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Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and the whole “Archie” comics gang are back. The CW’s new series “Riverdale” is no longer the G-rated classic comic book, but instead, a sexy noir where even these clean-cut characters have secrets.
After three episodes, the show is unremarkable so far. Stale storylines, dreadful dialog and each character is stuck in their own stereotype – the girl next door, the mean girl, the gay best friend, the emo kid.
But what is remarkable is Archie’s secret. He is sleeping with his teacher, Ms. Grundy.
Starting his sophomore year, Archie would be 15 to 16 years old – probably illegal and definitely unethical for any adult, let alone a teacher.
So why is this okay as a storyline?
If Betty was sleeping with her teacher, this would be a problem. If Archie were sleeping with a male teacher, this would be a storyline about abuse.
The same rules should apply for ANY high school student sleeping with ANY teacher. Being straight and male doesn’t make Archie any less of a victim. When Jughead stumbles on the couple, he points out to Archie that Ms. Grundy is using him. While I am happy Jughead understands this is wrong, there is a difference between being used and being abused.
In fact, the third episode focuses on the “popular” football players hooking up with girls and using them to keep a “sexual conquests” tally. It’s an old, stale storyline and predictably, Betty and Veronica set out to help the wronged girls to achieve some justice. All the while, Archie is still involved with Ms. Grundy.
It’s a glaring distinction. Girls get used – boys don’t.
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), two-thirds of kids abused are between ages 12-17. One in nine girls experience sexual abuse. For boys, it’s one out of 53.
It is important for all boys to learn that they can be victims of sexual abuse – that it doesn't just happen to girls. As adults, we need to protect our boys – just like our girls. Part of that protection should be eliminating storylines that allow wiggle room with consent. Because if there is wiggle room here, why not in real life?
So please, let’s stop giving permission to these fantasies. There is nothing sexy about losing consent.
Stale characters and plots. I predict Archie and the gang will be cancelled. Not even CW's success with other comic series are enough to transfer some superpowers to "Riverdale."