The reboot of the Archie comics as a live-action and angsty drama is now in its second season, and has surprised critics with its heavy plot lines and emotional depth. Like many TV teen dramas, “Riverdale” goes the extra mile to make sure each episode brings plenty of teachable moments as well as bullies, mean girls, cruel reversals, clueless parents, and romantic entanglements.
Here are thirteen valuable life lessons we can learn from Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, Betty Cooper, and Veronica Lodge.
- Chase your own dream
Despite all the pressure on Archie Andrews from the adults in his life, he stands by his passion: making music. His football coach wants him to concentrate on the game, but Archie gives up a chance to be team captain to concentrate on his music. Sometimes you have to decide what’s most important in your life and take a chance.
- Do what scares you
Despite Archie’s stage fright, he’s brave enough to get his music out there by writing a song for Josie and the Pussycats. His father thinks Archie should go into the construction business, which would be a steadier career, but music is where Archie feels the inspired. Even though he isn’t yet quite secure about his talent, he persists, and it pays off when his dad decides to build him a studio.
- You can’t always get what you want
One of life’s most important lessons is that even if you do go out on a limb, you may not get what you want. It’s important to learn how to lose gracefully, and no one is a more gracious loser than Betty Cooper, who has been in love with Archie for years. When she asks him if he feels the same, he has to let her down. It hurt, but Betty accepted that things don’t always the way you want, and was able to move on.
- It’s okay to not be okay
When life let’s you down, it’s okay to not be okay for a while. It’s normal to grieve when you lose something you had your heart set on. When Archie didn’t return Betty’s feelings, she was brave enough to admit she was hurt. When you hide your feelings from yourself, it’s harder to put the pain in the past. Betty was able to move on because she allowed herself to grieve.
- Don’t let love pass you by
If things don’t work out with someone you’ve had your heart set on, don’t use it as a reason to be closed off. Although things didn’t work out with Archie, Betty didn’t let it ruin the moment when Jughead surprised her with a kiss. You never know when an errant spark might turn friendship to romance.
- Don’t let anyone shame you
People will bully or shame those who are different, or as a way to get back at them for being rejected. When Veronica Lodge dated Chuck Clayton, he started spreading rumors and lies about how close they actually got. Instead of feeling persecuted, Veronica made it her mission to expose him as a liar, and now no other girl at Riverdale High will trust him. “Slut-shaming” is a kind of bullying that does more damage than just losing your lunch money. In the Netflix show, “Thirteen Reasons Why,” it’s nearly half of the 13 reasons Hannah Baker gave for committing suicide.
- Don’t judge others
If you don’t want others to shame you, you shouldn’t judge them, either. When Veronica’s family hits financial hard times, she’s ridiculed by school diva, Cheryl Blossom, because her mother gets a serving job to make ends meet. When Betty’s sister, Polly, gets pregnant, instead of supporting her daughter through it, their mother sends Polly away, breaking up the family. Life has ups and downs, but only jerks kick people when they’re down
- Use your power to help others
Veronica knows how to use her popularity to help others. When bully Cheryl Blossom turns Betty down for the cheerleading team, Veronica refuses to join without her best friend and puts Cheryl in her place, telling Cheryl, “Betty and I come as a matching set. You want one, you take us both.”
- Lies just make life complicated
In the search for Jason Blossom’s killer, important facts keep getting buried under a hill of lies. Jason’s sister didn’t reveal that he had been planning to fake his own death. Archie might be able to shed some light on the mystery, but on the night of Jason’s death, he was having an illicit (and illegal) hook up with music teacher, Ms. Grundy.
- Not all relationships are good for you
Speaking of illicit affairs, Ms. Grundy should know better, especially since she’s a teacher at his high school. Dirty little secrets might seem like fun at first, but the next thing you know, you’re leaving town and end up dead by cello.
- You have to make your own family
There’s no denying that the adults in ‘Riverdale’ are pretty messed up. Betty’s mom, Alice Cooper, is a tyrant who sent her daughter Polly when she got pregnant and when she needed her mother most. Veronica’s father is in prison for embezzlement, and an age-old family feud between the Coopers and the Blossoms has made the romance between Polly and the deceased Jason just that more tragic. Sometimes, you have to find people who love and accept you for who you are, even if they’re not related by blood.
- Forgiveness is healing
Jughead doesn’t fit in with the jocks on Archie’s football team ― they mock him for his thoughtful and introverted personality. When Archie bails on Jughead in favor of the jocks on the football and cancels a road trip they’d planned, Jughead forgives him. Keeping friendships alive means learning to forgive each other.
- When you hurt a friend, make it right
When friendships are broken, it can take work to put it right again. When Betty caught Veronica kissing Archie, their friendship was almost destroyed. Veronica did everything she could to win her friend’s trust back. Luckily, Betty decided her friendship with Veronica was more important than her feelings for a boy that didn’t love her back.
Along with an intriguing murder mystery, Jughead’s philosophical musings, and the usual drama that is high school, ‘Riverdale’ provides insightful lessons about life that make it a real hit. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it chance. You may have found your next perfect binge-watch.
This article was a guest article written by Kayla Rigler.
Kayla is an avid Netflix binger, binging anything from comedies to dramas, romance to action– Romance usually leads to action any way, right? Any who, when not binging Netflix, Kayla, her husband, and their pup enjoy taking long walks, eating, and preparing for their newest family member due to arrive in December!