|Batman: The Animated Series episode|
|"Birds of a Feather"|
|Airdate:||February 8, 1993|
|Animation Services by:||Dong Yang Animation Co., LTD.|
|Teleplay by:||Brynne Stephens|
|Story by:||Chuck Menville|
|Directed by:||Frank Paur|
|Episode images (10)|
"Birds of a Feather" is the 52nd episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It depicts the Penguin's first serious attempt to go straight after a prison sentence, but is forced back into crime when he runs afoul of two selfish socialites.
Penguin's up to his old tricks again, this time robbing a museum of its paintings, with him taking a particular interest in a picture of ducks on a lake. As usual, Penguin tries to keep a high class image with his victims calling himself "a man of impeccable taste". Also like usual, Batman arrives to stop him, making mention that Penguin's been out of jail for only two days. Penguin tries to escape, but Batman manages to catch him and Penguin is jailed again.
After some time, Penguin is released from jail and insists that he has learned his lesson and he's ready to rejoin elite society. However, he finds that no one is waiting for him outside of the prison and he ends up having to take a bus filled with less than savvy people and a rude driver into Gotham.
Elsewhere, Veronica Vreeland mopes over her falling social status. Her equally-vain manservant Pierce, suggests that she throw a party. Veronica agrees but thinks that she needs something special to spruce up the party. Pierce reminds her of the Joker crashing a friends party and then shows her a news article of the Penguin's release. Thinking that this will bring her back into the eyes of her peers, Veronica makes plans to invite him.
Penguin returns home expecting to find his own peers (Joker, Two-Face, Killer Croc) waiting for him. However, he finds that only Batman is there waiting to warn him to stay out of trouble. After Batman leaves, Penguin receives a call from Veronica and she asks him out on a dinner date. Penguin is more than happy to accept.
Out at the restaurant, Penguin makes bad jokes and eats small fish whole upsetting all the restaurant patrons. Furthermore, his presence causes people to walk out in fear that he'll rob them. Penguin doesn't notice this, but he does suspect that Veronica has ulterior motives for inviting him. Veronica assures him that she's just interested in him and his unique traits. Penguin is enchanted and suggests that the two leave. He asks for the cheque and is told that the meal is free if he'll just leave. Penguin takes this as a gesture of respect for his status and leaves even happier than ever.
As Penguin and Veronica leave, a trio of thugs notice them and decide to mug them. Unaware of this, Veronica takes the opportunity to invite Penguin to her party which he readily accepts. Just then, the thugs make their attack and Penguin starts to fight them off with his umbrella. However, one of the thugs manages to get hold of Veronica's necklace which Penguin takes back. At this moment, Batman arrives and takes down the thugs. However, he mistakes Penguin for their leader and attacks him as well. Veronica clears things up with Batman much to his surprise.
Later, Pierce talks to Veronica about the failed mugging and jokes about Penguin's lack of style. Veronica, however, thinks that it was touching as she's not used to having someone rush to her rescue as the Penguin had. During the conversation, Bruce arrives and asks about who they're talking about and leans that Veronica is only dating the Penguin to amuse her guests and herself. Bruce warns them not to use the Penguin like this as he will most likely be unforgiving if he finds out, but Pierce dismisses this, saying that Bruce is "not their kind".
The next night Veronica and Penguin head out to watch the opera I Pagliacci. Penguin mimics the tune in his horrible singing voice much to Veronica's dismay. Still, she puts on a happy face and allows him to kiss her hand in spite of her disgust. Pierce is amused but Bruce grows concerned, and begins to feel sympathy for the Penguin for the first time.
Veronica's party gets underway and Penguin wastes no time socializing with the guests. Though he thinks that he's being witty and refined, the guests are appalled. Pierce finds this greatly amusing but Veronica is starting to get bad feelings about what she'd doing to Penguin. Meanwhile, Bruce watches as Penguin steps out to admire a piece of jewelry that he thinks is stolen. However, Penguin shows Bruce that it's actually a gold penguin which he wants to give to Veronica as a gift. Taken aback, Bruce starts to believe that Penguin really has reformed. Unfortunately, when Penguin goes in to see Veronica he overhears she and Pierce talking about their bad joke. Outraged at being used like a tool, Penguin hits them both with knockout gas and kidnaps Veronica despite Bruce's attempt to stop him.
