I don’t like Harley Quinn.
There. I’m owning my bias.
It didn’t start that way.
I enjoyed Harley in her appearances on “Batman: The Animated Series.” No one can match Arlene Sorkin’s off-kilter take on the malice and the mirth in the character.
But after Harley became canon in the DC universe, she got a makeover into an overly sexualized vamp who never addressed the trauma of her past.
Harley’s origin lies in her roots as an abused girlfriend, and most versions seem to gloss over that or avoid dealing with it. It has made for a strange disconnect.
DC also has overexposed her, and I still don’t understand how she’s come to dominate such titles as “Suicide Squad.”
So I was not interested in the DC Universe series “Harley Quinn.”
Boy, was I wrong.
The first season is out on DVD this week.
The first thing you might notice are the F-bombs.
So many F-bombs.
The show looks as if it would fit in with the animated style of such hits as “Batman: The Animated Series” and “Justice League,” but it is so not for kids.
That’s a very good thing.
The series embraces Harley’s trauma and runs with it as she breaks up with the Joker, strives to deal with the wounds that she suffered, and establish herself as a bonafide bad ass.
One thing I am not conveying from this description: “Harley Quinn” is freaking hilarious.
Harley’s crew includes Wonder Woman villain Dr. Psycho, a pariah for good reason in the villain community; aspiring thespian Clayface; and computer hacker King Shark.
Harley gets all her sanity from Poison Ivy, here embarking on a funny yet somehow touching romance with Kite Man.
The supporting cast all get their moments to create their own chaos. Christopher Meloni portrays Commissioner Jim Gordon as a lonely sad sack. In one of the best episodes, he becomes best friends with Clayface’s severed hand, which takes on the personality of a daffy toddler.
Lake Bell’s deadpan Poison Ivy is the perfect balance to Kaley Cuoco’s energized Harley. Ron Funche’s lovable King Shark and J.B. Smoove’s sarcastic Frank the Plant steal just about every scene they are in.
The 13 episodes tell a great story about Harley coming into her own, whether she’s crashing a bar mitzvah for Penguin’s nephew or running from giant carnivorous trees. Don’t believe me? Check out this clip of Harley demanding a team-up with Batman.
I take back every bad thing I thought about Harley Quinn. She can have a place in my Legion of Doom any ole time.
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