Harley Quinn: The 83rd Annual Villy Awards

Well, I’m sure this could be more awkward…

The ongoing insanity that is the Harley Quinn series continues on HBOMax (at least, they haven’t cancelled in mid-run yet. Anything’s possible over there at this point). This episode takes aim at award shows, more bizarre customs among the villain population of this world, and gives us another celebrity guest star. Harley and Ivy are heading for the red carpet in “The 83rd Annual Villy Awards.”

After managing to destroy their abandoned mall headquarters last time, the team is cat-sitting at Selina Kyle/Catwoman’s place. She leaves them a few instructions which you just know are going to be ignored, especially by Harley, who is in full-on fidget mode while Ivy gets to work on her new project. There’s a brief explanation about where Selina is, and then we hear about the Villy awards, that Harley and Ivy have been nominated, and Harley goes on a rant about her past with that particular award and show. Ivy, very reluctantly, agrees to go. Weirdly, while it’s a show about villains in general, this seems to be focused almost exclusively on Gotham-based bad guys, with others getting vague cameos in the background.

Clayface is continuing his weird gig as director James Gunn’s chair on the set of the Thomas Wayne movie. Not only is Gunn voicing himself, but star of the movie Billy Bob Thorton voices himself as well, as Clayface gets up to antics right out of an old sitcom. Harley and Ivy arrive at the Award Show, we see their competition, and tv host Tawny pops up yet again, asking questions about Harley’s past times up for this award with Joker. The awkwardness levels get maxed out and exceeded as the show starts, with Ivy seated next to her jilted fiancé Kite Man, who claims to have a new girlfriend, and the show itself being hosted by Joker and his Harley dancers. I’m amazed the real Harley didn’t kill them, but she does manage to make an admiring remark about their routine. Bane pops up for more comic relief, continues his odd vendetta, and Harley learns some disturbing facts about the reality behind the awards.

Things kick into an even higher notch of weirdness as the show goes on. Ivy steps outside, strikes up a conversation with someone, and finds out they have something uncomfortable in common. Harley decides to try and cheat, and gets a lot more than she bargained for when she goes after a courier. Clayface gets into more wacky hijinks, almost gets a big break, and loses his shot when some of those directions I mentioned earlier are, as predicted, ignored. The awards show has an In Memorium section which, among other things, shows how high the body count for this series has been, and Joker makes more quips as the emcee. Really weirdly, one of the awards is the “Joe Chill Award.” I wasn’t clear what it was supposed to be for, but in at least some of the timelines, Joe Chill is the man who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, thus creating the Batman. Is this something the villains would want to celebrate?

Ivy’s conversational companion is a version of a DC villain, but in name only. She looks nothing like any version of this character I’ve ever seen, and seems to have different abilities. Ivy comes to a realization and rallies both herself and her new friend. Harley gets a pep talk from a very unexpected source, and finally she and Ivy decide the show isn’t important and walk out, showing some really bad timing. At Selina’s place, King Shark makes a dumb comment that’s going to give us a no doubt long-running gag. And, in the end, someone ends up with the coveted award by default, more or less.

What I Liked: The silliness of the show to one side, I really like how they’re giving some emotional depth to Ivy in particular. She’s grown a lot, and I like the way they’re portraying her and Harley. Kite Man, an easy character to use a joke, also has some unexpected dimensions to him.

What I Didn’t: I know this is really, really a “turn off your brain” show, but bits of it keep not making sense to me and I can’t help it, it bugs me. Why is a huge award show just Gotham- based? Why name an award after Joe Chill? Why was the new character named after someone obscure and then used completely differently in appearance and abilities?

They’ve done some really entreating episodes in this series. I don’t think this was their best. I’ll give this a 2.5 out of 5. Hopefully they get their rhythm back next episode.

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