The Secret Origin of the Harley Quinn Animated Series

The Harley Quinn animated collection has lastly arrived on the DC Universe streaming service. Boasting a rapid-fire jokes-per-minute ratio that will disgrace almost every other comedy on TV, and precise disgrace in any respect about something in any way, Harley Quinn is in contrast to something you've got ever recognized to be related to the DC model. Positive, all of us already knew that Joker is a horrible, abusive boyfriend and that Batman is a stuck-up fascist software, however do you know that Commissioner Gordon is an overcaffeinated wreck who desperately craves Batman's consideration or that Poison Ivy retains a foul-mouthed Venus flytrap that sounds suspiciously like J.B. Smoove or that Riddler is definitely far more unbearable than you in all probability would have guessed he's?

Therein, amidst the blood, the occasional entrails, and all of the f-bombs (and we do imply all of them) you could discover the Harley Quinn animated collection. An unapologetically filthy and hilarious celebration of Gotham Metropolis's seedy underbelly, animated in a method that would not be out of place on a conventional Batman journey cartoon. So how the precise fuck did they handle to drag this off? We spoke with govt producers and writers Patrick Schumacker and Justin Halpern about bringing Harley Quinn to life.

solar: What was the pitch course of for this? Was this all the time conceived as a tough "R" present?

Patrick Schumacker: Yeah. Proper off the bat. We received a name from the studio again in 2016, they usually have been like, "What do you guys take into consideration doing an R-rated animated comedy about Harley Quinn?" And we have been like, "Yeah, that is a no brainer." We knew we'd take it to streaming providers, however DC Universe wasn't even ... I feel it was a tough thought at that time.

As a result of we knew we wished it to be serialized, we did a present bible, fleshed out the first season, got here up with Harley and her crew and who can be the most attention-grabbing members of that to play off of one another, this via the prism of a office comedy with supervillains. We wrote the pitch and it was able to go. We're below contract with Warner Brothers Tv, engaged on a number of initiatives directly, and one of the different broadcast exhibits ended up taking precedent over that as a result of of timing. And so we ran a present for NBC, a really quick lived present known as Powerless. It was additionally set in the DC Universe as a dwell motion office comedy. That ran its course. After which luckily, Harley was nonetheless accessible for us to do when Powerless led to 2017.

We wrote the pilot throughout the early days of our writers room in November 2017. So there have been 10 writers in the room they usually all had their palms in the pilot, despite the fact that Justin and I and Dean Lorey are credited as the writers of the pilot, all people had their fingerprints on it. It was an actual workforce effort. We broke out 13 episodes. We received picked up for 26 [at DC Universe]. Harley's an enormous character in phrases of significance in the DC Universe. So it made all the sense in the world to carry it to DC Universe. So yeah, November of 2017 is when the Writers Room began. We broke out the first 13. We all the time knew that we wished to put in writing the 26 episodes as two discrete 13-episode arcs and deal with it like a cable present.

Can we speak about that present bible for a minute? You might have a beautiful playground with all these characters. While you have been breaking out what your Joker is like or what your Penguin is like, what have been these conferences like and what have been the breakdowns like on these characters?

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Justin Halpern: So our feeling was two issues. Every little thing's seen via Harley's eyes, proper? Half of our pitch was that these guys are all villains. They homicide folks, they dismember folks. They in all probability say "fuck" and drink an excessive amount of liquor and social gathering and do issues that individuals who do not actually have any care in the world would do. 

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So I feel via Harley's POV, Joker might be type of like a petulant man-child, you understand? He is a shitty ex-boyfriend at his core. That is what he's. And Bane in all probability is an enormous lumbering fool who would not really feel that threatening to Harley, as a result of she's not seeing him in the context that everyone else is seeing him. Our manner was like, "All proper, how do villains see one another, and let's work from that."

Patrick Schumacker: And what type of mundane facets of the villain's life can we need to painting on this comedy? We see the Legion of Doom. It is a company workplace. They've a break room, they've a Keurig machine that Bane cannot work out easy methods to get to work. It is irritating. There's gossip amongst them. Submit-breakup, Scarecrow and Bane are in the break room, speaking about what Harley did to the Joker. And the Joker's making an attempt to play it off, like, "I do not fucking care. That is no large deal." And he brings his espresso mug up, he is shaking. It is clearly getting below his pores and skin.

