There's A Reason Kaley Cuoco's Harley Quinn Voice Is So Consistently Inconsistent

The HBO Max animated series "Harley Quinn" is coming back for its third season in July, and Harley (voice of Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (voice of Lake Bell) are not just fighting crime together. They're a couple. It's a much healthier relationship than when Harley was with the Joker (voice of Alan Tudyk). But some fans have noticed something about Harley's voice depending on who she is with: it tends to change accents. That's for a very good reason, according to writer and executive producer Justin Halpern. 

Harley Quinn was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm back in "Batman: The Animated Series" in 1992. The character didn't have a comic book presence before that, but now you're unlikely to think of the Joker without Harley. Not only is she a fan favorite — particularly a favorite of cosplayers with her distinctive look — but she's now appeared in movies like "Suicide Squad," "The Suicide Squad," and her own film "Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)" starring Margot Robbie.

In an interview with The GWW, Halpern was asked about the changing accent of the Kaley Cuoco version of Harley in the animated series. The interviewer mentions what fans have noticed: that Harley's strong New York accent, the one we know from Arleen Sorkin's work in "Batman: The Animated Series," happens when she's around the Joker, but that she sounds more natural when she's around her now-girlfriend Poison Ivy. The question posited that it was because Harley wasn't over the Joker so she tried to please him with the accent he was used to. Was this a conscious choice, Halpern was asked?

Talking to Mr. J

Halpern said that it was. He explained:

So, you're not imagining, it was intentional. It was a joint decision by one of the EPs, Dean Lorey (he worked on Arrested Development for years and is a brilliant writer/director) and Kaley. Kaley would add so many little touches like that, along with her voice director, Charlie Adler. Like, in the episode where she went home, Kaley was like "when people go back home they slip into a thicker accent" so she did that. She's a really thoughtful performer, which is rare. Not every actor is like that! We got so lucky with our cast. They were all just total killers."

That never would have occurred to me, but it absolutely tracks. As someone who does have a tiny Long Island accent slip on a few words when I talk to my parents or go home for a visit, I guess I do it as well. Most of us do. It's such a subtle touch, and something that brings so much more life to Harley Quinn, and more understanding of her character for the audience. 

The third season of "Harley Quinn" will have 10 episodes (the first two seasons had 13 each), and will premiere on HBO Max on July 28, 2022. From the trailer, it looks like it's going to be a wild ride.