Before the Archie Comics adaptation Riverdale premiered, The CW got people talking with a salacious trailer that included a steamy kiss between the show's female leads. Betty and Veronica have long been a symbol of powerful female friendship thanks to the original comics. After the recent rebooted Archie Comics revealed that one popular character is gay and another is asexual, some people wondered if Riverdale would match the new comics' progressive approach to sexuality.
But when the episode aired, it turned out that the stereotypical attention-grabbing girl kiss was... exactly that, actually. In an amusingly meta move, Veronica's quick smooch was a total ploy to make Betty and herself seem more attractive to the cheerleading admissions committee. And it was quite delicious to hear Cheryl snidely deride this calculated kiss as past its "sell by date".
Yet, after having our hopes ever so slightly raised by the trailer — it's not like #TheCW shows have never featured queer romances before — the harsh reality was somewhat disappointing. Until, of course, the episodes continued.
Are B+V Friendship Goals... Or Romance Goals?
There are many things that Riverdale is getting oh-so right. The fledgling show is only three episodes in and already there's a bonafide conspiracy that is popcorn-eating good. The third episode, "Body Double", took #Riverdale to the next level by tackling both slut shaming and racism — frankly this show is turning out way better than I expected it to.
And at the heart of it all are Betty and Veronica, who despite only having met a few days ago, are already soulmate level friends. I mean, just look at the way Veronica talks about her feelings for Betty, like the two are practically star crossed!
As lesbian pop duo Tegan & Sara's song "Boyfriend" plays on the soundtrack, Veronica tries to win back her friend's affection with roses and cupcakes flown in from NYC. This is after she's gushed about how "hot and smart" Betty is, and before her Very Heterosexual™ reaction to seeing Betty in her sexy getup in Episode 3. (I'm kidding. There was nothing heterosexual about how Veronica's gaze slowly wandered up and down Betty's frame.)
Queer subtext aside, Betty and Veronica's relationship already has more depth of feeling and mutual respect that Betty's so-called best friend relationship with Archie. And naturally, fans have cottoned on... including The CW's own Candice Patton, who plays Iris on The Flash.
Dubbing the ship "Beronica", gifs of their closest moments have flooded the internet, along with some pretty sweet fanart.
But this isn't the first time fans have wanted Betty and Veronica to actually get together. The two are a longstanding ship, thanks to the original innuendo-laden comics. I wish I could include more of the best panels in this article, but if you're searching for proof that Betty and Veronica were more than friends behind the scenes, here's an entire post filled with it.
So seriously, why couldn't Betty and Veronica actually get together? There doesn't seem to be much of a reason why not, and yet we already know we won't see this in Riverdale.
Shot Down Before The Show Began
Even before Riverdale aired, actress Lili Reinhart — who plays Betty — was asked whether that kiss in the trailer was part of a bigger love story, or just a shameless ratings-grab. She confirmed our unfortunate suspicions and then some, shooting down the idea that Betty and Veronica could ever get together in the show.
"They’re soulmates in a friends way. Our show is not meant to be fan fiction. We give them a taste of it when they kiss, but that’s all it is. People love Beronica and they want to see them together, but that’s just not our show."
Now I'm sure she didn't mean to be really dismissive and borderline homophobic, but that's kinda how it sounds.
Let me explain: #LGBT people are already pushed to the fringes of society, let alone fiction. Ostracization is a huge part of upholding heteronormativity and punishing anyone who deviates from it. Centuries-long story short — by explaining that the show "isn't meant to be fan fiction", Reinhart is implying that queer romances only belong in the dark corners of the internet, not in the light of primetime TV. Because it's just silly to imagine that the female leads of a series like Riverdale could actually be attracted to each other, right?
It really says something about our culture that we think it's totally okay to give people a "taste" of queer representation by putting a lesbian kiss in a trailer, but that an actual romantic relationship between the women is unthinkable.
Well, here's hoping that as Riverdale continues, the show proves both Reinhart and the naysayers wrong. It seems fairly unlikely at this stage, but with Greg Berlanti at the helm more queer representation is far from out of the question — Berlanti, who also showruns The Flash and produces Legends of Tomorrow (which has a bisexual female lead), has talked about how one of his aims is to introduce more LGBT representation to television. After all, one of the best way to encourage acceptance in society is to normalize queer relationships in the media.
But until it's confirmed onscreen I'll just continue to write my BettyxVeronica college era fanfic in peace — and keep my eyes peeled for hints that Jughead is just as asexual as he is in the comics.
Would you like to see a bonafide Betty and Veronica romance plot in 'Riverdale'?
[Source: Hollywood Life. Poll image credit: The CW]