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Recap / Batman: The Animated Series E56 "Harley and Ivy"

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"This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!"
Poison Ivy

After the Joker kicks Harley out, she meets Poison Ivy and they form an unlikely friendship.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Accidental Misnaming: At Harley and Ivy's first meeting:
    Harley: Hey, aren't you that plant lady, Poison Oaky?
    Ivy: Ivy! Poison Ivy!
  • Aesop Amnesia: Played for laughs. When it's all over, Harley is still certain she can work it out with the Joker. An annoyed Ivy throws mud in Harley's face.
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  • Afraid of Needles: Harley hates to get shots, whining about it when Ivy gives her a vaccine to protect her from the toxic nature of the land around her house. Harley even hangs a lampshade, saying, "You'd think after workin' for Mistuh Jay I'd be used to a little pain."
  • Animation Bump: Dong Yang did the animation, but TMS Entertainment did the layouts, and it shows.
  • Ascended Extra: While she hardly seems like one now, this is the first episode where Harley has a major role.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: The episode highlights that Harley can actually be a very effective criminal without the Joker.
  • Call-Back: Ivy and Harley rob the Gotham Peregrinators' Club, previously seen in "Joker's Favor," which happens to be Harley's first episode. Her knowledge of the layout probably comes in handy here.
  • Creator Cameo: Two of the cat-calling frat boys in the convertible are modeled after series developers Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski, with their hairstyles and colors swapped.
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  • Did They or Didn't They?: Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn work together when Harley is thrown out by The Joker. The first time this happened it cuts from them driving away to them wearing only their shirts and maybe panties talking about how much they hate men. Whenever they are seen hiding together, they only ever seem to have one bed.
  • Disposable Vehicle Section: After the Joker's car gets snagged by a grapple line, Harley ejects the rear section, allowing the car to escape while the discarded piece slams into the Batmobile and nearly sends it off a bridge.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Three obnoxious frat-boy types (drawn to resemble Bruce Timm, Ted Blackman and Eric Radomski) rudely leer and catcall Harley and Ivy at a traffic light. Harley pulls out a grenade launcher and blows up their car as they run for their lives.
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  • Domestic Abuse: Though they've appeared together a few times before, this is the first episode where the dynamic of the Joker and Harley's relationship is called into question.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Harley begs Joker not to use his laughing gas on Ivy and is horrified when it looks like Ivy's succumbing. Thankfully, Ivy was safe because of her immunity to all poison.
  • Exact Words: Ivy loudly proclaims that "no man can take us prisoner." Enter, stage right: Renee Montoya.
    Montoya: All right, ladies... raise 'em!
  • Exploding Barrels: The Joker blows up a barrel of toxic waste with his Tommy gun, against Batman's warning, setting "Toxic Acres" ablaze.
    Batman: Stop shooting, you lunatic! We're sitting on a powder keg!
    (BOOM!)
    Joker: Whoops. Dopey me.
  • Extreme Doormat: Ivy accuses Harley of being one in regards to putting up with the Joker's abuse.
    Poison Ivy: If you had a middle name, it'd be "Welcome."
  • Fanservice: To the point that this episode single-handedly launched the Harley and Ivy ship, which is still going today, stronger than ever. Ironically, network executives thought their target demographic of young boys wouldn't find the episode interesting. Paul Dini felt they didn't understand young boys very well.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: According to Word of God, the original script had the Joker address Harley and Ivy as "busy little beavers." The line actually got past the network censors, but the staff decided they'd gone a bit too far and changed it to "bees."
  • Groin Attack: Poison Ivy kicks The Joker in the balls after his attempt to poison her fails - and she kicked him hard enough to knock him onto his back. He gives out a high-pitched remark before collapsing again. He does recover rather quickly.
    Joker: [pained falsetto] Get 'em...
  • It's Personal: Renee Montoya seems determined to personally apprehend Harley and Ivy after they escape her in the museum, incapacitating her with toxic gas in the process, and subsequently go on a high-profile crime spree.
  • Kinky Spanking: Invoked in the scene with the leering guys—after Ivy chides them for their rudeness, one of them slaps his butt and asks, "What're ya gonna do... spank us?" Harley proceeds to spank their car with the grenade launcher.
  • Laser Hallway: Harley Quinn simply jumps around the beams when she goes to steal a diamond. Works fine, but then Ivy activates the alarm during her own robbery from another wing of the facility.
  • Lets See You Do Better: In-Universe, Joker says this to Harley Quinn. And for once, Harley does just that with Poison Ivy.
    Joker: Maybe I should let YOU run the gang! Maybe YOU are a better crook than the rest of us put together!
