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Riverdale High SchoolStudents
Played by: Madelaine PetschRiverdale's resident Manipulative Bitch whose twin brother Jason is murdered, launching the series' plot.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Downplayed in regards to Archie. Cheryl is a physically beautiful girl but Archie is clearly turned off by her advances towards him mostly because of her rather unpleasant personality. When Cheryl tries to come onto him by kissing him, he pushes her away and tells her that he's not interested because he has a girlfriend.
- Abusive Parents: Her parents behave horribly towards her, especially her mother.
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Unlike in the Comics, in the show Cheryl is much more angst-ridden and she goes through way more personal and emotional issues than her comic book counterpart. Her twin brother is murdered and Cheryl ends up suffering serious emotional trauma over his death. She also comes from a dysfunctional family with Abusive Parents. Cheryl is also very lonely and hated amongst her peers. She's also mentally unstable and is clearly suffering from an Ambiguous Disorder of some kind. There's also the fact that Cheryl went through such a Trauma Conga Line that she was Driven to Suicide and tried to kill herself to be Together in Death with her beloved deceased twin brother.
- Alpha Bitch: She's a Rich Bitch and head cheerleader who runs the Riverdale social scene with an iron fist.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Cheryl likely suffers from an undiagnosed mental disorder or illness of some kind, and displays some symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.note
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Jason died when they were on a boating trip together, and she milks this for all its worth. Kevin lampshades that she's playing the role of the bereaved sister to a T. However, upon seeing Archie filling Jason's role, she breaks into tears as her brother's real death finally sinks in.
- Attention Whore: Cheryl seems to love being the centre of attention and she'll do anything to achieve it. She definitely shares this trait in common with her comic book counterpart.
- Bare Your Midriff: About half of the outfits Cheryl has worn so far have shown her midriff, most notably her cheer practice uniform, while the rest of the River Vixen's uniforms keep their stomachs covered.
- Because You Were Nice to Me:
- She sincerely thanks Archie and grants him "one wish" when he comes forward about hearing a gunshot on July Fourth, confirming that Cheryl was telling the truth about that part and getting people to stop hounding her. This also factors into her attraction to Archie later on, since he's one of the few people to show her real kindness without any ulterior motives. Unfortunately for her, it gets torpedoed due to Archie wising up to her parents' blatant manipulation attempts.
- She also invites Veronica to her house for a sleepover and not her school cronies because she was the only one who came to comfort her after Cheryl's breakdown at the pep rally.
- A variant appears in the season 1 finale that implies she considered Veronica to be the only person who was ever, truly, nice to her, as she's the only one she says (texts, rather) goodbye to before attempting suicide.
- Bi the Way: Confirmed by Madelaine Petsch herself. And now in the show; she confesses to Toni that she was in love with her (female) middle school best friend.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Cheryl can put on a sweet, nice and friendly facade but underneath that facade is someone who's a major Alpha Bitch and can be extremely bitchy and catty.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Cheryl is the Redhead, Betty is the Blonde and Veronica is the Brunette and they are the main female trio on the show.
- Brainless Beauty: Subverted. Cheryl is a very pretty girl but she comes off as flighty and The Ditz who has her head in the clouds. In all actuality, Cheryl is actually a lot more sharp, manipulative and cunning then she appears to be.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Cheryl is probably the best example of a bratty teenage daughter on this show. Understandable considering that she's a Spoiled Brat and a Rich Bitch who gets everything that she wants. Plus, she also has Abusive Parents so her brattiness is completely warranted.
- Break the Cutie: It's evident that years of abuse and lack of parental love, the dysfunction that exists in her family, and the unexpected death of her twin brother Jason on whom she was codependent caused Cheryl's mental wellbeing to tail spin and spiral out of control. She tries to put on a facade and make it appear as if she is okay, but underneath it all is a very emotionally damaged person.
- Broken Bird: Cheryl is clearly an emotional mess but this is understandable considering that type of family that she comes from. Both of her parents are abusive and cold and didn't provide Cheryl with much love and support. Her twin brother Jason, who she was extremely close to, ended up being murdered by her own father. After his death, she completely lost it and never recovered emotionally. Add onto the fact that she doesn't really have any friends or supporters, and its understandable why Cheryl is so messed up.
- Broken Pedestal: Clearly loved Jason and thought a lot of him. When Veronica looks into rumors of the football team "keeping score" of their sexual conquests in a book, Cheryl refuses to believe in it as Jason would have told her. Joining the other girls, she finds that not only does the book exist but Jason's name is all over it with several conquests and Cheryl realizes her brother wasn't the saintly guy she thought he was.
- Byronic Hero: Hugely. Her arc is mainly the story of her rebelling against her aristocratic family most of whom are some combination of evil, criminal, and cruel. Yet she's not so much interested in redeeming their sins as being her own person, and she can be vicious as well.
- Character Blog: Has a Twitter account by the name of "@CherylBombshell".
- Cherry Blossom Girl: But of course—and not just with the Punny Name and the red hair. She's also got the connection to death with her brother Jason's murder and her attempted suicide at the end of season one, and she comes from an Old Money WASP family that serves as the rough American equivalent to aristocracy. The only reason why they haven't shown actual cherry blossoms yet is likely because season one took place in the fall and winter. Given that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is also a comic book writer, and probably knew this trope from anime and manga, this is probably deliberate.
- In the season 2 trailer, Cheryl is eating a cherry pie.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Part of the reason why Cheryl had a dislike for Polly was because she was somewhat jealous over her relationship with Jason. Considering how close Cheryl and Jason were, it's not surprising why Cheryl would be jealous that Polly was stealing her brother away.
- The Cheerleader: She's the head cheerleader of the Riverdale Vixens, in fact.
