Plot summary: A determined Harley Quinn sets off to make a name for herself by unexpectedly going against notorious villains and unionizing ignored members of criminal enterprises.
Developed by Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey
Cast: Kaley Cuoco as Harley Quinn, Lake Bell as Poison Ivy, Ron Funches as King Shark, Tony Hale as Doctor Psycho
The Harley Quinn series is one of the most unexpected series of 2020
The biggest strength of this show is that it doesn’t pull any punches. It’s hilarious, violent, raunchy, and unconcerned with setting up a shared universe. It focuses more on showcasing the gray areas of its rich intellectual property with a comedic tone at its own pace. It explores the depths of our famous characters without disrespecting the roots of their origins. It gives unpopular characters like Kiteman and King Shark the screen time to charm us with their personalities. Plenty of twists and turns scattered throughout each episode that poke your desire to see the next one.
At the heart of it all is Harley Quinn whom we all know as the girlfriend of the Joker who follows him around causing mayhem and chaos in the city. But as the show starts, she comes to her senses with the help of her friend Poison Ivy and breaks up with the Joker in the hopes of becoming a respected member of the criminal underworld. Seeing her struggle and be belittled by the established supervillains makes an interesting underdog story. And seeing her open up about her emotional weaknesses to Ivy makes us feel more attached and empathetic towards her. And although the world sees her as a crazy maniacal b*tch, we believe she’s capable of being more while wishing her well on her journey in the hopes that she will one day find redemption. Ivy serves as her safety net both emotionally and in times of action. As Harley tries to conquer the world with a bat, Poison Ivy reinforces her by bending the will of all plant life. As both try to achieve their individual goals, they leave plenty of submerged feelings unexplored.
With Kiteman having a prominent role in the series as the suitor of Ivy, King Shark stealing the show by being cute, Clayface being cringe, and Dr. Psycho being seen as anti-feminist, the series shows care and effort by building these characters to be more than accessories to the plot. Batman’s greatest villains, as well as the Legion of Doom serve the story and are given jokes and lines that are fitting to their characters. Jim Gordon constantly seeking affection from Batman is hilarious and the Justice League being portrayed as one note is refreshingly funny. And the Joker’s unserious nature just fits well with the humor of the show.
Gotham itself is a character. Never have we seen Gotham in a worse shape like this with power struggles from the villains to being uncredited as part of the United States. Gotham suffers a lot in the series and it isn’t taken seriously.
This series authenticates itself by acknowledging the world it came from while creating its self-sustaining world from it. It isn’t afraid to cross boundaries and it bravely explores each character’s mortality or possibilities. At the end of each episode, I find myself stuck at the edge of my seat while watching the end credits contemplating the plot of the next episode.
We need more animated shows like this.
Harley Quinn Season 1-2 gets a 9/10