Entertainment Television

Riverdale Is A Mess But I Can't Stop Watching.

Riverdale is such a trainwreck, at this point all you can do is sit back and watch the insanity unfold.
Credit: The CW

You know I think Riverdale gets alot of slack from people. I’m not sure if it’s just jumping on the bandwagon because people across social media and YouTube seem to get on the show for it’s cringe style writing. I can’t say I disagree with what people say because at this point the show just keeps getting so ridiculous that I don’t even know what am watching on a weekly basis but is that a bad thing? Is the over the top dialogue and questionable storylines what makes the show so entertaining? To answer that question, I think the show has the “so bad it’s good” type of thing going for it but I have no idea if it’s intentional from the writers or not. Thankfully I have other people who seem to share the same emotions as to confusion as I do and they will be adding in their own thoughts throughout the article. Joining me for this commentary is, The Scream King, from Instagram. We’ve chatted back and forth about various different shows and in fact we have done several commentary articles together so look out for more in the future. Currently there’s a Pretty Little Liars and a Twin Peaks article in the works so be on a look out for that. Link to their socials will be listed below at the end. So let’s dive into the many flaws and weird twists & turns within the show called Riverdale. Warning there are like ALOT of spoilers so if you don’t want to be spoiled, just click off.

Too Many Subplots

Nothing screams intimidation than a bunch of shirtless bros wearing red masks.

I have literally never seen a show with as many subplots as Riverdale has. Like never, this is one thing Riverdale has right now that other shows don’t, is a million different storylines per season. What worked with Season 1 was that it was a very grounded season overall that knew where it was going, and it felt very organic in a way. The writers at least seemed to know the story they wanted to tell that season which was the mystery of the murder of Jason Blossom. Season 4 has bounced around from different subplots, some being dropped within two episodes and others being dragged out longer. Some of these storylines aren’t even good, one included Cheryl and Toni thinking they were being haunted by Cheryl’s triplet who she apparently absorbed in the womb, Betty having a serial killer gene, then there’s some kinky subplot involving Kevin right now with him being in the tickling industry (No, I’m not making this up).

“Way to many subplots. Some of the plots aren’t taken seriously enough-it comes off parody-like and not in tone with the tone of Season 1”

-The Scream King

Another huge problem with these subplots is them constantly being introduced then dropped several episodes later. Eventually the writers usually do manage to revisit these storylines to tie them up but by the time they do it, half the fanbase has forgotten what it was. Another issue, is as The Scream King mentioned, some plots just are so ridiculous they can’t be taken seriously. Who remembers when they did a mobster storyline and the one mobster was named “Papa Poutine?” Or the time Archie formed a band of vigilantes called “The Red Circle” and filmed a video of him surrounded by a bunch of shirtless guys?

“Questionable” Storylines

Why are the writers forcing Lili to wear that horrendous wig?

This show has so many weird and questionable storylines. I mean does anyone remember the episode in Season 2, where Betty strips and pole dances while singing “Mad World” in front of a group of grown men as an attempt to get into the Serpents? Yeah that scene was….considered in my opinion to be questionable. The writers seem to oversexualize the characters way too much and in my opinion that scene with Betty went too far. I understand it was portrayed in a negative light on the show as the tone of the scene was intentionally awkward but still, young teens might take it a different way. Also, the show has way too many sex scenes. It feels like all Veronica and Archie do is hook up and I just don’t understand why the writers feel the need to show this all the time. Like they do it maybe 3-4 times within one episode, why do you need to show this all the time? It’s so weird. Maybe because there’s the weird side of the fanbase that likes the characters to act like this? I have no idea.

Mental health isn’t represented well on the show but I don’t think they try to. I’m all for unrealistic things even if it’s a little dark and not true to how things actually work but at the end of the day it’s just not good writing.

