The CW’s Riverdale is a dark show, but it’s not above laughing at itself, as Cole Sprouse mentioned when discussing how much the cast laughed at the series’ new season 2 menace, the drug jingle jangle. The new drug is a stimulant that’s very popular with the teens of the quaint little berg, which isn’t much of a surprise considering the climax of season 1 centered on the revelation that heroin was being smuggled into town via the Blossom family maple syrup business. With the Blossom family patriarch out of the picture, which presumably has seen the heroin dry up, something has to fill that void, and much to the delight of those watching, that void has given us jingle jangle.
Paranoid and desperate to keep his father safe, Archie flirted with the notion of using jingle jangle to stay vigilant, but opted to arm himself instead. But with such a potent drug being passed around town, Riverdale had needed to get it in the hands of someone to show that even the most jauntily named substance can come with some severe consequences. That came when Moose and his girlfriend fell victim to the Black Hood Killer after dabbling in a little jingle jangle.
Drugs and murder make for a gloomy storyline befitting a series that likes to get as dark as Riverdale does, but just hearing characters say “jingle jangle” can elicit a giggle or two from those watching. And according to the actor who plays Jughead at a recent set visit attended by Screen Rant, viewers are not the only ones stifling a laugh during what is essentially a very serious storyline. Apparently, it took quite a long time before the show’s cast stopped laughing every time the drug was mentioned, which Sprouse thinks is part of what makes Riverdale so special.
“Archie Comics in many ways — because it’s such a long-lived property — is responsible for the archetypes that became the stereotypes of, not just dramas, but all kinds of mixed media. And I think for us to be able to use those original [characters] and amplify them to a degree, [but] not necessarily make them caricatures… I think it’s a blast. We have the tremendous luxury of having 75 years of source material to pull off of, which is something that almost no production gets. And it really puts us in a unique place to poke fun at it and acknowledge what it is, and simultaneously take it really seriously. I think for me the most enjoyable part is that — and Jughead specifically, because he is probably the most different from the comics than the rest of the core four – we get to take these characters and make fun of them in a sort of meta-sense, but when we are the characters and we’re in the town, everything is taken so damn seriously. Maple syrup can become a bad guy and to me that’s a blast; it’s always really fun. Can you imagine having to say ‘Jingle Jangle’ on screen over and over again? I think we didn’t stop laughing at that for the first four episodes.”
Sprouse’s insights into Riverdale’s unique take on the classic Archie Comics characters and its willingness to poke holes in well-established archetypes – even its main character Archie – suggest that the response to jingle jangle is exactly what series creator and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was aiming for. And considering just how dark and serious the show can become at times, knowing those behind the series – actors and writers alike – aren’t above having some fun at their creation’s expense adds some much-needed levity to some shady goings-on.
So far, jingle jangle seems to have struck a nerve with those watching Riverdale, turning into something of a weird calling card for the second season. Those who get a kick out of hearing the characters repeatedly name the drug with a straight face can also enjoy the 1969 song of the same name by The Archies.
Riverdale continues next Wednesday with ‘Tales From the Darkside’ @8pm on The CW.
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