Harley Quinn and The Joker: Sound Mind doesn’t mind sounding uncharacteristic

Danny Biniecki, The Mentor Editor-in-Chief

 Classic Batman, a world where crime runs rampant in the city of Gotham and criminals are at large for the batfamily to put away. In this new rendition of Batman, Harley Quinn and The Joker: Sound Mind, listeners on Spotify follow Harleen Quinzel (Christina Ricci) in her new job as a psychologist at Arkham Asylum, a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Listeners experience Quinzel interviewing and helping patients like the Ventriloquist, Arthur Penn. Quinzel struggles to navigate a male-dominated work environment while also struggling to find the money to treat her father, who has cancer. Now, don’t get me wrong, some of this audio story is really good. The theme song, sounds and sound transitions are amazing and on point, they perfectly fit the audio. The problem begins with the story, when Quinzel meets “Patient J.” Wouldn’t you guess, it’s The Joker (Billy Magnussen). 

When I went into this series I expected it to be like the original story. Each episode would be a moment in Quinzel’s life when she would interact with The Joker and he would slowly manipulate her into the vicious villain Harley Quinn, a creepy podcast full of toxicity and manipulation, the two prime words describing their relationship. Instead, in “Patient J’s” Spotify bio we got, “A magnetic criminal able to manipulate anyone but her.” When I read that I became suspicious of Joker’s whole character but when he first appeared is when I was truly shocked. There I was, sitting in AP U.S History, working on an assignment when I heard this alluring, charming voice. Manipulative is the last word I’d describe him, in one of his first scenes Harleen is the one that is manipulative, trying to use Joker for her own benefit.

In the entire story, Joker just seems like a lovesick puppy rather than like a supervillain. As Batman’s arch nemesis, he’s cunning, evil, diabolical and smart, and Harley is supposed to be manipulated in the end which makes for an amazing redemption story when she realizes her worth. I don’t understand why they chose this plot for this show when no characters match with how they are usually performed. Honestly the whole thing feels like I was listening to a Joker X Harley fanfiction made by a mediocre writer rather than a concrete plot with complex characters. I think it’s also best to mention that in the whole show they never mention the name “Harley Quinn” ever. I’m just disappointed with Harley- oh sorry… Harleen Quinzel and The Joker: Sound Wave.