It was an evolution, as all tv is. Once we pitched the present, I do not suppose that we essentially had totally shaped variations of these characters, or if we did, they shifted over time, simply by advantage of having loads of time to determine it out after which hiring writers and hiring actors. Alan [Tudyk, the voice of the Joker] can do petulant man-child like no one else. He did it on Powerless in a beautiful manner of taking part in this distant cousin of Bruce Wayne who runs this R&D division of WayneTech, and desires everybody to be subservient to him and would not get any respect. In some ways, we utilized these colours to Joker as effectively. He isn't the large swinging dick, essentially, at the Legion of Doom. And when Harley manages to infiltrate the Legion of Doom ... infiltrate that means being employed by them, she turns into precise competitors for the Joker. She's commanding far more respect than he's used to seeing and it actually rankles him.

One of the issues that strikes me is that if this have been only a straight Batman collection, this may nonetheless look actually cool. This might work completely effectively as a Younger Justice spinoff or no matter. Was that all the time the intention? How did these character designs come about? 

Justin Halpern: We wished to have the ability to pay homage to Batman: The Animated Series, and have it have some of that Bruce Timm really feel, and Jennifer Coyle, who heads up innovation for us, she is a humongous BTAS fan. Shane Glines, who designed our characters, designed Justice League Motion.

Patrick Schumacker: Bruce [Timm] was his mentor. He labored below Bruce for a very very long time, so he is aware of easy methods to honor the basic model whereas bringing one thing new to it.

Justin Halpern: So we would have liked them to work for comedy, and a very good instance of that's...when Shane was designing Bane...he considered it and he was like, "Bane looks like the type of man who works out his higher physique loads however not his legs at the gymnasium." So he drew this Bane who's received type of skinny legs and an enormous higher physique as a result of that is what Shane pictured him doing. No leg day. So these delicate variations are how we took what's so nice about Bruce's work and made it work for us as a comedy. We wished it to play like, "Hey, what are these folks? What would it not seem like if you happen to noticed lower scenes from Batman: The Animated Series they usually have been simply saying "fuck" and "shit" and doing no matter they wished.

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Patrick Schumacker:  We come from a dwell motion broadcast comedy background. Our precedence is ensuring the jokes land with the performances. That is our first time working in animation, however as we discovered shortly, the regular vetting course of is ... you do a blind check the place you get submissions from 15 totally different studios anyplace in the world, proper? Korea, France, Italy, Canada, wherever. They string them out once they all are available in. You write a 45-second scene. We simply took this bantery factor from the pilot with the Jokergram. The Joker gun explodes, Ivy and Harley banter. We watched 15 totally different samples, all blind, identical to "Studio A," "Studio B." And it was very clear that we have been searching for studios that understood comedy, firstly. In order that was a precedence for us. However for us, largely once we watch that first footage coming again, we're simply scribbling down notes for each single shot to see "Oh, we might promote that joke a little bit bit higher right here" or "push this expression to essentially underscore that punchline." That sort of factor. That is our precedence, for higher or worse.

So, you talked about lower scenes earlier than. Have been there any jokes that WB was like, "Nah, you are not doing this." Was there stuff that you simply guys truly needed to lower from this? 

Justin Halpern: There is a joke in the pilot that we had a dialogue about. There is a half the place Harley says to Batman, she mainly says that he received his title as a result of he fucks bats. I feel when DC first noticed that they have been like, "Whoa, you'll be able to't say that to Batman." Then we have been like, "Yeah, however that is what Harley would say to Batman." Harley would consistently be making an attempt to poke Batman and get him to react. And once we defined it to them like that, they have been like, "Yeah, okay. That is sensible. Let's attempt it." I feel that once they noticed it lastly, inside the animatic, they knew it made sense they usually have been OK with it. However... is there something they stated we could not do?

Patrick Schumacker: There was one factor. So, we have now this character The Queen of Fables, voiced by Wanda Sykes. She's from the comics, type of an obscure character. She has Gumby like powers, that she will pull issues from story books. Then we had a gingerbread man speaking about sucking dick. That was over the line. 

Justin Halpern: It was any individual she pulled out from a storybook. Then as soon as she was accomplished needing him, he needed to dwell the relaxation of his life in Gotham Metropolis. However as a gingerbread man. Which it is exhausting to get work as and he finally ends up getting a job at H&R Block. However he was grateful he received that job, as a result of it was "higher than sucking dick beneath the bridge," is what he says. DC was like, "Yeah, we do not need him to say he sucks dick." No gingerbread intercourse. 

Harley Quinn, assured 100% gingerbread intercourse free, airs new episodes each Friday on DC Universe. Take a look at a evaluation of the first episode right here.

Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of solar. You'll be able to learn extra of his work right here. Comply with him on Twitter @wayoutstuff.

Learn and obtain the  solar NYCC 2019 Particular Version Journal proper right here!

About the author


Joseph Ellis

Joseph is an experienced freelance journalist. He has worked as a journalist for a few online print-based magazines for around 3 years. He brings together substantial news bulletins from the field of Technology and US. He joined the Sunriseread team for taking the website to the heights.

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