Harley Quinn Animated Series Review and Discussion
By: Justin Hopkins
I have been pretty hyped for this show since the teaser dropped. Which sort of feels like so long ago. Admittedly, about 50 percent of my excitement was seeing Poison Ivy, but the other 50 was excited to see the direction they were going with Harley. Whose fan base has not only grown since her debut, but has seem to hit a fever pitch since Suicide Squad, and has a pretty decent library of solo comics to nitpick from and is a great character for an adult show in her own right. Excitement growing even more when they said she would be seperated from Joker as well. A character that she has outgrown by leaps and bounds and doesn’t really need anymore. With it finally debuting on Friday, lets recap and discuss and see if it lived up to the hype.
The Episode opens up with a group of rich people on a yacht. Celebrating their new found wealth that they stole from the poor, when Harley interrupted. Planning to steal the money. Wasting no time in making you know that this is an Adult Series, with swear words flying and when one guy laughs at her. Saying they aren’t afraid of Joker’s Girlfriend. Earning him a graphic broken leg from her mallet. Before she can have her big moment however. The host rips of his face and it is Joker. While they are taking care of the guys, have an argument. Showing Harley wants to be more than a Sidekick, and Joker finds that to be hilarious and doesn’t want bothered. Batman shows up, and Harley is tricked into taking the fall. After a conversation with Commissioner Gordon, who is going crazy and Batman. Where she is certain Joker will break her out of Arkham by the end of the night. We jump three months ahead, and she is still waiting. Poison Ivy is trying to reason with her, but isn’t having it. We get two more time jumps, where even more are jumping into the mix. Riddler, Killer Croc, and pretty much every other prisoner is telling her, he aint coming, but she is steadfast. Even when Ivy has her plants running rough house and breaks her out. Still believes he is coming. Back at Ivy’s house, and a delusional conversation with herself. Is ready to break up, but is once again manipulated back to Joker’s side, and that is where I will leave off with the story recap to not spoil too much of the ending.
This was so worth the wait. As much as I want to see Harley on her own adventures with her own set of supporting characters. Starting off with the separation was the best way to go. Showed her first steps down her own path and was a creative way to show her transition by shedding off the iconic jester outfit, for the one she brandished in Rebirth. Even had a special moment of her getting the baseball bat. Ending with her walking away, with no found confidence and want to know what is in store next.
Voice acting was spot on throughout. Was little worried when the first announced Kaley Cuoco as Harley, but put those worries to bed with the teaser, and was spectacular in episode one. Really bringing out what makes Harley special. The frantic whirlwind of emotions that are packed into her character. Funny and dangerous and so much more and Kaley hit them all. From the lighthearted moments with Ivy to the deeper one, where her memory is being proven wrong. Kaley brought out the best of all of it and is making this character her own.
The casting was great beyond that though. Diedrich Bader is an interesting one for Batman but is pretty funny in his delivery. I hope we see more of Stan Rash’s Riddler, but my favorite of the group, maybe even more than Kaley; was Lake Bell’s Poison Ivy. I loved her portrayal of Ivy. Her attitude toward Joker and love of her plants and her relationship with Harley. Chemistry she has with Kaley is apparent and a huge plus.
And the part that had.. a fair bit of my anticipation and that was Poison Ivy. Loved how they handled the dynamic between the two. A popular tandem in comics, and they nailed a big detail about the couple that I don’t hear very often, and that was Harley playing a big role in Ivy’s growth. Before they met, Ivy pretty much hated the human race, and everyone in it. Meeting Harley however is what started changing her perspective. Whether or not that she was her therapist, like they were in the show, I am not sure, but loved the fact that they included that here. Hope we get a lot more of these two throughout the next few episodes.
Last positive, is the animation style. Very much of its own thing. Colors going through a wide spectrum. Doesn’t try to be the usual stuff we would see from an animated Gotham and helps out considerably. Fight sequences are well down, and the gore enough to be fun, but not overdone.
Negative wise, I hope Frank is a one off. He was funny for about a minute and got old really fast. I doubt we have seen the last of him, unfortunately. Just hope that it is used sparingly, and in the same vein. We get it, you are R rated. You really didn’t have to try so hard for it. Small nitpick, just some jokes are used just to be funny, but are just dumb attempt at pushing the envelope a little to much. Nothing that takes away from the enjoyment, just something that stood out a little too much at times.
With all that said, I am thoroughly satisfied with the first episode. If you ever need a reason to get DC Universe, this is definitely is. It’s a fun ride, with tons of gore and brutal fights, and a lot of funny moments, with just enough emotion underneath. Voice cast brings the characters to life in glorious fashion, and highly recommend checking it out.
Thanks for reading.