- Color Motifs: Red. If she's not wearing some red clothing, rest assured she has bright red lipstick on.
- Coordinated Clothes: In flashbacks, both Jason and Cheryl were seen wearing the same coloured clothing when they were together, showing that they were extremely close.
- Cute and Psycho: Cheryl is cute and all but boy, does she ever had an unstable side to her. She obviously needs loads of therapy. But considering all of the horrible stuff that's happened to her family an the fact that she grew up in such dysfunction, it's not surprising that mentally, Cheryl is a little off the rails.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Very, very slowly, she's gradually turning into a friend to Archie and his friends: she's become civil with Betty and she joins Veronica and Kevin at the drive-in.
- Desperately Craves Affection: Cheryl clearly is starved for love and attention. It makes sense considering that her mother is never gives her any kind of maternal love and her father is arrogant and emotionally distant. Plus, she's a Lonely Rich Kid who doesn't have any friends and seems to be desperate to make connections with others so that she doesn't feel left out. The only person that Cheryl felt unconditionally loved her was her twin brother Jason and that's why she completely fell apart mentally and emotionally after Jason was killed
- Drama Queen: Cheryl has a tendency to do everything as dramatically as possible. Including suicide attempts.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- Is her stereotypical abrasive self about the girls in the school going through Slut-Shaming, but instantly changes her tune and sides with them when shown actual evidence that it is happening, even offering a sincere apology to Betty because her brother had done it to Polly.
- When she learns of Polly's pregnancy with Jason's baby, she does everything in her power to help.
- She's disgusted to learn that her mother has become a sex worker to pay for their home and their lifestyles. Cheryl becomes even more mortified when she learns that Penelope actually loves doing it and has no desire to quit despite Cheryl finally getting them out of their bad financial situation.
- Evil Is Petty: She attempted to ruin Betty and Veronica's blooming friendship in 1.01, after Veronica calls her out in cheerleader tryouts. She's also bitchy toward Betty because she believes her sister shot Jason.
- Evil Redhead: She's a redhead, and she's not nice. Subverted as the series goes on and we see her more vulnerable and sympathetic side—and we learn that, while Cheryl's capable of being mean, she is nothing compared to her parents.
- Evil Twin: Downplayed. Cheryl is not evil but going by the flashbacks of her twin brother Jason, who appeared to be a genuinely moral Nice Guy, Cheryl is definitely the morally ambiguous twin between the two. Plus, Cheryl has become more and more unhinged and crazy since Jason died.
- Fiery Redhead: Averted, for now. Her type of mean is cold and calculating. She hasn't raised her voice once, so far, not even after being told off by both Betty and Veronica.
- Frenemy: For someone who treats the Archies like dirt, she does tend to spend a lot of time with them.
- Freudian Excuse: With a mother like that, it's no wonder she's so bitchy.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: She alternates in nearly every episode from being a tenuous friend to the main characters (mainly Betty and Veronica) to an antagonistic rival. And then back again.
- Hot-Blooded: Downplayed. Cheryl can be very extravagant and overly emotional but she's much more of an Ice Queen. Although she does have a very fiery and crazy side as well.
- Interrupted Suicide: Tries to drown herself in Sweetwater River during the finale, but the Archies come in time to save her.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sure, she's an Alpha Bitch who's incredibly spoiled and manipulative, but she does have plenty of Pet the Dog moments with the other characters where she comes off as someone who's redeemable and may have a hidden heart of gold underneath that ruthless, crazy and icy facade.
- Lady in Red: Is almost always seen in some form red clothing. Her nightmare in 1.05 has her in a floor-length red dress. In 1.11 she wears a red ball gown to the dance.
- Let the Past Burn: In 1.13, she burns the Blossom mansion in hopes of breaking from the past, as her mother protests to no effect.
- Lonely Rich Kid: She has a Girl Posse, but no real friends. Apart from the now-deceased Jason and perhaps Nana Rose, it's debatable if there's anyone that really loves her.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: She doesn't show it very often, being undeniably entitled, spoiled and manipulative but deep down Cheryl does have a heart. She's genuinely horrified to learn that not only was the football team making a game out of getting girls at school to sleep with them, but her own brother was participating. She gives Betty a sincere apology when she learns that Jason had done this to Betty's sister Polly.
- Manipulative Bitch: She milks her brother's death for all it's worth, rules the cheer squad like her own personal fiefdom, and uses her parties to screw with relationships in order to cause chaos.
- Mood-Swinger: She has a habit of switching between cheerfully pleasant and Tranquil Fury.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Not huge but clearly her reaction after she basically accused Polly of being a crazy ex-girlfriend who may well have killed Jason out of jealousy. Cheryl is rocked to discover Jason used Polly to gain points for the football team's "book" of conquests and apologizes to Betty for her actions.
- Not So Above It All: After discovering evidence that proves Jason was using Polly, she genuinely apologizes to Betty for what Jason did.
- Only Friend: When you actually look at her life, she doesn't have many people (if any) who genuinely love her. Jason's dead, so he can't count, her mom is emotionally (and occasionally physically) abusive, her father is dismissive of her, and her social group is compromised primarily of people who just want to get on her good side. It's implied she doesn't have many, if any, friends when she (1) is only comforted by Veronica after her breakdown in 1.02, and (2) invites Veronica to a 'sleepover' and Veronica is the only one there. That sets up for a variant of this trope, as Veronica seems to be the only person who does not only put up with her, but understands her. While they may not actually consider each other friends yet, Veronica is 100% the closest thing Cheryl has to one. In fact, Veronica is the only person Cheryl says an official 'goodbye' to before attempting suicide.
