The following article contains mild spoilers from episodes 1-5 of Riverdale, proceed with caution...
There's nothing I relish more than a trashy teen drama. Growing up with the likes of Bring It On and Saved By The Bell fuelled my undying lust for peppy cheerleaders, unrealistically chiseled jocks and ridiculous high school shenanigans — So when the first few trailers dropped for CW's take on Archie Comics, my interest was suitably peaked.
Now five episodes in, Riverdale is fast becoming one of my new favorite shows, but there's just one hitch, one thing that's ruining it all for me and that's Archie himself.
A Tired Archie-Type
Okay, so we all know that #Archie is one fine slice of carrot cake, but unfortunately, his character displays a certain brand of 'blah' that spoils the after taste. It's the same brand of 'blah' that's been present in hot, male teen stars on TV since the dawn of time.
So what traits do they exhibit? Well, for one thing, they're almost always white, and extremely attractive — to the point where it's totally unbelievable that they're even high schoolers. These boys are either popular or looked upon as the 'weird hot kid,' and they almost always have a soft side usually expressed through some kind of art form such as music or painting. As if that wasn't enough, they're also usually flawed for some reason or another. For further examples, check out Lucas and Nathan in One Tree Hill, Finn in Glee, Ryan in The O.C. and Zac Efron in pretty much every teen movie he's ever done.
There's nothing wrong with this trope exactly, it's just super played out — and Archie fits the bill so perfectly, that it almost feels like he's starting to parody it. Was I the only one intensely cringing as he serenaded Betty, Veronica, and Kevin in Episode 2? It's hard to feel sorry for someone so universally adored, has a shining football and music career, banged his teacher, and can do no wrong in the eyes of Riverdale's townfolk. I'm honestly hoping it was Archie who killed Jason, just to add a little spice.
Archie is incredibly selfish, and yet this is never addressed explicitly as an aspect of his character. When he decides to go against Ms. Grundy's wishes, and tells the Principle about the gunshot, he literally puts her career on the line (which seems like a kinda weirdly unnecessary storyline now? Has Grundy left for good? Is she just a high school-chasing cougar after all? I have so many questions) — yet, Archie is still thought of as this stand-up guy, where he legit didn't do anything other than get hot and write songs after one summer of construction work.
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Secondly, let's talk about his relationship with Veronica. I know teenage boys are oblivious, but did he really not see how much Betty dug his boring ass? Episode 1's closet make-out sesh was another bizarre dick move. It's absolutely not his fault that he doesn't feel the same way about Betty, but maybe he shouldn't have turned it out with Veronica within the first five minutes of her landing in town.
While the other residents of Riverdale are starting to become interesting, three dimensional versions of their comic counterparts, Archie is still stuck as a sad jock musician, whose only redeeming quality was that he decided not to wear his dead friend's football jersey. At this point, literally everyone loves him (even Penelope Blossom by the looks of things), and it's starting to feel a little ridiculous.
Not The Archie Of The Comics
Finally, fans of the #Archie Comics series are taking issue with quite how hot/perfect Riverdale's star has become. We've known for a while now that the show has taken major liberties with its source material and thats fine for the most part, but what fans don't appreciate is how Riverdale has changed one of the fundamental things that makes Archie Andrews, well, Archie Andrews — What happened to the clumsy goofball we all fell in love with?
The Archie of the comics was known for being a slap-stick, clumsy ladies man. It's true that Riverdale has changed Jughead, Betty, and rest of the gang from the source material too, but we're surprised that the main protagonist is the one who's been changed most of all.
Where is the Archie who acts nervous around Ronnie and blows stuff up in chem class? Traits such as these are what made Archie so likeable and iconic in the first place, so it seems strange for the #CW to just remove that facet of his character entirely. Having said that though, perhaps the network know exactly what they're doing, and actively want to turn Archie into the ultimate f*ckboy?
We're now five episodes into the 13 instalments planned for Season 1, so there's still time for Archie to get his shit together and actually become the character that the show's creators want us to root for. Riverdale's Archie is the sun, orbited by several other far more interesting characters, and I can't be the only one that's getting bored of staring at it.