Hey Folks! The Belser is here to sing the praises of one of my favorite shows during this COVID craziness: Harley Quinn. Now, I’ve enjoyed the character since Batman: The Animated Series in the 90’s. Currently, she is one of the most popular characters in all of comic-dom. She is endlessly imitated by cosplayers and fan girls all around the world. Seriously, you can not go to a comic con with seeing dozens of Harleys flocking the halls…
My point of interest for this article is the adult-themed animated series on the DC Universe streaming service. This article is meant to peak your interest into this amazing series. Let’s get started!!
Premiering on November 29, 2019 on DC Universe. The series follows the quirky adventures of Harley Quinn after she finally leaved her sadistic and selfish ex-boyfriend The Joker. Quinn attempts to join the Legion of Doom, forms her own villain crew consisting of her best friend Poison Ivy, Clayface, Doctor Psycho and King Shark. The show focuses her goal becoming a respectable super villain in her own right.
Belser’s Top 5
Harley Quinn first appeared on Fox’s Batman: The Animated Series episode “Joker’s Favor”. The character was initially supposed to be a one time female sidekick for the Joker. Actress Arleen Sorkin, a star of the soap opera Days of Our Lives, appeared in a dream sequence on that show where she was dressed in a jester costume.
Co-creators Bruce Timm and Paul Dini used this scene as an inspiration for Quinn. Paul Dini has been friends with Sorkin since college and he incorporated aspects of her personality into the character. Dini even got Sorkin herself to voice the character.
- Kaley Cuoco is the current voice of Harley and actually the second Big Bang Theory actress to voice Harley Quinn. The first was Melissa Rauch in the animated movie Batman and Harley Quinn (2017).
- Her outfit on the show is a reference to the movie Suicide Squad.
- Her favorite book is Clive Cussler’s Sahara.
- Harley Quinn is of Jewish descent and was raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
- Harley is shown to be an Olympic level acrobat.
- The Joker claimed that she has HPV.
This version of Bane is shown as very dimwitted and obsessed with blowing up anyone or anything that angers him for any reason, like a juice bar clerk who got his name wrong on his orders. He makes several appearances throughout the series as a member of The Legion of Doom. Following Gotham’s destruction in season two, Bane gets his own section of Gotham called Bane Town (he pronounces it as Baneton like Downton Abbey).
- Bane’s size and look are based on both the comics and his Batman: TAS appearances.
- His origin and voice is a direct parody of the portrayal of Bane by Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises. Bane even mentions blowing up a stadium (which alludes to when Bane blew up the football stadium with the Gotham Rogues before his speech in TDKR).
- Bane’s declaration of “Breaking the Batman…” is from the classic storyline Batman: Knightfall.
- Bane likes Razzy Zazzy smoothies.
- Bane likes to declare he is the ‘reckoning‘ of various things in the series. This is a reference to Hardy’s line: ‘I am Gotham’s reckoning’.
Always seen wearing a hoodie, slacks and sneakers, King Shark generally comes off as very chill and gentle. However, he is shown to go berserk if he smells blood or if anyone uses fish-related insults around him. King Shark is a tech genius who was recruited to Harley’s team by Clayface and becomes a regular character throughout the rest of the series.
- King Shark is voiced by comedian Ron Funches, who previously starred in the DC Comics sitcom Powerless.
- His Instagram account is kingshark1.
- He has an ex-girlfriend named Sandra and is ‘technically‘ bethrothed to a woman named Tabitha.
- King Shark is a fan of Beyonce, the nursery rhyme character Humpty Dumpty and The Babysitters Club book series (along with Frank The Plant).
- His weight is 2,730 lb. (down from 2,750 lb.)
Kite-Man is a D-List criminal known for the catchphrase “Kite Man, hell yeah!” He is constantly trying to pick up women and is considered a joke by other supervillains due to his dimwitted ‘frat boy’ personality. Despite that, he and Poison Ivy start dating (though Ivy is initially embarrassed to be seen with him). Eventually, Ivy agrees to keep dating him. He proposes to Ivy several times and she finally accepts in season 2.
- Kite Man is a pervert, occasionally making “69” jokes and talking about “dat ass” while talking to Poison Ivy, and taking any opportunity to compliment her “bangin'” body.
- He is very confident, referring to his having a kite as a “superpower”.
- This is the first DC show where Kite Man has a major role. The character previously made cameos in Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode “Long Arm of the Law!“ and The Lego Batman Movie (2017).
