Couch Potato: My Dramatic Trip to “Riverdale”

Hello hello hello, my pets—Nikkie here. I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve gazed upon your shining, beautiful faces. Probably because I’ve never seen them, unless I know you in real life . . . But that’s neither here nor there! The point is that I’m back at it, blog styles, and we’re all super excited about it.

To shake off my cobwebs, I’m gonna keep it brief and just talk a little bit about my latest obsession: the CW’s Riverdale. I had been initially excited when I heard the show was being created. I read Archie comics a lot growing up, and I was definitely into the #HotArchie reboot. But when I found out Riverdale was going to be a dramatic murder mystery of a show, I was less thrilled. Why does everything have to be a gritty re-imagining, full of drama and violence and sex? But then they cast Cole Sprouse as Jughead, and because I’ve recently become obsessed with him, I knew I’d eventually get around to watching this show.

I ended up having to wait until it came to Netflix because when I finally ventured over to the CW website after the show’d been running for a few weeks, the few first episodes weren’t up anymore! Ugh! Thankfully, the wait for Netflix wasn’t that long, and I avoided spoilers pretty easily. I was never looking forward to watching the show, per se. It just seemed like something I’d have to grit my teeth and bear.

Then I watched it. And somehow, by show’s end, I was certifiably obsessed. (Light spoilers ahead.)

Honestly, I can’t even tell you how this happened. Because here’s a truth I know about the show: Something about it is kind of bad. I think it’s mostly the acting. Everything is either a little too much or not quite enough for the moment, in that way that I feel is unique to channels like the CW and Freeform (formerly known as ABC Family). It’s not the must-see, car crash kind of bad where you’re gleefully watching because there’s a perverse joy to watching. But it wasn’t the bad kind of bad that made me want to turn it off instantly. It was a mediocre kind of bad, like “Hmm . . . There are aspects of this that aren’t the best, but the longer I’m here, the more I can forgive it.”

In a similar vein, the dialogue can be . . .  questionable. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve watched it, so I can’t offer up an example off the top of my head. But there were definitely times where I sat there thinking, “Okay, this isn’t how people talk to each other.”
And don’t even get me started on that super random scene from the first episode where Veronica kisses Betty in an attempt to be “edgy” enough for the high school dance squad. Just. No.

But outside of all that, I found myself getting extremely invested in everything that was happening. Who had killed Jason? When was Betty going to realize that her parents were lying and her sister was probably just pregnant (because seriously, girl, that became increasingly obvious)? How did no one know Jughead was homeless because his dad was a gang leader without a job? WHY ARE ALL THE ADULTS FUCKING NUTS?!

I think it was that latter point, really, that kept me coming back. The adults in this show are so fucking extra, I had to see what insane thing they were going to do next and try to pass off as normal. At the top of the psycho parent list is Betty’s mom because WOW. She was just too, too much. In a scene where Betty is trying on some lipstick her sister Polly left behind, I was so creeped out by how her mother just comes in and forcefully wipes the shade off her face, leaving a bright red smear across her mouth. It legitimately disturbed me because it was such an invasion of Betty’s personal space, and her mother could not have cared less. *shudder* But considering the first time we see Betty’s mom, she’s saying she’s glad Jason died because of “what he did” to Polly (and all he did was love her and get her pregnant), I suppose I really shouldn’t have been surprised that she was going to be way too much all the time. Even when she’s trying to mend her family by revealing that she’d let Polly come home and keep the baby, she’s still annoying as hell because she’s rude to Jughead’s dad and Veronica’s mom and almost ruins Betty’s relationship by being a terrible journalist. I can’t with her.
Cheryl’s mom comes in second when it comes to bad moms on the show, but we really don’t see a lot of her. Of the Blossoms, Cheryl is the one we see the most. But when we do see the rest of the redheaded clan, they’re usually just shitting all over Cheryl, with Mama Blossom leading the charge. It’s really hard to watch. Even though Cheryl is just a little too Cersei+Jaime about her brother, I don’t think she deserves to have her own family (and especially her mother) treat her this way. No bueno.

I think the other thing that kept me coming back is that, even with its more questionable elements, I think the overall story of the show is a good one. Not a plausible one, mind you—what with the incest and the young gay Honeypotting and all that—but a story that kept me guessing and curious. There were some unanswered questions and concerns, of course, but they may simply be loose threads to be picked up in the next season. As an example: Jughead’s dad implies that Betty’s mom (the only parents whose names I can remember are Archie’s dad Fred and Veronica’s mom Hermione; sue me) used to be a South Side Serpent in one scene. He may have simply been pointing out that she came from the south side of town, and people can’t easily escape their roots, but his wording was definitely ambiguous. And it never came up again . . . So what’s going on there? Hopefully that will be explored in future episodes—perhaps in a flashback where we learn about what happened to Betty and Polly’s secret brother?

I also threw myself entirely into the Betty/Jughead relationship. I love it. I remain a little bit bummed that they’re not going with the asexual Jughead from the comic reboot, as I know many people are, but I also really enjoy watching their relationship grow. I know this won’t happen, but I hope that Betty goes full Sandy from Grease in season two and just becomes full-blown ride-or-die biker chick as Juggie seems to be joining the Serpents. I just feel like they’d look so badass together lol

What I’m not here for? Archie and Veronica. Really, I’m not here for Archie and anyone. He’s truly the least interesting character in the show, even with his short-lived love affair with “Miss Grundy.” I know he’s supposed to be the heartthrob, but I’m mostly just bored by him. Gimme regular KJ Apa (the actor who portrays Archie) with his dark hair, facial scruff, and accent. I’m 1000% more into that. But his violently, obviously dyed red hair and boy-next-door Archie vibes aren’t doing it for me, and they’re not really doing it for the show either. The showrunner says that Archie is going on a hero’s journey, and in season two, he’ll be in the dark period post-his father’s shooting. So perhaps he’ll have something more to offer up then partial eye candy (because with that bad dye job, I basically just want him to put a bag over his face so he can be shirtless and silent).

So that’s where I’m at. My slow stumble into obsession was a surprise even to me. Super Hubs even got into it, and was equally surprised when we finished the show and realized “Huh. We may have legitimately enjoyed this.” It’s very much got the mark of the CW all over it, much like Girl Meets World had a hint of its predecessor but was douse in the Disney Channel’s signature scent, but it might just end up working out.
Now they just better bring Sabrina into the next season! Get witchy with it, people!!

May your streaming services always auto-play the next episode,


Photo Credit: Cult of Whatever

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