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 and DOOM PATROL.

We're continuing our analysis of the original Star Wars (1977) film and weigh in on the utility of the "Hero's Journey" literary paradigm as it relates to whimsical space fantasy.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_197_Star_Wars_ANH_Part_2.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Happy Halloween, Gothamites! In this very special episode, we're breaking down the animated adaptation of Jeph Loeb's and Tim Sale's iconic THE LONG HALLOWEEN!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_22The_Long_Halloween22_Special.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00am PST

In part one of this two-part analysis, we discuss the framework of Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey" and map the characters, plot line, and relationships to this universal monomyth. We focus on Luke Skywalker, the inexperienced, sheltered farmboy seeking something bigger than his humble, dull life on the remote planet of Tatooine. But the shallowness of his search for greatness, how privileged he is, and whether he deserves legacy becomes debatable.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_195_Star_Wars_ANH.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

The new Star Wars series, ANDOR, serves us a mature drama without the wholesomeness of lightsabers, Jedi wizards, and baby Yoda. Cassian Andor is a marginalized laborer in a small mining town who uses his resourcefulness and tenacity to survive during the slow, vicious rise of the Imperial dictatorship. Diving into Andor's story requires a candid and nuanced look into violent behavior; Dr. Drea reviews the main "modes" of violence and names the drivers leading to targeted violence seen in the show.

To hear the rest of our analyses of Andor, join the "Batman Beyond" tier at Patreon.com/ArkhamSessions!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_194_22Andor_Episodes_1-422.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

In our discussion about Star Wars: Rogue One, Dr. Drea discusses how both American history and psychological research point to non-violence as the most effective approach to sustainable social change; but nothing about an equal rights fight is ever truly, fundamentally, peaceful.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_193_Rogue_One.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

We has such an amazing time at San Diego Comic-Con, and were so thankful to have some very special guests join us for our panel. Melissa Flores is the writer of the brand-new comic, The Dead Lucky, from Image Comics; Livio Ramondelli is the writer/artist of The Kill Lock, from IDW Comics; and Jeremy Adams is doing some of his very best work as the writer of DC's The Flash comics. Together, they share how they keep mental health in mind when writing for a diverse, complicated audience. It's fun and insightful, and we're thrilled to share our first live panel after a three-year hiatus from San Diego! 


Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022) is a series that takes place 10 years after the uprising of the Sith, and the birth of Darth Vader. When Kenobi faces his old apprentice--now, an unrecognizable masked, dark figure--he searches for a connection with Anakin.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_191_22Obi-Wan_Kenobi22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

In the ambitious 2018 film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, there's some familiarity about this younger version of Han Solo. But is it necessary? And did we learn anything new about this original trilogy's character?
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_190_Solo_A_Star_Wars_Story.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

The final film of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), shows us the final deterioration of Jedi Anakin Skywalker and his fall to the Dark Side.


Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002) takes place ten years after Anakin Skywalker was rescued from slavery by the Jedi community and taken in as an apprentice. But he is increasingly angry, frustrated, and embittered, and his impatience and selfishness grow to a worrisome level. Dr. Drea explains the complex factors that can lead to the kind of destructive behavior seen in Anakin.


Enough criticism has been voiced about "the prequels," but what does Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) offer in lessons of personal, relational, and spiritual well-being?


Avengers: Endgame (2019) is heavy and full of heartache. The "snap," the massive extermination of billions of people, amounts to the kind of interpersonal trauma not yet seen in the MCU, but certainly one we can relate to now.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_186_22Avengers_Endgame22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 11:00pm PST

Brian and Drea rewatch Captain Marvel with the explicit intention of picking up on its problems and check their own biases, perspectives, and expectations. How does a story of resilience--one that shows the power of endurance, grit, and self-confidence--fall so flat?

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_185_22Captain_Marvel22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

In this episode, we talk about Ant-Man and the Wasp, but really focus our attention on Ghost and Janet Van Dyne, the two characters who are clearly suffering the most. Or, at least, should be.


We hit our very first in-person WonderCon in three years! And we couldn't be more thankful to be able to speak about the psychology of Matt Reeves's new movie The Batman with our very special guests, History of the Batman's Londyn Jackson and Heroes Reforged's Hector Navarro.


The inevitable is here. It's time for INFINITY WAR, so we're discussing Thanos and the Dark Triad!


