Bye, Archie: Betty and Veronica's Friendship Takes Centre Stage in Riverdale

With the launch of CW’s Riverdale, the Betty-Archie-Veronica love triangle has made its way from the pages of comic books onto television screens. There is, however, a twist. Save for a few moments orchestrated by Cheryl “I’m in the mood for chaos” Blossom, Betty and Veronica don’t spend their time fighting to win Archie’s attention. Shockingly, the two are friends.

There is definitely some straight-from-the-comics animosity when Betty and Veronica first meet. The night she moves to Riverdale, Veronica enters Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe. There, she interrupts Betty as she is about to tell Archie how she feels about him. Betty falters when she sees the way Archie looks at Veronica. These hints at the classic love triangle linger throughout the first episode, but are eventually overtaken by a stronger subplot: that Betty and Veronica are becoming friends.

Sure, there are some snags in their friendship, but it’s nothing like the comics. After Veronica and Archie kiss, Veronica tries to make it up to Betty. She gives her flowers (yellow, “for friendship”), brings her cupcakes and tells her she’s ordered them a mani-pedi. Of course, those things don’t immediately win over Betty’s friendship, but as the series progresses, the two grow closer. Eventually, the love triangle feels like old news which is not even worth discussing when we’re seeing an important friendship blossom.

When I think of on-screen female friendships, I think of Mean Girls. It’s a terrible example, ridden with stereotypes about cliques and, well, girls being mean to each other, but it summarizes what some people genuinely believe female friendships are all about. In Riverdale, we see some of that in the love triangle, the cattiness. But what’s important is that we see Betty and Veronica trying to move past those things.

“At the end of every problem, they come back to each other,” Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty, said in an interview with MTV. “They’re not enemies, and they’re not fighting over a guy. Maybe they did for a second, but that moment passed, and they got over it. This friendship is so much more important.”

And it is so much more important. Young Riverdale viewers get to see two girls supporting each other through difficult situations, standing up for each other and not letting a certain redheaded boy get in the way of their friendship. They also see Veronica comforting Cheryl Blossom, who seems villainous but is actually reeling from the death of her brother, showcasing another female friendship. Reinhart described Riverdale as “A girl power show,” and the strong on-screen friendships between female characters definitely support this.

Strong female friendships, like Betty and Veronica, are becoming increasingly popular on screen. Betty and Veronica’s friendship is made even more interesting by the fact that it twists their relationship from the comics. Since 1941, when Archie, Betty and Veronica made their first appearance, a lot has changed with regards to women’s rights, feminism and the way women are portrayed in media. It seems only fitting, then, that the 2017 screen adaption of Archie and his friends gets Betty and Veronica’s friendship right.