Harley Quinn Review: “Til Death Do Us Part”

Family-unfriendly trailer:

Riddler: Riddle me this: What did Nadia Comaneci do after she scored seven perfect tens at the 1976 Montreal Olympics?
Harley: Win a medal?
Poison Ivy: Not menstruate until her twenties?
Riddler: No! She broke a record! And that’s what you sound like. A broken record.

The new, R-Rated Harley Quinn series premiered at the end of November. Here’s our take on the pilot of a series set in a version of the DCU where everyone swears heavily and reality doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Title: “Til Death Do Us Part”

Cast and Crew

Director: Juan Meza-Leon
Writers: Dean Lorey, Justin Halpern, and Patrick Schumacker

Kaley Cuoco as Harley Quinn
Lake Bell as Poison Ivy
Alan Tudyk as The Joker
J.B. Smoove as Frank the Plant
Jim Rash as Edward Nygma / The Riddler
Diedrich Bader as Batman
Christopher Meloni as Commissioner Gordon
Matt Oberg as Killer Croc / others

The Premise

Harley gradually realizes the Joker is an abusive boyfriend, and, with the help of her friends, decides to ditch her “puddin'” and become Gotham’s #1 supervillain.

High Points

The interplay among Batman’s villains is often amusing, and keeps within some version of the characters.

Low Point

Too much of the humour derives exclusively from being transgressive. Look! There’s the entrails of the people who have just died, sorta-realistic-cartoon-style! And wow, the Joker just dropped another F-bomb! I can only hear copyright DC characters swear like troopers school kids so much before it feels tediously gratuitous rather than amusing or gritty.

The Scores

Originality: 3/6 This a original take on overexposed characters, with a rogue version of the Batman: The Animated Series Harley transforming into contemporary, independent cosplay-friendly Harley. We’re seeing Gotham, arguably, as Harley might, and that’s not the vision seen in previous films and shows.

I suspect this score would drop precipitously if I reviewed future episodes.

Animation: 4/6 Limited, but pretty good for that.

Story: 4/6 The writers have concocted a ridiculous story, but that is the point, and it works on its own terms.

Production: 5/6

Emotional Response: 4/6

Acting: 5/6 The characterization works well, and the voice actors clearly understand the characters as they are portrayed here. Kaley Cuoco works as Harley, and Alan Tudyk gives us the best cartoon Joker since Mark Hamill.

Overall: 4/6 I found Harley’s journey interesting and moderately entertaining, but nothing in the pilot prompts me to keep watching.

In total, “Til Death Do Us Part” gets 29/42.

One reply

  1. DC is swearing more, first Titans, now this. I wonder if this is a deliberate choice to position them as not being “Disney”.

    Also, I thought Joker sounded like Mark Hamill, before I saw it was Alan Tudyk. In Joker’s ERB appearance, I thought it was Mark, too. Apparently I don’t know what Mark sounds like, but everyone else does, and he really is the definitive Joker voice.

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