Watching DC Shows, Feeling Naughty
Twice this year, watching shows based on DC comic characters made me feel like I was doing something… perverse. The first time was watching the first episode of Titans earlier this year. The second time was watching the new Harley Quinn animated series earlier this week.
Both times I was watching them alone. If I heard a noise or sensed someone might be walking in, I paused the show and looked around.* I watched with the volume low, but kept lowering it when something would happen. This combination of private, paranoid viewing made it feel like I was watching porn.
Keep in mind, both shows are for an adult audience, but for language and violence, not nudity or sexual situations. And I may be the office prude, but there are plenty of other shows as or more adult that I watch without the same paranoia. It’s specifically because these are adult DC shows that made it weird.
Here’s the thing: DC is very good at adapting their characters to different tones. Think of it like a Batman spectrum, from Adam West to Christian Bale. At the moment, DC is casting a wide net with its characters. It’s not like when Batman: The Brave and the Bold meant a theoretical cartoon Batman quota that could have been used for the next Batman: The Animated Series instead went to a kiddy Batman show. Now, the same characters are available simultaneously in a variety of interpretations for different audiences. Case in point, while the Justice League movie left a lot to be desired as an attempt at a shared universe, Crisis On Infinite Earths strolled in and blew away expectations.
In my case, I saw both ends of the spectrum on the same day. Earlier this year, I watched some Teen Titans Go with my daughter a few hours before I gave Titans a try. Earlier this week we watched DC Superhero Girls, then I watched Harley Quinn.
Between the contrast of shows on either end of the tonal spectrum and the thought of how my daughter might react to seeing Robin say “Fuck Batman” or Harley say “Fuck The Joker!”, it feels like I’m doing something wrong. And yet I can watch The Boys like it’s no big deal. What’s The Boys going to ruin for my daughter? Karl Urban?
I will say that one of the reasons it feels like I’m watching Barbie’s Dreamhouse After Dark is because DC has done an amazing job being consistent with their character’s voices and personalities. Maybe not Titans as much, but Harley Quinn feels like the same character, just in two very different circumstances.
*appropriately, it was usually Batman, our guinea pig.
Speaking of Inappropriate DC Things
The Gutters was great for putting familiar comic characters in uncomfortable situations, and there’s no better example of that than this Gutters t-shirt.
It and many other great t-shirts are on sale for $5 during the Blind Ferret Shop blowout!