Tonight, Riverdale is honoring a tradition of the 1950s. The sock hop became the school dance staple and featured dancing in your socks on the gymnasium floor. Yeah, it sounds boring and the Tik Tok dances were a long way away. Even the dances of the 1960s were just in their infancy. The twist was being introduced by Chuck Berry. And did I see a hint of Fangs going Elvis on tonight’s episode. Oh my! Elvis was the bane of many parents’ existence.
A note here from one who grew up in the 1960s: I remember the death of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The Beatles brought rock and roll into the norm. I remember the first moon landing and the Civil Rights Movement. In the time that Riverdale is set this season, married couples could not share a bed (which is why Lucy and Ricky were in single beds). You had Superman and Dragnet. The shows gradually moved and caught the wave of the times. They followed the trends. Star Trek, Mod Squad, and many others broke society norms. It will be interesting how they do this with season 7 of Riverdale.
Jughead, Ethel and the Comic Industry
Riverdale opens with Jughead looking at the comics of the 1950s. Crime and science fiction were the norm . Jughead had a rejection letter from a comics strip but saw something similar in print. He goes in the student lounge and complains and makes the decision to go see the editor of Pep Comics about it. Nice that they used the original publisher of Archie comics, isn’t it? When he gets there, he gets a lesson regarding the industry. The editor has about five filing cabinets full of stories and no one to write them. Jughead wants a job. Jughead is given an idea and told to write a seven-page comic dialog by the next morning. Wonder if the Archie’s Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and others got their start with Archie comics in the same way?
Jughead talks to Ethel about it. She’s an artist that likes gore and is up for the job. The next day, he returns to the editor with the story and the editor accepts it but who will draw it? Jughead suggests Ethel getting them both a job. And both will work cheap. When Jughead goes to Ethel’s to tell her, Ethel’s mom opens the door and gets very upset that they’re alone together in Ethel’s bedroom. Her mom tells Ethel she had better be glad her dad wasn’t home. Oh, and the abuse made me forget. Ethel and Jughead will go to the sock hop at friends. Okay, this seems to be a child abuse situation. And yes, there were abusive situations in that day, but no one heard of them.
The next day, Ethel gets caught drawing gore in class. She’s taken to the principal with the guidance counselor (maybe teacher) there to discuss the situation. When Ethel tells him that she has a job and is on deadline, he doesn’t accept that for a reason for a young lady to draw that type of script. (He’d be scared if he saw some of the coimcs today). She gets detention and told not to do it again. Later, the principal finds out that Ethel skipped detention and decides to meet with her parents. Well, Ethel had to! She had a meeting with her new boss at Pep with Jughead. The editor calls Ethel ‘Freckles’ which makes her grin. No one at home has paid her any attention.
When Ethel gets home, her parents confront her hints of violence and shouts. She storms past and remarks about their behavior toward her. Her dad calls her a miserable person and Ethel throws it back at him. Her mother wants to know where she is going. Ethel announces she is going to the sock hop with Jughead. Her mom says over her dead body. Okay – enough on this for now. Okay a question for production. Did you get the parents costumes from the movie, Annie?
Betty and Kevin (in Love – Not!)
Betty and Kevin have been dating but their romance is going nowhere. Betty is getting angry and hurt. She is also developing feelings for Archie after teaching him to dance and later reading his poem. Alice advises her after dinner and dishes to give Kevin some time. He just needs to move slow.
On the Kevin front, we do see what Betty is upset about. At Lover’s Lane, while the windows around them are steamed up, Kevin and Betty. just sit and talk. Betty accuses Kevin of not being interested in her. He’s reluctant to show any emotion or kiss her and seems to not like her kissing him. She wants to know if he doesn’t like her because he hasn’t asked her to go steady or given her his Varsity Pin yet. He alludes that she is a sex manic and she gets upset. Remember the scene when Sandy leaves Danny at the drive-in in Grease? We get a replay of that tonight.
Later, Betty gets advice from Ronnie on how to get Kevin to commit. Ronnie tells her to make him jealous. Ronnie tells Betty she’s like Marilyn Monroe. So Betty changes her hair and decides to get Archie to take her to dance. But Betty doesn’t know that Alice has talked to Kevin about the “pinning situation.” Alice gives him the pin that Hal gave her. Alice tells Kevin that giving Betty the pin will take the stress out of the situation. Pinning is only a promise and Kevin likes that. He breaks up the talk between Betty and Archie (before it gets started) and gives Betty the pin. Is he serious? No, because he is confused over his feelings for Chuck Walker who is new to Riverdale. Kevin seems to like Chuck, but Chuck is clueless (I think). Here Chuck’s father is military. More later.
