Riverdale S01E01 Recap

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SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.

This will be the first and last recap for Riverdale. Where do I even start with this show?

By the 4:59 mark of this episode I was dying. This show is filled with tropes and cliches and it is incredibly annoying. The show tries – very hard – to be subversive about them, but it fails. Nothing about it feels even remotely subversive or satirical. In so doing it feels highly derivative and it missed it’s window about five to eight years ago. The creators need to bring something else to the table to make this show stand out among already successful shows of this nature and makes it different. The only real “twist” or originality that the creators of this show tried to inject was slapping the Archie name on top of it. And that is not enough.

This first episode was painful to watch and uninteresting and so were it’s characters.

Archie is supposed to be the tortured musician who just wants to do his music (and has a gag-worthy line about it in the beginning when he is telling Betty how he discovered his love for music). But he has to chose between that and football and working for his father. Of course, by the end of the episode he doesn’t actually choose because he works out the perfect way in which he can do all three.

Also, he was sleeping with this music teacher over the summer; the very much younger and more attractive Ms. Grundy. They even did a slow motion shot with him wiping his brow with his shirt, while Grundy drove past and eyed him like a predator. Inappropriate relations between teacher and student are so outdated in fiction they’re not even scandalous anymore. Especially not how it was done here. It’s just old and tired.

Betty is the very smart girl who is in love with her best friend and has an overbearing mother and is on medication, as well as a tragic past involving her sibling. And just wants to live for herself for once and not do anything for anyone else. She also has a gay best friend and really wants to be a cheerleader.

Veronica, the most interesting of the trio, is the reformed spoiled little rich girl. Because she is from New York, she immediately latches onto the one, very cliche gay best friend character and spews pop culture references like no one else does. She has perhaps one of the worst and most nonsensical scenes in the episode when she randomly approaches Betty and Archie and asks about onion rings, then goes into a long info dump about herself and telling the two things about her that they didn’t even ask about.

Jughead doesn’t even matter or come into play because he is a side character – at least in this episode – and serves as narrator. He hardly shows up and is a loner and writer who is writing a novel about the events of the show (as they happen?). And he’s not friends with Archie.

By the halfway point when it really sunk in what kind of show this was, I just watched it and didn’t think about what was happening. I essentially turned my brain off. But it still didn’t draw me in. Nothing about it was compelling or made me want to see the rest of it. The murder mystery isn’t intriguing and the storylines for the characters are bland. This show is clearly not for me and I figured as much when I watched the trailer. At this point I can say that I won’t be watching any more of it.

Random thoughts:

  1. Why is she standing in front of her bedroom window, in a bra, facing Archie’s bedroom window?
  2. That lens flare.
  3. Veronica: “My mom and I just moved here.” No one asked you that.
  4. So much contrived angst.
  5. No one asked you all of that Josie! Is she going to be the stereotypical sassy black girl?
  6. What makes Archie think anyone cares about his music?
  7. Cheryl: “Is being a gay best friend still a thing?” This show seems to think so.
  8. All of these pop culture references that add nothing.
  9. If these are your “moves” Veronica I don’t see how you ever became a cheerleader.
  10. Cheryl: “Faux lesbian kissing hasn’t been taboo since 1994.” This whole show is outdated.
  11. Coming on real strong there Veronica. You barely know Betty.
  12. She called him Archie-kins out of nowhere. That was not at all earned or justified.
  13. Archie’s Dad: “Three months ago, you did. What happened?” He had sex.
  14. Veronica: “Can’t we…be all things?” That’s what this show is trying to make Archie.
  15. That’s his argument? He isn’t and never will be good enough for her?

Riverdale airs Thursday at 9 PM on The CW.

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About The Author

An avid reader who accidentally discovered her love and talent for writing and has loved movies for as long as she has been watching them. Stumbled into film-making and found her second love because she decided to read for a degree in it on a whim - kind of.