- The Ophelia: After Jason's death she has become more and more mentally unhinged, sleeping in Jason's bed and showing up to deliver Jason's eulogy while gliding down the aisle with a glazed expression in the same white dress she wore at Sweet Water on the Fourth of July for examples. And then she tries to drown herself, and lets herself be carried away by the river, just like the trope namer.
- Pet the Dog:
- Offers Betty a sincere apology when she discovers that the Slut-Shaming that the football team has been doing is something that Jason did to Betty's sister. Bear in mind that she suspected Polly of being responsible for Jason's death and has found no evidence that proves her wrong.
- She also convinces Josie to meet with Archie about his music after he vouches for her and confirms her gunshot story.
- She also warns Polly to not accept her parents' help when she realizes that they would force Polly out of her baby's life.
- Reformed, but Not Tamed: At the end of the first season, Cheryl becomes humbled enough that she eventually apologizes to Jughead for how she mistreated him and even makes up with the Archie gang, seemingly for good. However, that doesn't stop her from still doing downright insane and dangerous things like setting her entire mansion on fire and burning it to the ground as her mother screams at her on the side.
- Related in the Adaptation: It's revealed in 1.12 that her ancestors and the Cooper's were brothers, Thus making her and Jason distant cousins with Betty and Polly.
- Rich Bitch: Her family is one of the wealthiest in Riverdale, and she flaunts it at every opportunity, from taking over school dances to holding lavish parties in her mansion and then forcing her guests to cater to her every whim.
- She's Got Legs: She does indeed and she exposes them by wearing short shorts or very short skirts. She also wears high heels to make them appear longer.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Like Veronica and Betty, Cheryl develops a minor attraction to Archie partially because he has a strong physical resemblance to her late brother, but also because he's a goodhearted, kind and noble person who's willing to see the good in others. She even ends up kissing him because he was willing to see past her Ice Queen facade.
- Stepford Smiler: At first she seems to just be playing the grieving sister act for leverage at school and otherwise acts like her average, bitchy self. Come 1.02 where she realizes that Jason is really dead, and she breaks down in tears.
- Thicker Than Water: Cheryl had a very deep and strong relationship with her twin brother Jason and she would've done anything for him simply because he's her twin brother and they are blood. Plus, it also helps that Jason was the one person who loved Cheryl unconditionally in her family unlike her Abusive Parents who didn't show any kind of love towards her.
- Third-Option Love Interest: She's the trope image for a reason. Lets Archie know that with her nothing's off limits...
Cheryl: [coyly] Except for my body.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: She eventually decides to team up with Chuck to get back at Archie, Veronica, and the gang, setting up a party which ends up making Jughead miserable, embarrassing Archie with Valerie as a side effect, humiliating Betty, and even getting Jughead injured in a fight with Chuck. Made especially heinous because early on, Cheryl was shown to be horrified by the actions of Chuck and his crew when they slut shamed girls.
- Twincest: The aesthetic of twincest is played with a lot. In the opening scene (their Establishing Character Moment) Cheryl and Jason are framed like a couple: Wearing coordinated clothes, holding hands, going on what looks like a Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date, all with a love song paying. Later, there are continued alludes to this. Cheryl once describes Jason as her "soulmate". They are seen in a flashback Sweetheart Sipping. After loosing him, Cheryl is referred to as a "Red Widow". There also shades of twincest in Cheryl's interest in Archie, because Archie resembles Jason so much. (It doesn't help that the Blossom parents are on board with, this while also treating Archie like a stand-in for Jason.) Twincest is mentioned by name by Veronica in 1.10. But subverted as it seems that Jason was not with Cheryl: He was very much with Polly, and determined to be her even at a high cost. Madelaine Putsch has said that their relationship was overly close, but not romantic. Cheryl's parents are horrible, and she doesn't have any true friends—Jason was the only person who ever really loved her, so the slightly obsessive nature of their relationship stems from there.
Madelaine Petsch : On the set we call it twincest. There is... we do play on that just a hair. He's the only person that ever understood her and loved her unconditionally, and so she's never had that love before, so she doesn't know how to feel about it. So it's a lot of different emotions she's trying to figure out. She's never had a boyfriend before, so this is just like her person.
- The Unfavorite: While Jason is treated like a saint by the two, Cheryl's parents are incredibly dismissive and harsh with Cheryl.
- Of course, it becomes suspect just how well Clifford and Penelope Blossom actually treated their son in life Once it's revealed that his father shot him for threatening to expose his illegal business practices.
- Villainesses Want Heroes: Downplayed. Cheryl has a minor attraction to Archie and has even flirted with him and kissed him once. But she's also willing to treat him like dirt and throw him to the wolves for her own benefit.
- Villainous Crush: Cheryl has a minor attraction or crush to Archie, but much of her attraction to him is because he reminds her of her beloved later twin brother Jason and the fact that'e a genuinely Nice Guy.
- Woman in White: Cheryl frequently wears red but she's also seen wearing a lot of white clothing. Sometimes she wears both red and white colors together.
Josephine "Josie" McCoy
Played by: Ashleigh MurrayAn ambitious musician and lead singer of Josie & The Pussycats, and Cheryl's closest friend.
- Adaptational Dye Job: Comic!Josie has red hair similar to Archie, but TV!Josie has jet black hair due to a Race Lift.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Downplayed. In the comics, Josie is much nicer and she gets along with Archie right off the bat. But on the show she's much more of a Lovable Alpha Bitch who has her bitchy and catty moments and starts out not caring for Archie. However, Josie Took a Level in Kindness later on and she eventually comes to like Archie and befriend him.
- Adaptational Personality Change: Normally Josie and the Pussycats get along with the Archies, with Josie herself even serving as something of a Distaff Counterpart to Archie and with Valerie as a Third-Option Love Interest. Here she's much more dismissive initially, due to seeing him as a distraction for her/the band. She shows signs of genuine kindness though and actually develops some respect for him by the end of Season 1.
