Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
May 25, 2022
Riverdale, my beloved.

They cancelled my show, y'all.

When I first started watching Riverdale... I don't remember what I thought of it. I think I was mostly confused: those comics were so wholesome and inoffensive, yet here Archie was having sex with his high school music teacher; Jughead was living on the streets because his dad was an abusive alcoholic gang member; Veronica was the ambitious daughter of a ruthless mob boss; and Betty was the resident Nancy Drew and mostly clean... until we met Dark Betty, a sadistic second personality that would assert herself during stressful moments.

Then I went through a period of hate-watching the show -- things got ever more seedy and convoluted, and I delighted in railing at the ridiculous twists the show took. Betty's father was revealed to be a serial killer, and Betty was revealed to have the "serial killer gene." Now dating Veronica, Archie began doing criminal errands to impress her father. Jughead reconciled with his own father and assumed leadership of the local gang. And I developed an especially deep hatred of Cheryl Blossom -- also from the comics, though I'd never heard of her -- who got WAY more screentime and focus than that character deserves. (I maintain that Cheryl is the true main character of Riverdale: while she's rarely the focus of events, a) she is spectacularly awful to everyone and is never held accountable for it, and b) that universe consistently bends to shield her from lasting harm and gift her unwarranted influence over unfolding events. Much like Sabrina on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, she's The Worst.

And then somewhere in Season 3 I realized that I truly loved this show. They were doing a riff on Dungeons & Dragons -- here called Gryphons and Gargoyles -- except the show was seriously treating it as if it were tapping into real forces. Not the fearmongering about players getting too into it and unable to tell reality from fantasy: those lines were explicitly blurred as characters were stalked by a malevolent supernatural entity known as the Gargoyle King. That turned out not to be real -- the Gargoyle King was a title assumed by several minor characters, aided by hallucinogens ingested by some (but not all) of those he terrorized -- but the plot still concluded with a nunnery/orphanage that was drugging its charges and a cult that was harvesting the organs of its members. And eventually the show topped even THAT with so-called alien abductions in a later season... which turned out to be a clan of murderous misogynistic inbred truckers dressing up in mothman suits. Every week was "wtf am I watching?? HOW ARE THEY COMING UP WITH THIS?!?!?" and it was glorious. Recently the multiverse became a thing on the show, and the characters are currently honing their SUPERPOWERS in preparation for their role in a pivotal conflict between Good and Evil -- one so important that there are ghosts on hand to bear witness and the archangel Raphael appearing from time to time to offer guidance. All this from a comic in which the major recurring conflict was whether Betty or Veronica would get to share a milkshake with Archie.

Now, the show's not going away just yet -- there will be Riverdale in 2023, since it's got one more season after the current one ends. I'm not even sure that's a bad thing; there's not much left for the show to do given where it is now, and in some ways this season is actually less interesting for being so explicitly over the top. Still, every week the show one-ups itself with some strange new addition to the story. Like, it's not *surprising* that witnessing ghosts are now in the mix -- we've already got immortal witches and a demonic antagonist running an antique shop, so that tracks. Still, now we've got ghosts! And by the end of the season, who knows what else Riverdale will have put on the table??

Simply put: I'm really going to miss this goddamned show. <3

-posted by Wes | 8:00 pm | Comments (0)
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