Riverdale is a wild ride for all who watch it. From its baffling internal logic to its dark storylines, the show treads across some interesting ground. This is not the wholesome Archie comics that we read as children. Who knew it could be so much fun when removed from its goodie-good image? While we all wait with bated breath to see what twists and turns the show will throw at us next, we hang onto the couples to dear life.
In a show as insane as Riverdale, where mayhem and despair lurk around every corner, seeing characters find happiness always attracts support. The romantic pairings of the show create some passionate responses amongst the fans. Usually, these couplings provide moments of calm in the storm or they help build each other to greater heights. If they’re done well, that is.
Those not done so well? Well, they tend to provoke scoffs and eyerolls, or worse, plain indifference. A show like Riverdale, after all, thrives on the passions of its characters and audience. Without passion, then where would we be? And where would Jughead be? Those relationships add some excellent tension to his true crime novel.
Now comes the time to look back over the relationships of the show. These couples either won our hearts or filled us with annoyance whenever they graced the screen. Still, we watch them through the highs and lows that come with living in Riverdale.
These are 12 Couples That Hurt Riverdale (And 8 That Saved It).
20 HURT: Archie and Betty
We totally love Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Archie (K.J. Apa) as childhood best friends. When given the opportunity, they support and care for each other with an easy familiarity. Still, a well-deserved dropped plot in season one was Betty’s crush on Archie.
It just felt like a box that the show wanted to have checked off rather than a genuine romance.
Sure, the Betty-Archie-Veronica love triangle is an iconic part of the comics, but when Betty broke free of that, her story truly soared.
In season 2, they do share a kiss, but it just felt like unneeded drama, as did the break-ups with Jughead and Veronica. Let’s just let the kids be friends, huh? No need to force a romance where a friendship works amazingly well.
19 HURT: Jughead and Toni
Speaking of forcing a romance where friendship flourishes better, the very brief one between Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Toni (Vanessa Morgan) hits our list.
Toni and Jughead make an instant connection with each other after Jughead transfers to Southside High. After Jughead and Betty broke up for all of five minutes, Jughead and Toni shared a kiss.
As if hearing the cries of jilted "Bughead" fans throughout the world, Toni clarifies that the kiss was a “platonic” one. She prefers girls anyway. Since then, they've remained tight friends without any romantic tension.
It’s honestly just better for everyone that way. Boys and girls can just be friends rather than having weird romances. Plus, the kiss caused poor Vanessa Morgan a lot of unnecessary grief online.
18 SAVED: F.P. and Alice
Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick) definitely brings forth complicated feelings for fans of Riverdale. She bounces between being her daughter's worst enemy or great ally. She just contains multitudes.
F.P. Jones (Skeet Ulrich) is perhaps the most lovable parent on Riverdale.
With the reveal that Alice used to be a Southside Serpent, her hatred of them definitely made more sense. Then there was the reveal that F.P. and Alice used to have a thing once upon a time, which led to the original Charles Cooper.
The duo has some really intense chemistry.
They briefly rekindled their relationship in season two, so here's hoping we see more of these fiery exes, even if it makes things awkward for Betty and Jughead.
17 HURT: Jason and Polly
Jason Blossom will always be something of a question mark to fans. Like many of the characters, Jason stands in a shade of grey. Is he a master manipulator of impressionable girls? Or is he a good kid trying to get away from a bad situation?
It seems, at least posthumously, that his relationship with Polly Cooper (Tiera Skovbye) was genuine.
Even though Jason and Polly appeared to be in love, it’s all after the fact.
Polly seems to a bit too emotionally fragile and off. We don’t know a lot about Jason. Perhaps, if we saw them in a real flashback, actually together rather than glimpses, our perspectives would change. Then there’s the part where they’re technically related.
16 SAVED: Kevin and Joaquin
The elimination of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) stands as a center point in Riverdale’s first season. All the really good stories spin out from it, whether or not they were truly explored is another matter.
Southside Serpent Joaquin DeSantos (Rob Raco) originally dates Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) in order to keep tabs on the Sheriff’s investigation. In the little glimpses the audience got, there was a real sweetness to their relationship. Eventually, Joaquin really fell for Kevin.
Unfortunately, however, the glimpses remained minimal. Rather than some of the more uncomfortable relationships, following Joaquin and Kevin would have been a lot more interesting. Their story felt untapped when Joaquin ended up on a bus to San Junipero.
15 HURT: Midge/Moose
In the comics, Midge (Emilija Baranac) and Moose (Cody Kearsley) define the whole "opposites attract" trope in the best way. They simply support and care for each other.
