When All Else Fails, Visit Riverdale

If you’re like me & too poor to afford to watch Twin Peaks’ revival on Showtime, Riverdale may tide you over. At first I scoffed at this show because it’s six years too late for a gritty melodramatic adaptation of Archie Comics, the wholesome teenage love triangle sitcom that has inexplicably been in print for seventy-six years. To my surprise, the show that aired after Powerless is actually good! It should not work nearly as well as it does. Curse you for making so much quality television, CW! (If comic book adaptations aren’t your cup of tea, I suggest The 100 & Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.)

It’s probably a lot easier to enjoy  this if you’re not a die-hard Archie fan (I’ve never met one in person, but I’m sure they exist) since it takes giant liberties with such characters as Chuck Clayton, Dilton Doiley, & Ethel Muggs. Jughead isn’t asexual, although the series was well into development when the latest comics reboot made that canon. It would’ve been easy to write Veronica Lodge in her Middle Earth cape as the rich bitch, but they’ve subverted that so well by making her repentantly compassionate. (The ensemble is so wonderful it’s hard to believe this is Camila Mendes’s first TV role.) Instead of fighting with Betty Cooper for Archie’s affections, they’re an awesome friend duo. Prototypical all-American girl next door (which could mean something very different depending on where you go in the US) Betty Cooper gets layers & family drama from having a mom named Alice Cooper who’s not the shock rocker. It’s spider brooch wearing Cheryl Blossom that gets to be the over the top mean girl, but it’s surprising she turned out as well-adjusted given her Gothic upbringing in Thornhill. Josie & the Pussycats give ridiculously awesome concerts, although they can’t top the superlative Josie & the Pussycats movie.  Archie Andrews is ostensibly the star yet he remains its least interesting character. He’s also gauche enough to wear a varsity jacket to a wake.

Arwen1

Another rejected pitch was Roverdale starring Arfie Andrews, Sheltie Cooper, Furronica Lodge, Pughead Jones, Chien Keller, Dilton Doggy, Reggie Mastiff, & Feral Blossom.

The parents, played by former teen heartthrobs, get expanded roles to literally act as depressing mirrors to what the teens could grow into. Jughead’s dad being a crimester never stops being shocking, although the entire Southside of town being a biker gang seems dubious. The tone is at the cross roads of deadly serious & arch camp, making it strangely addictive. I suspected the killer was Pop Tate, who just wanted to give his best customer, Forsythe Pendleton Jones III Jughead, a topic for his literary debut! I wish I knew how to use spoiler text here so I can make a David Lynch quip about the real killer without giving it away.

Season one tells a complete mystery that still has me anticipating season two. I wanted Edward James Olmos for Hiram Lodge, but they cast Mark Consuelos. He needs to ride into town atop a throne of skulls. (Part of me wishes they’d changed Lodge to Hacienda so Veronica’s parents could get in on the alliterative name action.) Will Betty’s dissociative fugues resurface? Will Riverdale recasting Reggie rankle me as much as Gotham’s Firefly? When will we meet Midge Klump? Can they get Dove Cameron to be Sabrina Spellman? How can modern special effects measure up to the majesty that is Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s Salem? I just need season two to dive right into the supernatural & time travel so half the fandom will flip their lids! The next season will have about twice as many episodes, so they’ll have to add plenty of kookiness so the pacing doesn’t dry up. Also Cheryl Blossom should hit the gym to become literally #RiverdaleStrong!

I am fascinated by Clickhole’s Patriothole’s “You Are The Cannibal Lobster-Man Of New England”simulator. Where are Anna Kendrick’s Maine gubernatorial campaign ads?

 I neglected to complain about Fox’s The Gifted while I was trying to be all on topic for the past few installments. It’s still a dull name for an X-Men show. Children of the Atom sounds much more dynamic.  Even worse it looks like a generic ripoff of Heroes which already was an X-Men ripoff! I don’t understand how they got Blink’s makeup right in Days of Future Past, but she just has a magenta smudge below her eye in the TV show? Its Sentinels are just tiny Star Wars destroyer droids. It’s set in another bland world where nobody has costumes & the X-Men & the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are conveniently absent. The blonde kids are supposedly Struckers but not the Fenris twins? Amy Acker’s being squandered in a mom role. Polaris doesn’t even have her signature green hair! (I know Polaris originally dyed her verdant locks to blend in with flatscans, but I’m not going to give Bryan Singer that much credit.) And I had such high hopes for this after Legion! Consider my expectations subterranean! It’s taking Gotham’s time slot, so now I guess I can watch Supergirl live unless this gets rave reviews.

Me Cheeta, the salacious tell-all of Cheeta the chimpanzee thespian, was most amusing & heartwenching. Sadly chapter 2.8 has been censored for legal reasons. While it’s been debunked that the Cheeta the book is ostensibly about neither worked with Johnny Weissmuller nor is the the oldest living chimp, there was actually another chimp that probably meets that criteria. So this scandalous autobiography managed to lie its way to the truth!

Terry Rossio’s “Time Risk” blog is making the rounds because it revealed Johnny Depp arbitrarily nixed a female antagonist from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. That’s merely the clickbait tip of the content iceberg! The real reason to read the whole thing is because of all the other Hollywood anecdotes & practical screenwriting advice. It’s an appropriately long read, but worth it!

Continuing my efforts to consume limited edition food, I tried Dairy Queen’s 2 Guardians 2 Galaxy Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Brookie Blizzard. It was good albeit melty & would’ve splashed over my car if I didn’t have a premonition. I have an incredibly specific superpower.

Wonder Woman is finally getting a feature film! Watch this space for a review coming up very soon!

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