As I finished watching the first episode of Riverdale, I was taken by a pleasant surprise. I actually liked it! I didn’t know anything about this show beforehand, I hadn’t read the comics, the only thing I was aware of that Cole Sprouse stars in it. To be honest, that was the main reason why I gave it a chance. But what kept me tuning in each week besides Jughead, was not only the addicting murder mystery and the snarky one-liners, but rather the girls of the show. Such a strong bunch of female characters in one series, so if the hype has you interested then I’ve compiled a quick discussion of some of the ladies of Riverdale. As with all the girls, you get a general idea of who they are, and at first, they seem one-dimensional, but this turns upside-down real quick. They’re all complicated, layered, multi-faceted women.
First up we have Betty Cooper (played by Lili Reinhart), Betty is “Ms Perfect, the girl next door”, who’s secretly pining after her long-time best friend, Archie. When her feelings are not reciprocated, she doesn’t stay blue for long. Instead, she accepts it and moves on, while maintaining her bond with Archie. I was really glad that the show didn’t focus on this story line for too long, but chose to value friendship and the ability to accept rejection instead. It’s something we don’t get to see very often, especially in teen dramas.
Betty is under her parents’ (mostly her mothers’) constant pressure to be perfect, and to not turn out like her sister, Polly, who’s got pregnant while in high school and got send away to an institution. She stands up for herself, and follows her heart. Her friendship with Veronica is neither ruined or created by their mutual affection for Archie. They support and empower each other, and they both agree that their friendship means more to them than a boy.
Betty definitely has a darker side, which I hope we’re going to see more of in the future.
Then we have Veronica Lodge (played by Camila Mendes). She is the new girl in town, and at first sight she reminded me of Blair Waldorf (far less iconic, though. I love her nonetheless). She has a goal, which is to change. She used to be a mean girl, snobby and uptight back in New York, but now she wants to be a kind, good person.
Her father has just been imprisoned for fraud and embezzlement, which has made her vulnerable, but at the same time brought her and her mother closer together. She quickly befriends Betty, and stands by her side all the time. She often has to be the one who takes charge in situations, both with her mother and her friends. She exudes a tonne of confidence, and she backs it up too.
Then there’s Cheryl Blossom (played by Madelaine Petch). A seemingly cold-hearted, cruel she-devil, always in devilish red. But under all of these layers is a lot of hurt. She lost her brother, who was the closest person to her, and her only real friend. Her parents blame her for Jason’s death, and don’t let her grieve properly. She’s starting to develop a friendship with Veronica, who can offer her support and listen to her. She has an unspoken friendship with Josie, for the reason that they’re the true leaders of the school. She can put herself together in a heartbeat if she has to, and can hold onto her confidence.
Josie. Oh, she is my favourite, and unfortunately the one with the shortest amount of screen-time out of these ladies (played by Ashleigh Murray). Cheryl is confident, Veronica as well, but Josie? She’s on another level. She is the leader and maker of Riverdale’s most popular band, Josie and the Pussycats. She is always at 150% at whatever she decides to do. It’s partly because she wants to make her father proud, and partly because she doesn’t want to let down her mother, the mayor of town. But she has the drive to succeed as well. She’s a tough gal, who takes herself very seriously, doesn’t take no for an answer and knows how to take charge.
Riverdale‘s ladies are diverse, intelligent, not living under the most realistic circumstances, but still can showcase the parts of teenagehood that are relatable.
My favourite part about all of them is their friendship. Don’t get me wrong ; they’re not all one fluffy candy cotton group of girlfriends, but the relationships that they share are real, and that’s the most important thing. Plus, the epic girlpower moment in episode three where they bring down the jocks who used them and other girls is one of the best moments in young adult television.
by Eszter Jaszfalvi
Eszter Jászfalvi is a 16 year old femme from Budapest, Hungary, who’s a self-proclaimed perfectionist, a budding actress, a bibliophile and a beginner cook. Her favourite films include The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, Psycho, Donnie Darko, The Imitation Game and Brokeback Mountain. She’ll watch anything that Tim Burton and Wes Anderson makes, and whatever Dane Dehaan and Mia Wasikowska acts in. She’s also a serious binge watcher of all the good shows, such as Mr. Robot, Gossip Girl, American Horror Story, Bates Motel and Reign, also Black-ish. You can find her on Instagram @esztisworld and on Tumblr at esztiiscreatingherself.tumblr.com.