The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 77: “Baby Doll”

She’s a doll. She’s a baby. She’s…homicidal? We’re talking about Baby Doll, of course! Baby Doll was a Batman villain who was created for Batman: The Animated Series. Her real name was Mary Louise Dahl, a child actor who was afflicted with the congenital disease called Systemic Hypoplasia, a condition that stunted her growth and caused her to appear 5 years old forever. Her chronological age, therefore, did not match her outward appearance. As she aged, Mary’s developmental and identity mismatch created a significant amount of psychological conflict for her. For instance, she attempted to progress her acting career by pursuing more “serious” roles, but was never accepted as anything beyond a simple child. Mary Louise was unable to fulfill her professional and interpersonal goals and was afflicted with depression. Realizing that the only time she was truly happy was when she played the part of the adorable sitcom star, Baby Doll, she resorts to violent measures and kidnaps her co-stars.

In this episode, we discuss the complexity of Mary’s condition: the psychic disequilibrium she experiences when her authentic self isn’t recognized by others; the impact her physiology had on her social development; and the possibility that Batman seems to be the one person who relates to her.

The Arkham Sessions is a podcast dedicated to the psychology of the show, Batman: The Animated Series.  Have psychology related questions about Batman? Write to us via twitter @ArkhamSessions or on Facebook. Or visit our official website.

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