The Marvel film Black Panther (2018) marks a turning point in the comic book cinematic landscape of predominantly white superheroes. The film highlights real global tensions such as the national hoarding of resources and gatekeeping of outsiders; at its core, though, the film is about individual tensions: belongingness, identity, and family.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_181_22Black_Panther22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

Once again, Drea gets the chance to analyze Loki! But, in addition to this fan favorite, we also take a close look at Hulk; Scrapper-142; Odin's firstborn, Hela; and, of course, Thor himself! Plus, we discuss the erasure of Asgard's history by the conquerors themselves.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_180_22Thor_Ragnarok22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a celebration of youthhood, an invitation to find gratitude for our younger days, and to remember what it was like before things got ...complicated. Dr. Drea points out that some early life experiences do accelerate a teenager's psychosocial growth and maturity, including ones that offer autonomy, self-sufficiency, increased responsibilities, and worldly exposure.

Bounding several fictional planets across the far-reaching expanse of space, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017) is a journey very close to home. The film handles serious topics such as family violence, abuse, child trafficking, and abandonment through the vulnerability and imperfection of its characters.

Doctor Strange ascends as a master of the mystic arts, but he also demonstrates the importance of the growth mindset - our mental openness, flexibility, and curiosity. Join us, as we explore Dr. Stephen Strange's fall from grace and rise to potential Sorcerer Supreme!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_177_22Doctor_Strange22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

At the Black Widow's core is the question of what's real or not real. Natasha's family, though forced together under subterfuge, became meaningful, interconnected, bonded. "Family" is the people around us who give us comfort, connection and belongingness and who see us for who we are. Connectedness, not heredity, has the power to counterbalance adversity.
 
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_176_22Black_Widow22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

 
In this MEGA holiday episode, which focuses on Captain America: Civil War, we discuss the reality and morality of various "registration acts," and the fictional and real-life elements of brainwashing. 

We're taking a look at the MCU's 2015 installment of Ant-Man, starring the ever-charming and never-aging Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and Evangeline Lilly. It's a fun romp; but does it fall flat emotionally? Listen in to find out!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_174_22Ant-Man22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Earth's mightiest heroes face off with an A.I. gone wild; Ultron evolves past his original programming and becomes a formidable, violent robot seeking to destroy humans so that his super-sentient army of bots can take over as Earth's more suitable occupants. We evaluate Ultron's plan - is Ultron a global terrorist, or just saving earthlings from their own natural course of destroying one another through warfare, genocide, and terrestrial destruction?  The debate, best illustrated by Cap and Tony, is one of control and self-determination.

Through Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, we learn the power of family, whether it's our origin families or the ones we find along the way. 


Captain America is living with depression. And that's okay. Take a listen to our analysis of Captain America: The Winter Soldier!


Should this episode be titled Thor: The Dark World? Or Loki: The Dark World? Decide for yourself, after you tune in to hear Drea's ongoing analysis of Loki and his moments of closeness and compassion with members of his family to understand the concept of Family Systems Theory.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_170_22Thor_The_Dark_World22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

The seventh film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Iron Man 3, shows a burnt out Tony Stark struggling with the traumatic ramifications of the interdimensional, interplanetary war seen in The Battle of New York (The Avengers). Drea and Brian first examine the sociopolitical context of Iron Man 3, which places a backdrop of intensified ideas around middle eastern terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and a singular disconcerting extremist leader (in this case, the Mandarin). Then, they discuss the signs and possibility that Tony Stark has PTSD from the near-death experience and life-threatening events of the Battle of New York.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_169_22Iron_Man_322.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

We wrap up our very first Marvel "season" of the podcast with our enthusiastic review of the Disney+ series, Loki. After covering all six films in Phase I of the MCU, we proceed by following the alternate timeline that plucks Loki out of the Endgame timeline and propels him toward his quest for self-discovery and, of course, glorious purpose!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_168_22Loki22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Knowing how to build a strong team is so important, especially during a crisis. We rewatch the 2012 Marvel film The Avengers and look for psychological tools that could be valuable to us, as our world grapples with its own formidable crisis.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_167_22The_Avengers22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Captain America symbolizes equality, justice, and fairness for all, but he could easily be minimized to a simple ideology. We rewatch the 2011 film CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER and explore/question why so many Marvel fans choose Cap as their favorite superhero.
 

