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:
Related Concepts, Fandoms, Terms, Fanworks
See also Katy Keene (TV series)Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Riverdale Season 3 - “You will never see it coming” by lexiconoffear, a fan made poster for season 3 of Riverdale (2018)
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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]

Characters

Main characters

Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5
Archie Andrews Main
Betty Cooper Main
Veronica Lodge Main
Jughead Jones Main
Cheryl Blossom Main
Kevin Keller Recurring Main
Reggie Mantle Recurring Main
Toni Topaz Recurring Main
Fangs Fogarty Recurring Main
Tabitha Tate Main
PARENTDALE
Hermione Lodge Main
Alice Cooper Main
Hiram Lodge Main
PREVIOUS CAST
Josie McCoy Main Guest
Fred Andrews Main
FP Jones Recurring Main

Recurring characters

Fandom

Shipping

See also: List of Riverdale Relationship Names

Currently, Betty/Jughead is the biggest Riverdale ship. According to Fandometrics, the pairing had the 13th most active fanbase on Tumblr in 2017.[2] The two got together in the sixth episode of the first season. The ship, however, has quickly become rivaled in 2018 by the most popular (and only canon) F/F ship on the series Cheryl/Toni.[3]

A Betty/Veronica kiss was alluded to by showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa months before the series premiere.[4] Said scene from the pilot was later included in a teaser.[5] Reactions varied from excitement[6] 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, Betty/Archie, FP/Alice and Veronica/Archie are also popular.

Season 2 of the series saw the addition of Southside characters and, subsequently, as the universe was expanded, many new ships became popular.

Statistics

  • In 2017 Riverdale was ranked fifth on Tumblr's Top 30 "most reblogged" live-action television shows list[7]
  • In 2018 Riverdale was ranked second on the list of Tumblr's Top 30 "most reblogged" live-action television shows, gaining three places from the previous year[8]

Terminology

  • Core Four: term used for the four main characters of Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper
  • Parentdale or Riverparents: name given to fans of, and the fandom surrounding, the adult characters on the show
  • RAS: fan acronym for showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
  • SoQM: acronym for The Sisters of Quiet Mercy, a location featured on the show

Controversy

Racism & LGBT-misrepresentation

Needs Citation: This article or section needs more citations. See Fanlore:Citation for more information on why.

Riverdale promoted itself upon release as a 'diverse' adaptation of its source material, although the opposite has proved true. Josie McCoy was racebent and portrayed by a black actor, but barely received any storylines nor screentime, despite being part of the main cast and promoted as a star of the show.

A further issue is the show's treatment of character of color, specifically black characters. In Season 1, Chuck, one of only two male black teen characters on the show, is chained up and nearly drowned in a hot tub by a white girl (Betty) having a psychotic episode. Chuck was depicted as a misogynist, nowhere near his characterization in the comics. The other black teen character, Trev, was also a silent accomplice in the show's sexual harassment storyline and was not featured otherwise. When Chuck shows up again in Season 2, the show seems to have been made aware of the criticism and intend to redeem him, only to use their only canon lesbian character, a white woman (Cheryl) to frame Chuck for stalking and harassing Josie, with whom he was developing a romance.

Riverdale really thought that it would be okay to have Cheryl, a white woman, use Chuck, a black man, as a scapegoat for her own predatory actions towards Josie, a black woman, and then never really properly call her out for anything.[9]

This storyline is also a depiction of coming out that is considered a use of the offensive, out-dated Psycho Lesbian trope, in which Cheryl stalks, harasses, and later gaslights her supposed best friend Josie McCoy, the only black main character. Cheryl never suffers any consequences for treating Josie this way.

CHERYL APOLOGIZING FOR GASLIGHTING SOMEONE???

THAT’S A FIRST

[in tags] WHERE IS JOSIES APOLOGY HUH • AND CHUCKS • AND EVERYONE ELSES[10]

In Season 2, Cheryl is up with who would become the show's other black main character, Toni Topaz, to form the Choni relationship. Some see Cheryl's treatment of Toni and the sidelining of Toni as another one of the show's issues.

Toni Topaz deserves better 2kAlways

Every couple has arguments and every character has flaws, but Toni is the ONLY character on Riverdale who’s been physically hit and shoved by their partner with the show playing it for laughs. The ONLY character who faces verbal abuse and then is the one made to grovel and apologize to get it to stop, despite being in the right. The ONLY character who is asked to fetch drinks like a servant. The ONLY character whose partner physically assaulted their friends without remorse. The ONLY character whose partner has tried to get them kicked out of school twice.

Only Josie has faced comparable treatment, with that terrible stalking arc in season 2. (hmm, interesting!) They wrote a handful of good scenes in the past four episodes that showed promise of Toni being treated like an equal, but in the end they reverted to form.[11]
honest question:

is toni aware that she can just like………………break up with cheryl

[in tags] #this is BONKERS #i DO NOT understand #toni you should not be rolling your eyes at this you should be RUNNING AWAY SCREAMING[12]

Kevin Keller, the show's only gay male main character, is barely featured on the show or afforded any defining characteristics outside of his sexuality. Fans argue that he is mostly used as a plot device when the show finds it 'convenient' that he exist.

