Harley Quinn E1 Review (Part 2 of 4)

Structural Layer:
This is where I’m seeing the most controversy in the reception of this show. This show is definitely making it’s mark as an adult show, but have they gone a little too far off the deep end? The short answer is yes, but it’s actually really important that they do. (This, BTW, is coming from someone who never cusses.) Look at it this way: most parents do not have the time to sit down and sift through all the cartoon content when deciding what and what not to let their child watch. American culture has lead to most animation and cartoons to being predominantly kid targeted. So instead of spending an hour researching a show and looking through reviews, a parent is likely to watch about five minutes of the first episode and make their decision off of that. So if you were to remove all swearing, blood, gore, and dirty jokes from that firs opening scene, what you would end up with is something that looks like an average superhero show. (To the eyes of a parent.) And there are several kid-friendly animated superhero shows on this sight already. So for all the flack this first scene is getting, imagine how much worse it would be if that wasn’t there and only when it’s too late do parent’s realize that this wasn’t something they should have let their kids watch. So is the gore and swearing overdone? Absolutely. But it needs to be to set off those red flags early on. From what I hear, it will dial down as the series goes on and the weight is no longer placed on the flippant humor. So for those who are really put off by that sort of thing, I recommend waiting for a few more episodes to come out, then try again to see if those later ones suit your preferences better.
How cursing is received by different audiences is very tricky because the ‘line’ for that sort of thing is largely decided by culture and family norms. It’s the battle of definition verses connotation, the latter of which varies greatly throughout the country. To some people, cursing is only used for the extreme expression of emotion and meant to make an impact, while for others it’s just another word in the vocabulary book. No matter where you stand, the best way to look at this show and not be put off by the constant f-bombs is to look at the characters intent, not at the physical word. Why is ‘s***’ a curse word yet ‘crap’ isn’t? They mean exactly the same thing. So if you take a step back and recognize that the language in this is used as if there was no such thing as ‘curse words,’ it becomes a lot easier to watch. Let the character’s connotation of the word trump what they are actually saying. Again, I’m not a curser myself nor do I find any pleasure in hearing it. I can easily numb myself to it because of the amazing story being offered, but I do hope they reel it in as the show goes on.
As fore the gore, yeah it’s a little over the top as well. I am not squeamish or disturbed by gore at all. I actually think that kids shows need to include a bit of blood more often to add some weight of consequence to the actions of characters. I don’t mind things getting messy. What I do mind is that is seems like everyone has way too much Co2 in their bloodstream. Dial back the excessive spurts of blood to a more realistic ratio, and I’ll be good with it.
Okay, as for the actual pacing of this first episode, I love it! It’s a piolet with a mission, and it accomplishes that effectively. Because this show is intended for people with at least a general knowledge of the characters and their history, it doesn’t spend much time really introducing characters. Because of this, I can see were some people would find this first episode a little rushed, but I think this will work well in the long run. The action is fast and exciting, and the story and heartfelt moments are given the attention they deserve. There was a lot that had to happen in this first episode, so I am downright impressed with how well the authors handled it.
The show wasn’t quite as laugh-out-loud funny as I was hopping it would be, so it was a tad disappointing in that aspect. I love to laugh, but I can have a picky sense of humor. I have to agree with what people are saying about using crude language to make a joke: it doesn’t work. However, I was highly amused throughout. Almost every scene with the Riddler was grate, and I especially liked the little humor moments of the Costco card and tia-food. Those are the character moments I love as it takes them out of the more idolized view and reminds us that they are still people. I think my favorite LOL moment was Harley’s remark on villain hideouts; that was pretty good. As it is, I’m not here for the humor but for the depth of characters.

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