'Riverdale': A Guilty Pleasure With A Conscience

'Riverdale': A Guilty Pleasure With A Conscience

A show worthy of the Netflix Binge.
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I set out this weekend to fill the gaping hole that Game of Thrones left in my life with a new show to binge. I stumbled upon the CW's Riverdale on Netflix, and all my hopes were answered. Based on the Archie comic series, which debuted in 1941, you may be surprised to find that it has all the necessities of a guilty pleasure: the backstabbing, secrets, girl fights and, of course, murder. The show also manages to address some hot-button topics in a unique way. While Riverdale is set in the present day, it brings the 50s era clothes, hairstyles and sets to today in the best way possible. The beauty of this mash is how it recognizes that while we have made great strides in American society, many of the same stigmas and prejudices are still being fought today.

*Light spoilers from here on out*

They cover everything from race to slut-shaming to gender stereotypes, as well as the stigmas surrounding mental health, teen pregnancy and classism. One star of the show, Ashleigh Murray, plays Josie of the famed "Josie and the Pussycats." She effortlessly puts Archie in his place whenever it's needed. As a sassy, strong, intelligent, African American young woman, she is my new hero.

Another star, Camila Mendes, plays Veronica, the daughter of a wealthy family that moved to Riverdale to escape the fallout of her father's arrest. Mendes is a Brazilian American actress and has spoken about how important it is that she has the opportunity to play a part of a Latina family that is intelligent, wealthy and powerful. Especially opposed to the more common stereotypical latina lower-class, drug-dealing families that populate T.V. shows and film.

The show also deals heavily in classism. While Archie's family represents a blue-collar middle class (he is literally the boy next door), Jughead Jones is the low-class offspring of a drug-dealing, Southside Serpents gang leader, but he is more than that. Played by Cole Sprouse (of Disney's Suite Life of Zach and Cody), Jughead is written in such a way that he remains dynamic and original even with a home life and history that we've seen a hundred times in a hundred different shows.

He, and really all the teenagers in the show, seem much more self-aware than teens are usually allowed to be in these types of dramas. His voice narrates each episode as he pens his novel surrounding the murder of Jason Blossom, and as you get further into the show, it becomes totally apparent that he has rejected his father's lifestyle wholeheartedly, while also rejecting the idea of the nuclear family all together (without spoiling too much, this is why Jughead and Betty are my new favorite ship!).

In Riverdale, the class warfare goes deeper than money and really takes more of an "everyone" vs. "everyone else" track instead of the more usual "rich vs. poor" dynamic. The matriarchs and patriarchs of houses Blossom, Lodge, Andrews, Jones and Cooper (I miss Game of Thrones so much!) are stuck in the past waging war over centuries old disputes and whose ancestors murdered each other in cold blood; their children decide who is worthy of trust and friendship as they attempt to solve Jason's murder.

I'm beyond excited for the second season, which starts October 11 on the CW, but I have a few hopes for the second season. One of Betty's best friends, Kevin Keller, is gay, and I have mixed feelings with how the character is treated. Kevin slides so perfectly into every "Gay Best Friend" stereotype, and one has to wonder if he's meant to be seen as a real person at all. The positive side is that no one in Riverdale cares that Kevin is gay, even his dad, which is great.

We need to see more gay characters being portrayed as people that are just part of society and life like everyone else. They need to be seen as normal because they are. However, having the only gay main character fulfill every negative stereotype without humanizing him in the same way that the rest of the gang are humanized and fully-fleshed out is a problem. My hope for season two of Riverdale is that it will more accurately represent the LBGTQ community and the vast variety of people that count themselves as part of it.

Overall Riverdale gives a face-lift to the teen drama genre and takes some of the guilt out of guilty-pleasure binge-watching. October can't come fast enough. (Jughead and Betty forever! Bettyhead? Jugetty? I'll work on it...)

Cover Image Credit: CBR

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11 Things You Understand If You Hate Physical Contact

Please keep your hands and feet away from me at all times.
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We currently live in a world where EVERYONE LIKES TO TOUCH EACH OTHER. People enjoy hugs, high fives, tapping others on the shoulder, pokes, ect. For someone like you and me (I'm assuming you too since you clicked on this article), this is the WORST thing in the world. Whenever I think of someone touching me (even just a poke) without my permission my reaction is like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family.

I mean, when I take that love languages quiz, physical touch is always on the bottom of my preferences. So I thought to my self, you know I can't be the only person in the world that hates physical touching. So here are 11 things every person who hates physical touch will understand:


1. When people tickle you

I don't care that it's just for fun and jokes; I'm not laughing because I want to, you are literally forcing me to laugh. I hate you, get your greasy hands off of me before I make you get them off of me.


