(A)typical High School: Riverdale Reboots the Archie Universe

by Kasen Stephensen

CW’s reboot of the classic Archie universe is both entrancing and peculiar, much like high school gossip.  

Archie Comics was established 78 years ago and its universe has been represented in numerous cartoons, video games, and movies.  Its archetypal characters have been manipulated throughout the years to reflect the social norms and customs of the era.  Consequently, this adaptation provides an addicting commentary on pop culture.

Riverdale follows secret love, a mysterious murder, and complicated relationships, all in the familiar prison of angst and hormones: high school.  The original, naive personas in the Archie universe have also passed through modern expectations and have transformed into worldly teenagers.

Archie is a now a heavily-muscled stud who has a summer fling with the youthful teacher Miss Grundy.  Betty takes Adderall to focus on her school studies and Veronica is a snooty rich girl who kissed Betty after a cheer routine.

This show isn’t without its flaws.  The actors and actresses look much older, however, and it is difficult to pretend the sculpted twenty-year-olds are crude high school sophomores.  Archie’s red hair and eyebrows look laughably fake. Despite some small imperfections, Riverdale is still infinitely more entertaining than real high school.


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