"Til Death Do Us Part" – Harley Quinn S01E01 Review

From the sublime to the ridiculous. The DC Universe channel decides to start up Harley Quinn at the same time that it ends Titans. And boy do the two contrast. Harley Quinn is an R-rated comedy with blood, guts, and the f-word all over the place. HQ isn't like DC Universe' previous animated offering, Young Justice. And it's nothing like Titans. The wacky humor is a bit like Doom Patrol, but HQ goes further with it. A lot further.

Harley Quinn S01E01

The plot? Joker (Alan Tudyk) upstages Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) during her robbery of some rich white dudes. Who are... very rich and very white. When Batman (Diedrich Bader) shows up, Joker abandons Harley to him and escapes in his submarine. Harley then spends the next year in Arkham, waiting for Joker to rescue her. Her cellmate Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) tries to convince her Joker isn't coming for her and he's bad for Harley. That doesn't work, so Ivy engineers an escape plan of her own, gasses Harley unconscious, and they both escape.

Ivy shares her apartment with Frank, the giant talking plant(J.B. Smoove), who does everything but says, "Feed me, Seymour, feed me now!" Harley decides to go back to Joker anyway, and Joker is busy trying to track down Riddler, who claims to have a joke is so funny it causes people's heads to explode. Batman and Harley both confront Riddler, who threatens to drop them into an acid bath. First, Riddler calls in Joker and offers him the choice of which one to drop in the acid. Joker chooses his bestest enemy, Batman, and it turns out Ivy set the whole thing up with Riddler to show Harley Joker is bad for her. The "acid" is actually margarita mix, and Harley realizes Ivy has been right all along.

Harley Quinn S01E01

Harley abandons her harlequin costume and puts on a new Suicide Squad movie-inspired costume. She attacks Joker at his hideout and defeats his henchmen, then blows up the place. Ivy stops by to tell Harley to text her with what she wants for Thai takeout, and the "new" Harley tells Joker she wants him alive so she can see his face when she takes over Gotham.

That's the episode's bare bones. What the plot doesn't capture is all the wacky
"observational" humor. Harley herself isn't that funny, as she's mostly the pathetic abuse victim of Joker. Ivy is the long-suffering friend who has a romantic interest in Harley. Joker gives vent to his homicidal "comedy", killing henchmen left, right, and center. Batman is a straight-faced, no-fun hero and if anything, Diedrich makes Bats more po-faced than he was in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

The funniest is Christoper Meloni, who can only be described as an over-caffeinated Commissioner Gordon. Gordon is disheveled, drinks coffee constantly, complains about all-inclusive hotels, and flips the Bat Signal on and off and then denies he was playing with it when Batman shows up.

Harley Quinn S01E01

If you're sensitive to swearing, don't watch this show. It's filled with all manner of cursing. As noted, Joker slaughters his henchmen with maniacal glee, and lots of intestines flying everywhere. Harley takes her giant mallet to assorted rich white guys and Joker henchmen, breaking bones and smashing in heads. HQ makes the Deadpool movies look like Disney animated flicks by comparison.

Overall, HQ is another success story for DC Universe. As noted, it shares some of its humor with Doom Patrol, but it goes a lot further into the deep end. There's sex, and violence, and all kinds of in-jokes (Calendar Man, Riddler, Killer Croc, and Man Bat all show up in the first episode).

I haven't seen the rest of the episodes yet, although apparently they've been released to certain columnists. So I'll just have to watch it with the rest of you and review it one week at the time. But hey, with Titans gone until Season 3, it gives me something to review on Friday nights. If you have the stomach for the blood, guts, and occasional sex, HQ is the show for you.
But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?

Written by Gislef on Nov 30, 2019

Comments

Billo0255 posted 12 days ago

Once upon a time the F word was referred to as the F Bomb. But the shock value is long gone. Not sure if DC Universe is pushing boundaries to show they can or just catering to what they believe audiences want to see. Marvel used violence and humor in Deadpool and succeeded. Deadpool was violent and so is HQ but the difference is that Deadpool actually had good writing and actual humor and the violence usually had a point and moved the story along. HQ is violence for the sake of violence and swearing just for the sake of swearing.

As pointed out, Doom Patrol is violent and has some over the top (bizarre) humor but it stays within certain boundaries. Even Suicide Squad had its moments. I've never been a fan of slasher movies which are typically bloody, gory, with the point of shocking and horrifying audiences. The problem is that cartoons can take it a step further because they don't require special effects or acting skills and are much cheaper to make than live action shows so there really aren't too many violent acts that can't be shown in a cartoon.

While not true of everyone, many people find humor in others pain. Why do people slow down when there's an accident? Why was the 3 stooges with their physical humor so popular? Maybe it's just that we're glad we're not the one's going through the pain and we are so glad that it's not us we laugh about it from the relief. I don't know. But, for the same reason there's Taco Bell, KFC, and MacDonalds, everyone has different tastes and so HQ will appeal to some and not to others. If you're not into "adult" cartoon sex, violence, murder, and gore you may want to skip this one.

Calero posted 12 days ago

Society would have me believe that I'm a member of the dreaded "Millennial" generation. But I know the truth, I'm in fact a member of the "cartoons were better in the 90's" generation. My contemporaries like to bring up Gargoyles, yet those charlatans' favorite phrase is "what season 3?". We all know Batman:TAS is the one true example of 90's cartoons being better. Contained within this animated gift to 90's kids were episodes such as "Almost Got 'Im" where Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, and Ivy played poker while trading war stories of times they almost killed Batman, "Trial" where the villains took over Arkham and put Batman of trial for his crimes against them, "Harley and Ivy" where Harley moves in with Ivy and the two go on a spree together. My point is, I really enjoy villains casually interacting with each other and I'm a huge Harley fan so this tv show is like an early christmas. I brought up Batman:TAS because when I heard about an adult Harley series I was hoping it would have a similarly dark tone, sadly it did not. However the over the top comedy... well I won't say it made up for it but it was a sufficient substitute. I'm in for the long hall even if the entire episode is just Harley and Ivy eating dinner arguing over who gets the last piece of meat(it worked in Gintama!).

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