Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: Worst Episode of the Series?

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LittleLouisGroovy
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Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: Worst Episode of the Series?

Post by LittleLouisGroovy »

Just watched "Louie's Lethal Lilac Time" and I have to say that it gets my vote for the worst episode of the series.

Ellis St. Joseph commented on the producers' commitment to Catwoman in the second season and not knowing how to use her, and I wonder if they were in a similar situation with Milton Berle/Louie the Lilac, because the "plot" is really uninspired. Once again, Louie is hatching a vague scheme to corner a market, but spends most of the episode in his clearly-labeled hideout smoking cigars, telling Bruce and Dick to stop talking, and listening to Lotus recite expository dialogue. Even Berle seems bored with the lack of activity. I don't recall another episode in which the villain plays such a passive role in his own scheme.

In general, there's a lot of standing around and waiting in this episode. Louie waits for Bruce to remove the scent pouches. Lotus waits for the oil to boil. The Gotham City police force wait to see what happens inside the factory.

Then there's that odd scene with Gordon pere et fille and O'Hara watching film clips of Batman and Robin in various death traps. Ignoring the implausibility of this scene, it still comes off as filler and possibly a money-saving strategy. ("Instead of staging a new sequence, we'll thrown in clips from last season and save a bundle!")

Also odd is the scene between Barbara and handyman Gus (Percy Helton). While I admit that this is the highlight of the episode for me, being a major fan of the Barbara Gordon apartment set, it doesn't add to the main storyline and also seems like filler.

As for having Bruce and Dick as hostages, thus reducing Batman's and Robin's screen time, it would have been more effective if Batgirl was given more to do. Instead, she sneaks into the hideout (which B&R were not able to do later in the episode) and is almost immediately overpowered.

It seems that when talk of worst episodes comes up, it usually leads to the Lord Ffogg and Nora Clavicle episodes, but in my opinion, those episodes are gems when compared to the second appearance of Louie the Lilac.

So, what do all of you think of this episode?

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John Mack
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Re: Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: Worst Episode of the Series?

Post by John Mack »

Yes, I admit it's not one of my favs, but I find something I like in all episodes.

John
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High C
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Re: Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: Worst Episode of the Series?

Post by High C »

Excellent post, LittleLouisGroovy. You made a lot of terrific points.
LittleLouisGroovy wrote:Just watched "Louie's Lethal Lilac Time" and I have to say that it gets my vote for the worst episode of the series.

Ellis St. Joseph commented on the producers' commitment to Catwoman in the second season and not knowing how to use her, and I wonder if they were in a similar situation with Milton Berle/Louie the Lilac, because the "plot" is really uninspired.
There has been speculation that Berle was 'burning off' an ABC contract, but that hasn't been proven. But perhaps if ABC at least footed part of the bill for him, that saved Greenway some money.
Once again, Louie is hatching a vague scheme to corner a market, but spends most of the episode in his clearly-labeled hideout smoking cigars, telling Bruce and Dick to stop talking, and listening to Lotus recite expository dialogue. Even Berle seems bored with the lack of activity. I don't recall another episode in which the villain plays such a passive role in his own scheme.

In general, there's a lot of standing around and waiting in this episode. Louie waits for Bruce to remove the scent pouches. Lotus waits for the oil to boil. The Gotham City police force wait to see what happens inside the factory.
Yeah, it's pretty boring.
Then there's that odd scene with Gordon pere et fille and O'Hara watching film clips of Batman and Robin in various death traps. Ignoring the implausibility of this scene, it still comes off as filler and possibly a money-saving strategy. ("Instead of staging a new sequence, we'll thrown in clips from last season and save a bundle!")
Maybe the worst filler of the show's entire run.
As for having Bruce and Dick as hostages, thus reducing Batman's and Robin's screen time, it would have been more effective if Batgirl was given more to do. Instead, she sneaks into the hideout (which B&R were not able to do later in the episode) and is almost immediately overpowered.
And Louie immediately deciding to have her killed also doesn't jibe with the earlier Louie story, in which he had Princess Primrose in a trance so she could sing his praises and bring the flower children, aka hippies, over to his side. Surely Batgirl in a trance could have helped his plot in some way.

And you didn't even mention the AWFUL deus ex machina that wraps up the episode, the 'Instant Unfolding Bat-Costumes (just add water).' I can believe some gadgets, but that was ridiculous and an obvious reach from a writer (Charles Hoffman) who had painted himself into a corner.

And consider this--if Bruce had those all the time, why not ask Louie for water MUCH earlier? The only reason not to do so is to extend the episode.
It seems that when talk of worst episodes comes up, it usually leads to the Lord Ffogg and Nora Clavicle episodes, but in my opinion, those episodes are gems when compared to the second appearance of Louie the Lilac.
I agree in that I've often said on the previous board how both of those episodes could have been made better with some writing and/or casting tweaks. I really can't think of a way to make this episode better, considering the premise is so slight.

Again, great post.
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Bob
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Re: Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: Worst Episode of the Series?

Post by Bob »

The worst episode in a terrible season. It made Lord Ffogg and Nora Clavicle episodes look good !

The Siamese Human Knot was such a cool trap it elevated that episode, for me anyway !

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: Worst Episode of the Series?

