‘Harley Quinn’ Review: I Love This F*cking Show

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One afternoon, the press team behind DC Universe’s upcoming series ‘Harley Quinn’ reached out to Geek Vibes Nation. They reached out to all of the media outlets. It wasn’t just to promote their series, but to make their show available for us to watch. The entire series. Their one request? That we spoiled the F*CK out of it. After having watched all thirteen episodes, I can say definitively that I love this f*cking show.

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First Impressions

Harley Quinn is an animated series that follows the titular character as she finds liberation from the Joker. The animation style reminded me of a cross between Batman the Animated Series and Teen Titans. Most of the characters looked as their classic selves, with perhaps the exception of Poison Ivy, whose costume was slightly modernized. As well as King Shark and perhaps Clayface. Harley Quinn dons her classic costume in some episodes, but looks like a take on the New 52 we’re used to now.

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This is Not Your Childhood Batman Series

Even though this is an animated series, do not show it to kids. There is plenty of cursing, bloody bits, and some sexual situations. Harley Quinn the series is socially aware, meta at times, and all-around kickass. If you are a Batman fan, you will recognize the Easter Eggs that are scattered throughout the series. Especially Bane and his need to constantly blow everything up. The way that Bane sounded almost identical to Tom Hardy’s performance in The Dark Knight Rises was brilliant.

While these characters look like you would expect, some act completely the opposite as you are used to. Clayface is an inspiring actor who will take any moment to monologue and King Shark is more of an IT wizard that a killer beast. Bane likes to go out for juice and Jim Gordon is a sad alcoholic who is having marital problems. The two people who are closest to how we are used to are Batman and the Joker. In this whacky show, it can almost seem out of place how stoic Batman is, but there were definitely times that you needed him to behave as he did in the series.

The Stand Outs

Alan Tudyk is a marvelous Joker. While nothing can replace the iconic voice that is Mark Hamill, Tudyk treads close to that status. Tudyk does a wonderful job in bringing us that classic Joker laugh, while almost sounding unique in his own way. If other animated series or video games needed a voice for Joker now that Hamill is not voicing him, Tudyk is a [very] worthy stand-in.

Of course, this series is called Harley Quinn and let’s dive into that. Kaley Cuoco is the actress that you most likely know solely from her time on the Big Bang Theory as Penny. Cuoco, though; like Tudyk, really becomes the character they’re voicing. I completely forgot that Cuoco was anything else other than Harley Quinn, because she’s perfect in it. Cuoco brings that touch of what we’re used to from Harley in Batman the Animated Series, while appropriately sounding more mature for this adult cartoon.

Who Harley Is

Harley Quinn touches upon the toxicity of her relationship with Joker. It also makes sure to carefully examine who Harley is as she is on this road to self-discovery. What I love about this series, is that while some comics look to make Harley more of a hero, the show does not. She is still a ‘bad guy’, who wants to remain in a life of crime, but is not an evil person. This is the case with her friendship with Poison Ivy. While Poison Ivy is frequently an opponent of Batman’s, the series does well to point out that Ivy’s mission is not one of evil. Rather, it is her radicalism in her missions that put her in the category of being a villain, when in fact, she is not.

As I said before, the series is incredibly socially aware and subtly points out aspects of modern-day culture. There is one moment in the series that the crew is watching the news and Poison Ivy points out “and yet, still just the second most evil news station on TV” – I think we all know which news station Ivy is referring to.

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Making Harley Quinn Real

Harley can be selfish at times and she learns the toll this selfishness has on her friends throughout the series. And it’s hard for Harley. She knows the Joker is bad for her and she wants to be her own woman, but there are times where she cannot help, but remember the old times. When the veil was over her eyes. I think this is a situation some could relate to – it’s hard breaking an addiction, even when you know it’s bad for you. Luckily, no matter what, Harley has a great support system, even if one of them is Psycho (voiced by Tony Hale and steals every scene he is in!) who frequently uses the “C” word.

While each episode can be categorized as being “contained”, the last few episodes follow a plot that I did not expect it to do. There were some really shocking moments and while the press for the series wants us to spoil everything, I don’t want to. Watch for yourself. Watch Harley’s growth. Just know that the series ends in both a beautiful way and also one that has you begging for more.

Pros:

  • Everything. Harley being kick ass, but also vulnerable.
  • Her friendship with Ivy (which, will it turn into something more?)
  • The animation.
  • Turning everything upside down.
  • THE VOICE CAST! OMG! They spared no expense on casting great actors to voice these roles.

Cons:

  • Some characters are very different than you are used to, but this shock quickly dissipates when you realize it makes sense with the tone of the series.

Rating: 4.5/5

Dear DC Universe, please renew this show, because I need a second season!