- Advertised Extra: She's listed as a part of the Main Cast, and shows up in advertising as such, but currently Kevin, a supposed recurring character, has a higher episode count than she does. 1.06 corrects this in having her & the band as the center of the episode... only for subsequent episodes to immediately render her nothing more than a background character. See Out of Focus.
- Brutal Honesty: Josie always says exactly what is on her mind and she is very honest and opinionated.
- Cat Eared Headband: Like all of the members of Josie and The Pussycats, Josie wears a cat eared headband as it's part of the band's attic and signature. They are named after cats of course.
- The Cheerleader: Joins the cheerleading squad under Cheryl's insistence in Season 2.
- The Cutie: Despite her occasional bitchy moments, Josie is actually very loveable and endearing. The fact that she wears a Cat Eared Headband adds to her adorable qualities.
- Control Freak: Very, very much towards the other Pussycats. Valerie calls her out on it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Josie specializes in snarkiness and sarcasm.
Josie to Archie: "Read my glossed lips, Justin Gingerlake. Not gonna happen.''
- Face of the Band: Of Josie & The Pussycats. Valerie and Melody don't even speak for the first two episodes.
- Freudian Excuse: The reason she's hostile towards Archie is due to her experiences with racism, particularly her mother's difficult time in the mayor's office. Archie, being a white guy, would have a much easier time pursuing music professionally, but was still trying to coast off of the Pussycats, which offended her greatly because he didn't seem to realize what he was doing. Her father, a jazz musician himself, doesn't respect her pop music and makes that known fairly often despite not being around much at all.
- Idol Singer: Downplayed, but her band is quite well-received at Riverdale High and has played two school events, thanks to Cheryl's machinations.
- When Archie comes to the Pussycats to see if they can take a look at some of his lyrics, Josie takes the time to insult and belittle him before sending him on his way.
- It extends even further beyond this in later episodes, where Josie antagonizes one of her own band members for working with Archie to help him improve his music (as well as antagonizing them for being anything less than perfect when performing).
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Josie may be ruthlessly single minded, a strict perfectionist and sometimes arrogant, but she truthfully isnt a bad person. She's genuinely friends with Cheryl, and softens up towards Archie when he acknowledges that, being a white guy, he doesn't understand the discrimination Josie and her mom have dealt with. Really, if she’s being nasty it’s a sign that something much more serious is going on in her personal life.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Josie has her Alpha Bitch moments and she can be somewhat catty and bitchy at times. But she's still ultimately a Nice Girl with a friendly personality. Just don't get on her bad side.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Josie is short for Josephine, as she was named after Josephine Baker.
- Nice Girl: Despite her occasional bitchy moments, Josie is a generally nice and caring person.
- Out of Focus: A consequence of Ashleigh Murray filming a movie during the first season.
- The Prima Donna: Downplayed. When it comes to singing and her music, Josie is extremely picky and very much a perfectionist. If someone in the Pussycats isn't performing up to par, she can become very bitchy and demanding. She'll also have no problem kicking someone out of the band if they aren't performing up to their potential. Despite this, Josie's demands about the band are reasonable.
- Race Lift: Josie is traditionally portrayed as white, but black here.
- Sassy Black Woman: Josie is extremely sassy and will not hesitate to speak exactly what's on her mind. She's most definitely someone who has a penchant for Brutal Honesty.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Comes to be more respectful toward Archie and his music by season's end.
- "Well Done, Daughter!" Gal: She feels this way towards her father. Whenever her dad is in town, she becomes obsessed with earning his approval. Sadly, her dad dismisses her interest in pop instead of jazz, to the point of walking out during a show.
Reginald "Reggie" Mantle
Played by: Ross Butler (season 1), Charles Melton (season 2)The top jock at Riverdale High, and Archie's nemesis.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's the leader of his high school clique and is strong enough to knock Archie out with one punch.
- Big Man on Campus: Reggie seems to think of himself is this, but he actually comes across as more of The Bully.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Reggie is very outgoing, loud, and extroverted. Everything that he does is excessive and over the top. He's very much a large presence in how he presents himself.
- Book Dumb: Along with being a Dumb Jock. Reggie doesn't care about his studies all that much and he's probably pulling average grades. He's much more passionate about football and partying.
- Brutal Honesty: Reggie is extremely blunt and frank and he says exactly what's on his mind no matter how mean or unpleasant it is.
- The Bully: He spends a lot of his time teasing, taunting and bullying Archie and Jughead unnecessarily. Part of his Jerk Jock personality.
- The Captain: Of the Riverdale Bulldogs football team. Reggie became the captain of the team after Archie decided to give the position to Reggie because he wanted to focus on more of his music instead of football.
- Casanova Wannabe: Downplayed. Reggie will flirt with any attractive girl who gets his attention. Whilst he is a handsome man, and his efforts are sometimes reciprocated, most of the time he’s just too forward. He’s somewhat envious of Archie’s ease at attracting woman, but refuses to admit it.
- Cool Car: Reggie owns a vintage Chevrolet Camaro. He uses it when going out on patrol for the Red Circle, and later lends it to Jughead to drag race the Ghoulies .
- Deadpan Snarker: He seriously rivals Jughead with how snarky and sarcastic he is.
- Delinquent: As Chapter 15 reveals, Reggie sometimes deals drugs, especially Jingle-jangle, hooking up several members of the student body. He starts providing Archie with some, due to him having trouble staying awake whilst acting sentry
- Demoted to Extra: He was a part of the Main Crew in the comics, but in this iteration he's a recurring character during season one due to Ross Butler being busy elsewhere. For season two he has been recast and will presumably be around much more often.
