Riverdale seems like an idyllic, wholesome town. Its landmarks have quaint names like Sweetwater River. The milkshakes at Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe are dynamite. But this is all an exquisite facade. It’s astonishing that the town with pep still has residents, as the characters of Riverdale are in constant danger from serial killers, insidious cults, and a booming narcotics industry—though even the drugs have cutesy names, like Jingle-Jangle and Fizzle Rocks.
This dark spin on the classic Archie Comics is a major hook for viewers. As are the ever-shifting romantic entanglements of Riverdale’s beloved characters, some of which honor the comic books and others that divert from the source material entirely. It speaks to the characters’ optimism that, besides trying to not get murdered, they bother dating at all. The town’s mortality rate plummets by the episode, but it’s nothing compared to the bleak fate of many a Riverdale couple. But hey, sometimes it’s swell to have someone to kiss after an attack from the Gargoyle King. Whether disturbingly dysfunctional or adamantly adorable, here is Riverdale: 5 Best (And 5 Worst) Relationships.
10 Worst - Veronica & Reggie
In the comic books, they make total sense. Both are narcissistic snobs who love money almost as much as their own reflections. But in Riverdale they couldn’t be more mismatched. Though Veronica retains her expensive taste in clothes, she’s much more substantial in the show. She’s a shrewd businesswoman and has a big heart that needs to be filled by someone who’s her equal. For his part, Reggie may have started off as the rich kid bully, but he has since evolved into an amiable guard dog for the Riverdale gang, ready to clock anyone who tries to mess with his friends.
However, as loyal as Reggie may be, he doesn’t match Veronica in the brains department. She needs someone who challenges her. While Veronica and Reggie may have physical chemistry, their strengths as a couple end there.
9 Best - Kevin & Moose
Though their relationship was initially confined to a handful of clandestine kisses, it was clear that Kevin and Moose had real feelings for each other. It was Moose’s love for Kevin, his desire to keep Kevin in his life, that gave Moose the courage to come out. Everything seemed to be coming up roses for the cute-as-pie couple, but this is Riverdale we’re talking about. It wasn’t enough for Moose’s dad to disapprove of his son’s sexuality; he disguises himself as the Gargoyle King and tries to scare them straight by threatening them with murder. Sadly, this doesn’t even crack the top ten worst parenting moments in Riverdale.
With Moose’s home life in disarray, he announces to Kevin that he’s moving to Greendale to live with his aunt. This breaks not just Kevin’s heart, but the audience’s.
8 Worst - FP & Gladys
Any marriage built—or rebuilt—on a lie is doomed. When Gladys rolled back into town, she sold FP a bill of goods about wanting the Joneses to be a family again. But unbeknownst to her hubby, Gladys is less June Cleaver, more Walter White. Her real motive for returning to Riverdale is to build a Fizzle Rocks drug empire.
FP thinks he’s finally caught a break in life. He’s got a steady paycheck as the new sheriff, his family now lives on the right side of the tracks, and his wife looks at him with pride. It’s devastating that FP doesn’t see the web of deceit behind Gladys’ sparkling eyes.
7 Best - FP & Alice
These high school sweethearts have enough chemistry to fill a Fizzle Rocks lab. But Alice swapped her leather jacket for a floral apron and fled to the ‘burbs with Hal Cooper. Maintaining the illusion of domestic NoDale bliss took an emotional toll on Alice and she became cold and domineering. It didn’t help that her husband turned out to be the Black Hood, Riverdale’s former serial killer du jour.
Alice sought comfort in FP and it looked like the two were heading for reconciliation. They made each other happy, as he made her feel safe and she made him feel needed. But bright love burns fast. Now Alice is in the clutches of The Farm and FP in the arms of his kingpin wife.