Pierce goes to the police (and particularly an annoyed Commissioner Gordon) and a ransom note is sent to them. The ransom is one million dollars and Pierce has to deliver it himself. The police escort him to the drop off point, but the Penguin expected this and calls him on a pay phone instructing him to a new location. While Pierce follows these instructions, he falls into the sewers where a duck boat is waiting for him.
The boat takes Pierce to the opera house where he's chained to a platform and Veronica is tied to a chandelier. Penguin takes the money and Veronica offers him more if he'll let her go. Penguin furiously refuses, saying that all he really wanted was "a little friendship", and now she has to pay for using him. Finding a bat-tracer in the money, Penguin prepares to cut the rope holding the chandelier Veronica is chained to which will kill both she and Pierce. Veronica insists that she really was growing fond of Penguin and she's still willing to try to be his friend but Penguin refuses believe her. Batman arrives and stops him from killing Veronica. A fight ensues and Penguin jumps onto a fire-breathing dragon prop and sets the opera house ablaze. The rope holding the chandelier catches fire and it falls but Batman manages to save her and Pierce. Penguin tries to continue the fight, but Batman stops him as well.
Later, the Police arrive and take Penguin into custody. Veronica once again repeats to the Penguin that she really was getting fond of him, but Penguin coldly scoffs her.
Background information Edit
Home video releases Edit
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin: The Penguin (VHS)
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Two (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Adventures of Batman & Robin: Poison Ivy/The Penguin (DVD)
Production inconsistencies Edit
- When Pierce walks backwards out of the phone booth, the setting around him is different from what it was in previous shots.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Veronica Vreeland.
- This episode also marks the only time in the original series that Penguin changes tuxedos.
- The Museum Robbery was adapted into the stage "Fowl Play" in the game The Adventures of Batman and Robin for SNES.
- Penguin's quote: "'Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all" comes from Lord Alfred Tennyson's "In Memoriam".
- The opera that Penguin and Veronica go to see, I Pagliacci, holds similar themes to this episode.
- This is the first time one of Batman's enemies seriously tries to go straight. It also shows that the Penguin was willing to reform and would not have returned to crime had Veronica and Pierce left him alone.
- The duck boat that Pierce lands in is a nod to the Tim Burton movie Batman Returns.
- The streets Pierce is sent to are named after comic artists Steve Englehart and Mike W. Barr.
- The plot of this episode shares some similarities with the French play Le Dîner de Cons, in which socialites invite an "idiot" to a high society party for the sole purpose of mocking him. However, the play originally premiered on September 19, 1993, seven months after this episode.
- Bruce's line "Maybe the rumors of your reform were not exaggerated" is a paraphrase of Mark Twain's famous (mis)quote "The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated". The actual line was "The report of my death was an exaggeration".
|Bob Hastings||Commissioner Gordon|
|Sam McMurray||Pierce Chapman|
Uncredited appearances Edit
Prison Guard: What's the matter, Penguin? Maybe the "cream of society's" curdled, huh?
Penguin: (rescuing Veronica's necklace) That's too fine a collar for a mongrel like you.
Penguin: Sorry about the intrusion, sir, but at least you've been ransacked by a man of impeccable taste.
Pierce: He fenced with his umbrella? How droll.
Veronica: Well, keep it under your hat, Brucie, but I've just snagged the Penguin for my party.
Penguin: So you're the president of Gotham First Federal. I hope you've beefed up your security. Those time locks were easy to circumnavigate, as I recall.
Penguin: (riding a dragon) And who says opera has to be boring?
Penguin: I suppose it's true what they say. Society is to blame. High society.
| Previously produced episode:|
"Almost Got 'Im"
| Episodes of|
Batman: The Animated Series
| Next produced episode:|
"What Is Reality?"
| Previously aired episode:|
"Robin's Reckoning (Part I)"
| Next aired episode:|
"Robin's Reckoning (Part II)"