The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 72: “Harlequinade”

Harley Quinn is predicted to be the number 1 Halloween costume in the U.S. this week, and it is without a doubt she’s one of the most intriguing characters in Batman: The Animated Series.  In this provocative episode that originally aired in the mid-90’s, Harley provides explicit descriptions of unhealthy interactions and intimate partner violence between herself and the Joker. In an interesting twist of roles, Harley is recruited by Batman to help him catch the Joker before he detonates a massive bomb. Batman, taking on a momentary role of a caring friend, questions why Harley, someone who was a mental health provider, continues to put up with the Joker’s sadism and abuse.

In this podcast episode, we touch upon the campy story of two unlikely partners, Harley and Batman, working together. We also recognize that the storyline is, without any subtlety, depicting a subversive and dangerous version of love. We explore Harley and the Joker’s reciprocal (also called bilateral) intimate partner violence through the lens of the “conflict-based theoretical model,” which posits that conflict between two romantic partners leads to increasingly coercive interactions that may spiral or escalate into violence. In bilateral scenarios, risk of injury is heightened, and women are more likely than their male partners to experience injury. For more information, listen to the full episode below:

If you or someone you know needs help related to intimate partner violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or visit the website, thehotline.org. Support, resources, and advice about keeping yourself safe are available 24/7, every day of the year.

The Arkham Sessions is a podcast dedicated to the psychology of the show, Batman: The Animated Series.  Have psychology related questions about Batman? Write to us via twitter @ArkhamSessions or on Facebook. Or visit our official website.

And don’t forget to subscribe to The Arkham Sessions on iTunes to get all the latest episodes!

2 Responses to “The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 72: “Harlequinade””

  1. Julia Arsenault says:

    That’s my favorite Harley episode!

  2. […] In “Harlequinade,” we take a look at Harley’s unhealthy relationship with the […]

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