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Why “Harley Quinn” Needs to be on Your Watch List

In recent years, Harley Quinn has become quite popular outside of the comic book community. Margot Robbie brought her to life in the live-action adaptation of "Suicide Squad" and "Birds of Prey." In 2015, she was one of the top-selling female Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, most people view her as a scantily clad, morally grey character that has an unhealthy obsession with her relationship with the Joker. The "Harley Quinn" animated show brings Harley to the forefront as a character who is complex and exists outside of the realm of purely being needed by a man. 


A Multidimensional Female Lead

The show starts with Harley Quinn leaving the Joker and becoming her own person outside of a toxic and abusive relationship. Prior to “Birds of Prey,” she was fated to purely exist for the Joker in film. Even in the comic book community, she was seen as the poster girl for abusive relationships. This new take on Harley shows how she grows once she leaves the Joker. It shows the aftermath of leaving her abuser. She finds herself exploring her sexuality throughout the show and finding herself outside of an abusive relationship. Harley is constantly making mistakes, but (now this is important) she learns from them. Harley is constantly and consistently growing and picking herself back up, with the help of Poison Ivy, of course, to try again. The show puts Harley Quinn front and center to explore a new side of her. 

Strong Female Friendship

Female friendships are extremely important. The problem is that they are not always portrayed realistically and are often toxic. A lot of the female friendships that are talked about or idolized in film are not good role models. Serena and Blair from “Gossip Girl” were awful to each other and never worked through their differences. “Mean Girls” is genuinely just a movie about a bunch of girls being destructive towards one another. In “Harley Quinn,” the writers portray their female characters as people rather than a stereotype that has become heavily ingrained in the media. Poison Ivy helps Harley grow after her breakup with the joker. They are almost always there for one another and pushing each other to do better in a male-dominated society. When they argue or fight, they do not try and get revenge in some overly complicated vindictive way. They work through their problems and talk them out. 

It's Fun

“Harley Quinn” is ultimately just a fun show. Yes, it tackles some heavy-hitting topics, but at the end of the day, it is still an animated comedy. It introduces characters from the DC Universe that not everyone may know already. There are a ton of DC references for those who read the comics, but the writers do not purely rely on an existing audience to make this show work. The writers have reimagined some well-known characters (Batman, Catwoman and Robin, to name a few) without making them seem like completely new characters. It is definitely a take on DC that has yet to be seen. 

If you are looking for something to binge-watch during this quarantine period, “Harley Quinn” should be on your list. It is great for anyone who is looking for a new superhero show or just wanting something to escape the world we are currently living in. 

Jaimison James is a writer for HerCampus at VCU. She is a current Junior majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Life Sciences and a minor in Biology.
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