In this episode, we welcome the Norse Mythology and Shakespearean overtones that flavor the Marvel movie, Thor (2011)!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_165_22Thor22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

We're reviewing the third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man 2 (2010); and discuss the 5 Stages of Grief, as they relate to Tony's impending death by blood poisoning. We also discuss our own "hype songs!" Learn what they are by listening now!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_164_22Iron_Man_222.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

"You won't like me when I'm angry."
 
But...what if you're just ...excited? We rewatch The Incredible Hulk (2008) from Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and discuss the disorders most laypersons and mental health specialists try to assign to the Hulk.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_163_22The_Incredible_Hulk22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

We begin our dive into the MCU with 2008's IRON MAN. We discuss the personality similarities and differences between Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne; his damaged ego and shift in vision; assess for post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, and depression; and weigh in on why his candid, unapologetic nature serves as less a cover for his unease and more of an indicator of his unstoppable drive toward social action.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_162_22Iron_Man22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

At the request of our loyal Patrons, Dr. Drea and Brian finally take the opportunity to break down the psychology of Zack Snyder's Justice League!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_161_22The_Snyder_Cut22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

We wrap up our coverage of the inaugural season of Steven Universe and notice that, compared to earlier episodes, the storytelling is more arc-forming and that the stakes are higher--disasters, losses, and crises have very clear consequences. 


Things are kicking into high gear! In this batch of episodes, we're finally able to analyze Garnet; Stevonnie; and the traumatic past of Amethyst. Steven Universe has it all!


We descend further into the Steven Universe adventure with our coverage of 10 more episodes of the beloved series. During this episode, Drea picks up on a pattern in Steven's social interactions--when others make jokes or use sarcasm, Steven often misses the intent and takes the comments seriously. His literal approach prompted us to wonder if he has features of Autism.


Brian and Drea focus on Pearl, the maternal or "big sister" figure to the group. Best characterized as very organized, mature, and responsible, Pearl is also seen as overly rigid, perfectionistic, stern, and domineering. In our discussion, we share why this personality profile can lead to rejection; and yet, when more deeply investigated, Pearl's personality is quite layered and nuanced.


In this episode, we dive into the psychology of Amethyst! Is she lazy? Aggressive? Or just misunderstood? Dr. Drea and Brian take on the Purple Puma herself; and even uncover which of the Crystal Gems Drea fears she may be!

 


The podcast embarks on a new chapter, as we begin the journey of exploring the beloved animated show, Steven Universe! Using the Big 5 Personality traits as a model, we discuss Steven's strengths and features; taking into account how much of his personality may have been shaped by his environment and past life events.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_155_22Steven_Universe_1-522.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 2:00pm PST

In our coverage of the third and final film in the Nolan trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, Drea and Brian connect the events surrounding Bane's violent coup to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that took place on January 6, 2021. With a focus on explaining the fundamental causes of real-world terrorism, Drea outlines the psychological mechanisms involved in political radicalization and extremism, and clarifies widely held myths about the role of mental illness as a factor.

"And here we go!"

After several years of exploring the psychology of Batman, Brian and Drea finally discuss Christopher Nolan's acclaimed film, The Dark Knight.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_153_22The_Dark_Knight22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:00pm PST

Brian and Drea take listeners back to 2005 to revisit the well-received live-action film, Batman Begins. What does Batman Begins teach us about our relationship with fear? What can we do when we are stifled by fear, worry, or panic? Listen to the show for suggestions on how to manage and maintain emotional well-being.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_152_22Batman_Begins22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 1:00pm PST

It's the finale of Doom Patrol's inaugural season. How have our characters progressed? Or regressed? Is Niles the ultimate baddie? We cover one last episode, before moving onto brand-new things!


In the realm of narrative psychology, our life story isn't just a mundane list of facts--it's the way we integrate our experiences and events internally. Drea and Brian explore the second-to-last episode in their analysis of Doom Patrol: Season 1!


The Doom Patrol finally meets Flex Mentallo, Man of Muscle Mystery!

As we continue to discuss these characters and their feelings of deep regret, we talk about the importance of looking back at mistakes and the dilemma of "cancel culture." With Doom Patrol giving us good--yet still chaotic--role models, we address these challenges and give some tips that might help listeners manage their own spaces toward safety and self-betterment. 

