When it was announced that a TV show about the Archie comic book franchise was in the works, people were skeptical. There have been many iterations of our favorite Riverdale characters, including a cartoon series in the 1960s, another cartoon series in the 1980s featuring the characters as pre-teens, and many others. Live action shows included a TV pilot entitled Life with Archie, a spinoff called Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and the film of another spinoff, Josie and the Pussycats. So when the Riverdale idea was being floated around, people were wondering what it had to offer in terms of uniqueness compared to all other Archie projects in the past.
The premise of Riverdale was revealed to feature the same characters, but in a dark, almost-sinister setting in modern times. And the characters are almost unrecognizable from the ones in the comic books. Archie is ripped and hot, Veronica is a mean girl-turned-nice, Betty is happy on the outside, but still waters run deep; and Jughead is homeless. The plot so far has hooked a good number of viewers and twisted as many of the characters may seem, they’re not so far off from what some people are like in real life.
15 We repress a lot of our anger, like Betty.
Betty Cooper is the typical girl-next-door: pure sunshine, always smiling, always kind to everyone. She’s ever so helpful to all the people around her and loyal to her friends and family, no matter their faults. But the similarities of the Betty in the comic books and Riverdale end there. Betty in Riverdale (played by Lili Reinhart) has a lot more layers than her one-dimensional counterpart in the comic book. She may seem perpetually nice and happy from the outside, but deep down, she’s got a lot of anger brewing. And who can blame her really, given her situation at home? She has a controlling mom, a seemingly docile dad, and a sister who was sent away by their parents because she was “sick.” When Betty is being bullied, she is shown taking it all in quietly, all the while curling her fingers into her palms so tightly that she draws blood. Feelings like that should never be suppressed.
14 No matter how twisted their actions, our parents always have the best intentions.
Who would have thought the oh-so-normal Mr. and Mrs. Cooper would be so twisted in the show? Hal and Alice Cooper are the parents of two lovely daughters, Polly and Betty. In the show, Alice is portrayed to be a strict, control-freak of a mother to her girls and was initially one of the suspects for Jason Blossom’s murder. She seems satisfied upon learning of his death and she even sends Polly away to an institution, keeping the real reason for doing so from Betty: Polly is pregnant with Jason’s baby and Alice doesn’t want anyone to know about the scandal. Hal, on the other hand, appears to be whipped by his wife, but displays odd behavior at one point and viewers also considered him a suspect. Turns out, the couple’s shady behavior is all rooted in their love for their daughters because they just want to protect them in their own twisted way.
13 Some people value their wealth more than their own flesh and blood.
In the penultimate episode of the first season, Jason Blossom’s killer is finally revealed and though he was also one of the suspects, people were still shocked at the revelation. For those not familiar with the Blossom family, they’re one of the richest and most influential families in Riverdale, having built their fortune on maple syrup. The family patriarch Clifford Blossom is a ruthless and cold-hearted businessman who was bent on passing on the family business to his only son, but alas, Jason was far from interested in getting into it. Apart from not having the business acumen, Jason also inadvertently discovered Clifford’s dark secret: it wasn’t maple syrup they were selling. The sticky substance was just a cover-up for drug smuggling. Needless to say, Clifford pulls the trigger on his own son, all for the sake of protecting his business.
12 The mean girl isn’t always a bad person.
When we first met Cheryl Blossom, she was grieving the loss of her twin brother Jason, to whom she was very close. She was on the scene when he supposedly drowned in the river, as she was aiding him in escaping with his girlfriend Polly. Cheryl is shown to be the typical queen bee of Riverdale High, the mean girl and head cheerleader who terrorizes those she deems inferior, which is basically everybody. She’s rich, beautiful, and popular, assets which make her believe that she’s on top of the world. But not everything is as it seems on the surface. Her home life is quite troubling, with shady parents who never seem to approve of her and a twin brother who died. Throughout the season, Cheryl is shown to have a bit of depth to her, despite her haughty attitude. She’s a real person with real feelings, genuinely mourning her brother and constantly starving for her parents’ love and affection. In the finale, she is shown to be going through a bought of depression and is also suicidal.
