God bless TV. Let me start out by saying I was AGAINST this reboot conceptually from the start. Fundamentally even. I thought it was stupid, unnecessary, bandwagoning, and unoriginal. To take characters whose whole being revolved around eating hamburgers and singing songs at pep rallies, then make them fuck each other and deal with murder? I read these comics as a little kid-like stacks and stacks and stacks of these comics and I was PISSED someone was just giving ’em the ole Christopher Nolan treatment to make them edgy-I was so mad. Then I watched the show.
And wowowow do I love it. I love it! At first I didn’t get why they wouldn’t just create a new series, why take these specific characters and turn them upside down? I thought it was lazy and uncreative and trying to capitalize off a fandom so you have a built in audience rather than creating something new and worthwhile, but then maybe in the third or so episode they had a line about the town and what happens to something so pure when something like this (the murder of Jason Blossom) happens to it- then later Jughead in his explanation of his fascination with the case reiterates, it’s a fundamental study of the elements and what happens when you drop chaos or darkness into something so pure. THAT angle is interesting to me- they’re examining what makes Riverdale Riverdale and what happens when you change that, what does it become?
Spoilers abound so stop reading if you haven’t seen it and want to: I really liked what they did with this season, the gunshot at the end I’m hella curious about if Archie’s dad dies or is just wounded.
Some thoughts: This seems to be another teen drama where the parents are no help/are constantly in the way and you have a group of high school kids literally solving murders and protecting each other and figuring out money issues and everything on their own. Betty’s mom specifically is an emotional roadblock-she seems to go on a journey from fucking evil, to I can act this way because of my troubled past, to uncaring bitch, to I guess I’ll be your mom again. It stresses me out. All the parents kind of suck. Veronica’s mom goes back and forth between spineless and conniving, Jughead’s dad (Skeet Ulrich???) wants to protect him by doing the worst thing for him?, Archie’s dad seems mostly good but has lapses. I was shocked by the Molly Ringwald reveal- then it made me wonder what other redheaded celebrities are they storing up? Also very curious about who Jughead’s mom and Jellybean are going to be-and Betty’s secret brother, these are all pots on the stove we have going.
As someone who loves the O.C and Gossip Girl I am worried they’re just gonna spiral through all the love triangles and teen crime tropes we all know and it’ll just be the same tall tale but with new faces- but I do think the crime/mystery element sets it apart and I hope they do a more intricate plot that has a payoff. Like I hope Polly is still in the picture and all the “clues” we have been given add up to be something, not just red herrings (lol) for in-episode suspense arcs that just get discarded.
Personal investments: I like Betty and Jughead together, I am fucking LIVING for Betty’s breakdown when she embraces this dark part of herself and loses control and Jughead and Veronica and her family try to save her but in the end it’s only Archie that can bring her back. I feel that coming and I’m really ready for it. I like Archie and Veronica together OKAY, I wish it had worked out with Val although they never really gave her a chance as girlfriend potentials go. Cheryl is someone I’m really routing for- I was so pissed that right after she tried to kill herself everyone just WENT to the Jubilee. Stay with her!! Brush her hair!! Don’t just leave her by an ominous fire!! Cheryl also has the best outfits and that makes me like her character more.
I like that there is a gay relationship that is forbidden for other reasons besides their sexuality, everyone’s like, “We don’t care that you’re gay, he’s in a biker gang and implicated in a murder cover-up and you’re the Sheriff’s son!! That’s why your love is forbidden, not cause of a misinterpretation of the Bible, DUH” very 2017 of them. Archie is so hot I can’t handle it most of the time (isn’t it cool how his scar between his eyes makes him relatable??), but it was so annoying when he was sleeping with Ms. Grundy and normally I like that!! I look for that porn!! But this was so boring and annoying-I did not like her at all and their “relationship” was annoying to me. She has a gun? She’s not really her identity? Who cares? And again I hope she comes back into the picture somehow and that’s explained, it wasn’t just a thing they created and got rid of for no reason. Same with the incest plotline- are the babies gonna be fucked up? Is their hair going to be purple? I hope this is all explored more.
A side note just for me and maybe 10 other people on the planet: there are TWO count’em TWO characters from Dark Angel in here and it makes my heart sing to see them again and together!!! Martin Cummins as Sheriff Keller and Peter Bryant as Principal Weatherbee (who was very rotund and white in the comics).
