Pop Culture Advent Calendar, Day 25: 'A Blimp! Unorthodox, But Diabolical!'

Dec 25, 2016

Once a day, since Dec. 1, we highlighted a specific small, good thing that happened in popular culture this year.


Hm? What's that?

An odd choice for the Pop Culture Advent Calendar's final day, you say?

Well, look: You're you, I'm me.

My love for the old Adam West/Burt Ward TV series Batman of the 1960s goes bone-deep; why, one could write a book about how very deep it goes. So when word came down that West, Ward and Julie Frickin' Newmar would be returning to voice Batman, Robin and Catwoman in a new animated film set in the original series' trippy, kitchy, Pop-Art universe, it was, to me, a pop culture earthquake.

If, you know, earthquakes were good things.

The film, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, delivers on its considerable promise. It nails the all-important tone (gravid absurdism) and the stylistic flourishes (Batman's space-helmet's got itty-bitty bat-ears!) and the fondness for alliteration ("I call it Batnip – one scratch, and that mass of muscles will be mine to manipulate!") and — crucially — the series' bizarre predilection for slapping an explanatory label on every damn thing.

It's got everything you (okay: me) could possibly want, and more — including a sly wink at the homoerotic overtones that are as much a part of the Batman/Robin partnership as Robin's li'l green pixie boots.

And — given that an animated film's special-effects budget is limitless — it goes to places the 1960s series never could, like staging a fight atop a giant penguin-shaped getaway blimp.

"Giant penguin-shaped getaway blimp."

Say it soft, and it's almost like praying.


Previous Pop Culture Advent Calendar Entries

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

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