Most teen dramas on television focus on the kids. Parents are around for the occasional meaningful talk or a morale boost, but we don’t spend much time getting to know them. But not on Riverdale. The CW series inspired by Archie Comics showcases the adults just as much as the kids. They’re part of the mystery and story rather than being off to the sidelines. The inclusion of the parents is smart because it means the show is going to be relatable for a larger audience and because it adds another layer of investment. Instead of only caring about the romantic entanglements in Riverdale, you also worry about what’s happening with Hermione and Veronica or what the implications of a plot twist will be for Fred and Archie.
Wrapping in the adults was an intentional move. While talking with series executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa at WonderCon he told us, “I think very early on, Greg [Berlanti] had an instinct that the show should be bigger than a high school show–that it should be a show about the town and that the parents should be as important as the kids. A lot of times in these kinds of shows the parents literally aren’t around. I always imagine they hold out the brown paper bag for lunch and are like, ‘See you later.'”
Aguirre-Sacasa added, “We have such an incredible cast with the adults. It’s a joy to write for them. I wish we were a 60 minute cable drama so we could even tell more. When you’ve got Mädchen Amick and Marisol Nichols and Luke Perry and Skeet Ulrich, you’re in a really good place. The show wouldn’t work without them.”
And it wouldn’t. The parents bring serious drama to the table. There’s Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols), who has to make some challenging decisions about what’s best for her and her daughter. “It was really important to me that Hermione loves her daughter and that Hermione and Veronica’s relationship has become so much closer based on what they had to go through in New York,” Nichols said, “The other part is she is married to a massive mafia guy. We’re going to see in the second half of the season more and more of that comes down on Hermione; she’s going to have to make more difficult decisions that the audience and Veronica may not understand. But just know that Hermione loves Veronica.”
When asked about the most challenging parent on the series, no one in the cast mentioned Hermione. They did mention FP Jones, Jughead’s dad. According to Cole Sprouse, “The most challenging would probably be Jughead’s father, FP. I think given the circumstances, Riverdale has been the hardest on the Jones and Jughead.”
The most popular pick? Alice Cooper. Camila Mendes and Ashleigh Murray both named Mädchen Amick‘s character in unison without hesitation. Murray explained Alice is always a surprise: “I feel like with the way Mädchen portrays Alice, she’s not one note. You never really know what you’re going to get with her. There’s a sweet moment with her and Betty in a recent episode, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, she does have a heart!’ But then it doesn’t last.”
Mendes added, “You know that Alice’s protectiveness comes from a place of love.”
Amick also agrees Alice is uh, difficult. “I’m a little partial, but I think she’s the most challenging and the most fun to watch,” she said. Alice’s unpredictability is a bonus for Amick. “That’s what’s so fun about her. When I think I’ve figured her out, then all of a sudden she’s put in a situation and reacting completely differently than I thought she would, which keeps me on my toes as an actor. I’m really enjoying it.”
Tell us your pick for most difficult parent in the comments below! Riverdale airs Thursdays at 9/8c on the CW.
Images: The CW