6 Worst - Josie & Sweet Pea
Theirs was a casual summer fling that occurred largely offscreen. The audience only got to witness their breakup, a prime indicator that this bizarre relationship wasn’t worth watching. Really, these two make zero sense. Josie is an ambitious musician and Sweet Pea will go down in TV history as the blandest gang member ever. Unless he gets his feelings hurt, in which case he turns into a hypocritical baby. He turned down Josie’s request to be her date to her mom’s wedding, saying she was just using him—fair enough. But after rejecting Josie, Sweet Pea gets rather salty when he spots her canoodling with Archie at a party. If Josie ever chooses to sing about her relationship with Sweet Pea, the song should be “Thank U, Next”.
5 Best - Cheryl & Toni
There’s no reason for these two to work. Toni is a rock of loyalty and rationalism; Cheryl is a fiery loose cannon. Yet when these two lonely hearts are united as one, they bring out the best in each other. Toni provides Cheryl with the love and kindness she never received from any of her family members, save her dead brother Jason. When Cheryl’s sociopathic tendencies skyrocket, Toni reigns her in. Toni’s more or less a perfect human being, but she’s had a hard life and Cheryl provides her with much-needed wild escapism. Together, these two Pretty Poisons are the steamiest couple in Riverdale.
4 Worst – Archie & Valerie
Is there anyone out there who remembers these two? Anyone? Going once, going twice, SOLD as Riverdale’s most boring couple. Listen, there’s nothing wrong with boring…in real life. But this is TV here and every couple should give viewers a reason to keep watching. Really, Archie was falling in love with music and Valerie just happened to be the only Pussycat who gave him the time of day. But the problem is that Valerie is known as the deepest, most soulful member of the Pussycats and Archie, though well-meaning, has the depth of a wading pool. Remember how he was so obsessed with his guitar that he wanted to be a music major in college? Well, now he’s all in on boxing. What’s next, macramé? Valerie, sweet as she is, is much too stable for Riverdale and after her break-up with Archie, we barely saw her again.
3 Best – Archie & Veronica
This classic comic book couple is even better on the show. Archie and Veronica had a scorching physical connection. She can barely mention Archie without making a reference to how hot he is— “I’d recognize those abs anywhere”. Beyond the physical, they also brought out the best in each other. Archie, for all his oh-so-many flaws, showed stability that Veronica was lacking with her fractured family. A hug from him was just that, a hug; not a business transaction. Veronica, ambitious and mature beyond her teen years, helped to steer the directionless Archie.
Unfortunately, she steered him right in the direction of her mob boss father, Hiram. This led to a series of cataclysmic events which resulted in Hiram framing Archie for murder. Try as they might, Varchie wasn’t able to survive this minor setback. Perhaps the town slogan should be, “Riverdale...the town where romance goes to die.”
2 Penelope &…Anyone
This woman belongs in a maximum security prison, not on the dating scene. Her toxic marriage to Clifford ended with her poisoning him. Why pay for divorce lawyers when a little hemlock will do? Free from the nuptial burden, Penelope became a role model for her daughter Cheryl, showing that a housewife can re-enter the workforce any time she wants by starting a career as a prostitute. Hal Cooper was her biggest client but all that ended when he got arrested for murdering a bunch of people. She still visits him in prison, because apparently, her life isn’t enough like a cheap gothic novel.
1 Best - Betty & Jughead
For fans of Archie Comics, this romance came out of nowhere. In the comic books, any relationship with Jughead would have been an affair, because his real love is hamburgers. But Riverdale Jughead is a thoughtful writer and is every bit Betty’s intellectual equal. Theirs isn’t fleeting puppy love; they have a solid, stimulating partnership. They are by far the most fascinating characters, whether they’re cracking cases or getting cozy in the hot tub. If Archie were written off the show to make more time for Bughead, would anybody really complain? Who wants to watch him brood like a sparkly vampire for the umpteenth time when meanwhile, Betty and Jughead are burning down Gladys’ drug house? Even without the arson, Bughead lights up the screen.