In the midst of a global pandemic, I, like many others, have taken the opportunity to better understand the buzz around certain shows and movies I otherwise wouldn’t have time to check out via Netflix marathons.
“Riverdale” was at the top of the list simply because I can’t seem to escape the countless memes, screen-caps and quotes from the show that have infested my newsfeed the past several years. Well, you win, America.
I watched it and am astounded that this is one of the most popular shows on Netflix.
If you are a fan of the show, I’m sincerely happy that you enjoy something that I don’t. However, my opinion, after watching, is that “Riverdale” is one of the steamiest piles of garbage that’s ever dripped out from the CW’s trousers.
I could spend the rest of the year writing about my issues with this show, but I’ll sum them all up with one general critique instead: the dialogue. I sat in awe at almost any scene involving the overly-edgy cast reciting dialogue because I simply couldn’t believe that someone was actually paid to write it. Not only that, but the lines that were written for these characters made it through countless rounds of editing, rehearsing and test-screening and no one thought to change anything.
One of my personal ‘favorite’ lines of dialogue is from the very first episode. The main character Veronica takes aim at one of the show’s soft antagonists, Cheryl Blossom: “You wanted fire? Sorry, Cheryl Bombshell. My specialty’s ice.” It seems the writers ripped dialogue straight out of the comics with no consideration for amendment.
The dialogue in “Riverdale” would always send shivers down my spine in the worst of ways. The structure of character interaction seems to be based solely on edgy and quotable one-liners; this fact, coupled with a disjointed narrative that goes in any direction it wants, leads me to believe that the writers simply write the infamous one-liners to be as edgy and “cool” as possible and retroactively tailor the story to allow for them to occur.
After being dumbfounded as to how anyone could praise this show, I found something even more surprising: fans of the show seem to know that it’s bad. Visiting the r/Riverdale subreddit yields thousands of memes about the show’s bad writing created by the show’s fans. This finding made everything astronomically more confusing for me.
It seems as though the obsession around “Riverdale” can be likened to a deadly car crash or a forest fire. Most people loathe witnessing horrible accidents but find it incredibly difficult to stop watching. When you see car parts scattered on the road with dozens of flashing lights and sirens, do you look away? Of course not, you’re curious to see just how bad it really is.
Likewise, when confronted by the absolute tragedy that is “Riverdale,” some people just can’t look away and have to watch the forest burn to completion.
I’m all for a good trainwreck and even consider myself a connoisseur of ‘so bad that it’s good’ media. But for me, “Riverdale” didn’t do quite well enough of a job at toeing the line between being comical and just downright embarrassing: 1/10.