The Joker and Harley Quinn is one of the most interesting relationships in comics and animation. While he is abusive and manipulative to Harley, she just can’t stay away from him and always goes back to her Mr. J. Whether you believe Joker is in love with Harley in his own twisted way or he is just playing with her and using her for his own ends, their relationship is always fascinating to watch and has led to some emotional moments and hilarious ones to witness. With the release of Suicide Squad imminent and with it a new version of the Joker and Harley Quinn making her film debut here are some of the moments from their history that we would love to see portrayed in the DCEU.
While the Joker loves Harley or not debate rages on there is a great scene in Batman: The Animated Series that shows how much Joker actually needs her. In the episode “Harley and Ivy” after he has kicked her out of the hideout again, instead of coming back she runs into Poison Ivy and goes on a crime spree with her. Back at Joker’s because of this things start to fall apart. We see Joker wearing nothing but his underwear and can’t find his socks, the hideout is a mess and the pet hyenas snap at him.This is a hilarious moment that shows how Joker has taken Harley for granted and needs her to help run his life. His life has started to become a mess and without her he will never get everything into order at his hideout. The scene is buttoned by a great moment where one of his goons shows him a newspaper with Harley and Ivy on the front page and he screams out in rage and the sign on the front of his hideout falls off.
5. Harley Hates Fish
In the “Laughing Fish” episode of Batman: The Animated Series, based on the two-part story by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers appearing in Detective Comics #475 and #476, Joker uses his gas to change fish into what he calls Joker Fish and tries to get them trademarked so he can make money off them. For the animated adaptation they add Harley to the mix and there is a great recurring gag about the fact she hates fish. While it is a great ongoing gag in the episode it also shows how she is willing to put up with anything for Joker but also shows how little he thinks of her and her feelings. At one point he force feeds her a bite of fish while on TV and she runs off and you can hear her retch off-screen. Near the end he overhears her saying how much she hates fish.
At first he seems to finally sympathise with her and talking about how hard this caper has been for her. But then to cheer her up he tells her she can be his Little Mermaid and puts a fish costume of top of her. Harley’s perfect reaction of “You’re really sick, you know that boss” shows on some level she knows that the Joker is evil but her feelings for him will always lead her back to him.
In the graphic novel Joker by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo the Joker is portrayed as more of a crime boss with less emphasis on his gadgets and chemical attacks. It is a portrayal that is similar to the one in The Dark Knight of a more realistic Joker who is just a criminal with sever lack of empathy and psychological problems.
In this Elseworld title Harley is depicted as a mute stripper but still Joker’s girlfriend and involved in his crimes. In one striking page in the middle of a turf war with Two Face, the main character of the novel, a henchman of Joker’s name Jonny Frost, sees Joker on his knees, hugging Harley with tears streaming down his face. It is a rare moment of vulnerability that we see from the clown but in the context of this story it works and is one of if not the only touching moment between the two characters.
3. Maybe You Are My Harley
During the “Death of the Family” storyline there is a tie in to Suicide Squad where Joker kidnaps Harley and talks about how disappointed he is in what she has become. He now believes that her so call transformation was an act and there was always a little bit of Harleen Quinzel left inside her. He wants to dump her in the chemicals again but Harley rebels. She tells him that while its true she did not always believe in what they were doing she still loved him and wanted to be with him. He eventually chains her up and it is revealed that there are a ton of skeletons in this room all dressed like Harley. Joker then tells Harley that she is not the first Harley Quinn and she is a failure just like the others so he’s leaving her in this room to rot. She eventually escapes and when Joker discovers this he muses that she may be the perfect Harley he’s been looking for.
This moment would make for a mind-blowing reveal and turn the whole relationship on its head. The fact that there have been so many Harleys is a great gut check to the character and would make her question her history. Of course there is a possibility that Joker is just testing her and this is all made up but the implications and the questioning it would bring would make an already complicated relationship even more so.
2. Harley Doesn’t Get the Joke
“Mad Love” was the story that gave us the Harley Quinn origin and also shows how Harley deciding to get rid of Batman herself so her and Joker can live out their lives happily ever after. She takes an old plan Joker couldn’t figure out how to work involving smiling piranhas and captures the Bat. Later when Joker shows up he is furious that she had the galls to take out Batman herself and tried fixing one of his rejected schemes telling her since she had to explain it to him it’s no joke and then pushes her out the window. On the ground hurt Harley laments she did not get the joke.
This is a powerful moment that shows both sides of the equation of the relationship, Harley’s obsession with Joker and how he wants to be the one who takes out Batman and have the glory for himself. It is their relationship coming to a head as Harley sees who is really important to the Joker, Batman. It even leaves Harley to consider leaving Joker, until she sees he sent her flowers with a get well note. This would be a great reflection on their relationship and the third wheel in it that is Batman.
In the episode of Batman: The Animated Series “Harlequinade”, Harley turns on Joker at the end when he sets a massive bomb to explode and realises it will kill the inmates in Arkham and their pet hyenas and Joker doesn’t care. She attacks him and helps Batman and Robin in defusing the bomb and stopping him. She then pulls a machine gun on him and he calls her out on it saying she doesn’t have the guts. She then pulls the trigger and flags pop out, at first she is worried but Joker embraces her and their relationship is renewed.
This shows that Harley is able to stand up to Joker and there are people she cares about other than him and would fight to protect from him. It also shows how Joker’s feeling for her go from on place to the other just like anything he thinks or does. He goes from sneering at her and putting her down to embracing her and showing affection for her. It perfectly crystallises the craziness and complexity of their relationship with each other and would also be a great comedic moment while also being dark in its implications.
Fans of this couple have been waiting for years to see them on the big screen. Their relationship is one of the most complicated ones ever in fiction but fans of the characters love them and have waited years to see Harley and her puddin’ together in a film. Suicide Squad appears to get their relationship right based on what we have seen and hopefully we will see some of these moments and others in future films that will bring more depth and further their relationship.
So what do you think? Are there other moments with Joker and Harley Quinn you would like to see in the DCEU? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!