- Didn't Think This Through: He decides to play a prank on Archie by dressing up as the Black Hood and going to his house. Not only is this in very poor taste considering that the Black Hood almost murdered Archie’s father, but since then Archie has become obsessed with protecting his family and putting an end to the Black Hood. Naturally, his first response is to charge Reggie and try to beat him senseless.
- Dumb Jock: Reggie is more concerned with football and sleeping around than about studying. Plus, he's not the most intelligent guy on the playground.
- Entitled Bastard: Considering that he's presumably wealthy, it's understandable why Reggie displays such a spoiled and entitled attitude.
- Foil: To Archie. Both of them are athletes but Reggie is a Jerk Jock while Archie is a Lovable Jock. Reggie is Tall, Dark, and Snarky while Archie is a Redheaded Hero. Reggie is presumably wealthy and rich while Archie is middle class and financially struggling.
- Frat Bro: Reggie displays frat bro behaviour as he's a Jerk Jock and a Dumb Jock all rolled into one. He also takes pleasure in partying, drinking and sleeping around with girls.
- Frenemy:He mocks, bullies and jeers at Archie every opportunity he gets. He also hangs out with him whenever he can, is his loudest supporter in facing the Black Hood and seems to think he’s Archie’s best friend at times.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Part of the reason why Reggie constantly picks on Archie the way he does is because he has some jealousy towards him and feels like he's a big threat to his athletic prowess. Reggie is also threatened by Archie's popularity and appeal to the opposite sex.
- Good Counterpart: To Chuck Clayton. They’re both popular Jerk Jocks on the football team, who have a reputation for skirt chasing and antagonising the main cast. However, Reggie is a harmless Casanova Wannabe, as well as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who normally resorts to nothing more than jeering and mocking the main cast, when he’s not joining up to help or just hanging out them.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: Reggie can go from being an Arch-Enemy and rival for Archie to more of a Frenemy to Archie and being Vitriolic Best Buds with him who genuinely has some degree of concern and Pet the Dog moments with him.
- Hot-Blooded: Reggie is hot headed, impulsive, reckless, passionate and boisterous.
- Hunk: Reggie combines this with being a Pretty Boy because there's also emphasis on his athleticism and him being physically fit.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Far from the nicest student but he wasn't wrong when he told Archie that he needed to sit out once he noticed that Archie had a hurt hand. And he turned out to be right because Archie's insistence on playing did make things worse for his hand later on.
- His warning Archie about trying to confront the Black Hood, pointing out he’s an armed criminal who’ll happy kill people and that Archie trying to take him on with a baseball bat is near suicide. Unfortunately, this inspires Archie to get a gun.
- Jerk Jock: Constantly bullies Archie and Jughead.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: To a tee. Reggie is happy to mock and bully others, but the second things become serious and there is a chance someone could get hurt, he snaps out of it and shows a more caring side, taking safety both on the football field and in life quite seriously. Examples include him sincerely advising Archie to sit out when he injuries his hand, offering him his full support when Fred’s in the hospital, or visiting Moose when he’s injured.
- Last-Name Basis: Reggie frequently calls Archie by his last name "Andrews" than by his first name. The reason why he does this is because it's much more insulting and disrespectful.
- The Lancer: Reggie is Archie’s loudest supporter in forming the Red Circle to keep Riverdale safe from the Black Hood and immediately takes the position of unofficial second in command. He is the one who partners up with Archie when they go out on patrol.
- Mr. Fanservice: Since Reggie is Tall, Dark, and Handsome, it's understandable why he would be appealing to the female fans.
- Pet the Dog: Despite being a Jerk Jock, he's had some sympathetic moments such as when he showed genuine concern for Archie playing football with an injured arm. He had told Archie that he should sit out of the gamed so that his injury doesn't become worse. Archie, however, interpreted Reggie's concern as him being threatened by Archie's athletic ability on the football field. It's a moment like this that make Reggie more of a Frenemy than a full on Arch-Enemy to Archie.
- Preppy Name: His full name is Reginald Mantle. Reginald is commonly given to preppy, snobbish male characters. It's fitting since Reggie is a rich kid in the comics.
- Pretty Boy: Come on, have you seen Reggie and his portrayer Charles Melton? The guy is so pretty that he could easily be a model.
- Race Lift: His counterpart in the comics is white, but both of the actors portraying him are of mixed race Asian descent
- Season one he is portrayed by Ross Butler who is of mixed European and Asian heritage (British Dutch father and Indonesian mother).
- Season two he is portrayed by Charles Melton who is of Korean, white and Cherokee descent.
- Red Baron: Reggie has given himself the nickname (more like title) "Mantle The Magnificent", showing Reggie's arrogant and cocky personality.
- The Snark Knight: Reggie seems to thrive on making sarcastic and snarky comments. There's never a time that he's not being sarcastic. He almost rivals Jughead in this department.
- Spoiled Brat: Reggie is supposedly wealthy like his comic book counterpart and he definitely displays spoiled tendencies.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Reggie is tall, handsome and athletic even though his personality isn't so pleasant.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: He's Tall, Dark, and Handsome and oh so snarky and sarcastic.
- Those Two Guys: With Moose Mason. They are very close friends and they are always seen together.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Only one episode after Archie gave up the potential position of football captain to Reggie, Reggie still continues to be verbally antagonistic towards Archie, making fun of him as he tries to play music live.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Seems to swing back and forth between supporting Archie and mocking him.
- Wrench Whack: Takes to carrying a large wrench around with him when he goes out on patrol for the Red Circle, just in case they run into the Black Hood.
Played by: Casey CottA popular (and openly gay) student at Riverdale High who is the son of the town sheriff.
