On… Riverdale

I realized something recently.

I love soaps.

I don’t mean corny stupid rubbish. I mean sex and fighting, basically. And shouting and laughing and crying, and more sex. That’s the core of all the best shows, right?

You know those dramas where they put in a “high concept” murder/horror/medical edge, to supposedly add stakes? I usually don’t care much about that part of the show. I care about the people. If they feel real, and the way they talk and relate to each other feels real, I’ll watch that show forever. (Especially if they’re surprising and original and brash and feminist.) If not, I just seriously don’t give a fuh who the murderer is. And you know those wacky sitcoms that are just a bunch of punchlines strung together and could basically be cartoons and you wouldn’t notice the difference? They also leave me cold, I can’t even remember a single plot line. But give me a sitcom with real people and sex and emotion and I’m a devotee for life. I watch GLOW for the characters and the writing. Not the lady wrestling. You’re The Worst, Friends From College, Crashing, Catastrophe… all of them have an element of soap. That’s why I watch them. Punchlines are cheap. Emotion is hard.

I don’t mean that I only like relationship drama. I still watch The Americans for the spy stories. I watch Billions for the financial intrigue. I loved the legal plot lines in The Good Wife and The Good Fight. But did I watch Scandal for the political stuff? Hell, no. I watched it for the insanely passionate speeches. (Try this.) And I wasn’t watching This Is Us last year to find out how Jack died, I was watching it to see what Sterling K Brown would do this week, and how it would make me cry. (Seriously you guys, I am starting a company that will send out support animals to help people watch This Is Us.)  I sometimes turn on This Is Us thinking to myself ‘right then, chaps, who’s making the grand gesture or big speech this time?’ – but I still get incredibly emotionally involved in it EVERY WEEK. Because the characters and the writing is so damn great. That’s good soap.

I think everyone likes soap, and they’re just in denial, because they don’t think it’s cool.

I shopped a soapy spec pilot last year. It’s a character-driven family drama, called Relativity. And when I was meeting with people about it, everyone said ‘we LOVE but can we add some kind of procedural element/murder/court case to it?’ And I – being the newbie, and also being a people-pleaser – said, ‘um, sure, I can try that, I can try anything, whatever you like!’ But eventually, I sold it to Universal, and they – because they are brilliant – decided not to add anymore layers to it. They liked the relationships, they liked that it was a smart soap, and thought it was stronger as a show about complicated grown-up families. (They asked me to add more ‘gut-wrenching’ moments to it, so I did, and now even I find the pilot hard to read without crying. Laaaaaaame.) Maybe someone will make it, maybe someone won’t… Cross your fingers for me. I also sold a pitch to ABC Network, and just sent in the final pilot script. It’s called Mavericks, and it’s a – yes – soapy drama about start-ups, set in a We Work type communal workspace. It has a darker edge – it’s about what people will do in order to succeed. Again, cross your fingers… Anyway, enough about me, let’s talk about the reason for this post:


I LOVE Riverdale. Season One was brilliant, Season Two is better. Are you watching it? It’s basically an Archie comic, updated to modern day, with a tedious-but-okay-fine-whatever murder-mystery element, filmed with a really heavy grey-blue Instagram filter.

In other words: teen-soap-noir.

And it WORKS! Sometimes the story goes off on crazy tangents, and it irritates me that the town is progressive enough to accept gay teen boys yet the shocking shame of a pregnant teenage girl is enough to break a family apart, but apart from that, I love it.

Watch. Enjoy.

PS At the end of an episode in S1, they played nouvelle vague cover of Wang Chung’s Dance Hall Days. That alone deserves a watch, no?

PPS Obviously, I am partial to a hot ginger – I married one – but seriously for real Archie is pretty damn hot.



Share Button

3 thoughts on “On… Riverdale

  1. jen

    You put into words something I’ve always thought: I like the relationships and my attention drifts off during the fight scenes. This is why.

  2. Laura

    In regards to how they always want to add a “high concept” murder/horror/medical edge, have you seen the episode of Starter Wife when Molly pitches her story and they want to make the character a detective, then a bounty hunter, etc? Exactly how you described it happened to you!


Leave a Reply to jen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current month ye@r day *