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Not Your Mother’s Archie Comics

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“Are you familiar with the works of Truman Capote? I’m Breakfast at Tiffanys but this place is strictly In Cold Blood.”

So goes Veronica Lodge’s introduction to Betty Cooper and good, ole’ American boy, Archie Andrews. No, you’re not confused and you did not miss the latest Archie comic issue. What you may have missed was the premier of CW’s new show, Riverdale.

Riverdale is a new take on the classic characters from the comic books, and critics have been referring to it as a mix of Gossip Girl and Twin Peaks, which the aforementioned quote from Veronica only adds to in aesthetic ambiance.

Forget about the plot and the murder mystery driving the core of the show, and let’s talk about the characters of Betty and Veronica. Pop culture and the comics, have pitted them against each other since their creation. Many girls and readers have probably wondered, “Am I a Betty or am I a Veronica?”

While the show does indicate an immediate attraction between Veronica and Archie (spoiler: the attraction is acted upon by the end of the episode due to a cruel orchestration by Cheryl Blossom), and while the show does depict Betty hopelessly devoted to Justin Gingerlake, it also shows Betty and Veronica becoming quite good friends.

They open up to each other about their pasts, and for most of the episode, Veronica is pushing Betty towards Archie so that they can finally be the teen power-couple that Betty imagines them to be. Veronica even stands up for Betty after knowing her for really just about a day.

As MTV news puts it, “At it’s core, the CW’s stylized, subversive take on the wholesome characters immortalized in the Archie comics is a love story…It’s a love story between Betty and Veronica—and their unapologetically female, and unusually tender, friendship.”

However, if the show had decided to pit Betty and Veronica against each other, if it had decided to make the girls vicious toward each other, it would still have a positive female presence with the girl group, Josie and the Pussycats. Not only do they bring much needed diversity to the cast, but the little we see of them in the first episode has us hooked. They’re the powerful singing group on the show, and as viewers, we want to see more of them. We want to see them dominate the stage. We want their presence.

It’s important that shows like this, shows that have both a teenage and millennial audience base, show positive representations of female friendship. Female friendship is important, and instead of pitting girls against each other, we should have shows in which they build each other up and defend each other.

Enough with the either/or complex, we’re all tired of it. If we want girls to stop competing with each other and to start building each other up, then it’s time to have that representation on mainstream television.

Catch Riverdale every Thursday at 9 PM EST on the CW!
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