DCAU #50: Harley and Ivy

IN THIS ONE... Harley Quinn falls in with Poison Ivy after the Joker kicks her out of his gang.

CREDITS: Written by Paul Dini; directed by Boyd Kirkland.

REVIEW: Another Batman-lite episode, and it's so good, it basically spun off into a web series and then a comics series. Girl power! And make no mistake, this is THEMATICALLY about spinning off from an essentially male-centric show, with Harley cutting her ties with the Joker, and Montoya being featured as the lead cop in the story. Harley shows she could be a solo villain, but her nature is to be a hanger-on, so she goes from an abusive relationship with the Joker to an only slightly healthier partnership with Poison Ivy. Mister J takes her for granted, treats her like a henchman, and blames her for his failures, while Ivy takes on a big sister role which nevertheless infantilizes Harley. The both diminish Harley, in a sense, and Harley lets them. That's her character's pathology.

But while Harley's a fun second banana to the Joker, with her own jokes and shticks, it's more of the same. With Poison Ivy, there's more contrast, and more osmosis as well. She makes Harley more independent, and Harley makes her more fun-loving. They hang out in their shirts (sexy!) They drive a cool, pink ride. They blow up cat-calling jerky boys and rob retro sexist adventurers' clubs. Even their domestics in Toxic Heights - because of COURSE Gotham has an abandoned suburb sitting on a highly-flammable toxic waste dump! - are fun. I DON'T WANT BATMAN TO WIN THE DAY, GUYS!

But in the end, he DOES, though the collar rightly goes to Montoya ("No man"), and there's some lovely action with the Joker's men shooting up the dump and the Batmobile flying through fire, etc. etc. There is some pathos to be wrung out Harley's situation at the end, and throughout. Even though she's proven herself quite capable, and was in the worst of relationships (if the Joker even acknowledges it is one), her pathology makes her still long after his "affections". She calls his lair in the middle of the night. She shrugs off his insults and threats, and thinks it's all quite salvageable. And we feel for her. She's that friend who's got it bad and won't yet see the light. And we hope for the best too.

IN THE COMICS: Harley and Ivy would eventually share a comics series with Catwoman as the Gotham Sirens.

SOUNDS LIKE: Rocco is played by Eric "Bullock" Costanzo.

REWATCHABILITY: High - A lot of fun. By all means, spin these girls off into their own Thelma & Louise adventures.


American Hawkman said...

One of my favorite episodes. Honestly, Ivy needs Harley to ground her in humanity just as much as Harley needs Ivy as a safe haven.

LiamKav said...

I'm curious at what point you could make claims that they went from friends to "something more". It's argurably there from the beginning, as even close female friends don't tend to hang around without pants on, but I wonder when it became a "we're definitely implying this" from the producers.

American Hawkman said...

I'd assume it's from the Batman Adventures story where Batgirl almost straight-up asks Harley, and her reply was "You mean like people say about you and Supergirl?"


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