2. When people think they need to tap your shoulder to get your attention

As if simply saying "Hey" followed by my name wasn't enough. I don't need your grubby little fingers touching me. Now I'm annoyed with you before this conversation even started, what do you want?


3. When someone you barely know reaches in for a hug

I don't know who the heck you're thinking you're about to hug because it sure isn't going to be me. Hugs are reserved for people I know well and like, not you. Okay release me now, I am not enjoying this. LET ME GO.


4. When people tell you that you aren't an affectionate person

Are you aware there are ways to show my affection without constantly being all over you like a koala bear? Yes, I'm affectionate, hop off.


5. When someone is in your personal space

We could be best friends, we could be complete strangers. We could be lovers, I could hate your guts. We could be in private, we could be in public. I don't care what the situation is, if you're in my personal space uninvited GET OUT. There is no reason to be so close to me unwarranted.


6. You don't know how to comfort people

When you see an upset loved one, most people think they you should comfort then by pulling them into a long lasting hug. But, that's the kind of things that your nightmares are literally made out of. So, you stand there confused how you should comfort your friend/relative while also not sacrificing your touch moral code.


7. When people say you "look like you could use a hug"

Um no. I never could use one, get off of me. I will let you know when I want one.


8. When you're hugging someone wondering how soon you can release

Please end my suffering.


9. When you arrive at a social gathering and people rush to greet you with hugs

Let's not.

10. When you try to leave a social gathering by just waving to get out of goodbye hugs

Please no one make me hug you.


11. That one person who is allowed to hug you/touch you

This person, typically a significant other or best friend, gets to break all the "no touch" rules and we gladly accept their hugs and cuddles and public displays of affection. But only them, no one can copy them.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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12 Classics That All College Students Should Read

Reading is important — yet many people forget about books.

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These are the classics that I think all college students should read.

1. "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

This classic by J.D. Salinger is a staple for many high school kids. Yet, I believe college students should revisit this novel, as it's a great portrayal of adolescence.

2. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Love him or hate him, Jay Gatsby is one of literature's most recognizable characters. "The Great Gatsby" is a tragic story of a man stuck in the past, and a grim warning of the empty happiness money buys.

3. "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells was far beyond his time. His novel, "The Time Machine," explores what would happen if time-travelling could happen. It's both an evocative and frightening tale, full of important philosophical questions.

4. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde 

This novel is about the degradation of Dorian Gray, and his descent into depravity. It showcases one of the greatest character declines in literature. By the end, Dorian Gray finds his life to be empty, his hedonistic lifestyle pointless.

5. "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami 

Haruki Murakami is famous for his surreal novels. "Norwegian Wood" follows a college student in Japan, as he navigates life after a tragedy. It's both beautiful yet melancholy. If nothing else, it'll get you listening to the Beatles' Norwegian Wood.

6. "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte 

I consider "Jane Eyre" to be one of the first feminist novels. It's a fantastic Gothic novel about an independent and strong woman — Jane Eyre — who meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester. It's more than a romance — it's a commentary on Victorian societal expectations of women, with Jane representing objection to it.

7. "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

This novel is a beautiful story about a girl in Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger knows the importance of books, and uses her knowledge and kindness to save a Jewish refugee. It's a poignant novel that expresses the importance of literature and books.

8. Any Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

If you've watched the Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch, then you should definitely give the novels a go. The mysteries are exciting and intriguing, despite their old age.

9. "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens

This is one of my absolute favorites novels. It follows a young boy named Pip, who befriends a beggar, meets the depraved Miss Havisham, and falls in love with unattainable Estella. This novel is at once a bildungsroman and a tragedy.

10.  "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov 

This controversial novel by Vladimir Nobokov follows the perspective of Humbert Humbert, a depraved man who falls in love with 12-year-old Lolita. Nobokov showcases his mastery of the English language, while writing a depraved and tragic story following two terrible people.

11.  "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

Perhaps one of the most famous novels of all time, "Pride and Prejudice" stands the test of time by showing how two outwardly opposite and contrary people can come together and form an amazing love. It's about accepting one's flaws and getting to know people beyond surface level.

12.  "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque

This is a fantastic novel that depicts the absolute horrors of war, particularly World War I. If this doesn't enlighten you about the realities and horrors of war, then no book will.

Reading is important as it broadens one's horizon. Literature is one of the greatest inventions of mankind.

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