When Batman: the Animated Series hit the airwaves in 1992 it was an instant success. The dark and moody interpretation of the Dark Knight was welcomed by fans young and old. The first episode, On Leather Wings was very serious and was given a 'feature film' treatment in terms of storytelling, camera angles and voice actors.
But the second episode produced, Christmas With the Joker is almost a 180 degree turn in the wrong direction! I cannot express how much I despise this episode. It is the weakest of the series and a low blow after a fantastic pilot episode. The animation is awful, characters (Joker especially) were of model, the lipsync is way off and the story tries to cram way too much into 22 minutes.
I knew this one was bad news as soon as the episode started with the Joker singing 'Jingle Bells, Batman Smells' while blasting through the roof of Arkham Asylum on a rocket powered Christmas tree.
This is the first introduction to the Joker and in particular Mark Hamill as the voice of the Clown Prince of Crime. But while the Joker is an evil sadist bent on ruining Batman's life, this Joker is a funfilled jokester who just loves a good, deadly prank. While the pilot episode brought realism to the screen, this one brought absurdity.
If you want to check it out for your self Christmas With the Joker is available in Batman: the Animated Series, Volume One.