4 Changes that need to happen in Riverdale season 3

3 of 5

Better treatment of its LGBT Characters

As my colleague Tyde Dermody so eloquently explained, despite Riverdale’s commitment to diversity, the show hasn’t done well by its LGBT characters. The show’s most prominent queer characters, Kevin Keller and Cheryl Blossom, have either been noticeably underdeveloped or unfortunately written. Obviously, the show’s main focus is and likely always will be on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead but it doesn’t mean its supporting cast should be given the short shrift. Especially since teen LGBT characters are still very rare in American television.

An early season subplot about Kevin’s cruising habit had the potential to be meaningful but ultimately came off as a cheesy and condescending PSA. Moreover, the other season 2 storylines featuring the character, directing the Carrie musical and helping Betty catfish Chick, felt like inorganic, like Kevin was inserted in them just to give him something to do.

Along similar lines, Cheryl’s subplots were more developed but hit some odd notes. The character’s slow burn romance with Toni was one the best parts of Riverdale season 2, but it felt oddly chaste. Whereas Bughead and Varchie were all about PDA, Choni seemed to circumspect in a way that did fit with their established characterization. And the gay conversion subplot involving Cheryl was not treated with the seriousness such a painful topic deserves.

Since its debut, Riverdale has been widely praised for the progressiveness of its cast. But if the show wants credit for representation, it needs to earn it by making its LGBT characters as three-dimensional as those that are not.