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The star signs of Riverdale
In the beginning, there were alignments. Then there were Hogwarts Houses. And then there was BDE.
When it comes to judging your favorite characters, these are all very fine and worthy metrics, but isn't it time we went back to the metrics that mattered? You know, the stars?
With their hands determinedly covering up the birthdates of your favorite characters, FANGRRLS Clare and Sara set out to assign star signs to all your faves, one franchise at a time.
In this edition, let's drive down to Sweetwater River and visit Riverdale.
Sara: First up, I want to note that if I was doing a comic book version of this, all the answers would be totally different. Veronica would be a Capricorn, Archie would be a Sag, Betty would be a Libra... it would all make for a very different beast.
Clare: Absolutely. We want to be very clear that these portents and omens are for the television program, not the comics.
Sara: Riverdale is similar but different, so it gets a different set of star signs. Riverdale Archie is bafflingly likable despite his many glaring flaws, which is a very Libra trait.
Clare: Archie, you well-intentioned, good-natured idiot. Archie is like a big, sweet dog with a lot of mommy issues. Seriously, every time a woman is nice to him, he’s like "??? I’m a good boy?" and makes terrible decisions, like ABANDONING Valerie, my favorite character, and… oh, let’s not get into the whole Grundy thing. But he’s trying?
Sara: The Libra child of a Capricorn dad, making bad decisions knowing that the tender blanket of unconditional parental support will always be there when he goes awry.
Clare: Ugh, Libras and their secure attachment styles. There’s a scene early in Season 1 where Archie bails on dueting with Veronica in order to duet with Valerie (MY FAVORITE). But Archie, being ARCHIE, doesn't tell Veronica, so she gets to find out when she turns up for rehearsal. When she’s naturally like "wow, dude, wow," Archie keeps offering up solutions while making it completely obvious he doesn’t connect them to the situation at hand, like a kid throwing spaghetti. "DO WE TALK THIS OUT? DO YOU PERFORM WITH ME? OR WITH US? WHAT! WHAT DO I DO TO MAKE THIS NOT BE HAPPENING?" Archie's game to make the right gestures, he just can't… connect the gesture dots.
Sara: Archie is endlessly just like “I think that having mostly good intentions will save me in the end, won’t it?” It’s like, not really, you just urged everyone on the football team to become vigilantes because you have weird ideas about social justice and are a terrible boyfriend. Libra, Libra, Libra.
Clare: You know how Betty is a Virgo? When she needs to focus, she tightens her ponytail. As someone who often wears a high pony, this is how you give yourself a headache. And that's how Betty motivates herself. Betty is someone who will sit down and roll up her sweater sleeves to do the work she deems important, no matter how dirty and no matter how much it costs her.
Sara: Betty and Archie have a lot in common because they're both super proactive with their terrible ideas. The difference between them is that when Archie's terrible plans go awry, his response is to shrug and go "oh well! I guess that was a silly idea," while when Betty’s terrible plans go awry, she's like, "time to double down."
Clare: Absolutely. Archie bounces off of things, but Betty thinks she can brute force it with brainpower. Betty is so sweet and responsible, but there’s something very, very sharp and dangerous inside of her that's both scary and intriguing.
Sara: Intriguing for Clare, borderline terrifying for me. Betty and Archie need Veronica and Jughead in their lives holding everything together because otherwise, yikes.
Clare: VERONICA LODGE IS THE CHILLEST WOMAN ON EARTH AND I LOVE HER.
Sara: Yes, I love Veronica Cecilia Lodge and yes we would be best friends if I lived in Riverdale and was also a teenager in my mid-20s.
Clare: Even when she’s like "oh, hold on a second, I have to engage in the elaborate psychological warfare that is my negotiation language with my mother," she explains it super-clearly to her friends to make sure everyone's onboard and even her mom seems fine with it? Ronnie might act out, but her fundamental core is unshakeable (unless we’re dealing with her dad, which: she’s young, cut her a break).
Sara: Veronica is always trying to stand her ground like any glorious Taurean would and she's at the whim of the machinations of what appear to be two triple Scorpio parents.
Clare: That's a tall order for anyone.
Sara: The tragedy of Ronnie is that she always approaches every issue head-on but she’s always being tricked by someone. She can't make the right choice because there are no right choices in Riverdale, but she does keep trying.
Clare: Exactly! Riverdale is if one wrong turn became an entire town. Also: I love when Cheryl rolls up and unleashes a full beehive of drama from her mouth and Veronica is just like, "Well, I have no idea who that is or why I should care!"
Sara: Cheryl is only trying to get your attention the only way she knows how, Veronica. Meanwhile, Veronica is already used to dealing with a couple of maniacs at the dinner table every night so she's like, what is this, Amateur Hour? If anyone is well on her way to becoming entirely impervious to drama in all its forms, it’s a Libra-dating Taurus with Scorpio parents.
Clare: Jughead reminds me of Five from Umbrella Academy, and I'm not just saying that because they look like they could be related in the face. They're old souls in young men's bodies.
Sara: Jughead reminds me of the boy I dated when I was 16 who was always brooding like "you just don't understand me" and I was like, "I don't!" and then we broke up and he was like "but WHY?" That trajectory of events reminds me of Riverdale Jughead.
Clare: Yes, that exactly. While I do love Jughead as a slightly tongue-in-cheek modern-day Truman Capote, that's because I’m watching the show. Knowing a Jughead in real life would be exhausting. Buddy, I know you're 17 going on 25, but, uh, maybe lighten up a little.