The Scream king

Other questionable storylines involve anything with mental health, a topic the writers just can’t get right on this show. The character, Betty, obviously has some mental health struggles. She’s digs her nails into the palm of her hands, she almost drowned the character Chuck back in Season 1, and oh she also has a “serial killer” we discover in Season 3. The writers need to let this whole Dark Betty thing go, it’s so stupid. “Betty’s darkness could’ve been handled much better and it should’ve been handled in Season 2 or 3, not 4” says The Scream King. Could they also just burn that horrendous wig, I mean please. Another character that struggles with mental health issues is Cheryl, who literally kept her dead brothers corpse in her house for a majority of the first half of this season. The therapy episode obviously did nothing the characters because while Cheryl is slightly better, she’s still making questionable choices along with other characters featured in that episode. The Scream King also had his own thoughts on Cheryl’s mental health. “Cheryl, is the most inconsistent character to walk the planet of television” he adds. As a character, Cheryl overall, is just up down in general so I tend to agree with that statement if I’m being fully honest. No hate against her character, although I’m sure Cheryl stans would tend to strongly disagree with me. Relax it’s just my opinion. It’s just a mess and it seems Lili Reinhart, seems sensitive about the topic of mental health so you think the writers would respect this and back off of these types of storylines but so far nothing has changed.

This Season Is A Flatout Mess

Fun Fact: Cole was supposed to be in this shot but he refused to do it because he was “cold”.

So Season 4 has by far been the most inconsistent season yet in my opinion. Season 3 was all over the place but it was super entertaining and had two main storylines you could follow for the most part. This season is playing the whole “JuGhEaD iS dEaD” troupe and I didn’t believe it. The first episode was hands down the best episode this season and that’s because it was the Luke Perry tribute episode. I will give the writers credit that it was very well done and I enjoyed it overall. Now aside from that the rest of the season is a huge head scratch honestly. I mean there’s some episodes this season that have been either boring or just all over the place as there’s so many subplots going on this season. Archie is off fighting this one drug dealer dude, Veronica is once again at war with Daddykins because the writers can’t give her anything else to do. Could we just give Veronica a storyline that does not involve her bickering back at forth with Hiram? I feel it’s the most overused, recycled subplot they keep giving her character. Meanwhile, Betty is working with her brother Charles but is also doing her sleuthing with Jughead, who is now a student and Stonewall Prep. So yes there is plenty of stuff going on this season but could we like take one storyline at a time? Just my opinion as if it matters.

It’s the worst one thus far. The writing is at an all time low. The characters are the most inconsistent, the acting/talent is gone and the mystery bored me. Whatever the mystery even was. Season 3 was bad, but at least the mystery was more intriguing in my opinion.

The scream king

So Season 4 for me personally has felt all over the place, some of the subplots either feel recycled or just uninteresting. The only storyline that kept my interest regarding Jughead and the Prep School is now finished it’s arc, so I’m not sure what is keeping me intrigued with the show anymore. Personally, I think the show is getting to a point where the writers are struggling to find new material to work with. Having a full load of 22 episodes to write probably doesn’t help, so I can understand why it would be hard to come up with subplots to last that long.

The Flash Forward Storyline

Relax people, Jughead is not actually dead. He’s just pretending to be dead.

Regarding this flash forward, we’ve gotten scenes teasing it every week and that’s been fine but confusing. Each flash forward this season has teased a mystery involving the death of Jughead. This was first teased in the Season 3 finale where Veronica, Archie, and Betty are shown burning Jughead’s beanie. As a viewer, I was honestly interested but at the same time confused as to where the writers were actually going. No way these writers would be stupid enough to of killed Jughead in my opinion. His character is by far one of the show’s most popular characters so why kill him off? It would be stupid. The problem was the build up to this flash forward felt like it took too long and there were so many subplots going on. So it was hard for my attention to be focused on the flash forward mystery. It’s been too much and there’s only so many subplots I’m able to keep my mind on. Overall this season has since improved but had the season of felt more focused from the start, I think we wouldn’t of had a problem. The flash forward has now taken place and while I do appreciate the writers finally pushing this mystery forward I felt it could of been done way sooner. The Scream King adds “I think we’ve gotten too many flash forwards, this season revealed too much about the plot. I also think timeline-wise it was odd to make the 3×22 flash forward during spring break cuz now the show was forced to make spring break in March instead of when it would probably be this year”.

Underwhelming, anticlimactic, a fan could’ve written it better. They completely missed the ball period. Wasn’t a fan of most of the execution.

