Over the course of 26 episodes, Harley Quinn has galvanised a huge audience of fans in to following the exploits of the Queenpin of Gotham. But it’s not just the exploits of Kaley Cuoco’s Harley which audiences have flocked to watch.
Audiences in their thousands have been drawn in by the complex relationship between series leads Harley and BFF-cum-lover Poison Ivy played by Lake Bell. The series has manage to birth its own hashtag, #HarlIvy, which can regularly be found splashed all over the comments on our Instagram page.
But over the course of the thirteen episode second season I’ve had chance to interact with a number of the series’ fans and learn about why they love the show so dearly.
There are plenty who simply enjoy seeing a same-sex female couple together on screen. I mean that in a romantic way and not a pervy watching two girls together kind of way. It’s rare to see an grown up, romantic relationship between two female characters in a series like this and so Harley Quinn has absolutely broken new ground in that respect.
NB: if you want to read my reviews of each episode you can read them here.
But it has also surprised audiences in the way it has built an entirely unique version of the DC Universe based around its central character. When the series first began airing I doubt that any viewer would have told you they would come to care about Clayface (Alan Tudyk), King Shark (Ron Funches) or even the short-sighted but kind hearted Kite Man (Matt Oberg).
But learn to care is exactly what all of us in the audience has done. As the series has chosen to veer off cannon and strike its own path its done so with a number of brave choices. Season two chose to kill off two classic Batman villains in Penguin and Mr. Freeze. It also chose to follow a very different path for Joker, also portrayed by Alan Tudyk, in the wake of the season one cliffhanger.
Where other comic book inspired shows choose to follow pre-determined story arcs from the source material, Harley Quinn has chosen to use the comics as inspiration and tell a totally different story. That alone means that anyone tuning in will struggle to predict what is to come and that makes for a much more rewarding experience as a viewer.
But underneath all of the comic book hijinks lay something I truly never expected to find in an adult comedy series. Heart. A really strong heart and a sense of understanding about the characters and their human experiences. That aspect of the show would shine through incredibly across both seasons as Harley learned to move on from Joker and fell head-over-heels in love with Ivy.
I’ve had plenty of in-depth discussions with fans about the lack of immediate satisfaction from the story. Plenty of fans have threatened to quit the show over taking two seasons to pair the characters up. But I would argue that the journey to where we find them in the season 2 finale, “The Runaway Bridesmaid,” makes the show a whole lot more rewarding.
With no certainty of a third season at this stage, “The Runaway Bridesmaid,” provides fans with enough closer to know that the coupling of Harley and Ivy was the endgame. But it also leaves plenty of room for more stories in the future.
Harley Quinn can continue to break new ground by having its third season focus on an external villain/story arc which doesn’t challenge the relationship between Harley and Ivy. Rarely does TV put two characters together without then throwing a series of continual hurdles to taint that happiness.
Let’s have a season where Harley and Ivy are a badass pairing doing their thing to either help or hinder the heroes of Gotham. There’s a lot to be said for exploring how a same-sex couple works well on screen, just look at Sara and Ava of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
But outside of Harley and Ivy there are plenty of stories to tell featuring the wider cast. At this stage we have a fully fledged Bat-family as well as Harley’s gang who all have huge potential to tell some wonderful stories within the crazy landscape of the series.
I’m not suggesting that Harley and Ivy need to take a backseat. But whilst Ivy tends to environmental concerns, what’s to stop Harley from having an adventure with King Shark? Or running around with Batman trying to defeat a common enemy? There’s also still plenty of mileage left in the relationship with Joker given the new status quo of season 2.
Joker has been left in a place where the pair have been able to move on from their toxic past. It would be interesting to see how they function both living in the same city and in comfortable relationships not with each other.
With the series coming to HBO Max in the near future and an audience rabid for more, Warner Bros. and DC Comics would Crazy not to commit to further seasons set in this world.
Harley Quinn stars Kaley Cuoco as the voice of Harley, and she’ll be joined by Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Ron Funches, JB Smoove, Jason Alexander, Wanda Sykes, Giancarlo Esposito, Natalie Morales, Jim Rash, Diedrich Bader, Tony Hale and Chris Meloni.