Some of the thematic touchstones I’ve appreciated, lots of teenage girls come together to tell everyone that slut-shaming is wrong and that’s tight, there’s also been a few times where Josie (Ashleigh Murray) has to tell Archie about racism and remind him that the band is black women for a reason and what that means/why they wouldn’t want their songs written by a white dude. I also liked when Betty’s mom tried to instigate some internalized sexism jealousy shit with Archie’s mom and Hermione Lodge in the bathroom and Molly Ringwald was like, “I’m having fun with both of my dates and I left and Fred is a big boy and he can do whatever he wants” it was a very You Go Girl moment for me, and all women everywhere.
Veronica’s character seems a little bland to me- I’m happy she’s not a straight bitch like she was in the comics and I feel like she explained that- she was at her old school but then she “learned” and “isn’t a bitch” now. I really liked that scene where she and Cheryl did the dance off for the Vixen’s spot- and I was interested when she joined the Pussycats for one minute- I want her to do something, not just wear a pea coat and bring lattes everywhere. (Also there must be some sort of trench coat store in this dang town, everyone has at least three different trench coats, all perfect and tailored and interesting-except Archie and his dad they did not get this noir memo).
Jughead gives too many speeches about how troubled and “not like everyone else” he is for me, show don’t tell dude. And personally I think Archie’s dad didn’t want Jughead to stay with them, I think he could have stayed with them-people with DUI’s raise kids. Foster care is probably a lot stricter than I know but that seemed like bullshit.
I do like Betty and Jughead together, it makes sense, (the darkness) but I want Betty and Archie to be together too!! Also if we’re judging by sex scenes (and why the heck wouldn’t we) Archie and Veronica’s was lame as hell and very much like a homeschooled kid’s curriculum- No Chemistry. (Thank you, thank you). MEANWHILE Betty and Jughead’s was great before it got interrupted by that impromptu leather jacket ceremony. Also how cute was it at his new school when Jughead was laughing with all those other kids that like plaid?? He kinda seems to hate their school, maybe he would like South Side. Also who is this foster family?? Why do children need guardians?? I just want Jughead to live in his dad’s trailer with the Serpents bringing him classic movies on dvd when he needs them and killing anyone who tries to hurt him. A final Jughead thought: the way they made his signature hat a beanie is slick but also he was asexual in the comics and I wish there was an asexual character on the show I feel like teens could benefit from knowing what that is.
Not excited at ALL for Hiram Lodge’s return, I’d rather have more Ethel- also when I was on the IMDB page I accidentally saw who plays him- Mark Consuelos???? Which is very weird to me. Almost as weird as when Veronica’s mom says, “Mija” exactly one time each episode to remind us that she’s not white but never enough to actually introduce bilingualism to network TV.
Cheryl’s mom is weird as hell she hasn’t been given any depth yet, except a glimpse of it maybe when Archie handed her Jason’s jacket at the funeral, but it could have just been surprise/thinking he was onto some secret. Also how many letterman jackets does a kid on a football team get?? There was one Archie gave to her, the one with the flash drive, I thought he was buried in one but I’m probably wrong- but I’m just waiting for Polly to pull one out of somewhere. Maybe she’ll give birth to one.
Betty (Lili Reinherdt) is so beautiful I can’t look at her- but that black wig was terrible. I hope when she spirals they give her a better vamp look, one that works better with her skin tone. I can see her in a lot of smudged metallic makeup (bronze Betty!!) and dark blues and purples and lots of thigh high things. I really want her and Cheryl to team up and take over the town with witch feminism fueled by maple syrup and journalism but I know that’s a long shot. But IMAGINE the outfits if Cheryl was influencing her and paying for them, it’s too much for my heart.
I could keep writing these little half conjectures forever but we mostly get the point. I’m annoyed by lots of the parents, some of the love triangles, and I’m holding out hope for structural continuity in the show as a whole but I’ve been burned before. Overall though, a very strong opening for a show, I really can’t wait to see where it goes and what they do with these characters, and the two mysteries we have for the upcoming season: who’s distributing the Blossom drugs in Riverdale/who shot Fred Andrews and why.
Oohh also I forgot- I need the music to be better- if everyone says Archie’s a musical genius I’m gonna need more than a three chord hook and some lyrics about friendship, that Jubilee song was very disappointing and I think they knew which is why they kept cutting away from it. Apparently the actor who plays Archie (K.J Apa who is from New Zealand of all places) recorded a solo guitar album when he was 14 (also he’s Samoan and not a real redhead!!!!!) so I’m gonna need to hear that.
ANYWAY, 4 out of 5 Pop’s milkshakes (is Pop’s ok????) would CERTAINLY masturbate again.