Rainbow – Zipman and Bobbin

Welcome back to Batman Parody Month! Now, a year or so ago, I looked at an episode of the bizarre children’s series Rainbow, a show about the adventures of a bear, a hippo and a zip-mouthed whatever. The episode I looked at was a Superman parody, and as it turns out, Rainbow also did a Batman parody as well. This one aired in 1989, so it was obviously homage to the Tim Burton movie released the same year. Remember that movie, and how in 1989, it was just as big as The Dark Knight was in 2008? Well, the Tim Burton movie may not have aged well, but this Rainbow episode makes it look a masterpiece. Hell, it’s probably weirder than Batman Returns was.

Because Jack in the Boxes weren't nightmarish enough.

Because Jack in the Boxes weren’t nightmarish enough.

The episode begins with Zippy the zip-faced abomination in a cardboard box, singing the 60’s Batman theme with a voice that sounds like an accordion being strangled. The box he’s playing in is pretty small, and given the size of his head, I have a hard time believing he can fit in there. So maybe he’s using a portal; he looks demonic enough to have access to black magic. After annoying Geoffrey the human, he annoys Bungle the bear, saying that he’s playing at being Batman and his cardboard box is his Batmobile. It’s kinda strange seeing him as Batman given he was the baddy in the Superman spoof (the Zod figure, I guess). I’d rather see Zippy as the Joker, since I think his zip mouth would go well with the red lipstick and mouth scars, or maybe Riddler, given that he’s just as much an annoying egotistical prick as Riddler was in the Arkham games.

Then we get an interlude where some woman shows us how to make a little car out of cardboard. Thank you, Rainbow, thank you dearly, I could not have lived a second longer without this crucial information. Now that I know how to make a little cardboard steering wheel, my life is complete! Also, we have a little cartoon where a dog fails at filling a paddling pool, certainly the type of thing to expect in something inspired by the Dark Knight.

This is the face of a dog who hates his life.

This is the face of a dog who hates his life.

Zippy now has a slightly larger box to fuck about in, before George the hippo makes his appearance. Inspired by George’s mistake, Zippy decides to christen himself Zipman, which sounds like the sort of name you’d encounter at the Gothic Arsehole. George also gets a superhero name in Bobbin, because he keeps “bobbing” around. Ha ha I hate my life.

Well, okay then.

Well, okay then.

Then we get Zippy’s fantasy where he and George are Zipman and Bobbin. We all make jokes about how Robin’s costume looks gay, well, then take a look at what George is wearing. Fredric Wertham is spinning in his grave. Zipman tells George about how “Joker Geoffrey” wants to stop people laughing. If he wants to stop people laughing, why is he called “Joker”? Why not…er… “unJoker” or something? Still, I guess it’s kinda ballsy to put a character who was just getting back his reputation as an insane mass murderer into a silly kiddie show like this.

"Jack is dead, my friend...and so's my dignity."

“Jack is dead, my friend…and so’s my dignity.”

We get our first look at “Joker Geoffrey” when he tells his underling “Sourface Bungle” to stop laughing at the TV. Joker Geoffrey actually has a decent outfit that’s pretty close to what Jack Nicholson wore in the 1989 movie, but Bungle looks just as he usually does. Aw, when I heard “Sourface” I thought he was going to be a spoof on Two-Face, and it would have been even more ballsy to put him in a baby show like this.

Anyway, Geoffrey and Bungle have stolen all the comics in the world. Then after a weird animated transition, they steal all the jokes from the joke shops. So this episode has a similar problem to “Super Bungle”; Zipman is Zippy’s self-fulfillment fantasy, and yet Zipman is a shitty superhero. Bungle just robbed a lot of joke shops and Zipman did nothing to stop him. Wow, even in his fantasies, Zippy is an useless twat. Also, Geoffrey at one point puts on a clown mask, laughs, then demands to know who laughed. Okay, so Joker Geoffrey is just as insane as regular Joker, just in a different way. I guess credit where credit’s due.

Then again, Bungle and Geoffrey are colossal pussies. Bungle freaks out when he sees a fake spider, and when they hear Zipman and Bobbin, they hide under a sheet as if Zippy and George were Grunts. Zipman and Bobbin arrive at Geoffrey’s lair, and all I can say is ‘About bloody time.’ Where were you when Bungle was robbing the fucking joke shops?

Zipman sees Geoffrey and Bungle under the sheet, so instead of pulling off the sheet, he gets out a “Mighty Flea” to make the villains itch. Mighty Flea sounds like a much more interesting protagonist than Zipman, can we follow him? Geoffrey and Bungle emerge from their hiding place, and thankfully for them, it turns out Zipman and Bobbin are just as big pussies as they are, for the heroes are also terrified of a plastic spider. Geoffrey and Bungle attempt to escape, but are blocked by Zipman’s “Invisible Wall”, which turns them into retarded mimes. I guess the “Invisible Wall” may be a joke about Batman’s deus ex machina utility belt, but I don’t think Rainbow is that clever.

So how does Zipman defeat Geoffrey? In the 1989 movie, Joker was defeated by being thrown off of a church tower to his death, so how does “Zipman and Bobbin” try to top that? Zipman threatens Bungle, and Bungle then tickles Geoffrey. Geoffrey laughs and the fantasy ends. So, did that make him return all the jokes and comics then? In “Super Bungle”, Zippoid vowed to return the toys he stole. So, I guess Bungle is a marginally better storyteller than Zippy then.

Returning to “reality”, Zippy annoys the shit out of everyone again and Bungle tickles Geoffrey again. The fucking end.

Wow, this paled in comparison to “Super Bungle”. I mean, there, Bungle’s superhero fantasy had a purpose – getting Zippy to share his toys – and didn’t have any crap about making cardboard cars either. Then again, this show isn’t really suited for superhero parodies. Even the Joker himself would be weirded out by this one.


About jabberw

A writer of short stories and reviews, who likes to dabble in other creative media as well.
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