BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES PERCHANCE TO DREAM (1992)
Kevin Conroy, Roddy McDowall, Adrienne Barbeau, Diana Muldaur, Efrem Zimbalist JR
Story by: Laren Bright & Michael Reaves
Teleplay by: Joe R. Lansdale
Directed by: Boyd Kirkland
The Mad Hatter – “I was willing to give you whatever life you wanted, just to keep you out of mine!”
WHAT WOULD YOU DO...
...if you could restart your life? Would you take the opportunity knowing you could have another go at getting it right? Or would you choose to remain on the path you've already travelled because you've worked so hard to get to where you are now? It's a tricky choice as neither option offers any guarantees, but given a chance to start all over could you really resist?
This was a dilemma Bruce Wayne found himself in when he awoke one morning to find that the life he once had no longer existed, in the Batman: TAS episode Perchance To Dream.He wasn’t Batman anymore, there was no Batcave, he was dating Selina Kyle (who wasn’t Catwoman) and the biggest difference in his life was the fact that his formerly deceased parents... were alive!Seeing parents return from the grave would be a shock to anyone’s system, but for someone who had dedicated their life to fighting crime following the death of their mother and father, it was enough to make Bruce question his own sanity.Initially Bruce didn’t want to admit it, but he knew as his new life unfolded things were not quite right.It wasn’t that things were radically different from what they were before, it was that they were better than he could have ever hoped; his life was perfect and that’s what scared him.Although this new life was what Bruce had always dreamt of, it was just that; a dream and deep down he knew it. Accepting that his life was suddenly carefree would have been like erasing everything he had ever achieved in the past as Batman and although in the new reality there was a Batman swinging through the streets of Gotham, it wasn't Bruce. Part of Bruce's decision to become Batman was to accept that it was for life and no matter what came aling nothing would alter the fact he had made a choice that he was determined to abide by. Although his new life offered him the potential to opt out of his previous decision, by taking that option he would have been letting himself down. It would have also meant he was living a lie, because he knew that the reality he found himself presented with was just too perfect to be true and so he had to fight to break free. Of course it was a complete lie, as the dream he was trapped in was part of a plan orchestrated by the Mad Hatter to keep Batman sedated and in a happy existence, so that he would keep out of the Hatter's life. The villainous rogue (that's shop talk for evil bad man) was willing to provide Batman with whatever he desired if it meant he would finally be free of his interference. Sadly for the Hatter he hadn't reckoned with Dark Knight's commitment to his cause and as Bruce's life continued within the dreamscape he became more determined than ever to wake himself and return to his unhappy existence, even if it meant potentially committing suicide to do it. Although he couldn't have been sure, Bruce was convinced that if he was in a dream world he wouldn't be able to be hurt and so he threw himself off a clock tower. He was correct in his belief and he awoke in the real world, where he was Batman once more and where his life was not fun filled place it could have been. Even though life was not the perfect place that his dreams were made of, it was still his life to live and he'd rather deal with the harsh truth than attempt to convince himself of the beautiful lie. It was a tough decision and not everybody given the same choice would opt for the outcome that he chose. Life can be pretty crappy at times and events and situations can be taken out of a person's control, leaving things even worse than they were before, but it's how you move on from that which really counts. No one can make your decisions for you and when given a choice in life the outcome relies solely on what you think will be best for you and no one else is to blame if things don't work out. Bruce Wayne made his choice and lived with it... but what would you do?
DAYDREAM BELIEVER: *Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy voiced four characters in Perchance To Dream: Batman, Bruce Wayne, Thomas Wayne and the dream world Batman.
*Commissioner Gordon made a (very) brief appearance in the episode, by turning up at the conclusion of the story with just one line of dialogue. It was hardly worth him bothering really... no wonder there's so much crime in Gotham City!
*The dream world's Dr Leslie Thompson gave an explanation of what Bruce was experiencing: "Even though I'm not a psychiatrist Bruce, your problem seems clear. You've led the sort of life where eveything has been handed to you, even Wayne Enterprises. You don't feel you've accomplished anything, it's all been laid out for you so your unconscious created a life more satisfying to you, You've identified with someone whose every deed has great value."