RANTDALE: Riverdale is brainwashing me (NOT CLICKBAIT)

Listen up Riverdale Vixens, because I’m about to drop a Cheryl Bombshell on you: I think the cast of Riverdale is hypnotizing me and forcing me to watch this monstrosity of a show. The writing is horrible and incredibly unrealistic, the acting is extremely unconvincing, and the plot is holier than the Pope, but I am ashamed to say that I have watched every single episode of Riverdale thus far and I know I will unwillingly tune in every Wednesday night to see how many ridiculous turns the new episode will take.

Imagine yourself walking down the halls of York – what do you hear? Maybe someone gossiping to a friend, boys talking about basketball, or people talking about how the test they took in Mrs. DiTomasso’s class last period was really hard. In the world of Riverdale, the teen characters have very different conversations during their passing periods. The chatter that takes place at Riverdale High is so unbelievable that I audibly gasp at some of the things these goons say to each other. Some of these gems include: “You know what happens to a snake when a Louis Vuitton heel steps on it? Shut the hell up or you’ll find out!” or “Mr. Andrews! Nice haircut. Looking extremely DILF-y today.” Picture one of your friends talking like this, using calculated, unnatural phrases in casual conversation. If you really listen to the dialogue that goes on throughout the show, you will roll your eyes so hard that they fall out of their sockets. Not to mention that one of Cheryl Blossom’s infamous lines (“Listen up fives, a ten is speaking”) is straight up ripped off from 30 Rock. Oh, and can we talk about all of the obscure references that Veronica Lodge sprinkles into the majority of conversations she has? Like when she says “Are you familiar with the works of Truman Capote?  I’m Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but this place is strictly In Cold Blood.” or  “Ten minutes in and I’m already the Blue Jasmine of Riverdale High.”  I had to Google “Blue Jasmine” to figure out what that reference was even about. Do the writers understand the demographic that watches their show? It’s mainly teenagers who watch Riverdale, and these nods to pop culture are so weird, so who are these references geared towards? They are so unnecessary and no teenager in 2018 would drop an innuendo about a 2013 Woody Allen movie to their peers. The only allusions being made at York are about popular Vines or memes, which are worlds better than the cryptic allusions Veronica Lodge pulls out of her butt in every episode.

Photo courtesy of NBC
Hmm….this doesn’t look like Cheryl Blossom…

The writing is really horrible, and the cast of Riverdale only makes it worse with their one-dimensional acting. Archie Andrews, the main protagonist of the show, is played by KJ Apa. Apa took a stone-faced approach to his portrayal of Archie, and not in a stoic or heroic way. Basically, throughout the entirety of this series, Apa is just throwing the towel in and relying on his looks and his abs that are so chiseled that they make him look like a human-cockroach hybrid to carry him throughout the show. He shows so little emotion that you can’t tell how he feels about certain plot points.

Image courtesy of the CW
The most expressive facial expression Apa has used throughout the entirety of Riverdale.

For example, when his dad was shot, Archie didn’t cry or do anything. He just stared off into the distance like a damsel waiting for a male suitor. Because he has no facial expressions, his emotions are so unclear that you have to rely on the really crappy dialogue to grasp what he is feeling, which is a really big deal considering this whole story surrounds him. And don’t get me started on how the best actor, Casey Cott, who plays Kevin Keller, is shoved in the background as a supporting character. This man has a degree from Carnegie Mellon for acting and is putting it to use by playing the gay best friend in a teen drama. He deserves better! In that same breath, I think a lot of the casting was solely based on looks (although all of them look so much older than sophomores in high school), because I don’t think there’s any other reason why they would choose Camila Mendes for Veronica besides her physical appearance. She plays Veronica as a knockoff Blair Waldorf-esque airhead, yet she simultaneously drops those hefty literary analogies. Bottom line: her character is so shallow and she definitely plays it that way. Overall, the acting by all parties is so awful. To their credit, they are working with a script that is basically a fart transcribed into English, so I can’t diss them that much.

The plot. Oh my god. I think the overall direction they want to go with the storyline is interesting, but they do such a terrible job tying their ideas together so the whole show is just a clusterfrick of dropped storylines and glossing over critical information that will come up later. Instead of describing all of these plotlines in a long paragraph, I’m gonna make a numbered list of all the moments/storylines that confused me or made me angry.

