If you’re a certified pop culture junkie, then you’ve probably come across Riverdale, Netflix’s reincarnation of the Archie Comics characters you (and by now, probably your parents) loved from back in the day when reading on the toilet was actually a thing. The ultra-modern approach to the originally conservative material has spun some sex, drugs, and Josie and the Pussycats fueled rock and roll into the narrative, spawning a hyper-millennial series that’s simultaneously self-aware and unafraid of being classified as bubblegum television. Plus, there’s a murder at the center of the series, one that’s thrown the sleepy town into a fit of paranoia.
Despite being a revamp of sorts, one aspect of the storyline which remains true to the source is the polarizing differences between Riverdale High’s leading ladies, the sweet-faced Betty and rich gal Veronica. Both characters have been given a serious makeover in terms of their personalities, which feels rather refreshing since it is 2017.
Amidst all these changes, one thing, however, remains the same—Riverdale is filled to the brim with gorgeous, sexy, and complex women. Ladies who can have a milkshake and burger at Pop Tate’s then possibly commit a crime right after. Here’s a crash course on Riverdale’s most controversial honeys.
Poor, Archie. He never stood a chance.
Played by Lili Reinhart
With her eager eyes and blonde locks that are always in a tight ponytail, the cardigan-clad sweetheart is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. High-strung, with a possible pill addiction looming in the background, perfect Betty Cooper is like a disturbing Stepford wife hidden beneath a candy-colored façade. Of course, she’s got an unrequited love for Archie, but it’s her blossoming romance with the sardonic Jughead that’s keeping this ball of nerves on her feet. Truth be told, perfectionists can be sexy, especially when they look like Betty.
Played by Camila Mendes
Surprisingly, the Lodge heiress is quite woke—the closest thing to an actual feminist on this teenage drama. Ronnie could’ve been portrayed as the stereotypical rich bitch who gets her way, but instead the writers have chosen to breathe new life into the character, one with a high emotional quotient to match her intelligent opinions and tempered sense of loyalty. So now, not only is Queen V rich, powerful, and beautiful, but she’s also emblematic of the strong modern day woman.
Played by Madelaine Petsch
Riverdale’s resident firecracker is as fiery as her red mane. Snide, manipulative, and often misunderstood, Cheryl is the closest thing to a villainess that this campus has to offer. Give her a break, she just lost her twin brother.
Played by Ashleigh Murray
As the lead singer of Josie and the Pussycats, the town’s hottest rock band, she’s an entertainer who provides a little pizzazz to a place that can sometimes feel too somber to function. That she’s the daughter of the mayor and a once-famous musician only adds another layer of struggle to her already complicated existence. It’s okay, adversity breeds the best in artists. Write a song about it, Josie!
Miss Geraldine Grundy
Played by Sarah Habel
Ditch your preconceived notions of Miss G as a stern old fart. In Riverdale, the music teacher is a certified seductress, albeit one that crosses the line by having a sexual relationship with the more-than-willing Archie Andrews. Bad, Miss Grundy. Very bad.
Played by Marisol Nichols
Even the moms on this television series are too hot to handle. Not only is Veronica’s mother caught up in a criminal web because of her husband’s misguided decisions, but she’s also making a play for Archie’s dad while she’s at it. They say multitasking is a skill only women are capable of honing, and Mrs. Lodge is quite the expert.
Played by Madchen Amick
Yes, the name of Betty’s mom is Alice Cooper. Let’s get that out of the way, shall we? To call the character toxic would be an understatement, given that she’s singlehandedly controlling the life of her oh so vulnerable daughter (run for your life, Betty!). As one of Riverdale’s most esteemed (or questionable, depending where you stand) journalists, she’ll do whatever it takes to bring those in power down.
Season 1 of Riverdale is currently streaming on Netflix.