Kaley Cuoco Has Made Harley Quinn Her Own

by Frank Martin

It’s tough taking over as a beloved comic book character. It’s hard for live action, but it’s arguably even more difficult for animation. Voice actors like Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy have owned their roles as Joker and Batman respectively. This goes double for Arleen Sorkin, who has become synonymous with Harley Quinn. Unlike Joker and Batman, Harley’s first ever appearance was in animation, so Sorkin’s voice and Harley go hand-in-hand, even after Tara Strong succeeded her. But after three seasons, it is surprising to see Kaley Cuoco move the role in a new direction and completely make it her own.

The second episode of the new season reintroduces fans to the show’s version of the Bat-family. Specifically, it has Nightwing (Harvey Guillen) make a first appearance as an insecure superhero desperate to try to make a name for himself in Bludhaven. As typical with a lot of Harley Quinn episodes, antics and ridiculousness take place when Harley’s crew and the Bat-family get caught up in one of Riddler’s (Jim Rash) traps. The bigger theme of the episode is having Harley help Ivy (Lake Bell) work through her fear of failure and become a more full person because of it.

The show has also made a distinct effort to separate itself from Harleys of the past. The character is truly her own entity in this show rather than an extension of the Joker. Between its humor and reinvention of the DC Universe, this series created a new landscape for Cuoco to make Harley an individual and separate herself from even Sorkin’s performance. She is up there with Conroy and Hamill, but for the first time, a newcomer has truly been able to make her voice one with with Harley. This third season will only cement that fact further.

Harley Quinn streams Thursdays on HBOMax.

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