Last night saw the return of the CW’s “Riverdale,” aka Hot Archie Who Fucks, after a two-week hiatus. It’s a show that, despite my sporadic TV habits, I’ve become oddly invested in. It’s not Peak TV or anything, but it’s good to relax with on a lazy Sunday with some knitting and
alcohol tea. It’s the sort of thing I can easily zone out during, like when Jughead goes on another of his pretentious look we’re the CW but we know film noir monologues or whenever Archie does… anything.
“My mother’s abusive and I’m trying to solve a murder!” “I’m homeless and my dad’s a criminal with substance abuse problems!” “My dad’s a criminal too, and my mom might be helping him!” “I don’t know whether to be the football captain or sign up for a talent show!”
One thing that has struck me about Riverdale is that it’s the exact same show as MTV’s Teen Wolf. It is, right? Small town, mysteries, 30-year-old teenagers, characters that are a virtual carbon copy? Can we talk about this?
You have a leading man who runs with something of a misfit crowd at his high school, but everyone likes him because he’s sweet and cute in a puppy-ish sort of way. This character is well-meaning but has an occasional tendency towards obliviousness regarding the problems of his friends, which tend to be more interesting than his own. Those problems are, in a word, boring.
(Scott McCall is 100x better than Archie Andrews will ever be, forever and ever amen.)
There’s the snarky best friend with a weird name and love of pop culture/movie references who uses sarcasm to deflect from inner turmoil related in part to an unsatisfying family situation. “Sardonic humor is just my way of relating to the world.” Who said it, Stiles or Jughead? It doesn’t matter, because Stiles and Jughead are the same character, even if the former leans substantially more to the goofball end of the spectrum.
Rich, fashionable redhead who’s a mean girl but also has glimmers of being maybe not so heinous? Well hi there, season one Lydia and Cheryl Blossom!
Is the lead character raised by a single parent who routinely dispenses pearls of wisdom? Guess.
Betty and Veronica morph into one character in Teen Wolf’s dear, departed Allison, the good girl with a badass streak and a batshit mom. You have your buff, gay friend supporting character in Kevin Keller (in Riverdale) and Danny Mahealani (in Teen Wolf). Riverdale doesn’t have an older local brooder yet to fill the hole left in my heart by Beacon Hills’ own sad emo Bruce Wayne (MY PARENTS ARE DEAD!!), Derek Hale, but give it time. There’s also no supernatural element in Riverdale like there is in Teen Wolf, but hey, we might be getting that, too. Werewolves already kindasorta made an appearance!
You’re just fucking with me now, Riverdale. Add that to the fact that the CW has history of poaching Teen Wolf actors: Adelaide Kane left for Reign (OH MY GOD WE HAVE SUCH EPIC STUFF SET UP WITH DEREK’S SISTER, YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE—nope, never mind, she moved to Mexico), Daniel Sharman landed on The Originals, Tyler Hoechlin is Supergirl’s Superman, Gage Golightly left Teen Wolf for a show that didn’t end up getting picked up, and Colton Haynes fucked off to Arrow. (As with Kane, Haynes’ departure was rather abrupt, resulting in an unintentionally hilarious “they moved over summer break” character resolution. I’m still waiting for my spinoff: Jackson Whittemore: A Werelizard in Paris)
MY GOD, THIS MEANS…
…I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT MEANS, BUT IT MEANS SOMETHING.