So, this might be a little late but I want to talk to you about Suicide Squad. I’ve been watching people flip out about it for months now. They hate just about everyone in the movie for one reason or another. I know because, I was one of them.
Out walks Margot Robbie (hilarious for me since my name is Margot) in her short shorts and pink/blue with bubble gum and my soul died a little. Where was my blond beauty in her full body leotard of red and black, jester hat and black mask? Where the hell was she?
Oh, Maker, did I flip the hell out. I was furious! I wanted my Harley, I couldn’t care less about the Joker, but don’t mess with my beloved Harley. Growing up in the ‘80s, I watched X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman, among others. I loved watching all of these. I could never afford to get the comics, but the cartoons were free. So, I sat and watched and was present for Harley Quinn’s first episode. This adorable blond doctor had gone nutballs for a boy. Of course, this spoke to my puberty in a way that felt primal. She was weird and annoying and loved red and black. She was me. I loved her.
Of course, cartoons get cancelled and people grow up and that notion of Harley always stayed there. I identified (then and now) as Goth. I dyed my hair (then and now) red and black and just got weirder and more annoying (again, then and now). As I grew up and changed, my idea of Harley never evolved from what I knew in my childhood heart. That was who she was and she would never change. She would always be that.
As I got older, I could afford comics and read my fair share, but never bought one of hers. I was a Marvel girl, so why buy any DC, right? I got older still and I acquired shirts, pins, mugs. Her image began to change with the Batman video games. She devolved into a sexy nurse outfit (seriously she is a doctor, don’t demote her). Having not played these games, I don’t know the story line but apparently it fits in some way. My love for her continued and I began to strangle that childhood image I had of her. My grip tightened with each video game that came out. Injustice: Gods Among Us came out and her outfit was different yet again. I enjoyed the game, the aspects of Harley, but I strangled that image nearly to death.
They announced the movie and I finally broke her. How could they change my beloved Harley? She was perfect. It finally dawned on me: yeah, she was perfect for the 80s. Here I was, almost 30 years later, throwing a temper tantrum because something had changed and I didn’t like it. Wow, real mature of me.
While I went on with my life, Harley went on with hers. While I changed, adapted and evolved, so did she. She was living her own life, so to speak, and I was selfishly screaming at her to stay the exact same. I didn’t even have the decency to watch her grow up, or grow up with her. I put her in this glass case and only took her out when it suited my needs.
Ok, slow down, I’m not insane. I realize that I’m talking about a fictional comic book character as if she were a real person, but isn’t she, to me at least? She gave me someone to relate to, to look up to, to love. I am aware of how twisted that comes off. We grab onto them and hold on to our version of them, crying havoc when something changes instead of embracing it. And yes, some have changed for the worse, but these actors and writers don’t live in our heads or see our versions of them. They do the best they can with their own version and just hope to hell that they have shed some light on what we love, given our passion some justice. Plus, all good fictional characters grow and evolve just like real people.
So, no, she is not my Harley Quinn. She doesn’t belong to me. Margot Robbie is going to do her best to make childhood me smile. In the meantime, I’m going to apologize to some old friends of mine for not trying to accept them for who they’ve become.