Harley Quinn my kindred spirit?

I think this will make a good series of posts… character evaluations… why in the hell do I become attached to some characters… and on rare occasions before I know too much about them. I’m confused… so lets figure it out.

This post may include Spoilers for the new Suicide Squad film so you have been warned!

Around this time last year Star Wars release a new line of merchandise to promote the movie that came out last December. I was excited for the movie but baffled by the merchandise coming out so soon. I mean I didn’t even get a chance to meet the new characters so how in the world would I know what to buy? I’m not a buy whatever kind of geekdom collector. I cannot join those mystery box subscriptions because I like to know what I am getting. I make purchases based upon my attachment to the characters they represent. I don’t do free-for-all style collecting. With that said I would have been PISSED should I have bought anything Kylo-Ren… that guy is a whole different level evil! Something not learned until after I saw the movie. I remember seeing this new droid BB8 and thinking well he’s pretty cool but for all I knew he could be an ass. It was beyond me how people could drop money on a character that they never met! Fast forward a year later and I love that cute little droid and have accepted him as one of my favorites.

wp-1471291942405.jpg

Here I am poolside with my new BB8 inspired dress that I bought from Torrid. I also have one for R2D2 and Black Widow!

Here is the confusing part… you ready?

I bought an entire outfit from Torrid during the Suicide Squad pre-order based on the character Harley Quinn… I got a replica of the outfit she wears in the movie: a pair of split color shorts, the matching tee, and the bomber jacket… I then went to Hot Topic and bought the pink and blue Harley Quinn special hair dye… I am going all out for New York Comic Con this year!

wp-1471292653395.jpg

One problem… this is not customary for me. To feel connected to a character I had yet to meet. So much so that I was planning on cosplaying her.  I met her briefly as a child watching the Batman Animated series in the early 90s but my memory is pretty poor for remember details of any episodes. I forgot she was even there. Piss poor memory gets to me sometimes. Yet there I am spending money to dress up like a character I knew next to nothing about. I tend to not care for most villain types… I mean maybe not I do LOVE Darth Vader…

Then it was brought to my attention after I went to see Suicide Squad… and I am probably in the minority of people who enjoyed that movie. In the movie the relationship between the Joker and Harley is ever so slightly touched upon and yet as I come to learn… also very skewed. Or at the very least not all that fleshed out and obvious. Then again it kind of is. In the beginning of the movie when they are doing the whole character introduction thing you see the Joker and Harley in a car chase with Batman.  Their car goes flying into the water. The scene cuts to Batman jumping into the water and all you see is the car with Harley hanging out the front window with no Joker in sight. Yet the rest of the movie would have you fooled that he is in love with her and wants his woman back and will risk leg and limb to do it.

This is a lie!

When I made the customary “Check-in… Hey I am at the movies post!” Someone asked me my thoughts. I said that I enjoyed it but felt the Joker was forced in and out of place. This person responded with “same basically, I also could have handled if they made the joker/harley relationship more obviously abusive because they should not be #relationshipgoals” What is this? I thought to myself. That dam A word is EVERYWHERE! So I did what any good geek/researcher/booklover would do. I researched the heck out of that relationship and they are absolutely NOT relationship goals.

So when I see things like this on Facebook…

13879303_1785410411672576_83130212121240624_n.jpg

I CRINGE!

This is in no way a relationship to be sought after.

Harley Quinn in Animation

She was first introduced to DC through an appearance in Batman: The Animated Series. For research purposes… yea like I didn’t enjoy it… I re-watched all the Harley Quinn episodes. It is clear that she is absolutley obsessed with the Joker and it is equally clear that he treats her like crap and she excuses it as “what relationship doesn’t have its ups and downs.”

We first see her in season 1 episode 22 “Joker’s Favor.” Nothing much going on in this episode between the two other than she is clearly just one of his “henchmen.” She also acts as his personal announcer… his Vanna White so to speak.  There was also one incident where he shoves her to the side… however nothing much is really learned about their “relationship” until he goes missing in the water.

 

She seems unfazed by the detectives accusations.

You don’t truly get the picture of their relationship until season two episode 28 “Harley and Ivy.” I loved this one. Probably one of my favorites. I absolutely adored Poison Ivy’s girl power mantra. I have come to love her as well but will leave that analysis for another post.

This episode begins with Harley and the Joker in a car chase with Batman after a failed robbery attempt. When they get back to their lair the Joker lays into Harley. He tells her she has contributed nothing to the gang and when she protests he kicks her out. She is defiant and says she will show him and the very next second says…

harley

She meets Poison Ivy when they both are caught robbing the museum. Poison Ivy takes Harley back to her home and a friendship begins to blossom. Over the course of the episode Harley is fighting her need of the Joker and the need to prove to herself she doesn’t need him. We also get glimpses into their relationship.

