The series focuses on a single Harley Quinn, who sets off to make it on her own in Gotham City.
Like any kid growing up in the 90’s, I associated Harley Quinn with the Batman: The Animated Series show that I watched every chance I could get. And for those who didn’t know, Harley Quinn was created specifically for the show; she was added into the comics later. Flash forward roughly 25 years later, and not only has she become a fan favorite appearing in her own comics, movies, and video games, but now she has her own adult-rated animated series exclusive on HBO Max.
I didn’t watch it as soon as it came out, however. For some reason, it just didn’t interest me. I’m usually not a fan of adult-oriented cartoons. But one night I found myself bored and looking for something new to watch and came across the show on HBO Max. And it did not disappoint. Centered around Harley Quinn and Joker breaking up because Joker keeps using Harley as an escape device from Batman, Harley tries to get over her infatuation with Joker with the help of her long-time pal, Poison Ivy, and starts to make a name for herself as a high tier supervillain.
There are many things that I love about this show. It is one of the funniest shows I’ve watched where there is just nonstop laughter to the point that I have to go back and rewatch it because I missed a few lines from laughing too long. What’s great about the show is that you don’t need to have a deep knowledge of the comics but rather just a general pop culture understanding of the Batman universe to appreciate a lot of the self-deprecating jokes that the writers put in. For example, in season 1 episode 4 “Finding Mr. Right”, we see Batman tries to take down King Shark by pulling out a bottle of shark repellent, which is a throwback to the 1966 “Batman” movie. They also take a lot of liberties in making fun of their own characters. Clayface is an overdramatic actor who refuses to morph into a different person unless he knows his character’s backstory. King Shark is shown to be a computer hacking genius, and Poison Ivy refuses to be labeled as a villain but prefers the label “ecoterrorist” and tries to educate people about the environment along the way. And honestly, every character in the show is an over-the-top, rewritten dramatization that keeps you laughing.
Just like the characters, the writing is so ridiculous that every episode gives the writers the freedom to push the limits with writing something that is so absurd that it still meshes with the life of the show because the characters equally reflect it. We have episodes where Harley Quinn makes a deal with Darkseid to become the queen of the parademons by defeating an old lady that has surprisingly super strength. Another episode centers around a lonely, desperate-for-a-friend Jim Gordon who finds a comrade through Clayface’s dismembered hand that mysteriously turns into a talking hand and develops a deep, connected relationship with. It’s almost as though every episode the writers take the worst pitches they’ve read or heard about the characters and decided to use it as material. They own up to the ridiculousness and they hit it out of the park every time.
Lastly, the voice actors. I was really surprised when I looked up who voiced the characters on the show. Kaley Cuoco voices Harley Quinn and she absolutely is the character. Her voice hits the personality so well, it blew me away that this is the same actress from Big Bang Theory and 8 Simple Rules. Lake Bell nails Poison Ivy. She has the right amount of intelligence and angst and balances it between the two when the scene calls for it. And the most surprising voice is the one that plays Batman – Deidrich Bader. His gruff voice and knack for humorous timing for Batman and Bruce Wayne is spot on that he is probably the only person that could give Kevin Conroy a run for his money. Bader could definitely voice Bruce Wayne/Batman in future animated series and games if he wanted to. He has the talent and hits the right vibe for it.
This show is definitely not for children under high school age, but it is one that you should watch to get a good laugh. It is just nonstop with the humor that I can’t pull myself away from it. Do yourself a favor and watch at least the first half of the first season. It is a nice change of pace that takes you away from the typical, traditional superhero media and gives you a fun and hilarious place to make fun of the absurdness of the world that we all live in.
DC Harley Quinn: She’ll Kill You With Her Humor
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Acting - 10/1010/10
Music - 8/108/10
Production - 9/109/10
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