From the glimpses in Riverdale, it looks like they also had it. Sure, they had an open relationship and Midge liked Jingle Jangle a bit too much. They existed more as the teen lovers in the woods who got preyed upon than an actual couple. Midge barely spoke over the course of the series.
With Midge’s passing in season two, it feels more pointless than anything else.
We did not know who she was, as a person outside of Moose. In the end, it just feels like a waste.
14 SAVED: Archie and Valerie
Much like Kevin and Joaquin, the relationship between Archie and Valerie (Hayley Law) could have been explored better.
The pair share a sweet chemistry and a similar passion for music. Valerie encourages Archie to take steps to make his musician dreams a reality. Archie supports Valerie when she separates from the Pussycats. In the end, though they break up, they had a very sweet and supportive relationship. It definitely remains a shame that there wasn’t more exploration of it.
Their relationship was removed from the main plot of Jason Blossom’s passing in season one, so their break up made sense for getting Archie more involved. It just feels like it should have lasted longer.
13 HURT: Hal and Penelope
Hal Cooper (Lochlyn Munro) being revealed as the Black Hood shocked a good portion of fans. The rest weren’t entirely surprised.
In his personal life, Hal certainly did not practice what he preached as the Black Hood. Nothing made that more apparent than his visits to Penelope Blossom (Nathalie Boltt), who sold her company to men. He apparently did not see the hypocrisy in those visits.
Though we didn’t see them together on screen, something just felt really skeevy about it, even before learning of Hal’s Black Hood alter ego.
In actuality, we just wanted to see less of Penelope, especially after all she did Cheryl.
12 HURT: Josie and Chuck
In the very early episodes of Riverdale, Chuck Clayton (Jordan Calloway) was pretty much universally hated. The way he and the other jocks of the school harassed and humiliated the female students? They deserved every ounce of punishment they received.
When he returned in season two, Chuck attempts to reform and atone for what he has done, but it feels a little awkward given how thoroughly despicable he was.
Then they try to pair him and Josie (Ashleigh Murrary) together.
Given all the grief he put others through, we’re surprised any girl would let him near her.
While a redemption story is all well and good, it happened off screen. Josie’s relationship with Chuck was supposed to be his redemption. No thanks. Let him redeem himself on his own.
11 SAVED: Kevin and Moose
Given the open nature of Midge and Moose’s relationship, he was able to see other people. Though we only got a couple of glimpses of Kevin and Moose in season one, the writers went a little more in on their relationship in season two.
It’s bizarrely supportive, given the circumstances. Kevin cares about Moose, visits him in the hospital, and comforts him after Midge’s passing
Cott and Kearsley definitely have a nice chemistry. Once Moose grieves, we’re kind of hoping that these two get to explore this relationship more going forward.
Who knows? Maybe Kevin will have that boyfriend after all, rather than trolling for guys in the woods.
10 HURT: Cheryl and Archie
Nothing was more awkward to watch throughout Riverdale season one than the rumors about Jason and Cheryl Blossom’s relationship. It just feels off every time. Then Archie gets involved.
It’s like the Blossom family hopes to replace Jason while he’s barely cold in the ground.
Sure, everything about the Blossoms reads like some kind of Gothic novel comes horribly, horribly to life, but why does Archie just go along with it?
Needless to say, this whole relationship did not last long. We remain very grateful for that. Some lines really do not need crossing, even if Riverdale wants to try it.
9 SAVED: Mary and Fred
Sometimes love just does not work out. In most television shows, divorce couples vacillate between screaming angst and polite indifference. The CW seems to be changing that with formerly married couples like Black Lightning’s Jefferson and Lynn and Riverdale’s Fred and Mary.
Fred (Luke Perry) and Mary (Molly Ringwald) have an excellent post-divorce relationship. They care about each other and care about their son.
There’s just something so compelling about them. There’s all that unspoken history. They do still love each other. They just wanted different things out of life, which is totally normal. Out of all the relationships on the show, this may be one of the healthiest amongst the adults.
8 HURT: Hermione and Hiram
Some couples just cause misery and pain when together without regard for anyone else but themselves. Hiram and Hermione Lodge are definitely one of those couples.
With Hiram, Hermione just acquiesces to his needs and caters to him. Sometimes, sure, her own idea is used. It just ultimately feels like Hiram is running the show all the time. We don’t know if she loves him or is just brainwashed by him at this point.
It’s a shame that once Hiram returned, Hermione kind of faded into the background.
