Special Edition Podcast

Special Edition – Riverdale

Show Notes

It’s time to go to a place where things are simper, quieter. Conor Kilpatrick and Ron Richards take a trip to Riverdale, home of Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and the gang where there’s also murder, lesbian kisses, and Luke Perry. The CW’s latest comic book themed show makes a big impression with its first episode and we analyze it and argue about where Riverdale actually is.

Running Time: 00:25:22


“Sugar Sugar”
The Archies


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  1. Just watched it with my wife. We both enjoyed it, but there were a few things that got me:

    1) There seem to be certain tropes to Aguirre-Saccasa’s TV writing. You mentioned how Moose is just like the closeted football player on “Glee” (though he seems to have skipped the gay-bashing phase), but couldn’t you also say that Archie has become a Finn retread too? The football player who wants to do music? Also, he was a writer on HIMYM, and the Jughead narrative voiceover reminds me a lot of Ted’s telling of the story, albeit not from 15 years in the future. A little too much “we’ve seen all this before.”

    2) God, Veronica, enough with the literary/pop culture references every other sentence. Is this Riverdale or Star’s Hollow?

    3) Why did Kevin have to be the stereotypical gay? Gay best friend, gay siren to Moose, gay island of culture, etc. We know Berlanti can do gay characters without falling back on played-out cliche (more Mr. Terrific and CCPD captain, less “Just Jack!”)

    Having said that, I still think it’s a fun show and I’m looking forward to seeing more. Betty’s mom is kind of intriguing; while again, there’s some stereotypical overprotective controlling mom stuff there, I’m also wondering if there’s another layer with her, Marisol Lodge, and Fred Andrews (plus whoever Archie’s mom is). Maybe they were the Archie/Betty/Veronica of their day.

    • I find your comment to be so interesting because of where you think the influences for the show come from. I would agree with your argument that elements of the show are derivative of other things, but I would come up with a COMPLETELY different list of where the things come from.

      The narration, I think, is pulled from American Beauty. At one point Jughead even uses the line “look closer”, which was a tagline for that film. The entire film of American Beauty is told in that dramatic narration of past events that always manages to foreshadow that something worse is right around the corner and that the events don’t end well. (This game narration style was used in Tom King’s “The Vision”)

      As for the other plot elements, the overall tone of the film and the murder seems to be ripped directly from Twin Peaks, which is not a bad thing. I grew up in the late 80s and 90s so most of my childhood was spent watching shows that were derivative of Twin Peaks. Riverdale feels like a warm old blanket, in that regard.

      Most of the character backstories seem to be taken right from Dawson’s Creek, the premier WB/CW teen drama. Veronica is a party girl from the big city who is slumming it with locals ala Jen from Dawson’s Creek. The “Betty is in love with Archie but he has eyes for Veronica” is akin to the Joey, Dawson, Jenn love triangle of that shows first season. The teenager in a relationship with a teacher plot is straight out of Season 1 of Dawson’s creek, except that storyline was reserved for a secondary character.

      As for the football player being secretly gay… that’s a well worn plot line from many, many dramas. Dawson’s Creek being one.

    • “As for the football player being secretly gay… that’s a well worn plot line from many, many dramas. Dawson’s Creek being one.”

      Sure. But the reason why we’re all mentioning GLEE is because the creator of this show was also a writer on that show.

  2. FYI, Jughead’s real name is Forsythe P. Jones III, so maybe Skeet Ulrich’s F.P. Jones is father/uncle/cousin?

    A lot of my interest in this show is the “what the what?” realizations of this reinterpretation, which was a lot of the initial draw of Afterlife with Archie. I’m not sure if the novelty of that will wear off. Fortunately, Afterlife has turned out to also be a very well done comic that could stand on it’s own. There’s a certain amount of laziness and reliance on tropes in the writing on all the Berlanti shows (though that’s true for most CW shows in general). This can be either adorable and fun, or boring. I am intrigued enough by all the “dark secrets” hinted at in the first episode to stick with it and see how they end up handling this.

    Buying Archie digests at the grocery store and from a spinner rack at the drug store and gas station as a kid was my first exposure to comics so, like Conor, I’ve got a real soft spot for these characters.

    • “FYI, Jughead’s real name is Forsythe P. Jones III, so maybe Skeet Ulrich’s F.P. Jones is father/uncle/cousin?”

      Yeah, I didn’t want to speculate on that in the show lest some sort of reveal get spoiled for people.

  3. I live in the riverdale area of the Bronx. Which is by the Hudson River. I REFUSE to believe this riverdale in rockland county that the show gives us lol. #notmyriverdale

  4. Man, hearing you guys describe the plot kinda bummed me out. Archie is, to me, an escape. I still buy and read the occasional digest and have bought plenty of those Pep Digital collections of theirs. I’ve enjoyed the rebooted Archie and love love loved Zdarsky’s run on Jughead. But, man, nothing of those things sounds like it’s in the show.

    I do hope that the success of this show and other dark alternative takes on Archie, such as Afterlife with Archie, don’t become the standard take on the characters. Here’s hoping they keep at least a little pocket of fun for folks to dive back into.

    • Well, I’d say it’s still fairly escapist, in the same vein as any other soap with their own share of murder and ridculousness. What’s really breathed some new life into these characters are these weird, alternative takes. The classic Archie is still there and they still pump out reprints like no one else. I was personally a huge fan of the “Life with Archie” series with all it’s grown up angst that still had the same sense of goofiness as the original stuff. As I stated above, I don’t know how sustainable this is but as long as they have good writers telling good stories, I’ll keep reading and watching.

  5. I liked this way more than a man of my age should.

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