Friday, June 17, 2005

Dreaming of Wendy Testaburger

So the latest Netflix delivery was a total accident: "Batman and Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero." I didn't plan for this to be the weekend of Batman film wonderment, but this is the last of the of straight-to-DVD movies based on the animated Batman series that I heart as much as a man can heart.

So rather than pack up my life and move away, I watched it this afternoon. And like I do after I finish any movie, I hopped over to IMDb to see what interesting information I could load into my head in place of useful stuff, like where I parked my car. Like the movie itself, the trivia for "Batman and Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero" isn't all that interesting. However, I did notice that it features a different actress playing Batgirl/Barbara Gordon.

The regular series initially featured Melissa Gilbert in the role. (This seems to be temporarily missing from IMDb. I don't know why. It will probably re-appear one day.) But in this movie, Batgirl is voiced by an actress named Mary Kay Bergman. I knew this name seemed familiar. I checked her filmography and found that she'd done a ton of voice work: a few Disney films, "The Iron Giant" and a few episodes of "Family Guy." She's also the voice for the entire female population of "South Park." Then I remembered.

A year ago I heard this story about this prolific voice actress who did the voice of Wendy Testaberger on "South Park." And how she had been secretly depressed her whole life and shot herself halfway through the run of "South Park," which is why Wendy Testaberger doesn't talk as much anymore and when she does she sounds a little different. It's the same Mary Kay Bergman. It's sad, but I think that sadness is compacted by her being a voice actress and therefore being prolific yet totally invisible. (Not to prove this true or anything, but the role of Batgirl eventually when to Tara Strong, who has a habit of voicing redheaded cartoon characters. Later, in "Batman Beyond," Barbara Gordon was voiced by Stockard Channing and Angie Harmon.)

It's weird, I know, but I like little footnotes like this. This will roll around in my head for the rest of the day. I won't ever know why.

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