Mad As A Hatter was first broadcasted on October 12, 1992 with a script by Paul Dini and directed by Frank Paur.
Miserable Wayne Industries scientist Jervis Tetch is unable to pursue the girl he loves, Alice the secretary. When she splits up from her boyfriend, he makes an advance and develops a fast friendship with her, until her boyfriend reconciles with her and proposes to her. Enraged, Tetch decides to take matters into his own hands, and dons the mantle of the Mad Hatter, using his mind-control devices to force those who have wronged him all his life to become his mindless slaves.
With this episode, there’s a lot to admire about it. First off, the surprisingly genius casting of Roddy McDowall as Jervis Tetch. When I watched this episode for the very first time nearly 10 years ago, I really didn’t think it was going to work mostly because I would’ve guessed that McDowall’s age, he was 64 at the time, wouldn’t have played as well as you would think but then, when you hear McDowall’s voice as Tetch, it surprisingly does work to the character:
By the way, watching this episode again, Tetch is kind of a creep, he can’t get the girl he loves so her resorts to brainwashing her to fall in love with her when even Batman tells Tetch himself that he’s falling in love with essentially a puppet, that’s kind of messed up. Though, let’s be fair here, most guys can also relate to Tetch too, trying to get the girl of your dreams but not knowing how to move along, granted, nobody would resort to the insane antics that Tetch does to win her over but yeah, you could understand Tetch being stuck in the friend zone for far too along too but you also understand that he brought this on himself for the way he acted. He’s a very complex character to say the least.
All throughout the episode, there are many references to Alice In Wonderland both in the visual style and even in the dialogue, right down to having Tetch’s boss dressed up as the Queen Of Hearts constantly shouting “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!” at Batman in the final action scene all the way to Mad Hatter telling himself “would not, could not” at the very end of the episode.
I will say that the voice actress for Alice was a little off to me, I don’t want to say she was a little too whiny but she didn’t really sound like a woman who was old enough to be working as a scientist, but then again, maybe that was the point, she definitely looked like an older woman but that voice didn’t really seem to fit, at least, to me. A little nitpick right there and I have nothing against the actress who’s doing the voice, Kimmy Robertson, at all, it just felt off to me but then again, that might’ve been the point.
I did really like Mad As A Hatter a lot, it’s an interesting character study of the origins of The Mad Hatter and how he pretty much set himself up to become a villain while also having a lot of the great elements we look for in this show, the great animation, the great writing, the great action, it’s another solid episode overall.