Riverdale Is A Burning Trash Pile But I Love It

“ARCHIE, RIVERDALE JUST BECAME A POLICE STATE” are seven words I thought that I would never hear when I heard that ‘Archie Comics’ was being produced into the new Netflix show, but at that point I was still ignorant to the amazing miracle that ‘Riverdale’ was going to become. In no other show could I place that type of dialogue, among many other amazing lines, but that’s exactly why I love ‘Riverdale’: the dialogue is messy, the acting is clunky at points and the plot for season two was all over the place but it was still so enjoyable to watch. It’s like eating greasy foods – you know it’s not necessarily good, but sometimes you need to eat a kebab over some vegetable soup. 

Most people point to the second season, where we had the introduction of the Black Hood and the Serpents, and say that’s where the show started to fall apart but I make a separate counter-point: it was never really held together in the first place, even in its first episodes. The show has a dark tone with its major plot lines involving death, murder, public shootings and burning people alive, but still has characters like Jughead and Tallboy running about and still wants the audience to take it seriously. The plot lines characters have as well are so different it doesn’t help: while Jughead and Betty are in charge of finding the local murderer in town (note, the police are useless here), Archie is trying to start up his music career. Both of these plots, somehow, are meant to hold the same weight for the audience but spoiler alert: they do not.

While the names could be waved off because the original comics were created in the 1940’s, many of the writing issues are actually rooted in many modern teenage dramas. Even well received shows like ‘Gossip Girl’, ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and ‘Skins’ had trouble giving their teenaged protagonists even autonomy to do whatever in the plot while still remaining realistic. They usually verve off the deep (Pretty Little Liars) or age up their characters (Gossip Girl) so at the very least we can’t complain that they never seem to attend their high school other than for plot development. ‘Riverdale’ takes a different approach: they treat their teenaged characters like adults, and their adult characters like teenagers. There is real no established authority in Riverdale – somehow Jughead and Betty are both better at investigating than the police, Cheryl burns her mother alive and seems to not face any punishment, and Jughead joins a gang.

All of these things out of context sound insane but the truth of it is, ‘Riverdale’ doesn’t care and just carries on with it. And after a few episodes, you find yourself just carrying on with it as well. When I reached the second season and Pop said: “it’s like the angel of death came to Riverdale” I didn’t think, ‘wow, what an awful line of dialogue’, I actually thought that he had a point. At some time during the show, you start to buy into its trashiness.

I could continue to tear ‘Riverdale’ apart and in a future article, I just might but that wouldn’t be news. People are aware of how horrible ‘Riverdale’ is and watch it. The reason why it’s still so popular is because it’s extremely different from so many other television shows that are on today. It misses the same of serious and depressing tone that has taken over most television shows that are highly regarded. Like I highlighted before, the dialogue of ‘Riverdale’ would simply not match the dialogue of ‘Game of Thrones’ but you have to ask: why should it? Some many shows today are weighed down by its ego and desire to establish itself as edgier and darker than the one that came before it but not ‘Riverdale’. Here, we have a show that has gang violence and the cheerleading hierarchy in the same episode.

Yes, ‘Riverdale’ is not a good show. It never really was. But in a world that is so politically depressing, why do we have to watch depressing shows as well? If you find enjoyment out of a television show alongside many other people, wouldn’t that classify it as ‘good’ in some way? It is never a television show that is going to go down as history for its eloquent dialogue and dynamic characters but it might go down for being one of the most fun television shows to watch, especially as it continues to be garbage.

At least I’ll still be watching.