Post by Dr. Shimel »

This episode immediately preceded the infamous Clavicle episode, with its Homeymooners-style background of painted-on buildings. So obviously, this period was during an especially tight budget stretch. It shouldn't be too surprising that a week or so after these episodes aired, the show was cancelled.

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NJ_Batfan
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Re: Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: Worst Episode of the Series?

Post by NJ_Batfan »

LittleLouisGroovy wrote:Just watched "Louie's Lethal Lilac Time" and I have to say that it gets my vote for the worst episode of the series.

Ellis St. Joseph commented on the producers' commitment to Catwoman in the second season and not knowing how to use her, and I wonder if they were in a similar situation with Milton Berle/Louie the Lilac, because the "plot" is really uninspired. Once again, Louie is hatching a vague scheme to corner a market, but spends most of the episode in his clearly-labeled hideout smoking cigars, telling Bruce and Dick to stop talking, and listening to Lotus recite expository dialogue. Even Berle seems bored with the lack of activity. I don't recall another episode in which the villain plays such a passive role in his own scheme.

In general, there's a lot of standing around and waiting in this episode. Louie waits for Bruce to remove the scent pouches. Lotus waits for the oil to boil. The Gotham City police force wait to see what happens inside the factory.

Then there's that odd scene with Gordon pere et fille and O'Hara watching film clips of Batman and Robin in various death traps. Ignoring the implausibility of this scene, it still comes off as filler and possibly a money-saving strategy. ("Instead of staging a new sequence, we'll thrown in clips from last season and save a bundle!")

Wisely, this scene is often the first to be clipped in syndication. It does nothing to move the plot, except when Mr. Buck (groan) calls to report the animal theft from the zoo.

Clip shows are often used when the producers are overbudget and need to deliver an extra show to the network, but I wonder if it was done to stretch the script in this case. The logic of cameramen standing by to film the clips used is ridiculous. Robin is being eaten by the giant clam and the cameramen stand by idly and film it instead of trying to help? Ditto for Batman and Robin being made into Frosty Freezes.


Also odd is the scene between Barbara and handyman Gus (Percy Helton). While I admit that this is the highlight of the episode for me, being a major fan of the Barbara Gordon apartment set, it doesn't add to the main storyline and also seems like filler.


I've also seen this scene trimmed to start with Barbara entering her bedroom to make the switch.

As for having Bruce and Dick as hostages, thus reducing Batman's and Robin's screen time, it would have been more effective if Batgirl was given more to do. Instead, she sneaks into the hideout (which B&R were not able to do later in the episode) and is almost immediately overpowered.

In one of Batman's patronizing moments, he tells Batgirl, "You've had a tough day."



It seems that when talk of worst episodes comes up, it usually leads to the Lord Ffogg and Nora Clavicle episodes, but in my opinion, those episodes are gems when compared to the second appearance of Louie the Lilac.

So, what do all of you think of this episode?

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clavierankh
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Re: Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: Worst Episode of the Series?

Post by clavierankh »

I agree with all the comments here. We are never told for exxample , what makes LOuie's perfume so special he can corner the market.

At the end of Louie The Lilac Batgirl spritzed Louie with instant mildew. In this one he could have come backed mildewed, seeking revenge on Batgirl. I think one reason for not doing this was that Milton didn't want to where extra make-up.

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Robin's Girl
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Re: Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: Worst Episode of the Series?

Post by Robin's Girl »

Agreed. Not much action or much of anything happens in this episode, everyone is just hanging around, sitting or standing and waiting for something to happen. I didn't think the showing of clips added anything to the episode and it made me think of one of those episodes where they show clips from past shows to "review" or "refresh" the viewer's memories of it and mostly as filler. It also seemed pointless because nothing useful came out it in the scene.

I did like the scene of Barbara's apartment because it gave us a rare view into seeing what situations she may face in keeping people from discovering her secret crime fighting identity. The one thing that I really did not understand, though, was Louie's logic in making a lilac perfume in order to corner the whole perfume market. It just did not make sense to me at all. I realize he was a mobster, but he was a very inactive one.

This episode did feel sort of flat plot-wise and kind of lacking. But I did enjoy it, especially seeing Dick and Bruce in a bind so as they couldn't become Batman and Robin right away. But I may not have liked it as much as other episodes, to be honest.
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Mr. Deathtrap
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Re: Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: Worst Episode of the Series?

Post by Mr. Deathtrap »

Citizens,

LittleLouisGroovy makes a strong argument for "Louie's Lethal Lilac Time" being the series' worst episode, but I think the premise and offscreen action in the "Joker's Flying Saucer" place the dubious distinction elsewhere.

The idea in this story, I think, is to make Batgirl operate on her own. I like this idea. Beyond this premise, the story is heavily padded with the videos in the Commissioner's office and the scene in Barbara's apartment with the handyman.

We do get to see a lot of Bruce; Dick; and Barbara, who is worth seeing at the Wayne beach house. Louie's plot is typically nonsensical and the police go into their usual paralysis as soon as the villain is reported to be in Gotham City. (He didn't break any laws yet, but some alert citizen called the cops and they called Batman.)

I do like the idea of Louie wanting revenge for spraying him with the mildew. He managed a comeback of sorts though. Lila obviously dumped him, but he managed to pick up Lotus for his new, evil, entrepreneurial effort.

Mr. Deathtrap
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