The very idea of Bughead is as bizarre as its coupledom portmanteau. In Archie Comics, the only reason for Jughead to notice Betty—or any woman—is if she was standing between him and a plate of hamburgers. But in Riverdale, Betty and Jughead have become the ultimate shipworthy fan favorite couple, eclipsing even the ginger protagonist himself. Seriously, who wants to watch Archie come in second place in a fight with a bear when we could be swooning over Betty and Jughead lovingly stare into each other’s eyes as they commit adorable felonies together?
Bughead has more chemistry than a lab full of Fizzle Rocks. They’re sweeter than all the maple syrup at Blossom Farms. Are Betty and Jughead the perfect couple? Not by a long shot. They could fill Archie’s jalopy with their problems, some of which they talk about and others they don’t. But in the macabre three-ring circus that is the town of Riverdale, Bughead is truly one of its strongest couples. Here are five reasons that Bughead are relationship goals and five reasons that they aren't.
10 Not – Surprise!
Jughead is a self-proclaimed weirdo. He exists on the fringes of Riverdale, quietly observing its dark, daily machinations with his hands poised at the typewriter, cup of ignored, stale coffee sitting nearby. Does Jughead seem like the kind of guy who wants a rager of a surprise party, complete with the Riverdale Bulldogs whooping it up in animal masks? If you’re still not sure, here’s a hint—Jughead straight up tells Betty he hates celebrating his birthday and doesn’t want a party.
So it’s the mark of a true topnotch listener to take her partner’s unambiguous wishes and throw them out the window. Betty throws her introverted bf a soiree so bro-y it’s one toga away from being a full-on frat party. Jughead, to say the least, is not pleased. Next time less kegger, more Keats.
9 Goals - Serpent safety
Betty is hardly unreasonable when she expresses her concern about Jughead joining a gang. But, doting boyfriend that he is, Jughead is always ready to rally his Serpent cavalry when his queen is in danger.
Between her volatile mother and serial killer father, how Betty made it out of the Cooper home alive is anyone’s guess. One classic Cooper gong show involves two ruffians from Chic’s past threatening the family. But Jughead and the Serpents come charging in and run the ne’er-do-wells out of town. Betty’s a tough gal who can take care of herself, but she knows that Jughead will be there as her knight in Serpent armor…
8 Not - No backup for Betty
…Except when he isn’t. Season 3 finds Betty trying to infiltrate the Farm, an insidious cult who has brainwashed her mom. Betty goes on several Nancy Drew missions solo, with Jughead nowhere to be seen. Apparently he’s too busy running around playing Gryphons & Gargoyles.
Out of fairness to our favorite beanie-wearing wordsmith, it’s not like Betty actually asked him to help her out. But c’mon Jug, you know something’s going on considering that your family bought the Cooper home from Farmie Alice. Betty eventually enlists Cheryl and Toni to help with her investigation. Why not ask Jughead? Is it a sign of weak writing? Or a weak relationship?
7 Goals - Embraces darkness
Every fledgling romance has an intoxicating honeymoon phase. It’s like dancing on heart-shaped clouds while “Theme from a Summer Place” plays. But at any second, that cloud can give way to a relentless thunderstorm as partners discover the other’s negative traits.
Jughead truly enjoys the peace and quiet of his own company, but he also has some social anxiety. Occasionally, he can come off as a bit of a misanthrope. After the surprise party fiasco, Bughead reconciles at Pop’s where Betty comes clean about her dark side, showing Jughead the self-inflicted nail imprints on her palms. It’s a touching scene because neither judges the other for their flaws. They find solace in honesty, taking their relationship from the honeymoon phase to the real deal.
6 Not - Dirty little secret
As upfront as Betty and Jughead may be about some issues, they keep totally mum about others. Remember that time when Chic got Dark Betty involved with webcam chats? Typically people want to know if their significant other is dressing up in lingerie for randos on the internet. However, this storyline is dropped like a lit match and Betty never tells Jughead.
Then there’s the instance of Jughead slicing Penny Peabody’s Serpent tattoo off her arm. If Betty was uncomfortable about Jughead joining the gang, how would she feel about her soulmate running around Riverdale maiming women? We don’t know because Betty’s completely in the dark. Talk about major Carmela Soprano syndrome.
5 Goals - Partners in crime
Sure, Jughead may not tell Betty about the totality of his shady activities, but she’s definitely game to be involved in some. When he discovers that his mother Gladys repurposed the family trailer as a Fizzle Rocks cookhouse, Bughead burns it to the ground.
Jughead likely never thought he would have a girlfriend, let alone someone who gets him as much as Betty. In one of Bughead’s only romantic Season 3 scenes, Jughead declares Betty his partner in life, placing his crown beanie on her head. If that’s not letting someone into your heart, what is? You know what they say – the couples that commit felonies together stay together.
4 Not – Barchie & Vughead
As much as Bughead’s relationship was immediately embraced by fans, it came out of left field, especially because Betty had it bad for Archie. She grew up with both Archie and Jughead, having a lifelong crush on the former and no romantic feelings whatsoever for the latter. But it doesn’t seem like Jughead is too worried about Betty’s potential unrequited feelings.
Well, he should be. When Bughead broke up for five minutes, Betty was already swapping spit with Archie. It’s fleeting, and Betty eventually gets back with Jughead. Later, he learns of the Barchie kiss and is understandably hurt. So instead of processing feelings and moving on—you know, the healthy thing—Jughead gets even by making out with Veronica. Granted, it was her idea, but any intimacy borne out of revenge is as toxic as the poison in Penelope Blossom’s garden.
3 Goals - Intelligence is a turn-on
Betty and Jughead have a pretty steamy physical connection. But there’s more to their relationship than that, unlike others – ahem, Varchie. Bughead's connection is also incredibly intellectually stimulating. When Betty is fired up about a new story for the Blue & Gold or when she’s close to cracking a case, Jughead gets this awestruck, proud look in his eyes that makes the audiences' hearts melt.
Jughead is hardly your typical teenage boy. He’d rather work on his novel than play sports. He prefers prose over partying. To your average high school girl, this would make Jughead a major snoozefest, but not to Betty. Weird works for her.
2 Not - Serpent Dance
Jughead becoming a Serpent causes a major rift between him and Betty. In an effort to get closer to him, Betty performs the creepy, disturbing ritual required of female initiates – the Serpent Dance. In front of a barful of Serpents and her mom, Betty strips down to her underwear and pole dances to a cover of “Mad World”. Yes, it’s as cringey as it sounds.
Ultimately, this is entirely Betty’s choice. Jughead doesn’t pressure her into it and in fact, wishes Betty hadn’t performed. But wake up and smell the sexism, Jug. Instead of getting upset with Betty for trying to get close to him, Jughead should be mortified at the gang’s practice of demeaning women.
1 Goals - "We”
"We" is the one small word that gets Betty and Jughead back together after they broke up. He points out all the good they’ve accomplished together, making Betty wistful for their relationship. Jughead feels the same way and invites her to spend the night. They consummate their relationship and their flame is officially rekindled.
Yes, Betty and Jughead keep some secrets from each other. But even if theirs happen to be doozies, what couple tells each other everything? Bughead has their share of problems, but they pale in comparison to the daily threat that is living in Riverdale. Getting through a school year without being murdered by the Black Hood, the Gargoyle King, or a Blossom is a tall order. But if anyone has a shot at staying alive and staying together, it’s Bughead. They make a spectacular "we."