Riverdale

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Name: Riverdale
Abbreviation(s):
Creator: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Date(s): January 26, 2017 – present
Medium: Television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links:
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Riverdale is a television show based on the characters by Archie Comics. Unlike the original Archie Comics, Riverdale takes a darker tone, with the first season revolving around the mystery of Jason Blossom's murder.

Canon

Original plot synopsis released by the CW

As a new school year begins, the town of Riverdale is reeling from the recent, tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom — and nothing feels the same… Archie Andrews is still the all-American teen, but the summer’s events made him realize that he wants to pursue a career in music — not follow in his dad’s footsteps—despite the sudden end of his forbidden relationship with Riverdale’s young music teacher, Ms. Grundy. Which means Archie doesn’t have anyone who will mentor him — certainly not singer Josie McCoy, who is only focused on her band, the soon-to-be-world-famous Pussycats. It’s all weighing heavily on Archie’s mind — as is his fractured friendship with budding writer and fellow classmate Jughead Jones. Meanwhile, girl-next-door Betty Cooper is anxious to see her crush Archie after being away all summer, but she’s not quite ready to reveal her true feelings to him. And Betty’s nerves – which are hardly soothed by her overbearing mother Alice aren’t the only thing holding her back. When a new student, Veronica Lodge, arrives in town from New York with her mother Hermione, there’s an undeniable spark between her and Archie, even though Veronica doesn’t want to risk her new friendship with Betty by making a play for Archie. And then there’s Cheryl Blossom… Riverdale’s Queen Bee is happy to stir up trouble amongst Archie, Betty, and Veronica, but Cheryl is keeping secrets of her own.[1]

Main Characters

Fandom

Asexuality

In 2016, the fourth issue of Jughead (2015–2017), written by Chip Zdarsky and drawn by Erica Henderson, made Jughead's asexuality canon in that continuity.[2] That's not the case in Riverdale (a show that was in the works before Zdarsky and Henderson's take on the character).[3] This discrepancy has proved to be a source of wank in Riverdale fandom, especially in its early days. In March 2017, oneshortdamnfuse posted:

Some LGBT+ folks have claimed that Jughead is coded as gay because he doesn’t like girls, ignoring the fact that not liking girls is also coding for aromanticism, and Jughead has clearly stated he dislikes romance.

…and fans – especially straight fans – of Betty x Jughead have spoken over aromantic asexuals the most as they blatantly disrespect our identity for the sake of a (frankly terrible) ship.

At this point in time, there’s really no reason why a character based in print cannot be translated authentically to the screen. Yet, we’re faced with the fact that this isn’t an authentic representation of aromantic asexual Jughead.[4]

A different point of view:

jughead jones was not created to represent asexual people. there have been multiple versions of jughead portrayed as straight or interested in girls. in the late 80s, there was a storyline portraying jughead’s love of food and dislike for romance as the result of a past heartbreak from a girl he had a crush on. in the 1990s alone, jughead had three girlfriends, one of which was one of archie’s descendents from the future (it was a weird time). as recently as 2014, jughead has been portrayed as married. one version has him married to ethel muggs, the other, to midge klump. in the (admittedly terrible) TV movie To Riverdale And Back Again, he was divorced and had a son. asexuality is not a core principle of his character.

that’s not to say that heterosexuality is. it isn’t. the core principle of jughead’s character, the reason he exists, is simply this: to contrast archie. that’s it. whatever a given version of archie is, the corresponding jughead must in some way be the opposite. digest!archie is girl-crazy, digest!jughead is girl-free. digest!archie rides the struggle bus, digest!jughead breezes through life on the easy-mode moped. digest!archie is a bit of an idiot, digest!jughead has high scores in both WIS and INT.

[...]

in riverdale, things are a bit different, but in terms of jughead’s position in relation to archie, they are ever the same. rivderdale!archie is sweet and earnest, riverdale!jughead is sharp and sardonic. riverdale!archie is oblivious, riverdale!jughead is keen and observant. riverdale!archie is very much a lost boy, not knowing what he wants. riverdale!jughead has already found a strong sense of purpose–writing and investigating. their romantic relationships are an extension of those aspects; in the first season alone, riverdale!archie made out with three different girls, not counting grundy. riverdale!jughead, on the other hand, has only had eyes for one. the primary difference with these versions versus their print counterparts is a reversal of fortune; in riverdale, it’s archie who has it easy, whereas riverdale!jughead is constantly beset with struggles and setbacks.[5]

Shipping

Currently, Betty/Jughead is the biggest Riverdale ship. According to Fandometrics, the pairing had the 13th most active fanbase on Tumblr in 2017.[6] The two got together in the sixth episode of the first season.

A Betty/Veronica kiss was alluded to by showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa months before the series premiere.[7] Said scene from the pilot was later included in a teaser.[8] Reactions varied from excitement[9] to accusations of queerbaiting. While the kiss wasn't followed by a romantic relationship in the show, Beronica became a prominent ship, though it was eventually surpassed in fanwork output by Betty/Jughead.

Archie/Jughead and Veronica/Archie (a canon pairing) are also popular.

Other smaller ships with a significant amount of fanworks are Cheryl/Toni, Cheryl/Veronica, Betty/Archie, FP/Alice, and Kevin/Joaquin.

TPTB, Cast, and Their Relationship with Fandom

Aguirre-Sacasa and most of the main cast are on Twitter and Instagram, where their episode live blogs and behind-the-scenes pictures are common.

Archie Comics applied to trademark the portmanteau "Bughead" in 2017.[10]

In an interview with Glamour, Cole Sprouse (Jughead) talked about shipping:

It’s pretty inappropriate of fans to think they can expect any kind of narrative from showrunners or writers or actors. I just don’t think that’s the way you should engage with material that you’re watching as a passive audience member. You should obviously talk about it and have fun with it and deal with how it resonates with you, but from an artist’s perspective, for anyone that feels so comfortable and so vehement in believing anything about the way they want the show to be run, I would say reassess why you would think that. Our writers are not writing as a fan service. We’re writing a show that is from the writer’s creative perspective. If we were writing what the fans wanted to see, Betty and Jughead would be the most linear, monotonous narrative of all time. We would never fight; we would be perfect for how many ever episodes this show goes on. Truthfully, as an actor, it’s not fun to act.[11]

A humorous video in which the "Riverdale cast teaches you how to practice safe shipping" was published by Entertainment Weekly in September 2017.

Terminology

Fanworks

Fan Art

Fan Vids

Meta

Archives & Fannish Links

Tumblr

References

  1. The CW’s ‘Riverdale’ Scheduled For Midseason And You Won’t Believe Who Archie’s Ex-Girlfriend Is
  2. Archie Comic Reveals Jughead Is Asexual
  3. Archie Comics Drama Series ‘Riverdale’ Set At Fox With Greg Berlanti Producing
  4. one short damn fuse
  5. There's a hole in the internet.
  6. 2017′s Top Ships
  7. Riverdale team teases Betty and Veronica kiss at Comic-Con
  8. Betty and Veronica, in a Riverdale Teaser, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
  9. The ‘Riverdale’ Fans Who Are Hardcore Shipping Betty and Veronica
  10. BUGHEAD - Trademark Details
  11. 'Riverdale' Star Cole Sprouse Has Bad News for Bughead Fans