    Harley: Maybe! [Joker glares] ... not.
  • Made of Explodium: Ivy's entire neighborhood, by virtue of being built on top of a toxic waste dump full of flammable chemicals.
  • Men Can't Keep House: After Harley has been gone for a few days, we see the Joker at his hideout stumbling around in boxer shorts and a sleeveless shirt, complaining that he can't find his socks and nobody's fed the hyenas.
    Joker: This place is going to blinking blue blazes!
  • Mugging the Monster: A trio of obnoxious catcallers find out the hard way that the women they're hitting on are a couple of supervillains.
  • Never My Fault:
    • As one might expect, the Joker blames everything that went wrong in the botched robbery at the beginning on Harley, even though a lot of it happened because of his own mistakes. (And she succeeded at helping them both evade capture.)
    • He does it again at the very end of the episode, ranting that his next gang won't allow women (implying that he blames Harley and Ivy for his capture).
  • No-Sell: The Joker tries to use his laughing gas on Poison Ivy after she and Harley upstage him. She lets out a brief Joker-esque laugh before revealing that she's laughing at Joker because his poison doesn't work on her, at which point she kicks him right where it counts.
  • Not So Different: Something often overlooked in the rush to ship Harley and Ivy is that, for all that she denounces the Joker's manipulative and cruel treatment of Harley, Ivy is equally manipulative and quite dismissive of her.
  • Pop the Tires: Ivy shoots out a tire of Montoya's police car at one point. Near the end of the episode, Montoya returns the favor.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skyward Scream: The Joker lets loose a very funny one when he sees a newspaper article revealing that Harley and Ivy are stealing his thunder. The broken theater sign outside his hideout breaks further in reaction.
  • So Much for Stealth: Harley slips into the museum, gracefully evades the laser grid, and starts carefully cutting into a diamond display case. Then the alarm gets set off by Ivy's intrusion elsewhere in the museum, so Harley just smashes, grabs, and runs.
    Harley: Nice work, butterfingers! Why didn't you just turn on the Bat Signal while you were at it?
  • Spinning Paper: Used to show the progression of Harley and Ivy's crime spree, culminating in the headline New Queens of Crime!
  • Spoof Aesop: Invoked. The "lesson" the Joker takes from this episode is to not have any women in his next gang.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Briefly touched upon when Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy team up, and grumble about the lack of respect they get from males. They rob the Peregrinators' Club specifically because it does not admit women. At one point they briefly get the upper hand on Batman and ask him if he is bothered by being beaten by "mere girls."
    Batman: Man or woman, a sick mind is capable of anything.
    Poison Ivy: A very enlightened statement, Batman. We'll carve it on your headstone.
  • Tempting Fate: At the end Harley and Ivy have escaped both the Joker's gang and the Batman by leaving the latter to deal with the former, and Ivy gloats that "No man can take us prisoner!" Cue officer Renee Montoya (a woman) shooting out their getaway car's tires.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Only noticeable in the background, but this is just the first of several examples of Harley and Ivy hiding out together in a place with only one bed. Though this is generally justified, as it demonstrates that they had absolutely no start-up capital and could barely afford this empty room with a bed. And given the amount of Les Yay in that partnership (more than you could ever expect from a children's show in the '90s), very deliberate.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Even the Joker's two mooks realize quickly that it's too dangerous to even be in the landfill, and that opening fire on a heap of chemicals is a bad idea, something that doesn't sink in as fast for their boss.
  • Villain Episode: The focus is on Harley, Ivy, and the Joker. Batman appears in a brief chase scene at the very beginning, and then isn't onscreen again until well past the halfway point.
  • Villain Has a Point: Harley and Ivy aren't entirely wrong to chafe at obnoxious louts rudely cat-calling them, sexist institutions denying them equal access and opportunity, and men generally patronising and belittling them. Their responses to this, however, cannot in any way be considered socially constructive or helpful.
  • Villains Out Shopping: After he throws out Harley, we next see the Joker stumbling around his hideout in polka-dot boxers, forgetting to feed the hyenas and unable to find his socks. The commentary jokes that there's a good reason we rarely see him in his underwear...
  • Villain Team-Up: Our titular ladies, of course. (And this is the first time; not even close to the last.)
  • What Does She See in Him?: Ivy repeatedly chides Harley over her infatuation with the Joker, who is at best indifferent and at worst abusive to her. The Les Yay subtext between the villainesses adds an overtone of What's He Got That I Ain't Got?! to the criticisms.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Batman is pragmatic enough not to hold back on Harley and Ivy in a fight.
    • And of course, this episode features a lot of early warning signs of the Joker's abusive treatment of Harley.

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