8 Ways “Riverdale”
Assaults Your Childhood
(Then Hooks You In, Anyway)
By Kel Fabie
As a kid, I grew up on Archie, and it wasn’t long until I was a teenager when I realized most of the people who liked Archie along with me immediately outgrew the everyday teens from Riverdale as soon as they became teenagers. If I had a good grasp of the concept of irony back in the day, I would have seen it as just that.
Yet here we are now in 2017, and we are being treated to a brand-new treatment for Archie and the gang: much less Scooby Doo-ish, and much more Twin Peaks-ish. For people who grew up on the vanilla, wholesome stylings of Archie comics, this is one heck of a change of pace that just destroys the very core of your childhood understanding of the “innocent” love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica, the very “blandness” of Ms. Grundy, and the love affair Jughead has for burgers.
Despite Riverdale doing this to your childhood, it still manages to strike a chord in you because of how compelling they make their childhood-shattering storylines. Here are 8 ways Riverdale changed things up, yet made you grateful that they did, thus reeling you back in the process.
Obviously, there will be spoilers here, so please, by all means, this is now your chance to turn back if you don’t want any of that.
8. The characters may have changed, but the core remains the same.
Think about it: Archie is the nice guy who bumbles things up while trying to do the right thing. Veronica is a rich girl, Betty is your girl next door, and so forth. All of these are archetypes, but what Riverdale does is that they take away the rose-colored American glasses of Archie Comics and infuses what could be bubbling under the surface of these archetypes. It’s pretty brilliant in that regard.
Although, Jughead clearly isn’t asexual in this show, by any stretch of imagination.
7. Moose Mason, reimagined.
Moose Mason in the comics is either a hot-headed dimbulb or a hot-headed dyslexic whose life revolves around sports and Midge Klump, but here, he is pretty much the “Q” in LGBTQ, as he gets involved initially with Kevin Kline, all the while denying that he’s gay. He may not have such a prominent role right now, but you have to admit, that is a pretty bold reimagining of his character, yet it somehow still works.
They also changed his hair color! Sacrilege!
6. Everybody has secrets.
There’s always been that notion that squeaky-clean Archie was unrealistic, and they aren’t exactly wrong about that.
That being said, Riverdale’s conceit in playing with that notion is what makes it tick so well. It feeds into our desire of finding the cracks in the armor of perfection, and who doesn’t love great gossip about the people we grew up with, even if they were fictional teenagers in a bunch of comic books (or digests, since nobody I know bothered with the actual comics).
5. Asian-American Reggie!
It’s a bit unfortunate they’re replacing Ross Butler, the guy playing Reggie soon, but making him Asian-American is a really nice touch, and not just for the sake of diversity. More than a few Asian-American fans of the show acknowledge that they know someone just like Reggie in their circle of friends, making Ross’s portrayal of Reggie even more spot-on than it already was. A shame he wasn’t used as often as he should have been, though.
We’ll give you 13 Reasons Why not.
Most instances of race-swapping in the show had positive impacts on the characters. Reggie was one example. Josie and the Pussycats were definitely another.
4. They remind us Archie wasn’t always squeaky clean.
Whether by virtue of the crossovers, or by their willingness to embrace ideas that are controversial but shouldn’t such as Kevin f’n Keller, Archie Comics, especially in recent years, has always had a kind of edge to it from time to time that people tend to ignore.
Are you still ignoring the signs now?
The thing is, it doesn’t take an Archie Meets The Punisher for people to realize that even if Archie comics never had to show Archie going down on Mr. Weatherbee, there’s enough of that to go around in the multiverse playground they’ve set up.
3. We all love a good mystery.
Riverdale’s first season hinges on solving the murder of one Jason Blossom, and it’s been a compelling ride so far. What most people might forget is that some of the best Archie stories ever were also mysteries (not to be confused with the animated show titled Archie’s Mysteries, of course).
It’s a fascinating tale, and definitely owes a lot to its apparent Twin Peaks influences, but nobody can say that it’s been a boring whodunit so far. Everybody loves a good mystery.
For example: what exactly is Archie doing here?!?
2. Ms. Grundy.
You knew this was coming, right?
So was did Archie.
From the classic Ms. Grundy we all knew and loved, it was quite a shocker to see her turned into what we witnessed on Riverdale, because more than anything else (yes, even more than the murder), this was one heck of a departure from the source material. Depending where you live, Ms. Grundy is guilty of either statutory rape or qualified seduction, and this plot point just drove anyone who knew the original Ms. Grundy absolutely crazy.
Then again, there were signs in the comics…
1. Cole. F’n. Sprouse.
The ladies want him. The men want to be like him. Could you ever have imagined those words said about Jughead Jones before Cole Sprouse came along?
Okay. Maybe before Anna Kendrick came along, too.
What do you think of the show? Tell us your thoughts below!