Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special Review

By Adam Lock
Published: February 8, 2023 (Last updated: November 13, 2023)


Raunchy, hilarious fun from the Harley Quinn team as they continue their winning run as one of the industry’s leading adult animated series.

We review the HBO Max animated special Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special, which does not contain spoilers.

In recent years, Harley Quinn has become one of the most successful superheroes in pop culture fandom. A comic book colossus who also happens to be the general go-to character when it comes to anything related to romance and the pursuit of love. A killer queen, synonymous with rocky relationships and brutal break-ups, that has seemingly been cursed by Cupid.

This makes her the perfect candidate for a Valentine’s Day special, with the hugely successful HBO Max series (Harley Quinn) dedicating an entire 45-minute installment to the romantic holiday and our loved-up icon’s quest for perfection.

Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special Review and Plot Summary

The animated special focuses on the gang’s individual plans for the gushiest, mushiest, most romantic day of the year. Harley Quinn (voiced by Kaley Cuoco) wants to impress her girlfriend Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) with the best Valentine’s Day she has ever had, although her other half stresses the importance of keeping things low-key. Clayface (Alan Tudyk) has a hot date and two tickets to see Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso) live in concert. While a forlorn Bane (James Adomian) finds himself caught up in a rather raunchy mix-up as he searches for his soulmate on this particular February 14th.

These misadventures are inter-cut with smart, playful interviews, as a whole host of famous faces divulge their meet-cute stories, straight to camera. Notorious DC Comics couples ironically explain the moment they fell in love with their partners, paying homage to the quintessential rom-com When Harry Met Sally… But it is Harley Quinn who is the show’s main protagonist and we mainly focus on her calamitous 24 hours with Poison Ivy. Our self-conscious anti-hero wants Poison Ivy to have the perfect day, yet Harley Quinn is plagued by her own self-doubt and jealousy. As you’d expect, it’s an action-packed evening, full of shoot-outs and misdirected magical spells.

This stand-alone episode is littered with the usual comical pop culture references, adult-rated jokes, and inventive wordplay. Featuring an excellent voice cast (listen out for Jim Rash as the Riddler) and some exciting cameos (the aforementioned Brett Goldstein is just brilliant), this is sure to wow comic-book fans and TV fanatics alike.

Is Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special good?

Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special feels like a real treat from HBO Max, coming along just at the right time, during the agonizing hiatus between seasons three and four of the hit adult animated series.

This creative special is both hilarious and endearing, peppered with many nice, little touches that will surely be appreciated by the die-hard fan base. The meet-cute interviews are fantastic, whilst the animators play into the show’s raunchier aspects, blocking out characters’ private parts in imaginative ways.

The standalone special zips by at a lightning pace, delivering plenty of humorous jokes and satisfying mini-story arcs. Harley Quinn may be the epitome of the hopeless romantic, but this Valentine’s Day-themed installment highlights everyone’s desire to be loved and to fall in love, even if you are a psychotic, homicidal supervillain.

What did you think of the HBO Max animated special Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special? Comment below.

HBO Max, Streaming Service, TV Reviews