- Adaptational Dye Job: Blond in the comics, but dark-haired here.
- Adorkable: Kevin definitely has his adorable and endearing moments, such as when he's tagging along trying to solve a mystery or when he's supporting his friends. His endearing qualities add to the very reason why he's such a popular guy to begin with.
- Alliterative Name: Kevin Keller. His first name and his last name both start with the same letter, which is K.
- All Gays Are Promiscuous: Averted. Kevin's not the type to act promiscuous and hook up with every single hot guy that comes his way despite being a typical red-blooded male that likes to ogle hot guys (like Archie for example). He's definitely more of a long term romantic relationship type of guy, as seen when it comes to his relationship with Joaquin.
- Badass Gay: His first response to hearing multiple gunshots, whilst knowing a lunatic is on the loose, is to run towards them.
- Camp Gay: In direct contrast with his comic book counterpart, who is very much a Straight Gay character, this Kevin plays up the gay stereotypes a lot more. It's hinted that he's doing it deliberately. Although, its zig-zagged in that the campiness is more subdued than a lot of other cases in fiction.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: He seems to hit it off with teenage member of the Southside Serpents, who are a biker gang in conflict with Sheriff Keller, Kevin's dad.
- Deadpan Snarker: Definitely has his share of witty and snarky comebacks. He's often the one to provide a degree of light hearted humor in a rather angst-ridden environment.
- Fake Guest Star: Has appeared in every episode (unlike main characters Josie and Cheryl), is often seen hanging around with the main characters and even has a fleshed out love storyline. Yet he isn't part of the main cast, at least until Casey Cott is given main billing in Season 2.
- Formerly Fat: In season 2 Cheryl says to Betty that he used to be overweight, and is still insecure of his attractiveness.
- Gay Best Friend: Lampshaded by Cheryl.
Kevin: Is cheerleading still a thing?
Cheryl: Is being the gay best friend still a thing?
- Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: Kevin clearly showed that he was attracted to Archie, but this mostly amounts to acknowledging he’s hot. He also has some ship tease with Moose.
- Hidden Depths: Despite his camp personality, Kevin apparently really enjoys wrestling, planning on joining the school’s wrestling team once he bulks up enough.
- Mr. Fanservice: Casey Cott is very easy on the eyes, and he has his share of steamy make-out sessions with some other attractive guys.
- Nice Guy: He's one of Betty's best friends, and is very kind and friendly. Certainly less screwed up than most of his peers.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: A few times, most notably his first interaction with Veronica where he mentions how everyone in town has heard about the allegations against her dad.
- Out of Focus: Ironically, after being Promoted to Opening Titles, he gets relegated to the background, apart from 2x03, and even then the plot is made about Betty.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Starting in Season 2.
- School Idol: He's well-liked at Riverdale High.
- Shipper on Deck: He's very vocal about his belief that Archie and Betty belong together.
Played by: Trevor StinesCheryl's late twin brother. His death kicks off the events of the first season.
- Affectionate Nick Name: Cheryl sometimes refers to him as JJ.
- Big Brother Instinct: Played with, as he was Cheryl's twin, not her big brother, but nevertheless he was incredibly loving and protective of his sister.
Cheryl: Even though we were twins, I used to demand I have my own birthday party. Until one year, out of the blue, Jason convinced me we had to combine them into one. It wasn't until years later I found out why: It was because no one wanted to come to mine, and Jason didn't want me to know. [starts crying] He protected me, ever single day.
- Big Man on Campus: He was very popular when he was alive, and on the football team.
- Broken Pedestal: Serves as one to Cheryl when she finds out he participated in the playbook and did indeed hurt Polly.
- Faking the Dead: His original plan. Then he got shot for real.
- Jerk Jock: While none of the students have spoken ill of him, Alice insists that he is a sociopath who destroyed her daughter Polly for kicks, although it's hard to take her account at face value. It becomes more complicated in later episodes, when it's revealed that Jason entered his and Polly's name into the football team's "playbook," indicating he saw her as just another conquest. But it is then revealed that he was in fact planning to run off with and marry her, retroactively implying he may have just been trying to save face with his buddies. Overall, considering almost no one talks about him as an individual much besides Cheryl, it's really not clear at all what sort of person Jason was in life.
- In Love with the Mark: He put an entry on Polly in the football team's playbook like any other conquest, only to end up giving her a wedding ring and make plans to run away together.
- Morality Chain: Cheryl's not a nice person, but she does truly love and miss her brother.
- Pet the Dog: No matter what else he may have done, planning to marry Polly after he got her pregnant is a surprisingly mature and good response to it, given that he was a teenage boy with at least a couple Jerk Jock tendencies. Bear in mind that at the time, neither his nor Polly's parents were pushing him into it—it was his and Polly's own idea.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Much of the drama in the show stems from his death.
- Posthumous Character: Even though the show begins with his death, the audience continues to learn more about him as the series progresses.
- The Runaway: 1.03 reveals that he planned to run away, and Cheryl was in on it. His death threw a wrench into that plan, obviously.
- Secret Relationship: Whatever happened between him and Polly, he cared enough about her that he wanted to marry her.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: He and Polly seemed to have really loved each other, but their parents did everything to keep them apart.
- Surprise Incest: It is revealed that the Cooper family used to be a part of the Blossom family, and that Jason and Polly's great-grandfathers were brothers. This makes them third cousins. (Third cousins share less than 1% of their genes—0.78% exactly—and can legally marry everywhere.) The Blossoms don't think it's really a big deal; the Coopers still find it very squicky.
- The Voiceless: So far, we haven't heard him speak, even in a flashback.
