THE ARKHAM SESSIONS, by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the observation and clinical analysis of the characters in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.

This episode stands out as memorable, not because of the Mad Hatter's plan to use circus animals for burglary, but due to Dick Grayson's remarkable resilience as he encounters the place of his parents' death, the Haley Circus. His ability to manage traumatic memories, to face intense sorrow, and most of all, to identify a sense of purpose as a helper to the community within the very context of his personal loss are all aspects of his recovery that allow us incredible insight. Of course, Dick's functioning is juxtaposed with Batman's psychological health and we find them in very different places. Overall, topics discussed include triggers, resilience factors and trauma recovery.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_113_22Animal_Act22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 11:29am PST
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This week, we take on cults; specifically, cat cults led by Thomas Blake (aka Catman, in other incarnations of the DC Universe). And, clearly, we can't have cats without Catwoman! Will Selina finally win over Batman in her final appearance? And did her transformation into a cat-woman hybrid in "Tiger, Tiger" change her more than we'll ever know? Is Batman heading his own cult? These questions and more in this week's episode!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_112_22Cult_of_the_Cat22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 3:12pm PST
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When Farmer Brown's career of genetically enhancing animals crashes and burns at an agriculture fair, Batman has to defend Gotham City from those aforementioned genetically enhanced animals. We talk a little about steroid use, but ultimately, how we just wish this episode were...well...better.

We also take a deeper look at a very serious scene from last week's episode, "Mean Seasons."

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_111_22Critters22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 2:31pm PST
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We dedicate this episode to World Mental Health Day and continue to support this cause by illuminating the experiences of persons with mental health illnesses and struggles through the art and narrative of Batman.

In this episode, we explore the nature of self-hatred, shame, and identity. In "Mean Seasons," we're introduced to Calendar Girl, a mysteriously masked villainess who targets high-profile entrepreneurs in Gotham City. As her story unfolds, we learn that she feels burnt by previous employers and agents who refused to renew her modeling contract, and in revenge, she specifically threatens the lives of those powerful people who perpetuate the notion that women must be youthful, beautiful and physically perfect to remain relevant. Her narrative is more than skin-deep. In his parallel story, Batman encounters a new source of anxiety: Aging. As he tracks down Calendar Girl, his own feelings about usefulness and social value begin to haunt him: "What will happen if Batman retires?"

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_110_22Mean_Seasons22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:50pm PST
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In celebration of her 25th anniversary, Harley Quinn fittingly takes over the annual "Batman Day" this year. Here at The Arkham Sessions, we did what we do best: Analyze the most relevant animated Batman stories. This time, we watched the new DC Animated film, BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN. Though the story itself is straightforward and the character build-out flimsy, we were able to extract some of the most pertinent issues related to mental health and psychology. For instance, in defense of her sanity, Harley asserts that she is a "sociopath," not a "psychopath." What does she mean by this? Is she correct? And does Batman buy it? And were female characters, prominent throughout the movie, given fair portrayals in the story? 
 
We also diligently searched for the heart of the movie and, with the help of one of our friends and loyal listeners--Lauren Ritchie (@penguingonemad)--, we discussed why Harley Quinn is uniquely special to us as a character in comics: Her genuine, authentic expression of herself, her willingness to accept her own flaws, and her determination to remain free of constraints and limitations.  
 
Happy Harley Day! 
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Live from Ontario, California's Comic Con Revolution, our friend Livio Ramondelli, joins us to discuss his favorite episode "Over the Edge," which features the nightmarish realization that everything could easily come crashing down for Batman and Gotham City, if he's not able to keep the Bat Family safe.

Forgive the bad audio. It was recorded at a convention with folks who weren't entirely sure operating the sound board.

This episode is dedicated to our friend and comic legend (not to mention, writer of BTAS episodes), Len Wein, who passed away this week. Len was one of the most kind souls you'd ever have the blessing of meeting and he's dearly missed.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_108_22Over_the_Edge22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:47pm PST
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Do you get restless if you stay home for too long? Like going to new places rather than familiar ones? Prefer sports that involve a physical thrill such as surfing, rock climbing, and skiing?  You're probably a sensation seeker!

In this episode, we discuss the new character Roxy Rocket, a pro stunt person turned thrill-seeking criminal who has fixated on Batman. We discuss her propensity for risk and danger, and explain the neurobiological underpinnings of adrenaline addiction. For example, why would one person interpret a situation as terrifying, while another experiences exhilaration? Can addiction to thrills be psychologically harmful? Does Batman share any of these traits we see in Roxy? Buckle up and join us for an all-new episode!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_107_22The_Ultimate_Thrill22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 3:47pm PST
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Join us at San Diego Comic-Con, as we merely scratch the surface of the psychology of Batman: The Animated Series with two of the people most responsible for its success--Paul Dini and Alan Burnett! Also joining us is our dear friend, DC writer Brenden Fletcher. 

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In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we meet a classic Batman villain for the first (and last) time; we explore the development of stalking behavior through the narrative of Cassidy, a rising pop star; we dive into the "types" of stalkers; and we describe concrete factors that increase the risk of stalking violence. Listen now for the full analysis! 

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It's a relationship we never thought we'd ever see; a relationship we never even wanted to see: Killer Croc and Baby Doll, two people who feel they're misunderstood by society. Can finding one another help how they feel about themselves? Why do they each revert to versions of themselves that they're so desperate to shed? And could Bruce Wayne have been more helpful in reforming Baby Doll after their last meeting? There's A LOT to take in, as we assess "Love is a Croc!"

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_104_Love_is_a_Croc.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 12:29pm PST
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