That One Time When “Harley Quinn” Paid Homage to Goodfellas

There are times when I kick myself for a pop culture reference going over my head. I even have a meme I made just for it:

Yes, the pop culture reference I missed in a trivia game a few years ago had something to do with this person, whom is playing a person named “Geraldine” here. I joked later that the “Devil made me do it.”

Maybe I’ll never get over not knowing Flip Wilson’s name in that trivia game at Powell’s Pub in Ypsilanti, MI a few years ago for a final question. But I will be vindicated for this mistake because I managed to spot a sequence in the “Harley Quinn” animated TV series that paid homage to a scene in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film Goodfellas. Shouldn’t I get a scratch and sniff sticker for that or something? A gift card to Claire’s Boutique so I can buy a scrunchie or a bracelet that probably won’t fit? Maybe a gift certificate to Tape World? This was the first place I’d spent a gift certificate that I’d won – in this case, I was a seventh grader winning a spelling bee, and I used the gift certificate to buy a cassette copy of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”

So When Did Harley Quinn Make a Goodfellas Reference?

For those of you who subscribe to the HBO Max streaming service (or have it on DVD or Blu-Ray), go to Season 1 episode 13 titled “The Final Joke.” It’s best to watch the entire episode, but if you’re not a patient sort, then fast-forward until you start to see members of Harley’s gang getting tortured (sorry don’t know exactly what minute mark that is). When you see King Shark with some of his teeth removed and Joker wearing a necklace with bloodied teeth he pulled from his mouth, you’re in the right spot!

Don’t worry – King Shark doesn’t get the whole bloodlust thing and kill himself when it’s his blood being shed! Also his teeth grow back because he’s a shark (who wouldn’t be jealous of this)?

But it wasn’t the images in this scene that really got my attention. It was the music. Which made me think of the “Layla Sequence” in Goodfellas (yeah go ahead and look for that on YouTube, it’s there). For laypeople, it’s the scene showing the aftermath of the Lufthansa heist, where not only millions of dollars in cash and jewelry was stolen – but lots of people were killed – including that couple in the pink car, that poor chilly guy dangling from a ceiling in the meat truck and those guys who got thrown out with the trash and ended up in a Dumpster. If Jimmy Conway (played by Robert DeNiro in the movie) was punishing the folks for spending the money too garishly and getting unwanted attention from feds, why did he think a bunch of dead bodies WOULDN’T get attention? Sure, the guys finding them in the Dumpster were probably in the mob’s pocket if not in the mob itself, so they would look the other way, but still – asking for a friend.

While all of this is going on in Goodfellas, the “coda” part of the Derek and the Dominos’ song “Layla” is playing. If you have a music streaming service, you can go to the 3 ish minute mark to hear this music, which is pretty much all piano and guitar. It works perfectly with this movie scene – and no surprise considering it’s a Scorsese film (that’s another blog topic entirely).

In the Harley Quinn sequence, King Shark, Dr. Psycho, Clayface and Batman all get tortured by Joker.

Poor Clayface!
In this scene, Joker is making Psycho watch a feminist rally with his eyes pried open, which is torture for this misogynist fellow!

Harley Quinn’s music composer is Jefferson Friedman – and well, I’m going to say he is brilliant! He managed to make the music in this sequence sound “just enough” like that final minutes of “Layla,” without making it sound enough like it for him to get sued by Eric Clapton.

I can’t wait for season 3 of this show to finally drop! I’m hearing rumors that it will be “late summer” or “early fall.” It’s probably one of the best – if not the best – new series that’s been released in the past few years.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and start bingeing “Harley Quinn” already! Just remember that just because it’s animated, it’s NOT a kiddie show – there will be instances of swearing (liberal use of the F word), sexual situations (including girl on girl) and (gasp) smoking! And why not watch Goodfellas, too!

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