#CurrentlyWatching: Riverdale

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This week I did a Twitter survey to determine which show to talk about and Riverdale was apparently the strong favourite. Not that I mind, but it is a rather controversial show at the moment, so that could have gone a lot of ways – more about that later though.

Going into this show, I knew about the Archie comics, but I didn’t make the connection until later. While most of the characters are based off of those, the story really isn’t. It’s kind of a Veronica Mars meets Teen Wolf meets Secret Circle meets Gossip Girl but all without magic? So, basically I am saying it’s a mystery show with tons of teen drama. I am quite the sucker for CW shows, so I would have watched it either way. You can also watch it on Netflix, which is very convenient for me, because it gets uploaded each week.

A small town gets rattled after the death of one of their most promising teens. Everyone is a suspect, old family rivalries are awoken and relationships are tested. *insert dramatic music here* All the while our main characters try to figure out their love life and how to survive High School.

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Riverdale might not be the most faithful adaptation, but they did a great job with the visual aspect and the music (seriously adore the soundtrack). A lot darker than the original source material, I fell in love with the look of it at first glance. It’s very much like book aesthetics come to life. They did an amazing job at the costume department and the locations are beyond gorgeous. You basically have everyone from the comics there, but slightly different and a lot of them might still hold a surprise for you. But, as I said above, you don’t necessarily need to know the comics beforehand, because it’s a very loose adaptation. Still, there are nice easter-egg-kind-of situations for hardcore fans of the series.

As per CW tradition there is a lot of over the top drama and beyond gorgeous people. Shipping several of them is inevitable and even though that is the case, I do not have a separate shipping portion today. This is mainly due to the fact that I haven’t made up my mind though. They want to make the canon love triangle of Betty-Archie-Veronica happen, but at the moment I feel like everyone is just crushing on Archie because he got hot over the summer, even though he surely is the dullest of the characters presented.

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I am much more interested in the Veronica and Betty dynamic, their friendship but also what it might become in the future. They both have a lot more to them than you can see at first glance. Kevin’s lines are on point every. single. time. and he is just majorly funny. The show might feature my favourite version of Josie and the Pussycats ever and Cheryl and her possible twincest with Jason does have me intrigued as well. Still, my favourite so far remains Jughead, who definitely needs to talk more about food, but has the greatest vibe. This brings me to my next point.

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So, I mentioned controversy surrounding this show earlier and this section will explain what I meant by that. In the comic reboot Jughead has his own series in which he is openly asexual. The writer has confirmed that and has mentioned in a tweet (but not specifically in the comics as far as I noticed) that Juggie also has a tendency towards being aromantic. Now, that is not (yet) the case in the show.

Hear me out! I think that accurate ace/aro representation in mainstream media is direly needed and something that has been neglected for a while now. We’ve come a long way making TV more diverse, but there is still SO much work to do. However, I woke up after the first episode of Riverdale had aired and people were mad at the show, threatening to boycott it because Jughead wasn’t portrayed as ace/aro and I simply don’t get it. Absolutely nothing suggested that he isn’t in the first episode. Neither did it in the second or the third (which is all that has aired yet/that I have seen before this post gets published). So, my question was why everyone was so mad and I did some research!

Cole Sprouse (who portrays Jughead) revealed in an interview that they wouldn’t portray the character as ace (as they don’t seem to focus on any aro aspect, seen as it is not necessarily considered canon) in the first season, however, he also said he would keep fighting to make it a topic in the future. The producer of the show said that Riverdale is merely the beginning of those characters and that things that are canon in the comics need to still develop on the show (click here for the article). Jughead, as well as other characters, are still discovering their sexuality, so I read that as it being a real possibility that they will make Jughead’s sexual identity a future story arc.

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There’s also been some leaked material, which suggests Juggie will have a romantic storyline. Nevertheless, I don’t see how that is a hindrance just yet. Sexuality is something very fluid in my opinion and especially when you don’t know how you feel or categorize yourself, you might try different things. I feel like a lot of people don’t even know about ace and aro (and the difference between them) and maybe a teen who hasn’t figured it all out just yet would try to date like everyone around him does? I mean, he could try to fit in with the rest of his friends and then realise that it’s just not what he wants? This is obviously just my opinion and I have no idea where they are going with it in the show.

So, what I am trying to say here is that I really wish people would give the show a chance. If they mess up the portrayal, boycott away! Everyone deserves the right kind of representation, but maybe, just maybe, this show will give you a great story about a character who for the first time figures out that they are asexual. Keep in mind, the reveal in the comics wasn’t until Volume 4 either, so give them at least the possibility to work on this before condemning them.

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There isn’t much I can say as to why you shouldn’t watch the show. Maybe don’t tune in if you can’t stand water-bloated corpses? Also, this is obviously a teen drama and in case you know that that’s not your jam at all, I can’t really recommend it either. Lastly, I would understand if people wouldn’t want to watch it because they don’t want to get their hopes up about ace representation and then maybe get disappointed on the long run. If that’s a concern, maybe it’s better to wait a while and see what others say. In the end, it’s always on Netflix to binge.

Are you watching Riverdale? What are your thoughts on it?