Riverdale: I mean, I guess.


Riverdale Promotional Header

Yamilex Arias

The CW’s started a new teen drama, yes, another teen drama, based on the long-running Archie comic series. As someone who read the Archie series as a kid, which has been published for almost the last 8 decades, I expected disappointment from Riverdale and the CW didn’t let me down.

Archie Andrews is a red-headed, lovable guy who likes to hang out with his best friend Jughead Jones and is messily involved in a love triangle with his two best friends, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge. Messy is an understatement, especially in the show where it’s amplified. Although he’s kind-hearted, overall he’s average and not particularly exceptional.

Archie has always been a comic about the adventures of living in a small town with Betty as the stereotypical, small town girl. She’s a picture-perfect 1950s wife who cooks, is athletic, and is a stereotypical “girl next door.” Veronica Lodge is a rich, higher-than-herself character, who’s painted as assertive and becomes the rival of Cheryl Blossom, who’s an irrelevant and pretty disposable character in the comics, in Riverdale.

Understandably, I had some problems.

Riverdale’s version of Archie is an overly complicated individual juggling his lack of affection for Betty, his attraction to the newcomer Veronica and a summer romance with his temptress music teacher Ms. Geraldine Grundy. He’s torn between trying to be a varsity football player, a musician and working at his father’s company — so logically, he does all three.

At least he’s still ginger though.

The dynamics of the classic Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle are still in Riverdale, but they’re slightly different. Veronica immediately backs off once she realizes Betty likes Archie, which isn’t what I expected, but later she kisses him and likes it a little too much. She liked it a lot actually. However, her new two day friendship is so strong she runs off home while Archie looks for Betty by himself.

Jughead, Archie’s best friend, is a socially outcasted, pseudo-conspiracy theorist who sits in a diner all day and blogs about murders and Archie’s romantic drama. They’re not even friends anymore.  And they look like 15 year olds on steroids.

I had to remind myself that Riverdale is still a TV show and that’s very clear with the dark theme of the show and Jughead Jones’ ominous narration. The death of Jason Blossom, Archie’s original nemesis in the comics, looms within the first five minutes when his twin sister, Cheryl, is painted as the grieving widow, except she’s his sister, after his body is never found.

Of course, predictably in a drunken  stupor, gay character Kevin Keller and football player Moose Mason, stumbled upon Jason’s body on the shores of the town river’s edge. Jughead’s continuous narration gets a little darker, with the assumed drowning of Jason Blossom turning into a wicker murder.


So, Riverdale has a complex string of relationships, a murder that points all the fingers to another redhead, who is in my opinion incredibly manipulative and insane, while introducing  an overwhelmingly and blinding amount of personal drama for Archie Andrews. I kind of feel bad.

Riverdale holds some similarities to the original comics, that’s true, but if you haven’t cracked one open and decide to after this, don’t expect the same intrigue and teenage angst from the show. Riverdale isn’t Archie and Archie isn’t Riverdale.