DC has always been able to produce high quality animated TV shows and movies, even if they’ve struggled with their live-action universe. Despite the recent turmoil at HBO Max, and Warner Bros. canceling a handful of future projects, Harley Quinn is well recognized as one of HBO Max’s best original shows. Following the titular character after her break-up with the Joker, Harley goes off to form her own crew and become recognized as a full-fledged super villain.The show does a great job of building up lesser known characters like Dr. Psycho and King Shark, and including famous DC icons like Batman and the Bat-Family, in a hilarious and intelligent way. It has heartfelt moments, but the best part of the show is the exaggerated personalities and running tropes that take place across multiple episodes.
Harley (Kaley Cuoco) traded in her patented hammer for a baseball bat, and the latter seems a bit more practical for smashing things. Harley always had a temper, and this temper leads her to smashing something at least once an episode.Whether it’s Ivy’s (Lake Bell) furniture or beating up random henchmen, Harley is always ready to swing first and ask questions later. The only thing predictable about her is that she is unpredictable.
King shark and Clayface
Despite being villains that people traditionally thought of as mean and unpleasant people, most characters in this show are quite friendly – even when they are trying to kill one another. King Shark (Ron Funches) is the best example of this.Although he is a sworn enemy of Atlantis, and a giant man-eating Shark who, at times, is incredibly vicious and violent, he may be the nicest and most caring character in the show. Offering his support and hugs to other members of his crew on the regular.
Dr. Psycho is a lesser known Wonder Woman villain, but he gets brought front and center as a main part of Harley’s crew early on, before turning on everyone. While fighting Wonder Woman on live TV, he calls her the worst word you could possibly call a woman, shocking Wonder Woman, the entire crowd recording, and even a dog. He claims the reason he hates women is that he was too short to ride a Ferris Wheel when he was younger, and then everyone on the ride died (no correlation at all). Pyscho’s misogyny is obviously alarming, but Joker torturing him with feminist rally videos is still hilarious.
Clayface (Alan Tudyk) is one of Batman’s most notorious villains and very formidable due to his ability to shape-shift into anyone. Clayface’s origin story is that he was once an actor who got into a terrible accident and used a drug to fix his face. After being covered by the chemical, Re-Nu, he becomes the shap-shifter. Harley Quinn makes this Clayface’s entire personality, constantly reminding everyone in the crew that he is a very talented actor, and that his dream is to become and A-Lister. However, whenever he does act he usually stinks. He finally gets his big break in season three, though not as he imagined.
Damian Wayne and Harley
Damian Wayne is the fourth Robin and Batman’s biological son, with Talia Al-Ghul as his mother. He was raised in the League of Shadows before Batman took him under his wing. Damien is often very violent and hot-tempered.However, when Harley is trying to find a arch nemesis, Robin tries desperately to be that, but Harley wants no part of him, and treats him as if he is a child (which he is). Everyone tries to get Damian his spotlight, including Superman, after Harley kidnaps Lois. In season three, Damian is noticeably quiet and always on his phone, seemingly uninterested.
Batman and Catwoman
Bruce Wayne – and Batman – have never fallen short in the relationship category. Both the billionaire and the hero persona have had their fair share of romantic partners. Harley Quinn taps into the iconic relationship between Catwoman and Batman. Selina maintains her mysterious personality, but Bruce is obsessed with her. He is entirely afraid of being alone, and when she dumps him, he tries desperately to win her back with every cheap trick in the book, like buying her a very expensive tiara. Bruce is noticeably not in control like he is often depicted.
Kite Man, Ivy and Harley at the Villys
One of the most prominent gag’s in the show is how villainy is treated as a full-time profession. Villains get taxed on evil lairs and hideouts, and they even hold an Oscars-type award show every year. Harley also has to find her own lair and her own crew. After the Joker runs for Mayor of Gotham as a Socialist, he plans on taxing big time villain hideouts like the Legion of Doom, and even arrests Bruce Wayne for tax evasion. The news covers them the same way they would a movie star or musician.
Bane is a hilarious combination of classic comic Bane and Tom Hardy’s portrayal in The Dark Knight Rises. He has the superhuman size and strength, with the wrestler mask and venom. But his voice is an exaggerated version of Hardy’s voice from the Christopher Nolan film. Bane just wants to fit in and have a bunch of friends, but he is always so awkward around everyone, and it usually ends with him threatening to blow something up. Almost all season three revolves around him getting closure for a pasta maker he gifted to Ivy.
Commissioner Gordon is perhaps the single funniest character in the show. He’s depressed, drinks a lot, looks like he hasn’t slept a wink in months, and makes the weirdest and funniest comments during conversation. He is constantly looking for Batman to be his friend, which rarely gets reciprocated. While Gordon’s life is utterly sad, as he never fails to mention his failing marriage and loneliness, it’s hard not to laugh at one of Batman’s most prominent partners in cleaning up Gotham. Gordon even partners with Two-Face so he could be Mayor, and then acts surprised when Two-Face double-crosses him.
The core of Batman’s entire ideology and persona stems from the murder of his parents when he was eight years old, this is known, and it has been depicted countless times. The creators of Harley Quinn lean on that, specifically in season three. Bruce’s trauma plays a major role in the latest season, with him going as far as to try and resurrect his parents from the dead using Frank’s (JB Smoove) enhanced abilities. Batman is really the same character he always is, but somehow fits perfectly in a comedic series.