Oh, crap. You're right. I was getting Langstrom and March mixed up. It's really hard to keep all those Dr. Wackos straight. Especially in Batman. If someone has a Doctor anywhere in their name there is a 90% probability they will become or already are a villain.

It's probably from the stress of trying to pay back their student loans.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 8:20AM, Oct. 11, 2009
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Wordweaver keeping your sanity in Gotham is a tall order at the best of times!
Add to that the stress of frivelous malpractice law suits and you've got a recipe for CRAZY!!!!

Even when they aren't crazy, there are several utterly evil doctors in the show (such as the guy who made the werewolf guy, or the scientist who makes a mind reading machine to try and find Batmans identity).

The solution?

Arrest all doctors!
Do no harm my ass!

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM

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