If, for some ungodly reason, you need more evidence of how superheroes have conquered mainstream pop culture, you can stop your search at the ongoing 2022 Winter Olympics. That’s because it’s the place where Joker and Harley Quinn took to the ice-skating rink to do an interpretative routine exploring their troubled, tragic past relationship. At least I think that’s what they were doing.
In truth, German skaters Katharina Muller and Tim Dieck did the actual interpreting, choosing Jared Leto’s portrayal of Joker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn from the non-critically-acclaimed Suicide Squad movie. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Muller and Dieck’s routine was not critically acclaimed either, and in fact was quite bad. (You’ll have to head here to watch it.) Now, I don’t say that as someone who has any business judging figure skating, but as someone who’s simply reporting the duo received a score of 63.21, enough to net them 10th (and last) place in the event.
As a layperson, however, I will say the Joker/Harley Quinn-ness of the routine felt more than a little lacking. Other than the shiny purple jacket worn by Dieck, the cringy mimed neck snap that kicked off their performance, and the recording of Leto’s Joker laugh at the end, there’s nothing in the actual skating that implied Harley’s violently chaotic energy or the Joker’s evil, cruel toxicity. Honestly, the skating didn’t give me any sense of any emotion—it just seemed kind of boring and awkward, which the commentators also noted when the routine was finished.
I mean, the only reason I know Muller is playing Harley Quinn is because the NBC Olympics coverage says so, and because she’s the most plausible female character to be hanging out with the Joker on an ice rink. But take her off the ice and away from Dieck, and I wouldn’t be able to guess in a million years she was supposed to be Harley.
On the bright side for the pair, the performance isn’t even close to the worst things that are happening at this year’s Olympics.
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