I had two thoughts while I watched the first episode of DC Universes’ new Harley Quinn series.
The first thought was…
“Wow, this show is not for children!”
The second thought was…
“When did Tank Girl join the DC Universe?” (In personality only)
Sure the show establishes it’s an adult theme right away and the comedy in this first episode was well-timed. But, I couldn’t help but feel like this Harley Quinn is an exaggerated version of the Margot Robbie’s iteration even though it’s portrayed by someone different. Like the creators told Kale Cuoco to just be Margot Robbie.
In Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn was absolutely quirky and sassy. However, I don’t recall her being so over the top. I even rewatched an episode of the old cartoon to see if I was remembering incorrectly. I honestly don’t think I am. But I understand Kaley Cuoco (the voice of Harley Quinn) is trying to create a stark difference between Psychiatrist Harleen Frances Quinzel and Psycho Criminal Harley Quinn, especially since it seems her Psychiatrist inner self will be a vocal conscience through the season.
It may be a “me thing”, but watching Cuoco’s version of Harley Quinn made me feel like I was watching Lori Petty’s Tank Girl. Which is funny considering Margot Robbie is rumored to play Tank Girl. I understand it is a rebirth of the character, but it does seem like there is some inspiration from Tank Girl is in the new Harley Quinn and that’s dating back to the first Suicide Squad movie.
I loved the Tank Girl movie, by the way.
Tank Girl aside, the first episode kept my attention. Even with the hardcore language, the jokes landed with me. I even appreciate that the relationship between Harley and the Joker was way less “misunderstood love” and more blatantly unhealthy like I remember from Batman: The Animated Series.
Another strong component in the Harley Quinn series is bound to be Poison Ivy. Her interactions with Harley are realistic and at least in this first episode, she seems like a pillar in Harly Quinn’s life. She comes across as someone who cares for Harley versus the opposite.
Harley’s inner conscience Harleen helps her realize she has codependency on the Joker despite their destructive relationship. However, it’s Poison Ivy that is prodding her to see the reality of her relationship with the Joker.
There are bound to be someone episodes where Harley considers getting back with Joker. It seems like that would be a natural progression. I’ll be disappointed if there aren’t.
You’ll also appreciate Batman in this show because he’s Batman. And Commissioner Gordon is 100% different from any of his iterations. It’s hilarious and sad at the same time. Especially the interactions you do see between him and Batman.
Overall, I enjoyed the show. There are a lot of nuances that add to the show and it’s especially refreshing to see a more candid version of the characters. Even Batman drops character a few times in the episode. It’s not by much but it’s a realistic reaction. That slight change is refreshing. Joker my be the most authentic to the source material and Gordon is definitely the most out of character. But it all works.
I’ll catch up with this later in the season.