 
To celebrate Juneteenth, we've decided to analyze the first episode of HBO's WATCHMEN; which introduced many people to the existence of the very real Tulsa Race Riots (or "Black Wall Street Massacre") of 1921. In this episode, we take a look at this historical event and discuss its use in this series, by showrunner Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers). We also cover what it means to be an ally, correctly and incorrectly.

How reliable are our memories? Science and fiction intersect in interesting ways in this episode of The Arkham Sessions!


In this episode, we draw upon the experiences of Doom Patrol heroes, Negative Man and Robot Man, as they revisit their mistakes and discover how to end the pain they're holding onto. For Cliff, this means meeting his estranged daughter and facing some hard decisions about whether to be in her life. For Larry, he has an opportunity to tell the man he has loved all his life what he truly meant to him. And Cyborg? Well, he's doing a little psychological dissecting of his own as he forcefully slices into his bicep out of fear of finding out whether he is more machine than man. Hear what we have to say by listening to the show!


The term pogonophile refers to a person who has an obsessive love of beards. We discuss this concept and go down a few hairy rabbit holes in this episode centering around a new character, The Beard Hunter. 

TeePublic: https://www.teepublic.com/stores/the-arkham-sessions?ref_id=11228


This episode of Doom Patrol centers entirely around (and in) Jane's psyche. With 64 different personalities, Jane could easily be a textbook example of the mental health condition known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (or Multiple Personality Disorder). But there's far more to this story. 

Hero's Journey Fitness can be found here

When asked for help, Larry and Vic visit Danny the Street, a benevolent, sentient street--yes, street--that acts as a mecca for the disenfranchised; with abilities to help you become the person you truly are. Additionally, Cliff and Rita find themselves trying to stop the wedding of Karen--a lovesick alter of Jane's--and the poor soul she has trapped in her spell. This episode is about the importance of honoring your true, authentic self and we even explore the possibility of a familiar disorder for Karen.
 
As mentioned in the show, we're supporting some folks whose businesses are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please consider visiting their sites and social media to show some love.

Fanbase Press: https://fanbasepress.ecrater.com/

Livio Ramondelli: @LivioRamondelli

The Kill Lock, from IDW Publishing: https://www.idwpublishing.com/product/the-kill-lock-1/

Hero Within: https://herowithinstore.com/


The gang has learned that Mr. Nobdy is using its members' sordid pasts against them. Determined to avoid collapsing the way the original Doom Patrol once did, Cliff demands the group sits down for "therapy." Drea discusses the concept of group therapy, while she breaks down each member's own trauma. Plus, we unveil the options for what we analyze next! Tune in, to learn how you can help us decide!

And, yes; you heard correctly... Brian's dad has written a book! If you love the idea of dragons existing in the real, present-day mountains of North Carolina, you're gonna love A Dragon Under the Mountain.

Finally, this episode is dedicated to our dear friend, a brilliant writer of animation, David Wise, who passed away earlier this week.


In examining this episode of Doom Patrol, we talk about the ethics of entangling romance with psychotherapy. We also discuss the field of psychology and the emerging counseling interventions known under the umbrella of "energy psychology."  From healing crystals to tapping, we examine various fringe psychotherapeutic practices in order to better understand the real from the fantasy.

Add a little dark humor, several talking animals and insects, and a some intense flashbacks, and you'll get this bizarre episode of Doom Patrol! Our dark heroes are struggling to save the world, now that the apocalypse they were warned about begins to emerge as a real threat. Do the needs of the many truly outweigh the needs of the few? We discuss the trolley problem and announce our brand-new Patreon - a special treat for Gothamites who listen to the Arkham Sessions!  

 

 
 

Inter-dimensional portals. A battle with an army made of unsent letters. A singing horse head. Cyborg's inflated ego. Our examination of the show Doom Patrol moves forward with one of the oddest episodes yet!


The team goes to Paraguay to rescue the Chief, but instead, come across the infamous lab created by Heinrich von Fuchs--which is now a spa-like experience for all of your customized metaphysical needs. This episode is all about control. Who's in it? And who's not? Visit our new shop (https://www.teepublic.com/stores/the-arkham-sessions?ref_id=11228) for t-shirts, stickers, totes, and more!


