The Harley Quinn/Poison Ivy relationship has caused a lot of controversy over the years; first with those who were offended at the teasing hints that the two most dangerous women in Gotham City might be more than friends and then with those who were upset that various comics and shows only teased at a romance between the two women without a bold declaration that they were bisexual and/or a committed couple.
One of the more fascinating things about DC Universe’s Harley Quinn animated series is how they’ve addressed this conflict by rebuilding the classic relationship from the ground up. As the series opens, Harley and Ivy are barely acquaintances, much less friends. The first episode revealed, however, that Harley was once Ivy’s psychiatrist and the only one who honestly helped her get over her iconoclastic tendencies – at least to where she could go out in public and be around people without wanting to throw up. This added a whole new level to their relationship, which logically made sense given the timeline of Harley’s origins.
The second season of DC Universe’s Harley Quinn has seen that friendship develop into something more, though both of them seemed to be in denial about it after they shared a passionate kiss shortly after escaping from prison and defeating Bane. “Bachelorette” opens with Harley and Ivy pointedly NOT talking about what happened, beyond assuring one another that it was “no big deal” and a “one time thing” as Harley takes Ivy and all of Ivy’s closest friends (well, her college roommate, Catwoman and Mr. Freeze’s widow) on the ultimate bachelorette party weekend in Themyscira; island home of Wonder Woman, the Amazon nation and the most exclusive spa resort in the world.
At the same time, Kite Man is celebrating his impending marriage with his best guy friends… who are all the men in Ivy’s gang and Frank the Planet. Thankfully, Clayface, Frank and King Shark are an agreeable bunch of guys, though their party is spoiled when King Shark receives a summons to return home by his father, the Shark God. For Kite Man isn’t the only person with a wedding in his future, and King Shark can no longer avoid the marriage that was arranged for him to cement an alliance between two undersea kingdoms.
“Bachelorette” may be the single-funniest episode of Harley Quinn to date. There’s a lot of gags built off the story so far and the characters but also a lot of jokes built around nods to the mythology of Wonder Woman and the Amazons in DC Comics. The Amazon airline, for instance, uses invisible jets that keep having birds fly into them with gory results. Their spa resort also has an invisible courtesy shuttle because, well, why not?
The King Shark storyline may be even more ludicrous, if only for the musical number where a lobster tries to convince King Shark that life underwater is better than on the surface world. Is this a parody of Sebastian the Crab from The Little Mermaid? Of course it is. But rather than singing about the possibility of being cooked or having to work instead of spending all day singing and orchestrating ornate musical numbers, this advisor to the sea king sings about the joy of being able to go to the bathroom wherever you want and how the underwater world is full of poop. Crude, yes, but hilarious, even if you don’t enjoy a good Disney parody.
I should warn you all, however, that this episode does get dark and it will get somewhat serious toward the end, as the plot catches up with the comedy and that pesky question of where Harley and Ivy stand with each other comes up in the face of the oncoming wedding. Keep the tissues handy, because this episode has it all. Pathos. Ethos. Logos. And songs about pooping with cartoonish ultra-violence. All the things Aristotle said a good story needs.
Bachelorette will be available to stream on May 29th, 2020!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.