The Sock Hop Preparations
Cheryl announces the sock hop on the school’s PA system. Kevin and Chuck are supposed to provide the music. And yes, Cheryl referred to the dance as the “cat’s pajamas.” Don’t ask me what it meant? That was before my time. Later, as Cheryl sells tickets, Toni and Fangs approaches. First Toni asks Cheryl for a dance which sends Cheryl into crazy mode. Toni tells her to relax. She wants Fangs to sing but Cheryl points out that Kevin and Chuck will provide the music. Toni basically says we’ll see about that, and she and Fangs walks off. As ticket sales continue the next day, tickets are being returned. Cheryl is told that Toni is threatening that the Serpents will beat people up in the parking lot for going to the dance. So we get the reference to the Serpents but it gets better.
Cheryl goes to the Serpents’ hangout, a coffee house, to talk to Toni. Cheryl’s nervous because she’s not use to the casual attitude of the coffee house theme and calls it a biker’s bar (which it is in our Riverdale). Toni tells her using Fangs would pack the house. Toni also tells her to have a seat and to discuss it with her over a cappuccino. I don’t think Cheryl knew what that was much less the “cool cat” atmosphere.
Archie asks Veronica to be his date and tells her he likes to slow dance. She says he has to pass an interview and invites him to her house that night. The invite isn’t for an opportunity to be alone with Veronica. She’s holding interviews for her date. When one makes a comment about Archie’s suit, Archie gets defensive and tells them it was his father. The snob says: “The one he was buried in?” Archie turns on him and tells all that Fred was buried in his uniform. Archie then turns to Ronnie and tells her he is leaving before he does violence and messes up the apartment. (Mary loves Archie in Fred’s suit. She also tells Archie that Fred wrote poetry that made her swoon.)
The next day, Ronnie stops by Archie’s house to apologize. Mary greets her and tells her that if she hurts Archie, Mary will take care of her. Mary tells Ronnie that Archie is a simple boy and asks what type of girl interviews boys for a date. Ronnie says she didn’t mean to hurt Archie and her parents are actors and always interviewing.
At school, Archie goes up to Ronnie to ask for a date. Ronnie tells him that she’s made her selection. She’s going by herself due to having too many options. Archie tells her he doesn’t like that she’s had him “jumpinig through hoops.” Later Ronnie and Betty talk. Ronnie is going stag because she’s been careless with boys, especially Archie. This gives Betty the idea to asks Archie to take her (but Kevin interrupts that). Ronnie gets home to be given Archie’s poem by her door man. She reads it and realizes just how special Archie is.
It’s Sock Hop Time
Cheryl has decided to let Fangs sing and neither Kevin or Chuck seem to mind. Backstage, Fangs plugs in his guitar. He even looks like Elvis. As Fangs sings “Tutti Fruiti,” Ronnie grins. She knows what the music will be like. The girls mob the stage and Fangs decides to do Elvis’s backward walk/hop. Toni and Cheryl talk and dance somewhat (Cheryl was reluctant). Do we have a change in attitude happening?
All seems to go well with Mary and Alice chaperoning. Featherhead doesn’t even seem to mind the music until the slow dance number starts. During “Only You,” Featherhead complains to Cheryl that the girls and boys are dancing too closely and Cheryl agrees. I think more will come from this. Ronnie sees Archie and tells him that she got and liked his poem. Their romance may be starting but Archie walks away to dance with someone else. Julian Blossom shows up and asks Ronnie for a dance and she agrees. Alice smiles as Kevin and Betty dances. Wonder if she saw the look Kev gave the boy at the table? As the dance ends, Ethel enters, covered in blood. Jughead goes to her. She tells him something terrible has happened as the scene fades to black.
Ronnie has a make out party (like the key party they had on Riverdale).
Flash Dance anyone? Wait that was late 70s or 80s.
Archie and Betty make out session coming? If so, does this set up the triangle from the comics?
And I hope we find out about Ethel and the blood. Do we get a Lizzie Borden here or her father/mother went berserk? Just a note: I see where the child abuse and LGBTQIA stuff is starting. These issues weren’t discussed quite as early as 1955 but did exist. I hope that “change” happens than it did in history.