  1. Ms. Grundy- this woman got a degree from Julliard and she’s just a music teacher at some rinky-dink, underfunded high school in the middle of nowhere. That makes no sense whatsoever.
  2. In the beginning of the show, it’s revealed that the Lodges are broke, but then all of a sudden they drop thousands of dollars on Archie’s dad with no real explanation as to how they got the money. Where did the money come from, Hermione and Hiram? Also, Riverdale is made out to be a run-down town, yet they live in an incredibly modern apartment-where is this place?
  3. Where is the club Veronica visits in season one and why don’t they frequent it more often?
  4. Why does Betty do a strip routine to “Mad World” and why does her preppy, stuck-up mom show up in a full-blown snake outfit without anyone batting an eye?
  5. So, are we not gonna acknowledge the whole “Cooper and Blossom” incest/turf war? No? Okay.
  6. The whole thing about Mrs. Cooper giving away her son was only briefly mentioned in passing, and then all of a sudden they bring in a Dave Franco knockoff to play Betty’s estranged brother Chick and it’s a huge part of the storyline.
  7. Why on Earth does Mrs. Blossom not have any burns or injuries despite being in the hospital after the fire? And why are they living in a swanky apartment even though Mrs. Blossom keeps reiterating how broke they are?
  8. Kevin’s whole “running in the woods” thing-did he stop, did he continue?
  9. Where are the Ghoulies? Did they also relocate to Riverdale High? Also, what about that whole drag race situation? Or when all of the Serpents were arrested and then they just appear out of nowhere? Also, the newspaper teacher randomly getting arrested for Jingle Jangle?
  10. The affairs- Mr. Andrews and Mrs. Lodge? Sheriff Keller and Mayor McCoy? Is that still a thing?
  11. What about that drug dealing woman who Jughead was getting harassed by?
  12. That random cut scene where they were all in the comic and then it wasn’t referenced at all.
  13. Remember when Cheryl Blossom just kissed Josie out of nowhere?
  14. What the heck is up with the Cooper family? Are they still in charge of the newspaper? Why did the dad leave and then suddenly come back out of the blue?
  15. The Blossom’s weird ominous Grandma who they just shove in a wheelchair in the corner of a dark room.
  16. What happened with Mrs. Blossom and Hal? Is that happening or is it just another random thing?
  17. The random sidekick football players-they come in, have a HUGE storyline, and then fade into obscurity. What happened to Josie and that one dude?
  18. Throwback to when Archie dated the one girl from the Pussycats for a hot second and then they broke up and she was never seen again.
  19. Veronica’s pseudo-feminist outbursts that add NOTHING to the scenes.
  20. That book of ladies that the football players kept that was never mentioned again after the episode that highlighted it.
  21. Betty and Jughead’s relationship always being really rocky for seemingly no reason.
  22. How they gloss over a bunch of important plot details but milk the heck out of Veronica not saying “I love you” to Archie.
  23. Why do the Lodges speak entirely in English, but then they call Veronica “mija”?
  24. I’m not sure if  Betty and Veronica  A.) are still friends (in season 2 you barely see them together) and B.) are still on the cheerleading team.
  25. Archie all of a sudden winning a wrestling match despite just joining the team and being really bad at it throughout the entire episode.
  26. Jughead being more passionate about the Serpents than literally everyone else even though he’s the newest member.
  27. Remember when Archie was buried alive and he seemingly wasn’t phased by it?
  28. There was no build up to the janitor being the Black Hood-there wasn’t any establishing of his character from the beginning, he just came in during an episode and then by the end of it, his identity was revealed.
  29. How is the Black Hood’s ringtone automatically “Lollipop”? That’s not how phones work.
  30. Dark. Betty. What. The. Actual. Heck.
  31. Archie’s mom budding in and out of his life-remember when there was that whole subplot about him moving to Chicago?
  32. Archie and the other meatheads working at Andrew’s Construction-did they continue working there or did he hire other people?
  33. Why does everyone burst out into song periodically?
  34. On the topic of music, what happened with Josie’s crazy music producer dad? And why are Josie’s parents so fixated on her becoming a solo artist?
  35. Also, what’s happening on the site of the drive-in now? It was just forgotten about during season 2.

Overall, Riverdale is so bad. The combination of bad acting, writing, and a plethora of plot holes makes for a really confusing and one-dimensional show. I think that their poor writing might be a marketing technique-it leaves the viewer with so many lingering questions that never get answered because the plot is so poorly covered. All in all, I’m gonna ride this series to its end, because it’s wildly entertaining to see what absurd situations the horribly unlikable characters will get into.