In this episode, we get to focus on Robot Man and his relationship with Crazy Jane, the girl with 64 individual personalities--each with its own set of powers. We also meet Cyborg, a hero who's trying to live up to a promise his mother will never hear. Meanwhile, we dive further into the deep, dark recesses of Rita and Larry's psyches, as they explore an unusual dimension with their new cybernetic ally.


The time has finally come! Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward begin their analysis of DC Universe's Doom Patrol! Join us, as we discuss Robotman, Elasti-Woman, Negative Man, and each of their lives and traumas leading up to this glorious moment!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_136_22Doom_Patrol_Pilot22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 3:11pm PST

After a couple of weeks at the top of the box office, Drea and Brian finally get to cover Joaquin Phoenix's take on the Clown Prince of Crime in Todd Phillips' Joker. Up first, we get into a little conversation about our thoughts on the film; followed by Drea's complete Los Angeles Comic Con panel with History of the Batman's Londyn Jackson!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_135_22Joker22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 3:03pm PST

Drea's panel on parasocial relationships, from New York Comic Con 2019, "I Love You 3000: Managing Real Feelings About Fictional Characters," with guest panelists Dan Slott (Spider-Man); Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die) and Kieron Gillen (Wicked + Divine). Moderated by the Daily Dot's Michelle Jaworski.


There's a sinister new presence in Gotham. He has a grudge and... he appears to know Batman's alter ego. But how? It's a mystery that must be solved, before Bruce Wayne's world comes crashing down. It's the animated adaptation of one of the most popular Batman stories ever told and we're analyzing it--and the original book--on this episode!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_133_22Hush22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:48pm PST

Batman returns to Metropolis to stop Ra's al Ghul from draining the Man of Steel of his strength, once again, prolonging life for the villain. But we explore alternatives to Ra's' addiction to life. We also question Talia's loyalty and Lois' and Superman's cultural sensitivity. Finally, we discuss Brian's Death Clock. Wait, what?! All of that, plus the start date for our analysis of DOOM PATROL, in this episode!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_132_22The_Demon_Reborn22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm PST

In an effort to uncover the truth about Bruce Wayne's disappearance and dismantle the new criminal regime in Gotham City, Superman confidently dives into the crime-ridden streets of Gotham City to play detective. Though this lighthearted episode of Superman: The Animated Series pokes fun at Batman's obvious mood swings, it carries some deeper messages around what it is truly like to be in Batman's shoes.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_131_22Knight_Time22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:20am PST

Writers Brenden Fletcher and Cecil Castellucci join us for an amazing in-depth look at a character with which they're both very familiar: Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl. Brenden, along with Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr, introduced us the world to the mega-popular "Batgirl of Burnside," taking over for Gail Simone. Cecil has only just begun her tenure as the new writer for DC's Batgirl, starting with issue #37 in July. Together, we break down this iconic hero of Gotham City in front of a full room at San Diego Comic-Con! 


We're taking an ever-so-brief break from Batman and the DC Universe to analyze the X-Men show that, many say, shares the title of the most influential animated series of the '90s. And we're not alone! Joining us for this amazing live panel is the husband-and-wife team of showrunner Eric Lewald and writer Julia Lewald.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_129_22WonderCon_2019_XMEN22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 6:00am PST

Excited to examine Batman when he's out of his element, we eagerly turn to Superman: The Animated Series to see how Bats and Supes interact when they have similar goals but very different missions.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_128_22Worlds_Finest22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 2:47pm PST

It's the end of an era. Now that we've seen all of Batman: The Animated Series, including The Adventures of Batman & Robin and The New Batman Adventures, we're answering the questions you've submitted and revisiting some of our favorite rogues, heroes and moments from the show. We'll also tell you where the podcast is going next!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_127_22BTAS_Wrap_Up22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:52pm PST

Dubbed by fans "The Lost Episode," the Adventures of Batman & Robin video game, released for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, was written by Paul Dini and directed by Bruce Timm and incorporated brand-new cut scenes that were fully animated sequences that put the story directly within the world we've been covering. Therefore, we just had to take a look and we're glad we did, as it gave us the opportunity to re-touch on a very important topic, especially for recent times: empathy.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_126_22The_Lost_Episode22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:09pm PST

