Two seasons down and a third one currently airing, Riverdale has become a top Netflix teen drama.
Following the thrilling adventures of the teens at Riverdale High after the murder of a fellow student, the Archie comics you knew as a child has taken a whole new spin. The plotline mainly follows the friendships and budding romances between Archie Andrews (the boy next door whose innocence dwindles after a series of tragic events), Veronica Lodge (the rich and attitude-driven daughter of a mobster), Betty Cooper (the do-gooder with an inner darkness that surfaces as she fights for justice), and Jughead Jones (the underprivileged son of a gang leader with an alcohol problem). Throughout the first two seasons, Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead struggle to maintain the dynamics of their friendships as tensions arise because of the actions and decisions of the adults in their lives.
Other teen, key-players are:
- Cheryl Blossom (the drama-thirsty, younger sister of the deceased classmate)
- Kevin Keller (the sheriff’s son whose main struggle revolves around his experience of same-sex attraction)
- Josie McCoy (the mayor’s daughter and lead singer of the local band, the Pussy Cats)
- Reggie Mantle (the captain of the football team who often competes with Archie for status)
Both seasons take you through a roller-coaster of events in which the profession of high-school love and the attempted suicide of a friend are treated with same dramatic flair. Overall, the adults are on the same level as the teens, and in most cases, the teens have to take matters into their own hands. It is engaging, entertaining, and (although exaggerated) appeals to the teenage experience in many ways.
Whether or not your child watches this show, here are a couple of discussions that may be helpful for you and your teen to have:
- Adults can be trusted. Express that your teen can be open with you about anything, but also acknowledge that there may be things your teen initially feels uncomfortable talking to you about. Ask about other adults your teen trusts and is comfortable confiding in and encourage him or her to seek their advice also. If your teen is unable to speak to you for any reason, you can know who has influence in your teen’s life and take comfort in the support system you have.
- If a friend expresses a desire to harm themselves, it should always be taken seriously (even if the friend is prone to drama). Teens need to be assured that talking to a trusted adult is always in the best interest of a friend, even if their friend feels betrayed initially. Familiarize your teen with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and imalive.org.
If your teen watches Riverdale, ask questions about the show. Why does your teen enjoy it? Does your teen relate to a particular character and why? Even if it isn’t your cup of tea, consider taking a seat on the couch and watch it together. It’s pretty informative (and entertaining) if I do say so myself!