Riverdale Is Terrible Yet Mesmerising

Riverdale Is Terrible Yet Mesmerising

CW’s Riverdale: Gossip Girl by way of Twin Peaks. Half as good as you think it might be and twice as watchable.

What it is: A sexed-up reimagining of Archie. Yeah, that Archie.

What I’ve watched: The first five episodes. I’m doing my best to take my time.

Is it good? I would never do you the disservice of calling this show “good”.

Quick thoughts: I don’t know how to explain why I can’t stop watching Riverdale. Every line of dialogue is awful. The plot careens wildly, escalating from zero to death threats and biker gangs at a moment’s notice. The acting is barely passable, especially Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, who seems to have just barely mastered the technique of saying something catty while scowling.

Have I mentioned that this is an adaptation of Archie? You know, the wholesome redhead caught in a love triangle between rich girl Veronica and his neighbour Betty? Well, in Riverdale, Veronica’s dad has been arrested for embezzlement, Betty is moments away from a psychotic break, and Archie is screwing his teacher. Edgy!

And yet, I can’t wait to watch more. It’s dumb, mindless entertainment, and the stakes keep rising — and the series started out with a murder. If this show was any better, I wouldn’t watch it. Riverdale is perfect because, like the teens it’s aimed towards, it just doesn’t know when to stop, and it isn’t afraid of screwing up along the way. It even has its moments of brilliance. As Jughead, played by Cole Sprouse of The Suite Life Of Zack and Cody fame, complains to his friends that the local drive-in is being closed down, he starts saying, “In the words of Quentin Tarantino, the godfather of American indie cinema…” At that moment, I knew that someone in the writer’s room had a deep understanding of what it’s like to be a teenager, and I wanted to buy that writer a beer.

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