Sara: Carrying on conversations with Scorpios can be fun if you just pretend they aren't intensely overanalyzing everything you say and judging you for it. Carrying on a conversation with Jughead would be fine but you'd probably get depressed about your life later that day and not make the connection as to why it had happened, meanwhile, Jughead would be staring out a window making a weird face, like "Dear diary, had a conversation today. Bummed me out."
Clare: It's that feeling when someone savages you in a true crime book first draft and you just feel it.
Sara: Cheryl Blossom, destined to be a queer icon from the jump because she's mean and stylish.
Clare: Clearly built by scientists for this express purpose. Actually, Cheryl reminds me a little of Olaf from Frozen. Olaf tosses off these horrifying lines like "I don't have a skull or bones!" that nobody really reacts to. Not because they’re not wild but because they have no idea what it means or what he wants them to do about it… much like Cheryl. These things just come out of her mouth and you're like "Obviously, I love your whole situation, but it is before noon what are you even talking about?"
Sara: I like her because she just walks up and says mean things but then appears to believe that's just how friends interact with each other. Deeply personal "jokes" that make other people leave the room in tears, a true skill of the Sagittarius.
Clare: I would last exactly 15 minutes in a conversation with Cheryl Blossom before she said something so mean about my hair I'd have to flee the country. Just… Cheryl just attacks the world at full force… almost like someone who grew up with significant boundary issues stemming from a dysfunctional family…
Sara: I do like when we see a more human side of Cheryl but in all fairness, I would be happy without it, too. I like her when she's being secretly nice and defensive of the other women but I also like it when the world is just an endless roast on every other person in Riverdale and Cheryl is the MC.
Clare: We don’t get a lot of Josie’s internal workings, do we?
Sara: I think a lot of Josie’s story for the first couple seasons is more about other people’s reactions to her than she herself. Josie should definitely have her own show, like most Pisces should have their own shows.
Clare: Agreed. I actually think the episode that gives Josie the most character depth is "Chapter Six: Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!" We learn a lot about her family dynamic, specifically that both of her parents put a lot of pressure on her. Her mom is much more emotionally available, despite micromanaging Josie and the Pussycats, but her dad… oh boy. Mr. Pussycats is such a musical purist that he frowns upon his daughter playing something so mainstream as 'pop' and lets her know constantly. By, like, disrupting his entire life to come to a performance, making sure she knows that he'd rather be anywhere else, and then leaving in the middle of her song.
Sara: Josie’s like, this is stressful, and she is correct.
Clare: What I find so fascinating is that Josie is very aware of her issues with her father; even Valerie forgives Josie for being mean when Valerie realizes Josie's dad is back in town and it's making Josie lash out at her friends. Josie knows her own worth, but that doesn't mean she's immune to how cruel her father's constant, overt invalidation and disapproval is. Honestly, she's emotionally leaps and bounds over everyone else on this show, but then again, this is Riverdale, so the bar for emotional health is really barely above the ground.
Sara: If Josie and Jughead hung out they would immediately stop hanging out with everyone else on this show.
Sara: Kevin and his conflicting desires: a Gemini's tale.
Clare: I love Kevin. There are one or two hints that Kevin might be aware of the fourth wall (he describes Midge as Moose's "canonical girlfriend" at one point), and there's nothing more relatable to us than a fellow gay whose third eye can pierce the veil of reality.
Sara: Kevin can't quite be the queer icon Cheryl is because he owns too many sweater vests, but on the plus side, he owns too many sweater vests. A likable trait even if not an award-winning one.
Clare: He made a very strong aesthetic choice and he’s sticking with it, and I respect that. I mean, Kevin is so clean-cut; you could Photoshop Casey Cott into a 1950s teen beach movie and I’d believe you. And yet! He dates a gang member! He goes cruising so frequently that his dad is like, "sigh just don’t… get murdered" and he remains as freshly scrubbed and squeaky clean as ever. There are layers to this dude.
Sara: Kevin is secretly very scandalous but also terrible at keeping secrets like most Geminis, and it's pretty fun to watch. Don't invite your dad to Pride, though, Kev.
Sara: This comes with the caveat that comic Reggie is definitely a Gemini.
Sara: Riverdale Reggie has all the vanity and arrogance but there's an edge of determination and action that gives him a whole different vibe than the comics version, who loves pranking Archie. Both are entertaining but in different ways. Riverdale Reggie gives Archie way too much support, which is why he's probably an Aries.
Clare: When Archie has the idea of getting on uppers to protect his dad (again, he is a very sweet, dumb dog with mommy issues), it's Reggie who takes that stupid plan and puts into action. Very determined, not very smart.
Sara: Reggie's like, an idea? Sure, here’s my immediate practical plan to back that up and I already started the group chat. Let's do this morally questionable thing you have suggested, guy I am annoyed by and also best friends with.
Clare: This is what television tells me male friendship is like and I have no reason to doubt it.
Sara: If anyone supersedes my Cheryl love, it has to be Toni. She's very charming without being a dolt about it like Archie.
Clare: Actual emotional engagement? Be still, my heart.
Sara: She has instant loyalty to people that she connects with, but also just absorbs that person's life into her own life which is kind of what happened when Cheryl joined the Serpents. Haha. I just wrote this whole thing having forgotten that a gang called the Serpents that literally every person joins for at least a few weeks is a major plot thread on this show.
Clare: Honestly, one of the best things about Riverdale is that so much bonkers stuff happens that it creates its own layered geological record of nonsense. It just supersaturates your brain.
Sara: I wish she was an Aries, because I like her so much and would love to add another badass to Team Aries, but she's a Leo.
Clare: We forgive you, Toni.