In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Saturday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces (like this Riverdale one), listicles, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community from a Latina perspective. Welcome to Queerly Not Straight!
Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next. P.S. I, Lyra Hale, do not give any site permission to copy or repost my work in any form. If you are reading this on any site besides Fangirlish, it has been stolen.
Riverdale isn’t as progressive as it likes to present itself as. And that’s become abundantly clear in the series finale. Of course, I’m happy for Cheryl and Toni. That’s absolutely important to remember as I get into my rant. In a day and age where queer people do not get a happy ending or more than one season, these two got that happy ending. They even had a kid and named him after Riverdale. It’s amazing and has made a lot of people happy. Hell, it made me happy and I wrote a whole piece about it and how the internet was celebrating this achievement. But just because these two ended up together, doesn’t mean that Riverdale actually did a good job when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation or that we didn’t deserve to see Archie and Jughead kiss.
Let me explain.
In the Riverdale series finale, it’s revealed that Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead were in a quad for a year. While every quad is different, the understanding is that it means that all four of them are in a relationship together. So the door was open for Riverdale to have Archie and Jughead kiss. But it didn’t happen to the disappointment of many. Admittedly I was bothered by this, considering how the show has treated LGBTQ+ characters like an afterthought but I was just so happy that Choni ended up together and that I put the whole Archie and Jughead of it all to the side. Now time has passed and a Riverdale producer has decided to comment on the situation.
According to Variety, Riverdale producer Sarah Schechter said that Archie and Jughead kissing on screen would be “too hot for TV.” And she added, “I don’t think there was a reason for it. I think there’s a fantastic, fantastic amount of LGBTQ representation on the show.” And I call bullshit. I call bullshit on Archie and Jughead kissing on screen being too hot for TV. And I call bullshit on this producer saying that Riverdale has a great amount of LGBTQ representation. It has a handful of LGBTQ+ characters, with only one of them getting juicy storylines, one fading away in the shadow of the one getting the juicy storylines, and the other one just being used to propel other people’s stories. I’m talking about Cheryl, Toni, and Kevin, btw. Every other LGBTQ+ character has been completely forgotten and sidelined.
In a way, I want to thank Schechter for her comment about Archie and Jughead not kissing. It pulled me out of my Choni dream of happiness to once again realize that they have not treated any LGBTQ+ character well. Cheryl was consistently the crazy/evil lesbian trope. Toni was never given the love and attention that she deserved and where she could exist outside of being in a relationship. And the same thing goes for Kevin in a more destructive way. Because Kevin was just around to propel the main gang forward. He started as the gay best friend and he ended as the gay best friend. Nothing else. Oh, and he had a bunch of relationships that went nowhere and hobbies that only lasted for one episode before disappearing into the ether completely.
Back to Archie and Jughead not kissing. It’s giving “toxic masculinity where we can’t have these two dudes who have been dating everyone and are dating each other in a quad actually kiss each other.” It’s giving “it’s easier to have women kissing (Betty and Veronica) but not getting actual nuance because that’s something that could be sold to men.” It’s giving “men who want to have a threesome but only if it means that there are two women and one man without any consideration for what the woman wants and what if she wants two dudes.” And it’s giving, the worst crime of all, we can’t have more than one LGBTQ+ relationship happening at the same time because “it will confuse the masses” or some other bullshit reason that Hollywood thinks of.
I don’t know why I’m asking so much of the show when I should just give up and admit that it’s a shit show that gave a morsel of goodness at the end with Choni…but I also want to talk about the fact that a couple of episodes before the series finale of Riverdale they had Betty and Veronica exploring their relationship in a more romantic sense. So that was okay but Archie and Jughead kissing was not? Make it make sense. Because Archie and Jughead shippers do exist. In fact, there are about 1,000 fanfictions on AO3 alone. There are less Veronica and Jughead fanfictions but somehow they got a kiss in this final season?! Again, make it make sense.
And again, I keep asking myself why the hell am I asking more from a show like Riverdale when they have literally thrown any shit at the wall to see if it sticks? Finally, I think I have an answer. I think it’s because Riverdale is trying to pat itself on the back for all the great work that they have done for the LGBTQ+ community. You haven’t. The only ones that have done a good job are Madelaine Petsch and Vanessa Morgan. They are the ones who brought the chemistry and kept it going for seasons. I’ve got to believe that maybe they were even the ones pushing for this relationship to get more screen time or nuance because I don’t trust the Riverdale writers, especially after season’s worth of evidence that LGBTQ+ characters are an afterthought or a trope for them and this quote from the producer.
*rubs temples* At least we have fanfiction. There are definitely multiple people who have taken the essence of who these characters are and built something from the ruins that actually makes sense, especially for the LGBTQ+ characters. Until then, goodbye Riverdale. I will not miss you.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Saturday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latine community since I am Latine.)