She makes the following joke to Poison Ivy when she is scared of a needle.

 

This irks Poison Ivy and she questions why Harley would want to be around such a man. She takes on the position of role model… meaning that she is going to help Harley grow a pair. She tell her that

ivy1

The episode then moves into a montage of crime sprees that has Gotham dubbing the due “The New Queens of Crime.” However, despite their success Harley finds herself still missing the Joker. Frustrated by her friend’s constant lamenting she says to her…

Ivy3

Still not quite understanding Harley caves and calls the Joker. Her curiosity on whether or not he misses her overrun her limited senses. Look how easily she is manipulated!

The Joker was glad to hear from her but not for the reasons she assumed. There was one scene earlier in the episode that showed him looking for a pair of socks and calling for Harley. One of his henchmen replied that he booted her. The Joker’s response…

Joker1.jpg

I see a not nice pattern here!

Anyway when Harley called him he traced the call and showed up at Poison Ivy’s house.

harly5

When he does Harley gives him a big hug much to Poison Ivy’s discontent. Harley soon learned that the Joker was not there for her but for all the stolen goods. This doesn’t seem to effect her though as at the end of the episode she still has hope the relationship will work out.

We learn a little bit of Harley’s background in season 3 episode 7 “Harlequinade.” She is recruited by Batman to help him find the Joker. Batman asks her what is her obsession and she tells him about how as a doctor she had to listen to everyone else’s problems but when she came across the Joker he was the first one to listen to her.

What stood out for me in this episode… and why I added it to this post… was her song she sang while distracting a bunch of mobsters.

I never knew that our romance had ended
until you poisoned my food
and I thought it was a lark
when you kicked me in the park
but now I think it was rude

I never knew that you and I were finished
until that bottle hit my head
thought I tried to be aloof
when you pushed me off the roof
I feel our romance is dead

It wouldn’t have been so bad
if you had told me
That someone had taken my place
But no
No, you didn’t even scold me
You just tried to disfigure my face

You’ll never know
How this heart of mine is breaking
It looks so hopeless but then
Life used to be so placid
Won’t you please put down that acid
and say that we’re sweethearts again

Sigh….

Harley in Comics

I bought the comic The Batman Adventures: Mad Love and other Stories.  Besides the animated series, this is a great starting out point because it gets into more depth about Harley Quinn’s origin. Before she was the Joker’s play toy Harley was a  psychiatrist named Dr. Harleen Quinzel.  She was employed at Arkham Asylum where she initially makes contact with the Joker. She becomes intrigued with the him as he spins her a story about his abusive father. The Joker draws her in by making her not only pity him but giving her a sense of exclusivity by revealing his secrets. Harleen proceeds to fall in love with him and helps him break out of Arkham. Her name is then changed to Harley Quinn and embarks on a new life of making him happy.

While she thinks that she will marry the Joker and have his children I get no sense whatsoever those feelings are returned. The Joker is obsessed with Batman and even if he wasn’t this is not a man you want to be tied to!

wp-1471273596736.jpgwp-1471273605102.jpg

The above is a reaction to how she messed up his last attempt to kill Batman and Commissioner Gordon. Look at the love in his eyes as he yells in her face!

wp-1471273611262.jpg

This is the classic “flinch when you think you are going to get hit” move!

wp-1471273561731.jpg

Then there is this scene where he drags her by the nose down the stairs and kicks her outside. She knows he is a psychopath but because she is in “love” with him she puts the blinders on because he’s just obsessed with Batman. She comes up with the plan that if she gets rid of Batman they will live happily ever after.

wp-1471273566165.jpg

This is how she envisions life with the Joker when Batman is out of the picture. Nothing crazy here!

These next few slides are the story finally when Harley takes one of the Joker’s plans and captures Batman. Seeing no way out and knowing the Joker’s personality, he convinces Harley to contact the Joker. Upon hearing what is going on the Joker rushes to the scene. The following is what happens next…

wp-1471273619070.jpg

wp-1471273570321.jpg

wp-1471273625548.jpg

wp-1471273632631.jpg

wp-1471273644476.jpg

Like an unknowing happy doggie wagging her tail when she seeing her puddin’… Harley is greeted with a smack… then chastised… then pushed out the window. Laying in a bed at Arkham Asylum she convinces herself that she will get help. However, Harley has a change of heart when she sees the vase from the Joker. Somehow she equates being pushed out of a window to a kiss. She needs a complete overhaul! This girl has got it bad!