Marmaduke "Moose" Mason
Played by: Cody KearsleyOne of Riverdale High's jocks, and a closeted bisexual trying to get in a relationship with Kevin.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Blond in the comics, brunet in the show.
- Adaptational Wimp: In the comics, Moose is the biggest, toughest guy in all of Riverdale, and everybody is afraid of incurring his legendary bad temper. In the show, whilst still strong and brave, Moose shows no signs of being any different to the other football players, whilst Archie and Reggie come across as a lot tougher than him.
- Armoured Closet Gay: A macho football player, Moose continually denies that he is gay or bi, even as he sexually pursues Kevin. He talks to Kevin about it in Chapter 16, pointing out how hard it is living in such a small town. Whilst most people are open minded, there still is a lot of bigotry under the surface and there is virtually no one else like them.
- Badass Gay: Technically bisexual. When the Black Hood comes at them with a gun, Moose’s first response is to throw himself in front of Midge, trying to shield her. He succeeds to the point that Midge escapes completely unharmed.
- Big Man on Campus: Like Reggie and the late Jason, he's popular due to being on the football team.
- Bi the Way: He's attracted to both Midge (his current girlfriend) and Kevin.
- Lovable Jock: With the exception of Archie, Moose is easily the nicest member of the Bull dogs, being a cheerful, friendly fella.
- Made of Iron: Played With. He survives being shot four times by the Black Hood. Although he is hospitalised almost immediately, he’s still in amazingly good shape the very next day. But it still takes him months to recover, including physical therapy and he needs a clutch to walk after being released.
- Nice Guy: Moose is a big softy, being constantly friendly and cheerful with everyone. He volunteers to help out Fred when, due to financial problems, he can’t get any workers and has a big project due.
- Unlucky Extra: So far, Moose is a minor character whose luck is utterly terrible. He finds Jason’s dead body whilst trying to hook up, gets beaten senseless by vandals whilst volunteering to help Fred’s construction work, and is shot numerous times by the Black Hood.
- Ship Tease: Has had more than a little with Kevin, with the two almost hooking up in the very first episode and sharing a heart to heart about the difficulties of not being straight in such a small town in Chapter 16. Moose even invites Kevin to come back to visit him at any time.
- Your Cheating Heart: He's in a relationship with Midge but propositions Kevin and makes out with Cheryl at Jughead's birthday party.
Played by: Jordan CallowayThe captain of the football team and son of Coach Clayton.
- Adaptational Personality Change: He's not the Nice Guy comic book artist of the comics. Not by a long shot.
- Adaptational Villainy: Nice Guy in the comics, sexist cyberbully here.
- The Atoner: In season 2, he sincerely wants to make up for his crimes before Betty put him in his place.
- Big Man on Campus: The son of Riverdale High's coach, good-looking and on the short list for Ivy League schools apparently.
Kevin: It's like dating a Kennedy!
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He's nice enough to Veronica before he gets what he wants from her.
- Butt-Monkey: Scarcely anything good happens to him whenever he appears. He walks right into Betty and Veronica's honey trap; he gets drugged and chained up in the Jacuzzi, Betty pours maple syrup on his head and nearly boils him, and he is ultimately humiliated into admitting his wrongdoings, leading to him getting kicked off the football team. Later on at Archie's birthday party, Betty and Jughead both physically attack Chuck, and FP forcibly boots Chuck out of the house after his fight with Jughead. The next time we see Chuck, he seems genuinely remorseful over his past actions and is trying to make up for them, only nobody around him believes him, and he gets falsely accused of being Josie's stalker. And then at the wrestling team, Archie beats Chuck in their first match together, despite Archie being much less experienced and in a lower weight class.
- Cassandra Truth: In season 2, he's genuinely trying to turn over a new leaf, taking art lessons, going to church and generally being a nice person. Unfortunately, those around him don't buy it.
- Evil Counterpart: To Reggie. They’re both popular Jerk Jocks on the football team who have a reputation for skirt casing and antagonise the main cast. However, Chuck is a misogynistic Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, who happily uses slut shaming and cyberbullying to ruin numerous girls’ reputations, perpetuates a system of sexist ranking and openly wants to make the main cast suffer.
- Jerkass: Openly cyberbullies most of the girls he dates, and some of those he doesn't.
- Jerk Jock: One of the stars of the Bulldogs, who has a habit of giving the girls he dates, and those he doesn't a "Sticky Maple."
- Reformed, but Rejected: Sorry, Chuck, but no matter how sincere you might be, people aren't going to believe that a former misogynistic, slut-shaming cyberbully has changed, nor are you going to be forgiven so easily.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The reason he can get away with humiliating and mistreating girls is because he's the football coach's son. Once Betty publishes concrete proof of his wrongdoings, however, his father is forced to cut him from the team to cover his ass.
- Slut-Shaming: A part of a circle, that openly does so to many of the girls on campus.
- Smug Snake: Believes his status and his family relationships will let him get away with anything.
- Underestimating Badassery: He makes it clear he doesn't think Archie is in his league when Archie joins the wrestling team. However, this comes back to bite him as Archie improves after receiving extra lessons from Kevin and beats Chuck in a match.
Played by: Major CurdaThe smartest kid in town and a Boy Scout leader.
- Adaptational Badass: Dilton in the comics is a shy science nerd. In the show Dilton is a Crazy Survivalist, and a competent Gun Nut.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Downplayed. Dilton isn’t a jerk, but he still lacks his comic counterpart’s overall friendliness, being much more aloof and cool towards others. He’s likewise really hard on his scout group.
- Alliterative Name: Dilton Doiley. Both his names start with the letter D.
- Crazy Survivalist: Dilton is obsessed with surviving the impending crises he believes are coming, using them as a justification to treat his Scout group like they’re in the military.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: He runs his Boy Scout troop like a military hardass.