Frank The Plant
Ivy’s right hand man, Frank The Plant is a giant Venus flytrap with a giant mouth. His roots and stems are red. His “hands” are flower-like organs, which have an eye on each one of them. Although being a plant, Frank has visible butt cheeks.
- Frank is voiced by comedian J.B. Smoove, best known from HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David.
- Frank is a homage to the monster plant Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors (1986), and is named after that film’s director Frank Oz.
- He likes to drink scotch and is a fan of Howie Mandel
- Frank knows how to drive and is a cannabis user.
Favorite Episodes So Far
While in search for her own nemesis, Harley goes after Joker’s main nemesis, Batman. However, she ends up with the Damian Wayne version of Robin, making her the laughing stock of the underworld. Even worse, Robin goes on The Tawny Show and lies about Harley being his nemesis. Harley then captures Robin and threatens him into confessing he lied in front of the same talk show audience. Batman eventually arrives and gets into a three-way brawl with Joker, Harley, and Ivy on live television.
- The Tawny Show is a parody of The Wendy Williams Show.
- While the fight between Batman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy was being broadcast, we briefly see various superheroes watching the show:
- Superman watching while eating sushi with Lois Lane.
- Aquaman watching the fight on a smartphone while on the toilet.
- Wonder Woman watching while eating her own cereal ‘Wonder O’s’ and waxing her top lip.
“You’re a Damn Good Cop, Jim Gordon”
Harley’s crew decides to steal a new top secret device from Wayne Enterprises, but Clayface’s arm gets severed in the process and comes to life. Becoming depressed after learning Batman only see him as a ‘co-worker’, Commissioner Gordon interrogates Clayface’s talking hand but ends up bonding with it. Meanwhile, Harley, Clayface, and King Shark try to recover the hand and Ivy and Psycho seek revenge on an online personality called The Cowled Critic, who slandered their efforts.
- The song playing during the Clayface’s Hand/Jim Gordon montage is a parody of ‘You’re My Best Friend’ by Queen.
- The crew’s plan to escape with their initial target ( an invisible bike) is to pull a ‘Fast and Furious 7‘, in reference to the scene Dom jumps a car from one skyscraper to another.
After Harley’s crew steal some Atlantean jewels, they are invited to join the Legion of Doom. However, Lex Luthor secretly reveals to Poison Ivy that he actually interested in her, not Harley. Also, Lex will not let Harley join unless Ivy joins as well. Ivy refuses and tries to warn Harley of Luthor’s treachery at a party only to be interrupted by a vengeful Aquaman.
- Lex Luthor in this episode is voiced by Giancarlo Esposito, best known as ‘Gus’ from Breaking Bad.
- Lex also references the controversial decision by the Golden Globes to nominate the 2015 Matt Damon film ‘The Martian‘ for Best Comedy.
“Batman’s Back Man”
A recovering Bruce Wayne is desperate to pick up the cowl again even in spite of his butler, Alfred Pennyworth’s, advice to rest and heal. Two-Face and Bane decide to team up in order to stand a better chance against Harley and the returning Batman, but the two keep disagreeing on how to label their combined organization. Meanwhile, Bruce tasks Lucius Fox with building him a high-tech Batsuit to compensate for his injuries.
- Diedrich Bader reprises his role as Batman from Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008).
- The scene where Batman’s suit is flying all over the room in pieces and then eventually attaches to his body piece by piece finishing with the helmet is similar to a scene in Iron Man 3 with Tony Stark and his armor.
- This is the first episode where Harley and her crew doesn’t appear.
- Bane ‘breaks’ Batman in this episode but instead of his back, he broke his legs.
- Bane’s remark, “No, that is a shadow. I was born there, but that’s not me” is a reference to Bane’s origin in The Dark Knight Rises.
- The shirts worn by the two nerds in the opening scene reference two controversial movies in geek culture in the 2010s;
- The “Release the Snyder Cut” shirt references the 2017 film Justice League and the much rumored director’s cut from Zack Snyder that’s supposedly an improvement over the film version.
- The “The Last Jedi is not Canon” shirt refers to the 2017 film Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which was negatively received by fans of the franchise.
The show is quickly becoming a cult classic among fans (myself included). This show has it all: extreme gore, sexual content, lots of vulgar language and bone crushing action. On top of that Harley Quinn has great character development, amazing dialogue, and pop culture references galore. But, UNTIL NEXT TIME!!!