Conventional wisdom has it that season two of Batman is one long slide into mediocrity and repetition, but at least since Stanley Ralph Ross, the program’s best writer, got to pen the season opener, it starts with a good script. It’s not directed well, and the performances are all pretty lousy, and having a Robin Hood-themed villain steal from Bruce Wayne is a bit obvious, but it’s still just a little odd, and that’s a good thing.
The quirk this time out is that the Archer is embraced by Gotham’s poor and downtrodden, who spend all their days on a studio backlot street huddled around a hot dog cart and dressed like Daisy Mae from Li’l Abner – I’m pretty sure that one of the extras is wearing the same dress that Sherry Jackson wore in episode 31 – and after Batman and Robin capture him, the people of Gotham City cobble together $50,000 for his bail. Have I mentioned how downright dumb the people of Gotham are?
Daniel was not really interested in this episode, but that’s in part our fault because we overlooked that he doesn’t know who Robin Hood is. The Archer’s played by Art Carney, deliberately reading the goofball, cod-Shakespeare dialogue in a broad New Yawk accent. Also hanging out in this episode to get his face in front of all the millions of hip viewers is American Bandstand‘s host, Dick Clark. He’s the second of the window interruption cameos, following Jerry Lewis in season one. They somehow shoehorned him in while forgetting that Batman and Robin were climbing down from Commissioner Gordon’s office. We can only conclude from this that the police department rents out rooms on the second floor of their building to TV hosts.
So no, it’s not very good, but the concept of a villain who’s more popular than Batman is a great idea and deserved a little better than this. I wish Art Carney was acting as though he cared even a little about this job. In 1977, he was in an amazingly good film called The Late Show. I would much, much, much rather watch that than part two of this.