The Teens of 'Riverdale' Are Some of TV's Smartest Characters


My love for the CW’s Riverdale was once an ironic, smug kind of love. It was guarded by my shame at embracing something so patently absurd and overwrought. But as Riverdale sustained its fever-pitch emotions and pacing for almost two full seasons, the irony kind of dropped away and I was left with pure admiration for a show that is joyously silly while being one of the most well-crafted shows on TV right now. Most importantly, I admire how despite its exaggerated characters, Riverdale never stoops to squeezing drama out of those characters by letting them get away with inconsistency in their behavior or their relationships.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


I got three episodes in, and had to tap out after Dominatrix Betty:

It was just too dumb to continue watching, they couldn’t keep character motivations consistent for even an entire episode. Wasn’t going to invest more time waiting for it to get better.


It’s a genuinely good show that very clearly knows what it’s doing. It’s extremely ridiculous.


My group of friends have been appointment watching Riverdale since its premiere last season. Full disclosure: we can’t handle the insanity of the show unless we are well and truly inebriated, but there’s something charming in the heightened situations and off-the-rails logic.

I agree for the most part with Rob about how the show stays true to its characters, but I’d like to point out the glaring exception of Cheryl Blossom. In the course of a month in the show’s timeline, she witnesses her father murder her twin brother (who are both implicated in a massive drug trade that is the source of her family’s wealth), attempts suicide, burns down her home and disfiguring her mother in the process, and very nearly gets drugged and raped. Throughout it all she gets no time to breathe (and no professional help) and the show acts like everything is hunky dory. The absurd carelessness the show handles this character is truly astounding.