"Christmas With The Joker" was the second episode produced for the first season of Batman: The Animated Series and the 38th episode aired, on November 13th, 1992. The episode featured Batman and Robin and, of course, Mark Hamill's brilliant performance as the Joker.
The Joker escapes from prison and takes over the airwaves to broadcast his own TV Christmas special. He kidnaps Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Bullock and Summer Gleeson and uses them as bait for Batman. Batman and Robin track him down, save the hostages and defeat the Joker. Batman and Robin then return home and watch It's A Wonderful Life, while the Joker spends Christmas in jail.
There isn't a great deal of plot to this story, but "Christmas With The Joker" is one of the best from the series. First off, it featured Mark Hamill's first take on the Joker, which has become one of the most well known and loved interpretations of the character. It's also a fine little story with great character moments for Batman, Robin and the Joker. It really helps develop their personalities. This episode is a great blend of the noir style that would epitomize this series and the absurd aspects of the Joker from the Gold and Silver ages of comics.
I remember watching this episode very early in the show's run, though I doubt it was when it first aired. I laughed out loud when the Joker opened the show with his version of "Jingle Bells". Bart Simpson had brought this well known school yard parody to prominence a few years earlier, but the Joker's rendition took it to a whole new level of humor. This was an early episode that told me that this show would be a cartoon that I'd enjoy, even in my early 20's. Just a great episode.
Unfortunately, "Christmas With The Joker" is not available on line for free, If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch it free, but otherwise, you have to pay $1.99. While it may not be one of the most sophisticated episodes of Batman TAS, I think it's one of the best. Great gags and characterizations.