Our Caped Crusader is ticked off to learn there is a new female vigilante in Gotham City. Her strong-arm tactics and masked identity make her a clear counterpart to Batman. In our discussion, we explore the concept of the "inner voice" based in self-determination theory. What does our internal self instruct us to do, and how are we motivated by ourselves? Finally, what is Batman's inner voice and how does he self-direct? Join us for the discussion!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_125_22Mystery_of_the_Batwoman22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:26pm PST

It's our final official episode covering Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures

The Judge is on a spree to serve his own version of justice throughout Gotham City, targeting some of the most infamous and dangerous rogues and a corrupt Gotham City council member asserts that this harsh approach is more effective than sending each criminal to the "revolving door of Arkham." Batman's shrewd detective work leads to a surprising discovery: Two-Face IS The Judge! In our discussion, we explore possible explanations for Two-Face's third persona -- is it best captured with a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalities)? Or better explained as bizarre personality shifts following a traumatic brain injury? Another possible explanation is Harvey Dent's willful self-destruction. As this is the last episode produced as part of the animated collection, we address how the themes of rogue lawfulness and subversion of community moral standards fit in with Batman lore. Also, announcements about our next chapter are made! 
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_124_22Judgment_Day22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:00am PST

What happens when a charismatic investigative journalist is exposed to both the Joker's laughing toxin AND the very chemicals that transformed the dastardly mobster into the Joker? The Creeper! We've got some serious topics ahead in this one; including sexual assault and mania. So tune in to hear what we have to say about the Creeper.

Direct download: Episode_123_22Beware_the_Creeper22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:13pm PST

Bruce Wayne finally finds the perfect romantic partner to drive him out of the crime-fighting game for good! In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, one member of the duo's opinion of Bruce Wayne changes dramatically, while both acknowledge the tragedy that is the betrayal Bruce feels when he discovers that his wife is actually one of Poison Ivy's pod creations, entangled in a plot to kill Bruce (as well as several other prominent Gotham business men and women) and take his money.

Direct download: Episode_122_22Chemistry22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 2:35pm PST

It's the episode many have been waiting for! "Mad Love" introduces us to the origin of Harley Quinn, formerly known as Harleen Quinzel. And Drea has a TON to say about this tale, so buckle up and settle in for this extra-long, extra-special eagerly anticipated episode of The Arkham Sessions!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_121_22Mad_Love22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 6:14pm PST

"Girls' Night Out" is an unapologetic celebration of the feminine superhero. In this episode, we explore important perspectives on gender differences in cooperation and fighting, including concepts from evolutionary psychology and feminist psychology.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_120_22Girls_Night_Out22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 3:29pm PST

This is a strikingly divergent episode, portraying three distinct, stylized representations of Batman: the Golden Age, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, and, of course, Batman: The Animated Series. This smart episode can be seen as a celebration of the Batman mythology, legacy, and core aspects of character. In our discussion, we explore the concept of Parasocial Relationships and the feelings of true "distress" when our favorite characters die or favorite show comes to an end.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_119_22Legends_of_the_Dark_Knight22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27pm PST

Were you unable to attend San Diego Comic-Con last week? No problem! We have you covered. This week, we present our 2018 Comic-Con panel: The Psychology of Robin, Batman's First Sidekick; featuring our very special guest, Mr. Loren Lester, the voice of Dick Grayson!


We're BACK! In this episode Drea and Brian revisit Dr. Philip Zimbardo and the controversial Stanford Prison Experiment to discuss the demon, Etrigan, and his lack of "intelligent disobedience." Plus, you can find out what we're up to at San Diego Comic-Con next week! Tune in now!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_117_22The_Demon_Within22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 2:39pm PST

It's our live panel from WonderCon 2018, entitled "The Psychology of Batman: The Animated Series," with our very special guest Londyn Jackson (@BlueLondynSkies), from the stellar History of the Batman podcast.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_116_22WonderCon_201822.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 11:15am PST

We take a break from the Arkham video games and return to The New Batman Adventures for one of our all-time favorite episodes, "Old Wounds." This is the story of the rift between Bruce and Dick that we've all wanted to see! Are Brian's feelings about Bruce vindicated? Or is Bruce still "doing the best he can with what he's got," as Drea's always said. We have A LOT of fun in this episode of The Arkham Sessions!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_115_22Old_Wounds22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:26pm PST

You asked for it! In the first of our two-part fourth anniversary celebration, we explore Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Asylum; including some of the games' clinical treatments and therapeutic approaches, and we break down the palpable, intense relationship between Batman and the Joker. We also offer our own reactions to the portrayals of mental health in this video game popular video game franchise. Though highly entertaining, beautifully designed and rich with psychological representations, the Arkham  video game series remains a problematic cornerstone in our pop culture because of its disservice to the mental health field. Find out why. 
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_1_14_The_Arkham_Games_Pt._1.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 1:58pm PST

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

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

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

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

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! 

