One of the great things about making a show for HBO Max starring Gotham’s villains is that the content restrictions are very different. Recently, Variety shared an article on television shows that are subverting the superhero genre, highlighting Wandavision, The Umbrella Academy, and Harley Quinn. Justin Halpern is one of the co-creators for Kaley Cuoco’s Harley Quinn series on HBO Max. He talked about how the villain-led show provides a lot more “leeway”. While writing for season three, however, the team found that DC did have their limits on what heroes were allowed to do when they wrote a sex scene with Batman.
Season three of Kaley Cuoco’s show hasn’t come out yet, and apparently, there’s one scene we’ll never see. It involved Batman performing oral sex on Catwoman. DC learned of the scene and argued with the show’s team that they needed to remove it. Why? Because, as DC put it, “Heroes don’t do that.” (This comment may be just begging social media for a new round of “Hero We Deserve” memes.) Apparently, the team behind Kaley Cuoco’s Harley Quinn wasn’t ready to let it go. They then asked if DC believed heroes were selfish lovers. DC cut to the point, which was that they felt it would be difficult to sell Batman toys with scenes like that on the HBO Max show. You can see Justin Halpern’s retelling of this to Variety in the tweet below.
We’ll have to wait and see how Harley Quinn gets around the cut scene. References? Dirty jokes without actually showing the act? Or will they actually simply remove all references to it? We’ll have to wait for season three to release to see if anything is mentioned. While the Kaley Cuoco show is generally considered R-rated, sex scenes like this are actually often considered NC-17. The Ryan Gosling movie Blue Valentine famously found itself with an NC-17 rating for an oral sex scene that the actors didn’t feel was particularly graphic. The team behind the film fought the MPAA to keep the scene and their R-rating. Fighting DC comics over a classic character like Batman is a different story.
It isn’t surprising that the Kaley Cuoco Harley Quinn has pushed limits so far that they’ve had to cut scenes. If you watch the trailer for the HBO Max show, you’ll hear the F word multiple times and a joke about STDs, and that’s just for season one. Shows like this generally push the limits further as the show goes on and characters develop.
When Kaley Cuoco first read the script for Harley Quinn, she actually thought it was a joke. It just went so far. This was a huge jump from her twelve seasons on The Big Bang Theory, a sitcom aimed at an adult audience but that still needed to stay as family-friendly as possible. The scripts for the HBO Max show made her laugh, but what she has said she loves most about the show is the heart the writers put into it. She feels that the character represents more women out there than many people think. She told Entertainment Weekly that Harley Quinn, “gets away with things that no one else does.” This seems like a fair representation of both her character and the entire show, except in this one case, assuming that DC has had the final word and the Batman-Catwoman moment has been removed from Harley Quinn season three.