Riverdale has always been weird to some extent, using its Breakfast Club spirit to connect with a largely teenage audience — but it doesn’t always work to the show’s advantage, as seen by the latest kickback it’s received.
[Warning: This contains minor spoilers for the events of Riverdale’s tenth episode.]
Archie Comics’ oddball has always been Jughead Jones. In Riverdale, gone is the apathetic, aloof wanderer. The new Jughead, played by Cole Sprouse, is a much more jaded individual. He’s the poster boy for the type of teenager who would rather sit at home and listen to Joy Division or Bauhaus and stream classic horror movies. He’s an outsider, sitting on the fringe of the normal high school student, and Riverdale never lets you forget that.
The overbearing, borderline comical teenage angst Jughead carries with him came to a tipping point in the most recent episode. In one particular scene, Jughead is talking to Betty about just how weird he is. He’s not just weird. He’s really weird. It’s not that he doesn’t fit in, he specifically aims to swim against the stream. He’s an individual, a self-proclaimed “edgy” teen, and people are digging into that.
It’s a particularly cringe-worthy moment for the character, who already plays into an exaggerated caricature. It didn’t take long after the scene aired for people to start mocking Jughead and his angst, but in the week following the episode’s airing, the joke has grown beyond the show’s regular fan base.
This isn’t a usual case of “something happens in a game or show and becomes a meme within that same industry” that we’ve seen time and time again.
The subject matter of the scene transcends genre television, opening the door for those who aren’t interested in Riverdale to join in on the joke.
One of the best versions of the joke going around also happens to be based on another meme, simultaneously taking over Twitter: creating music playlists that use the titles of different songs to spell out a message. In this case, one Twitter user managed to compile a list of tracks that spells out Jughead’s entire speech.
i asked my crush out by making him a playlist pic.twitter.com/0vawRY1FmM— beyonce sweetie (@thebodhirook) April 19, 2017
Networks like Nickelodeon have also decided to get in on the fun, tweeting out its own version of the speech focusing on Hey Arnold!’s titular character.
Sprouse, an avid Twitter user, has embraced the sensation his character has caused. He’s retweeted those who have sent him their own versions of the scene in question and only once asked his haters to politely step off.
Sprouse hasn’t said anything about whether his character will get any weirder in the remaining episodes of Riverdale’s first season, but it’s pretty apparent that Jughead is okay with being the oddball out.
Riverdale airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.