Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law/Very Personal Injury

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Very Personal Injury
Very Personal Injury
Season 1, Episode 2
Airdate September 23, 2001
Production Number 10-02
Written by Michael Ouweleen
Erik Richter
Directed by Vincent Waller
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Harvey Birdman, Attorney at LawSeason One

Very Personal Injury is the second episode of the first season of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, and the second episode overall. Apache Chief loses his powers as a result of spilling coffee in his lap, so he hires Birdman to sue the company who sold him the coffee.

Guest Stars: Maurice LaMarche (Apache Chief)

Also Starring: Jack Angel, Michael Bell (Zan), Phil LaMarr (Black Vulcan/Supervolt), Laraine Newman (Sybil Schussler)


Plot Overview

While the rest of the Superfriends are nowhere to be found, Apache Chief manages to save the city from a large meteor by growing large and hitting it like a baseball with a telephone pole. While buying coffee afterwards, Chief spills coffee in his lap and seeks out Harvey Birdman. He explains to Birdman that after spilling the coffee in his lap, he can no longer grow large.

At the trial, the coffee corporation is defended by Reducto, who repeatedly threatens the prosecution, audience and jury with his shrink gun. During his opening statements, Reducto shrinks Birdman, but reverses the effects when Birdman shoots him with his beams. Among the superheroes who take the stand in defense of Apache Chief are Black Lightning (or rather Super Volt) and Zan (of the Wonder Twins). Birdman then shows a clip of Apache Chief "helping people," which turns out to be all reaction shots.

At the bar afterwards, Reducto offers to settle for $1.89, but Birdman rejects the offer and says that the point of the lawsuit was because Apache Chief just wants to feel appreciated. Reducto uses this against Birdman in trial by making the manager of the coffee shop, Sybil Schussler, sympathetic to the Chief. Her appreciation for Apache Chief's superheroism causes his powers to restart and Judge Mightor throws out the case.

After the case, the b-list superheroes decide to start their own supergroup called the "Multi-Culture Pals." Birdman offers to appeal, but Apache Chief declines.


Arc Advancement





The Show

  • Bear: The bear makes his first appearance in the series at the end of the episode, as part of the "Multi-Culture Pals." He also pops up in the slide where Apache Chief is standing over a road in what appears to be a redwood forest.
  • Subtle Joke: When Apache Chief saves the city by hitting the meteor with the telephone pole, the telephone pole changes colors when he pulls it out of the ground. This is a sly animation joke, because in old cartoons when the background object became part of the foreground, the object becomes part of the cell and lightens in color.

Behind the Scenes

  • Red Tape: The reason why the only Superfriends members who appeared were Apache Chief, Black Vulcan and one of the Wonder Twins is because they were all owned by Hanna-Barbara as original creations for The All-New Superfriends Hour. Although the characters have made it into DC Comics through varying means, it still allows them to sidestep DC Comics and Warner Bros.
  • Casting: Michael Bell is the original voice actor for Zan in the Superfriends series. At one point during production, he very seriously told the writers that Zan could only turn into water-based things.

Allusions and References

  • McDonalds Coffee: This episode is, in many ways, a parody of the infamous McDoanlds scalding coffee lawsuit. In 1992, a 79 year old woman named Stella Liebeck sued the corporation when she spilled coffee in her lap. Though the situation was a clear case of personal injury, she was awarded over $2 million in damages by the jury, but the amount was reduced to $640,000 by the judge. The case was later appealed by McDonalds and settled for an undisclosed amount.

Memorable Moments


  • Reducto: Isn't it true that the reason you left the Superfriends is because you were fired? Fired. Fire! ...Why?
    Black Vulcan: They said it was some sort of budget thing, but I think it's because I complained that they were always pairing me up with a white Superfriend. Like I was gonna start super-looting the minute they weren't watching! Any you think I named myself "Black Vulcan?" Hell, no! I used to go by "Supervolt." Black Vulcan was Aquaman's idea. And I said "Maybe we should just call you Whitefish!"