Review: HARLEY QUINN 1×02 – “A HIGH BAR”
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Jane Becker
Writers: Matt Garofalo, Ben Jones, Frank Marino
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Harley Quinn 1×02 – “A High Bar”: Determined to become one of the vaunted Legion of Doom, Harley attempts to make a big splash by crashing one of their criminal enterprises with the help of her BFF, Poison Ivy (LAKE BELL). Will she succeed, or be humiliated in the process?
Harley Quinn started off with a hilarious premiere episode last week, and this week’s is just as funny, if not funnier. Following Harley’s breakup with the Joker, the Joker has been claiming that he dumped Harley. Understandably, Harley is having none of this.
So, Harley concocts a plan to crash a party where the Legion of Doom will be in attendance. There, she plans to show the Legion that she is a villain in her own right and not merely the Joker’s ex-sidekick.
I love how this series presents the characters in ways that are atypical of the common superhero tropes. For example, we see Bane, Scarecrow, and the Joker conversing while getting coffee in the Hall of Doom’s break room. The room looks exactly like any office’s break room. And the conversation is typical office gossip. Yet the villains’ costumes stand out as wildly incongruous with the setting.
And the party Harley crashes turns out to be the Bar Mitzvah for the Penguin’s nephew Joshua. I didn’t even know that the Penguin was Jewish.
A couple of new characters are added to the extended cast. Bane is portrayed as timid and easily bullied by the Joker. He also has a tendency to state that he’s going to blow up anything that displeases him.
The other addition is Kite-Man. Kite-Man is already used as comic relief in the serious comics stories. However, in the comics he is somewhat aware of how pathetic he is. This version, on the other hand, is completely oblivious to this, and is overly impressed with his own prowess as a villain.
Kite-Man immediately starts pestering an uninterested Poison Ivy to team up with him for a caper. At one point Ivy is forced to have Kite-Man rush her back to her hideout. Kite-Man mistakes this as an invitation for a hookup and Ivy is horrified when she finds that he has completely disrobed and gotten into her bed.
While all the characters are used to great comedic effect, the real breakout star of the series is Poison Ivy’s man-eating plant, Frank. He’s a clear homage to Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors and is a delightful scene-stealer. He also seems to be serving the plot as an enabler for Harley’s antics. When Ivy tries to put her foot down and call a halt to Harley’s antics, Frank sides with Harley, overruling Ivy’s objections.
Batman doesn’t appear in this episode, which might be a cause of complaint for some. However, this is not a bad thing. It shows that the cartoon doesn’t need Batman’s continued presence to prop it up. It can succeed on its own. But it wouldn’t hurt to use him sparingly. After all, it would be unrealistic for him to never appear in a cartoon starring most of his rogues gallery and set in Gotham.
I’m more disappointed in Commissioner Gordon’s absence. The way he was portrayed in the pilot episode was a riot. Although using him in every single episode might be a bit much, I hope he will be a regular cast member rather than an occasional presence.
Harley Quinn 1×02 – “A High Bar” proves that the outrageous pilot wasn’t just a fluke. This is the best humorous take on the superhero genre I have seen since Freakazoid! This is pure comedy gold!