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

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

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. 


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! 


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

Robin learns a tough lesson when he disobeys Batman and goes on his own to pursue a mysterious case involving a young, lost girl by the name of Annie. In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we explore the notion of "personhood" and identity development. First, how do we define a person? What characteristics must one have in order to be considered a sentient being? Reviewing various definitions of personhood and sentience, we ponder where Annie fits by reviewing the criteria: Is she self-aware? Intelligent? Has the freedom to choose? If she has the moral right of personhood, then should Robin have given her a chance to live apart from Clayface?  Listen to the episode below for our full analysis of this unique Batman episode!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_103_Growing_Pains.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:23pm PST

The Joker is in some serious need of cash. So when his old rival, King Barlowe, dies and leaves him $250 million, he's absolutely thrilled...and a little confused. Can the Joker retire, now that he's got one big LEGAL score? Will money buy his happiness? Can Harley simply be replaced? Is there a type of person who's more susceptible to con artists than others? What's the Golden Triangle of Happiness? And how did a popular pastime in the late 1800s become a popular psychological evaluation? All of this and more, as we analyze "Joker's Millions!"

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_102_Jokers_Millions.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 2:03pm PST

Join our hosts, Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, as they talk to special guests Henry T. Gilroy (Star Wars Rebels), Eric and Julia Lewald (X-Men: The Animated Series), and David Wise (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) about developing characters and stories for animation--including those characters' psychological make-up. Hear stories about working on Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Wars: Clone Wars and Rebels, X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and, of course, Batman: The Animated Series. Live from WonderCon 2017, it's The Psychology of Animated Series, presented by The Arkham Sessions.


The show takes a momentary detour to celebrate our 100th episode by deconstructing the latest Batman film, THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2017). In this episode, we highlight some of the most compelling psychological themes present in the movie, including Batman's isolationism, his emotional dependency on The Joker, and his reluctance to connect with his newly adopted son, Robin (Dick Grayson). Overall, the film offers us so many essential and universal lessons in emotional growth, including what happens when we "protect" ourselves by being alone.  The film also normalizes and opens dialogue about the different ways we deal with personal loss and trauma. It's hard to believe it's "just a kid's LEGO movie."

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_100_The_Lego_Batman_Movie.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:08pm PST

In what appears to be a significant transformation, Scarecrow decides to terrorize the city of Gotham by taking fear away. Scarecrow's newest weapon is a toxin that eliminates any biological response related to fear and anxiety. Batman becomes a victim of the toxin and begins to act a bit more...like Batman? With his fear and vulnerability completely wiped from his psychological repertoire, Batman is reckless, impulsive, and lethal. He engages in risky and senseless behavior, putting himself and others in danger. In our analysis of the episode, we address the real importance of anxiety and fear. Our bodies are equipped with a physiological "alarm system" designed to warn us of actual danger and risk. When that system goes awry, our ability to protect ourselves and others is disrupted. Does Batman ultimately learn this essential lesson about the advantages of fear? Does he experience remorse for putting Robin in danger during his altered state? Was there any permanent damage and will we see him become a colder, harder Batman? Listen in for our exploration of these topics as well as our responses to questions all about anxiety symptoms and ways to manage them!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_99_Never_Fear.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:10pm PST

This episode slightly moves away from our traditional format, because Dr. Andrea Letamendi got a unique opportunity to speak with Green Lantern writer Sam Humphries about his work on the comic; specifically focused on the character of Jessica Cruz, a member of the Green Lantern Corps who copes with severe anxiety. In this conversation, Humphries describes his own experiences with anxiety and the ways in which he's learned to handle panic attacks when they strike. Tune in and take notes, as this conversation acts as the perfect bridge to our next episode, "Never Fear."