Yet another gritty reboot has come for a beloved series. Riverdale, the new CW show, based on Archie comics has aired four times now, and the show has potential but rings with disappointment. Archie has been working endlessly to become relevant again, so the main series comic books were rebooted to be more modern. A zombie apocalypse Archie series(Archie the After Life) was created, and more series such as a new Kevin Keller were promised. This series has been planned since but until recently did not come into fruition. An Archie teen drama on prime time television is exactly what a company teetering on the edge of becoming irrelevant needed, but the issue with so many adaptions is where to deviate from the canon.
Jughead not being Asexual caused an uproar among fans before the show aired, and people appealed to the show to keep Jughead Ace. Although there are renditions of Jughead where he has been interested to and married to Midge(Archie the Married Life), the issue remains that the current canon is an asexual Jughead. More often than not, Jughead has been shown to have more interest in burgers and friends than relationship and sex, if they are mentioned at all. Jughead has always been a puzzling eccentric character that was a breath of fresh air from the Archie love triangle. In our current times, we would define what the Judghead of many years was, an asexual and possibly aromantic guy. In a recent comic when he tries to go on a date with Sabrina, who was introduced as a hamburger mascot for Pop’s, it is a disaster because Jughead had an easier time talking to a walking burger than a girl who wanted a date from him! He was completely open to friendship but the minute romance was mentioned he froze. This was not him, and the issue was hilarious and essentially Jughead.
The problem with the deviations from the canon made in the Riverdale series is that they take away from good story telling and actually undermine what the writers have in mind. This is meant to be an origin story the creator said. Starting at the beginning means leaving room for characters to grow not placing unrealistic undynamic charters on screen. Another issue I had with the show is the randomly possibly bisexual, bicurious, heteroflexible Moose character. My question is why. Why change this character’s sexuality for what may only be a reason to have Kevin and Moose together to find Jason’s body? Then Kevin’s problematic assertion that he does not want to be involved with Moose anymore because, “can he really be that flexible?” Do not use a gay character to one shame a character exploring their sexuality and two use that “new” sexuality for a convenient plot point. Everyone we have presented in the show so far has some sort of romantic interest, and Archie’s always exhausting love triangle has expanded. Now with his affair with Ms. Grundy, his teacher, we will have 3 women caught up in the usual romantic issues. Which becomes boring over time. Everyone is trying to or has gotten laid, but Jughead is our narrator and on the outside even just socially speaking. He is not interested in the typical teen drama. He seems removed, critical, and highly intelligent allowing him to keep his asexual and aromantic nature would help this narrative. If he all of sudden becomes enamored with someone and wants to sleep with them, How is he any different from the people around him? Who will serve as our outside perspective to look at Riverdale in an even handed fusion?
A lot of the characters are weak, and the twists put into the Riverdale plot are contrived and over done. If Betty is now not just nice but so much of a pushover that she is pathetic. If Veronica can be down to earth yet struggling with her attraction to Archie. If Archie can be transformed from boy next door to sex object, popular jock, who has sex with and wants an ongoing relationship with his teacher. If Moose can be bi. If Veronica’s mom can be humble and work in the dinner. Why can Jughead not be asexual? The changes made thus far have weakened the show and removed what made Archie Comics popular. Even Kevin, the first gay character added to Archie, has been watered down. He was humble, intelligent, and a nice voice of reason in the group. Now we have a typical token gay character.
We have moved past the time of being able to arbitrarily throw a gay character on screen and call it diversity or “good” story telling. I have no issue with canon changes being made if they enhance the plot and allow for greater character growth, but we simply have not seen that with this rendition of Archie and his friends. We can safely say erasing Jughead’s aceness has not been validated as a necessary move by the show. Once again asexual people have lost their opportunity to be shown on mainstream media. Not only am I disappointing but just over people trying force people to accept being erased. It is okay Jughead Riverdale will not last long, but your newly minted series where you are fully you will.