Josie's two best friends, band members and also black women, Valerie and Melody, were written out of the series without explanation, despite the band and Valerie featuring prominently in Season 1. Melody has barely ever gotten characterisation nor speaking lines.

Asexuality and Aromanticism

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.[13] That's not the case in Riverdale (a show that was in the works before Zdarsky and Henderson's take on the character).[14] 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.[15]

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.[16]

The aspec community in particular took issue with the erasure of his identity from the comic, so much so that #AroAceJugheadOrBust was created on Twitter[17] to criticise the decision.[18] Some aspec folk refused to watch the show because of it.

Queerbaiting

The show has continually throughout Season 1 been accused of queerbaiting the audience, starting with the series trailer Beronica kiss which turned out to never have been romantic.

At 2018 Comic-Con, showrunner/creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacassa responded to a question with regards to the show's queerbaiting that "as a gay man he takes representation seriously" and had "learned a lot" over the last two seaons, seemingly indicating that the show would aim to rectify its problematic representation and queerbaiting.[19]

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.[20]

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.[21]

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

Anti-Fandom

Riverdale has a significant anti-fandom and general poor reputation outside of the shows's audience. It is frequently mocked and bashed for poor writing and strange narrative decisions. There are many video compilations of clips of the show taken out of context to prove Riverdale's "bad writing." Fans of the show argue that these people are missing the point of Riverdale's appeal: that is is intentionally campy, melodramatic, and fun.

Notoriety within Fandom

[of-monsters-and-werewolves]
Ah, I see it is once again time for me to snoop around the Riverdale tag to piece together the most bizarre goings on, as a historian might puzzle over events from a myriad of newspaper clippings, diary entries and buried pottery.[22]

As the show has gone on, Riverdale has gained infamy in being one of the strangest and most bizarre shows on TV. Many people, who've never so much as seen a single episode, will hear about the plots and events through Tumblr tags, Twitter posts and Alex Meyer videos, with little in the way of context. Certain scenes and plot points in particular have gained notoriety within wider fandom spaces, many of which becoming or influencing memes:

  • Polly and Alice Cooper dropping the former's incest twins into a fire, before they begin to float upwards.
  • Betty's 'serial killer' genes
  • Drugs called 'Fizzle Rocks' are leading kids to have seizures and is connected to a bunch of people playing a DnD knockoff.
  • An organ-harvesting cult whose leader tries to fly away in a rocket.
  • Archie is attacked by a bear after spending time in a Canadian woodland.
  • Archie goes to prison and takes part in an underground fight club
  • A secret illegimate clan of the Blossom family who live in the woods fabricated a story involving mothman and aliens to distract from them murdering people, including Polly.
  • Kevin making tickle fetish videos.
  • Jughead getting rabies in an NYC sewer.
  • Cheryl leading a religious cult based around her dead brother Jason.
  • Cheryl sacrificing Archie by pulling out his heart in a ritual intended to cure Riverdale of its problems
  • Toni nearly leaving her baby on a tree stump overnight cause the gang his father belonged to used to do it to stop them crying.
  • A seemingly neverending supply of secret siblings.

Certain quotes are also infamous:

In case you haven’t noticed, I'm weird. I’m a weirdo. I don't fit in. And I don't want to fit in. Have you ever seen me without this stupid hat on? That's weird.
Jughead Jones - Season 1 Episode 10: "Chapter Ten: The Lost Weekend"
That means you haven't known the triumphs and defeats, the epic highs and lows of high school football.
Archie Andrews - Season 3 Episode 2: "Chapter Thirty-Seven: Fortune and Men's Eyes"

Memes and jokes about other far-fetched ideas the show could possibly integrate are numerous.

Links

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. ^ 2017′s Top Ships
  3. ^ Choni search @Fandometrics (August 2018)
  4. ^ Riverdale team teases Betty and Veronica kiss at Comic-Con
  5. ^ Betty and Veronica, in a Riverdale Teaser, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
  6. ^ The ‘Riverdale’ Fans Who Are Hardcore Shipping Betty and Veronica
  7. ^ 2017′s Top Live-Action TV Shows
  8. ^ 2018’s Top Live-Action TV Shows
  9. ^ Lady of the Spirit Tumblr (July 2019)
  10. ^ hal cooper Tumblr (October 2019)
  11. ^ Jones and Topaz tumblr
  12. ^ i'm really loveleee tumblr
  13. ^ Archie Comic Reveals Jughead Is Asexual
  14. ^ Archie Comics Drama Series ‘Riverdale’ Set At Fox With Greg Berlanti Producing
  15. ^ one short damn fuse
  16. ^ There's a hole in the internet.
  17. ^ #aroacejugheadorbust on Twitter (via Nitter.net)
  18. ^ [1] (June 2017) by Mikayla Micomonaco
  19. ^ Riverdale 2018 Comic-Con Panel (July 2018)
  20. ^ BUGHEAD - Trademark Details
  21. ^ 'Riverdale' Star Cole Sprouse Has Bad News for Bughead Fans
  22. ^ Tumblr post] - of-monsters-and-werewolves