‘Harley Quinn’ Nails What Relationships Are Really Like

by Frank Martin

Across 30 years of development in comics, animated shows, and film, Harley Quinn and the Joker had one of the weirdest and most complex relationships. They can be viewed as a manic couple that are quite loyal to each other (to a fault) or they can be read as an abusive and controlling relationship that nobody should base their own love life off of. But as the Harley Quinn animated series separated itself from the Harley/Joker dynamic, a new relationship has emerged between Harley (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell). The first two seasons presented it more as a budding romance and, later, what could be called a courtship, but as their relationship is truly fleshed out, viewers get to see that — as a couple — they are much more realistic then what Harley and the Joker.

Season 3 picks up roughly where season 2 left off. The comic interlude that took place in between the seasons was focused on what Harley called the “Eat. Bang. Kill. Tour” — which basically had Harley and Ivy travel around the globe causing mayhem. Of course, their love affair isn’t all romance as they quickly start to learn that they are two distinct people with diverging opinions and goals. In typical Harley fashion, the opening Season 3 episode is filled with crude jokes and violence. So there’s no reason why fans of the first two seasons wouldn’t be fans of this premiere as well.

Although the show is primarily perceived as focusing on ridiculous humor, there is a surprising amount of heart to it, as seen through Harley and Ivy’s relationship. There are so many couples that get together through distant attraction that they don’t focus on what’s below the surface. It’s only after they spend real and tangible time together that they realize they are two completely different people. And this is the realistic side of the show; the fact that Harley and Ivy face a struggle in the season premiere and work through it is an accurate reflection of what real relationships are like. And it’s great that the show can accomplish this through all of the absurdity it embodies.

Harley Quinn streams Thursdays on HBOMax.

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