To put it mildly, Harley Quinn’s relationship with the Joker has been fraught. But as she’s evolved over the years, Harley has become so much more than a victim. Here’s a look at the colorful and complicated relationship between the Joker and Harley Quinn.
She’s one of DC’s most famous characters today, but Harley Quinn was never meant to be such a big deal. The Joker’s crazy-in-love sidekick was created to fill a small role in Joker’s gang in “Joker’s Favor,” a 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Writer-producer Paul Dini came up with Quinn’s persona when he saw actress Arleen Sorkin in an episode of long running soap opera Days of Our Lives, and took some inspiration for his new “henchgirl” character.
Harley was also clearly inspired by the various henchwomen on the 1966 Batman TV show, and you can see other parallels In her debut episode. Quinn wears multiple disguises, and sets off a ’60s-style paralyzing gas bomb during a testimonial dinner for Commissioner Gordon at the Joker’s behest. She’s also clearly smitten with the Joker from day one, and the little interactions between the two really struck a chord with viewers. Before long, the showrunners knew that they had a potential hit on their hands. Quinn was featured in more episodes and became the Joker’s love interest, something that Dini and his co-creator, artist Bruce Timm, were initially wary of, because they didn’t want a romance to detract from the Joker’s sinister creepiness. Ironically, Quinn’s introduction would ultimately propel the Joker to all new levels of creep.
After featuring her in a handful of episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, Dini found himself wanting to know more about Harley Quinn. Viewers were responding well to Harley, and Dini soon realized that she needed a backstory worthy of the hype. After deciding who she was behind her mask and where she came from, the show began to hint at a much deeper backstory. Keep watching the video to see the truth about Harley Quinn and Joker’s relationship.
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Joker’s Favor | 0:13
Mad Love | 1:33
The Chemical Vat | 3:02
No laughing matter | 4:15
Attempted murder | 5:39
Corporate couples therapy | 6:24
Seeing other people | 7:33
Her White Knight | 9:06
Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey | 10:27
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