Arleen Sorkin, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Loren Lester, Dick Miller
Written by: Paul Dini Directed by: Kevin Altieri
Harley – “I sense a lack of trust.”
...that Batman: The Animated Series worked so well, was because Batman was always played straight.From the beginning it was clearly set out that he had a goal and a mission statement, and so this left no time to be anything other than serious.This meant that characters such as Robin were often used to lighten the mood from time to time to create a softer side to the often intense darker one.Robin wasn’t used in a comedic way, but was there to stop the show from being too serious all the time.When it came to comedy however, The Joker was always on hand to fill that gap, but even The Clown Prince of Crime had his work cut out when up against the true comical character of Batman: The Animated Series, namely Harley Quinn.
Harley could often make the simplest situation become hilarious, but one of her greatest moments was the episode Harlequinade, when she teamed up with Batman to track down The Joker.When Batman let Harley out of the asylum, the pair had to work together, and this resulted in some of the funniest scenes in Batman: TAS entire run and also provided Harley with a perfect straight man.From Harley’s musical number to her initial double-cross, she kept Batman on his toes and always came out on top as the real reason the episode was so enjoyable. Whereas The Joker would provide laughs alongside Harley, having Batman as the other half of her double act meant she wasn’t fighting for punch lines.
By the episodes end, not only did Harley actually help Batman, but ultimately she stopped The Joker from wiping Gotham off the map (and even tried to kill him), meaning even when being funny she was still a formidable character.It was moments such as that which showed she could be just as serious as Batman, yet in a completely different way, which allowed for her quirky character to shine through.Without episodes like Harlequinade, Batman: TAS wouldn’t have been as entertaining as it was, and is a prime example of how comedy and tragedy could mix together to produce a tale that existed in a world defined by its serious tone.
A HELPING HAND: *A classic Harley quote – “See, do I know how Mr J thinks or what?Ha and here you thought I was just another bubble headed blonde bimbo, well the jokes on you, I’m not even a real blonde.”
*In Harlequinade Robin was unaware of Harley’s origin as a former doctor at Arkham.Her origin wasn’t completely revealed until the episode Mad Love.
*The character Boxy Bennett also appeared in the episode Harley’s Holiday.