11 We can act all shady but actually be innocent.
In the show, Hal Cooper is the thorn among the roses in the Cooper family, being surrounded by a wife and two daughters. He seems to be subservient to his very strong-willed wife and would barely lash out, leaving the trash talking and problem solving to Alice. It was revealed a little more than halfway through the season that seemingly docile Hal had secretly tried to bring Polly to an abortion clinic to get rid of the baby. Incensed, Alice kicks him out of the house and it’s the first time we see that Hal has a bit of a sinister side after all. He fires Alice from the town newspaper, where she was a news editor. He is later caught trying to destroy evidence of Jason’s murder, leading some to suspect that he was involved in the crime. It turns out, he just wanted to get rid of any breadcrumbs so that his deep, dark secret wouldn’t be revealed: he is a Blossom by blood and his daughter and Jason were carrying on an incestuous relationship.
10 Parents will do anything to protect their children.
One thing’s for sure: F.P. Jones II would be the most unlikely candidate for father of the year. His wife and daughter left him and his son Jughead moved out of the family trailer, even if it meant moving around like a nomad before finally being taken in by Archie and his dad Fred. F.P. is the leader of the Southside Serpents, a gang of criminals that live in the dingy side of Riverdale and being the ringleader of such a gang automatically made him a prime suspect in the murder of Jason. He is later arrested for the murder, but because of some snooping, Archie and Veronica realize that he was being framed. F.P. confesses to being the culprit and harshly tells Jughead to stay away from him. Jughead realizes his father is lying to him and finds out that F.P. was forced by Clifford Blossom to take the fall for the crime. If he didn’t comply, Clifford threatened to kill Jughead. So in the end, F.P. was just protecting his son.
9 Disobeying your parents can have dire consequences.
There are different kinds of parents in this world. Some are strict and controlling, others are lenient and laidback. Parents always want the best for their kids and impose some rules and guidelines for them to follow in order to lead them down the path of success. When the kids disobey them, parents take action through some sort of punishment. Unfortunately, the Blossoms’ definition of punishment was taken too much to the extreme. Clifford was unhappy with his son for many reasons. For one, he disapproved of Jason’s relationship with Polly Cooper because the Blossoms and Coopers were sworn enemies. Secondly, Clifford was frustrated at Jason’s refusal to be a part of the family business. He somehow finds out about Jason’s plan to run away with Polly and intercepts it with the help of F.P. Clifford is later shown shooting his own son through the head—a dire consequence of Jason’s disobedience to his dad.
8 It’s not too weird to fall for your best friend’s best friend.
Those who avidly read the comic books and follow the show would know that the relationship between Jughead and Betty is a bit controversial. In the comic book, Jughead’s orientation was confirmed to be asexual, at least as of 2016. But in the show, he is written to be in a relationship with Betty, a move that upset comic book purists and LGBTQ members, as they felt it took away from who he really was. At the beginning of the show, Betty was secretly in love with her best friend Archie, but she later accepted that he didn’t return her feelings. As she spent more time with Jughead, who is Archie’s other best friend, her feelings for him (and his for her) bloomed. Archie initially found it awkward that his two best friends were dating, but he quickly accepted it and became happy for them.
7 Friends with benefits is commonplace, even in high school.
We all know that in the comic books, there’s that perennial love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica. In the show, the relationship of the three friends is somewhat complicated, as most friendships on TV shows go. At the beginning of the season, Veronica arrives in Riverdale as the new girl and forms an instant friendship with Betty. Things get complicated when she makes out with Archie at a party, even if she knew of Betty’s feelings. Luckily, they overcame this obstacle and the three have remained friends, growing closer and working together to solve the Jason Blossom case. In episode 10 of the first season, Veronica and Archie find comfort in each other and share a kiss. Veronica spends the night with him, but it’s unclear how far they went. Archie wants to do a repeat of their night, but Veronica clearly isn’t ready for an actual relationship and their current status as of the finale is “semi-dating.”