Harley in Suicide Squad

As I mentioned above in Suicide Squad their relationship is not fleshed out and have lead to memes such as this

oh0se.jpg

It is funny because neither one of these is a love story…

Their relationship is skewed and I am interested in seeing where the movie makers are going to take it. It is clear to me though that there is no love here! The Joker cares only about the Joker. Harley is purely there for his entertainment and to do all his bidding. If she steps out of line BAM!

Guys I was in a relationship like Joker and Harley and TRUST me you don’t want that.

Here is a video of the song that is basically their theme. So many people love it. It is truly haunting. It is called Gangsta by Kehlani.

I need a gangsta
To love me better
Than all the others do
To always forgive me 
Ride or die with me
That’s just what gangsters do

I’m fucked up, I’m black and blue
I’m built for it, all the abuse
I got secrets, that nobody, nobody knows
I’m good on, that pussy shit
I don’t want, what I can get
I want someone, with secrets
That nobody, nobody, nobody knows

I need a gangsta
To love me better
Than all the others do
To always forgive me
Ride or die with me
That’s just what gangsters do

My freakness is on the loose
And running, all over you
Please take me to places, that nobody, nobody goes
You got me hooked up on the feeling
You got me hanging from the ceiling
Got me up so high I’m barely breathing
So don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me go

I need a gangsta
To love me better
Than all the others do
To always forgive me
Ride or die with me
That’s just what gangsters do
They do, they do, they do oh
To always forgive me
Ride or die with me
That’s just what gangsters do

Just no people no. You don’t need a gangsta. Forgive you for what? Every time you “step out of line?”

Some people say she has Dependent Personality Disorder but I think there is major Stockholm Syndrome in there as well.

People with DPD become emotionally dependent on other people and spend great effort trying to please others. People with DPD tend to display needy, passive, and clinging behavior, and have a fear of separation

This certainly somewhat describes what I have been reading about Harley. She is certainly dependent on the Joker and wants to please him but I don’t she she fears not being able to live without him. In that episode with Poison Ivy she clearly was able to function despite her longing for the Joker. Had she kept her distance I think she could have pulled through! However, when she concedes at the end of the comic that she will get help and live a peaceful life… until she sees the flower. This flower is what brings us to the Stockholm Syndrome. She feels a connection with her abuser and whenever he shows her a little bit of kindness she banished out any thoughts that he doesn’t care. The Joker uses these small acts of kindness to keep Harley on the leash. I truly think that with help and distance she can indeed survive without that manipulative assclown!

When an abuser/controller shows the victim some small kindness, even though it is to the abuser’s benefit as well, the victim interprets that small kindness as a positive trait of the captor. In criminal/war hostage situations, letting the victim live is often enough. Small behaviors, such as allowing a bathroom visit or providing food/water, are enough to strengthen the Stockholm Syndrome in criminal hostage events.

In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not “all bad” and may at some time correct his/her behavior.

So after the whole falling out the window and ending up in a asylum… the flower at the end made the whole event feel like a kiss and she still loves her puddin’!

After all this I still feel for the character. I am pretty invested as we are connected on the mental level. I will continue to read the comics to come after. I wanna see her kick the Joker’s ass!

Here is my make-up job I am practicing for the New York Comic Con. I can’t wait to show you all the finished product in October!

wp-1471273674290.jpg

 

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Harley Quinn my kindred spirit?

  1. I’m not as familiar as I’d like to be with the Batman universe, but after reading this I am totally with you. I have a similar issue with the type of relationship that goes on with Beauty and the Beast type storylines. I wonder if Harley believes she’s in this type of relationship. Sure, the Joker is a beast now, but wait until he falls in love with her! Then he will magically “change” and be perfect. (Yet never apologize for holding her or her father against her will.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The piranha scene also appears in the animated series and I remember seeing it and being shocked that the joker hit her on screen. Her story is definitely interesting but it’s misinterpreted by people who for some reason glorify abusive relationships as #relationshipgoals

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry, spoilers in my comment!
    100% agree. Always thought the relationship was abusive and that Joker has little to no regard for her.
    In the comics they make this abundantly clear and have had Harley retaliate and show signs of understanding this (in one book after a lengthy absence Harley reveals she left upon discovering she was pregnant and gave child up as she realised no child should be in Joker’s world)
    Think the movie mishandles it as shows J as possessive and callous (when he leaves her) but then fudges the issue when he saves her. I think a lot of people will misread this and view the jealousy and his possessiveness as a good thing and sign of his love, which is definitely not healthy.
    Another well written blog and agree with Star Wars part, saw all these kids with Kylo Ren stuff before the film came out, because he looked cool, bet they don’t like them as much now!
    Also that BB8 dress is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Author Interview – Angela McPherson – Norah & Emma and The Alice Band | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

  5. Pingback: Out with the old: Happy New Year!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s