The Scream King

I’m not going to dive into the entire details of what happens because it would take up way too much time. Basically surprise, Jughead isn’t dead, but along with the help of Betty, Archie, and Veronica, he fakes his death. This is to take down the students at Stonewall Prep who apparently attempted to kill him. Fun fact but the only reason why Cole wasn’t featured in the fire scene where they’re burning the beanie, is because Cole was cold and didn’t want to film the scene. Here is the link to the article if you don’t believe me. Anyways to sum up my thoughts regarding this, it felt obvious that Betty, Jughead, and Veronica were in on it but keeping the mystery of acting like he was dead kept my interest. The show finally felt like it had what Season One had but then they revealed Jughead as being alive so early on, it short of killed the hype. Moving on, this whole thing is resolved by episode 16 and it was good for what it was. At least the writers didn’t pull a PLL, and end up doing a bloody dream sequence so I can’t complain. Still, my biggest pet peeve with this whole storyline was it felt so disconnected from the other characters. It lowkey felt like Jughead’s storyline with Veronica, Betty, and Archie being shoehorned in because the flash forward featured in Season 3 was of them covered in blood burning Jughead’s beanie. Overall this storyline felt “meh”, was I blown away? I mean no, but at least the writers wrapped it up even if it felt a bit tasteless.

Season One Was The Best Written Season

Image result for Riverdale season 1
I have a deep, dark secret…..I ship Bughead. That’s right I said it.

I feel I’ve really dragged the show in this article and I want to point out some of the positives. Believe it or not the show does have it’s strong moments. Season one was hands down the best season now that I look back on it. The thirteen episode format fit the show perfectly and the murder of Jason Blossom really gave me Laura Palmer from Twin Peak vibes. But it did so in a good way. Season One was well structured, had it’s cheesy moments but it was in a way that didn’t feel forced and was overall feel good fun. I appreciate the art of Season One so much more now reflecting on it. I expected it to be another Pretty Little Liars so I felt short of bored with the story but now I realized it was it’s own thing and that was a good thing.

Def Season 1. It used to be Season 2 but in re-watch, Season 1 is incredible. The cinematography, music, writing, performances, stories, and themes, all great and planned out.

The scream king

The season had Twin Peak vibes of a small town and the characters that live in it alongside the personal lives of the characters hidden behind a mask of perfectionism. It just worked in a way and it’s sad the show dropped from this way of storytelling. I personally blame the other seasons having 22 episodes because the writers need to add more subplots to fill that void of having that many episodes. So yeah, Season one is hands down the best season and you can’t convince me otherwise. The mystery worked, the characters were charming and the subplots didn’t feel forced. Oh and I will give the writers credit for not trying to romanticize a student-teacher relationship (That was direct shade to PLL if it wasn’t obvious). So yeah overall, Season One is actually a solid season so I will give the writers that. See, this isn’t an entire article roasting Riverdale as I just pointed out something positive.

So What Is Riverdale? Good Or Bad?

So guys, we’ve reached the conclusion to this weird post I decided to write about the hot mess that is Riverdale. Many of you reading this are probably wondering why I watch this show and honestly I can’t even give you a clear answer why. “It was good the first 2 or so seasons. There were good moments in Season 3, but more bad, and Season 4 is nothing but bad” says The Scream King. I’ve questioned that exact question myself but if I had to guess the show at times is such a dumpster fire that I can’t not stop watching because it feels like a fever dream. The world nowadays kind of sucks, 2020 in general has sucked although I have optimism things will improve, but the point is Riverdale is a good distraction. The show is weird, but the characters are fun, I personally love Cole Sprouse as Jughead. Having grown up watching him on Disney Channel, I always will have a soft spot for him and he’s a perfect “Jughead”, I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing that character if I’m being honest. I also really like Lili Reinhart as Betty, KJ Apa as Archie and Camila Mendes as Veronica. I think they’re all good actors, a majority of the cast are very talented actors and I will give the show props for that. Overall, Riverdale is ridiculous and while it is entertaining, it’s a shame it fell from the quality of Season 1. I, personally, think with a shorter episode order and maybe if it kept that structure, the show might not be what it’s turned out to be. Either way, sometimes it’s just interesting to sit back and enjoy the weird world that is Riverdale, despite it’s faults.

Special Thank You To, The Scream King, who contributed their thoughts and opinions in this post. Make sure to check them out on Instagram @thescreamking.

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