The highly anticipated Harley Quinn animated series premiered to the DC Universe-subscribed masses last week, and if you somehow randomly came to it not realising it wasn’t your typical cartoon, you might have been taken back by all the F-bombs. While entertaining, this Harley Quinn is certainly not for everyone.
That said, the new series is just the most recent in a line of more mature-themed animated projects we’ve seen over the last decade. Harley Quinn isn’t just a string of curses, it tackles toxic relationships and more. Gizmodo touched on this corner of the animation industry while speaking to showrunners/executive producers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker about it at New York Comic Con earlier this year and they were both appreciative to be able to explore it and state the obvious: Of course the Joker says “Fuck.”
You can read our transcription below.
Justin Halpern, executive producer: Part of the reason why there’s so much cursing in the show is because we were like, “Joker kills people. Like, he puts bombs inside people’s stomachs. Like he definitely says, “Fuck.” Like, he says it.
Gizmodo: Yeah, why wouldn’t he, right?
Halpern: Why wouldn’t he say fuck, you know? So, like we don’t have the heroes cursing in the show, but we do have the villains because it’s like that’s what those guys would say when they’re just like hanging out.
Gizmodo: So actually, what do you think about the animation sphere, specifically in the last few years, cause there’s been a lot more for adults, specifically? Stuff like BoJack Horseman and that sort of thing. What it is like playing in that realm?
Patrick Schumacker, executive producer: It’s amazing. I mean we’re giant Rick and Morty fans, as many people are. And, you know, the legacy of Warner Bros. animation has been mostly family-friendly stuff. And so now, they are making like a giant push to get into adult animation in a way that they had never done before. And I mean so that’s exciting just being kind of on the precipice of that. I’d love to send the message to certain people that animation is not just for kids, you know? I think there’s a stigma there for some people and that is certainly not the case.
Halpern: You know if you were my age, our age, you probably grew up watching The Simpsons. I watched it religiously. And it was like the first show, for me, that I was like, “This is comedy. This is what it should be.” And it just happened to be animated. And so, I think the idea like that, at least for me personally, to be able to do an adult animated show, like brings me back to that first moments of experiencing like great comedy on television and being like, “Wow, I can’t believe somebody’s doing this.”
And for us to get the opportunity to do that, and for people just in general, to be like moving towards adult animation. I mean there are like really dramatic moments in our show, but also in Rick and Morty, in BoJack, obviously. And they work and they pull it off. And I think that that’s, I think 10 years ago nobody would’ve said, “Hey, in your animated show you can have like actual dramatic moments that will play.” And now people feel like they do.
A new episode of Harley Quinn debuts Friday on DC Universe in the U.S. Harley Quinn is not currently available in Australia.