Surprisingly, making fun of Batman hasn’t played a bigger role. Fans, comedians, and even some humor books have done so frequently over the years. Numerous resources are available. Everything about him screams for someone to come along and own him: the young troopers he trains, Bruce Wayne’s status as a member of the 1%, the bat costume, and the fact that the entire thing was based on an idea he had when he was 8 years old.
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Fortunately, Harley Quinn has found a way to bring Bat-mockery into the mainstream, with the third season focusing partly on mocking Batman while possibly helping him grow as a person. It’s what I tell my friends, too, when I tease them.
Harley Quinn Season 3 Completes the Deadpooling
The third season of Harley Quinn, voiced by Kaley Cuoco, picks up shortly after the conclusion of season two when the title character drove off into the sunset with her girlfriend Poison Ivy and finds them at the end of their romantic “Eat, Bang, Kill Tour,” during which they committed crimes and got down with other people all over the world with the help of Wonder Woman’s stolen invisible jet.
However, many problems resurface in Gotham City to dampen their newly-found homosexual bliss. Their friend, the sapient plant Frank (J.B. Smoove), has mutated and been kidnapped. Alan Tudyk’s Joker is running for mayor of Gotham City.
And James Gunn makes a biopic about Bruce Wayne’s parents while Bruce Wayne (Diedrich Bader) is in the midst of an emotional breakdown following Catwoman’s (Sanaa Lathan) breakup with him. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that Harley is trying to do something she has never done before: maintain a healthy adult relationship.
As much as Harley Quinn would like it to be, this season’s Gotham events make her feel like it’s not really about her. Although she plays a significant role in the story because of her connections to Poison Ivy, the Joker, and Batman’s loved ones, the bulk of the drama comes from Poison Ivy’s efforts to develop her plant abilities and eco-terrorist vision without sacrificing her independence in her new romantic partnership.
On the other hand, the comedic weight is behind Batman and his cronies, who are as much a part of the present as recurring fan-favorite villains like Bane (James Adomian) or Clayface (additionally Alan Tudyk).
This larger ground that the writers of Harley Quinn have staked for themselves over the course of three seasons makes the show the only DC Comics adaptation to fill the same niche in the television landscape that Deadpool does in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: a self-aware semi-parody that is also fascinated by its own earnest themes to discover. While Harley Quinn thankfully lacks Deadpool’s annoying fourth-wall-breaking schtick, both characters have been developed in ways that allow them to be about more than just jokes.
Harley Quinn’s humor rests on the fact that it has, from the beginning, taken Harley herself fairly seriously. For earlier seasons, this meant not interfering with her efforts to forge her own path after breaking ties with her abusive ex-husband, Joker. Harley’s arc this season involves learning the line between helping a partner and enabling them and also using her psychiatry training to possibly get to the bottom of Batman’s entire deal.
Still, I really hope that she never does. The real crime would be if Harley Quinn ran out of jokes.
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