Hiram himself manipulates the circumstances to his own advantage, only playing his own game. He will sell out everyone around him to reclaim his place on top.
7 SAVED: Veronica and Archie
Veronica (Camila Mendes) remains the only member of the Lodge family who has something of a conscience. While she is a former mean girl, her efforts to truly change should be applauded. She may stray from time to time, but Veronica does end up doing the right thing.
Archie, similarly, may stray as well, but is a fundamentally good kid. He just needs reminding. Their coupling feels natural for both of them.
Camila Mendes and K.J. Apa both have an amazingly natural rapport with each other. Their physical ease in each other’s presence really highlights their on-screen chemistry. Archie’s loyalty to Veronica is something to be commended, especially when it feels like the whole school hates her. It’s good for her to have someone in her corner.
6 HURT: Hal and Alice
The Cooper family never reaches Blossom family dysfunctional heights, but they get pretty close. Granted, due to being related to the Blossoms, this is not a huge surprise. Drama, apparently, just runs through that family bloodline.
Alice and Hal, however, definitely have the whole “Stepford wives” vibe down. They try to present a wholesome family front, when deep down they both battle with demons.
The pressures they exert on their girls led Polly to joining a cult and Betty to have her inner dark side.
Nothing really tops when Hal comes clean as the Black Hood. Alice insults him for how bad he is at the whole serial villain thing. These two just should not have been together after high school.
5 SAVED: Cheryl and Toni
One of the best new romances to come from the back-half of season two, the relationship between Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz breathed some new life into a very emotionally fragile character.
While Cheryl seeks affection and attention, Toni gives it to her and cares for her without condition. In return, Cheryl fiercely protects her lady with all the fire in her. The break-out Toni orchestrates for Cheryl from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy is one of the highlights of season two. Madelaine Petsch and Vanessa Morgan have had amazing chemistry from day one.
With Cheryl officially emancipated and a Southside Serpent, repping her cherry red jacket, we cannot wait to see where this couple goes in season three. Hopefully this relationship will continue to bloom.
4 HURT: Fred and Hermione
Way back in season one, before Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) ever left jail, Hermione (Marisol Nichols) was trying to make her life better. Or, at least, she wanted everyone to believe this. Either way, she worked as a waitress and took a job with Andrews Construction.
During this time, she and Fred develop a flirtation which would blossom into a relationship. The shame of this is, they were a cute couple. Fred just liked Hermione, simple as that. Maybe, after Hiram’s betrayal, she could have had a quieter life with him. Of course, things look darker in hindsight.
This relationship ended up hurting the show because Hermione went back to her husband.
With the plans for the prison revealed, the question remains, did she plan this from the start?
3 HURT: Josie and Cheryl
Unfortunately, before Toni and Cheryl meet, Cheryl had a slew of uncomfortable relationships. They did her no favors as a character.
Her one-sided obsession with Josie McCoy led to Cheryl stalking her and leaving her increasingly disturbing gifts.
Perhaps, it is just another sign that Cheryl, like most of the characters in Riverdale, needs some serious therapy.
Either way, as Josie increasingly loses her sense of safety in her surroundings, she turns to her friend Cheryl more. Maybe Cheryl wanted that control. Making Josie solely dependent on her just looks like something her parents would do. She did apologize, but this was far from Cheryl’s finest moment.
2 SAVED: Jughead and Betty
When Jughead Jones and Betty Cooper started solving Jason Blossom’s slaying together, a legendary partnership was formed. It quickly turned into a relationship, which birthed the best couple in Riverdale.
Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse nail every scene they’re in together with a crazy amount of chemistry. Theie relationship builds on mutual admiration and trust in each other. More importantly, they talk things out. It’s amazing how many couples don’t do that on television, which makes "Bughead" an anomaly.
With the relationship seemingly stronger than ever after a rocky season two, we hope that the couple will keep on keeping on during season three. They are just too perfect.
1 HURT: Grundy and Archie
The relationship between Geraldine Grundy (Sarah Habel) and Archie Andrews definitely wins the Most Uncomfortable Relationship contest. Grundy remained a predator up until her elimination at the hands of the Black Hood.
She preyed on Archie and other young men. She showed no guilt over the act, moving from town to town with those Lolita sunglasses.
The worst part that Archie never understood that he was a victim.
Archie convinced himself that he loved her and she loved him. The pairing made audiences uncomfortable and damaged a long-standing character quite thoroughly. There are ways to show that your TV series is an edgy reinterpretation without stooping so low.
What's your favorite pairing on Riverdale? Let us know in the comments!