6 It’s possible to be a jock and a choir boy.
In both the comic books and the show, Archie Andrews is into music. He formed a band with his friends called The Archies and we have yet to see if the show will be going that route in future seasons. In the show, he’s the only child of Fred and Mary Andrews, but he lives with his dad because his mom, a lawyer, decided to move to Chicago. He went from scrawny kid to ripped and fit in the summer before his sophomore year, thanks to helping out at his dad’s construction business. His real passion is music and he dabbles in song writing, but has always been shy about performing in front of an audience. But he’s not just all about the music. He’s also one of the star football players of his school, which is a rare combination for the typical high schooler, who’s usually either a broody musician or an athlete, but hardly ever both. But such paragons do exist in real life, though few and far between.
5 Teacher-student relationships happen more often than you think.
Speaking of Archie and his lack of confidence with music—he did something about his lack of musical training. He approached Miss Geraldine Grundy, his young music teacher. It came as a surprise to many comic book fans that Miss Grundy in Riverdale is nothing like the white-haired, strict homeroom teacher of the comic books. The Miss Grundy of Riverdale is hot and young—and having a clandestine affair with Archie. Teacher-student relationships are a definite no-no, especially if the student is underage and in high school. This happens in real-life, though not everyone is caught. If they are caught, the teacher is most definitely fired and can be sued for statutory rape. In fact, some cases have even made their way to the evening news, particularly when the affair results in dire consequences, such as a pregnancy.
4 Bad girls can reform.
Veronica Lodge is the spoiled, rich, raven-haired beauty that Archie Andrews is infatuated with. In the comic books, she’s portrayed to be selfish and manipulative, constantly playing with both Archie and his rival Reggie Mantle’s affections. In the show, she was all those things when she was living the high life in New York City. But she realized the error of her ways when her father Hiram Lodge was sent to prison, leaving her and her mom Hermione to fend for themselves. By the time we meet Veronica in the pilot, she has mellowed down and the bad girl is gone, replaced by a more subdued and nicer person. Her old bad girl habits are occasionally tested however, and we sometimes get a glimpse of that girl when provoked. The one who brings it out the most is Cheryl Blossom, her rival for the spot of most respected cheerleader and most popular girl in school.
3 Gay best friends are the best.
Kevin Keller is one of the newer characters in the Archie comic universe, having been introduced to readers in 2010. He is the first openly gay character in the Archie comic history and he was also portrayed as such in Riverdale. In the show, he is best friends with Betty and likewise becomes friends with Veronica when she befriends Betty. He has flirtations with Moose, who’s depicted in the show as bicurious, but hasn’t come out of the closet. Kevin is your token supportive best friend, as he’s depicted as empathizing with Betty when she was pining for Archie and supporting her when she developed feelings for Jughead. Being the son of the sheriff sometimes puts Kevin’s loyalty to the test, as he has to toe the line between protecting his friends and preserving the law.
2 Our parents’ approval means much more than we think.
Josephine “Josie” McCoy is the lead singer and head of the band Josie and the Pussycats. She’s portrayed in the show as a haughty and competitive teenager who is very protective of her trio’s exclusivity. At the beginning of the season, she outright tells Archie he can’t work with them and that his music wasn’t good enough for them to sing. It’s later revealed that she’s the daughter of the mayor, Sierra McCoy and her dad is a famous jazz singer who’s constantly on tour. She has a strained relationship with him and is constantly trying to impress him, as seen in episode six. Her father is in town to watch her performance and she gives it her all just so she can get his seal of approval. But in the middle of it, he just walks out with nary a care for her efforts. She’s shown to be battling tears as she watches him walk away.
1 Some rivalries never die.
The rivalries we see between the kids in Riverdale High are a result of relationships of the previous generation. The kids’ parents also grew up in Riverdale and were once high school students themselves, facing the intense pressures and clique wars that plague the typical high school student. It’s revealed that Hermione Lodge, Veronica’s mom, was the token mean girl in school and she had clashed with Alice Cooper (Betty’s mom), Mary Andrews (Archie’s mom), and Penelope Blossom (Cheryl Blossom’s mom) at one time or another. The tension is probably most palpable between Alice and F.P. Jones II (Jughead’s dad) in episode 11, when Alice (who was revealed to also be on the wrong side of the tracks during her younger days) grilled F.P. about his involvement in Jason’s murder. Another intense rivalry is that between Clifford and Penelope Blossom and Hal and Alice Cooper, since their children were in a relationship.