- Informed Ability: Whilst possessing a nerdish physique, so far Dilton hasn’t demonstrated any of his comic counterpart’s high intelligence despite supposedly being the smartest teenager in Riverdale.
- Race Lift: Traditionally white, but is portrayed as by a mixed Asian actor.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Dilton is paranoid about the government taking away his rights, believing that an upcoming conflict with them is inevitable. For this reason, he has taken to forcing his Scout group to prepare, and stockpiling guns.
- Token Evil Teammate: Downplayed. Dilton is far from evil, but of the members of the Red Circle, he’s overall the most paranoid and antisocial.
Played by: Shannon PurserA girl who is drawn into a friendship with Betty and Veronica due to wanting to out the unsavory actions of the school's jocks.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: After Archie, she's had the most extreme makeover, not looking anything like her comic book counterpart.
- Adaptational Curves: The term "voluptuous" isn't something you'd associate with Ethel in the comics; aside from being a cute with red curly hair here, she also has ample curves.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Black hair in the comics, but a redhead here.
- Adaptational Name Change: Comic!Ethel's original last name was Ethel Dinkelhof, but in the show Ethel's last name is simply just Muggs (which is a Dutch name). Ethel told Veronica that she originally had three G's in her last name but her grandfather had one of the G's removed.
- Green-Eyed Monster: She didn't get the role of Carrie and is bitter towards the leads of the play (Cheryl and then Midge).
- Nice Girl: Kind and friendly, and unlike her mother Ethel doesn't blame Veronica when she finds out Hiram Lodge was indirectly responsible for her father's attempted suicide.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: She helped Chuck with a math problem, and in return, he spread nasty rumors about her.
- Odd Friendship: Popular girl Veronica takes a liking to her and goes to bat for her when she finds out about the scorebook.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In Season 2. She publicly humiliates Veronica (who has always been so nice to her and continues to do so) and is bitterly jealous that she didn't get the role of Carrie to the point that Jughead suspects she must be writing threatening letters to the high school production.
Played by: Haley LawThe songwriter and keyboardist for the Pussycats.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Downplayed. When breaking up with Archie, she makes it as quick as possible while still making her annoyance clear. However, when he pushes the issue, she angrily splashes her drink on him and flat-out tells him he's a "hot mess". Later, after he saves Cheryl from suicide and Josie expresses her gratitude by offering to play Archie's song at the Jubilee, Valerie is seen smiling, suggesting she doesn't harbor any long-term resentment.
- The Confidant: To Archie, supporting him and giving him advice about his music aspirations.
- Third-Option Love Interest: Becomes increasingly close to Archie, culminating in them kissing in 1.06. The relationship lasts for a few more episodes, until Archie screws up and she quickly dumps him.
- Token Good Teammate: Is the nicest to Archie so far, as Josie is ambivalent about him and Melody rarely speaks.
Played by: Emilija BaranacMoose's girlfriend.
- Boyish Short Hair: Has short black hair that doesn’t go past her cheeks.
- The Cheerleader: Midge is also a Riverdale Vixen, and is shown practicing with them. She’s also dating Moose, who’s on the football team.
- Good Bad Girl: Is introduced buying drugs to take with her boyfriend, and Moose claims she likes to get wild sometimes. Nevertheless, she is a friendly person and seems quite popular, with numerous people being shocked when she almost gets shot.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Midge is crucified by the Black Hood, and stabbed multiple times with scissors in the school play episode.
Miss Geraldine Grundy (Jennifer Gibson)
Played by: Sarah HabelThe music teacher at Riverdale High. She had a relationship with Archie over the summer.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the comics, she was a middle aged frumpster, but this one is young and gorgeous. Eventually subverted as the real Grundy died years ago, with the real one looking more like her mainstream counterpart.
- Age Lift: Much younger than her comic counterpart. This is due to her being an imposter.
- Asshole Victim: Knowing her manipulative character, to say nothing of preying on underage people, it's hard to feel much sympathy when she gets killed by the Angel of Death.
- Back for the Dead: She returns in the closing scene of the first episode of season 2, only to be killed at its finish.
- Betty and Veronica: There's a case to be made that she is Archie's Veronica, Veronica is his Betty, and Betty herself is a non-contender as the Unlucky Childhood Friend. However, it remains unclear how much of a relationship they can have, considering the legal and moral issues.
- Canon Character All Along: Inverted. We all thought she was an age lifted version of her comic counterpart, but were wrong.
- Female Gaze: Enjoys gazing at young fit men.
- Hot Teacher: Is a very gorgeous young woman enough to attract the interest of Archie's dad as well.
- Manipulative Bitch: Jughead believes her to be this. He might have a point, considering the pressure she puts on Archie to keep the evidence they have under wraps.
- Mysterious Past: As it turns out she has one. Her name isn't really Geraldine Grundy, and she claims to have escaped an abusive relationship as the excuse for her fake identity.
- Teacher/Student Romance: She and Archie had an affair over the summer that she wants to keep under wraps. Its implied she might have had something similar with Jason before his death, and as she's leaving town she's shown admiring some other teenage boys, hinting she's done this before. The series 2 premiere confirms that this is definitely her m.o. as she is seeing kissing another teenage music student of hers, Ben.
- Walking Spoiler: It's nigh impossible to talk about Ms. Grundy without giving away the huge spoiler pertaining to her true identity.
- Whole Costume Reference: The red heart-shaped sunglasses from her first and last scenes allude to the onss featured in the advertising/poster for Stanley Kubrick's 1962 Lolita adaptation.
Mr. Waldo Weatherbee
Played by: Peter BryantThe principal at Riverdale High.
- Adaptational Curves: Inverted. He doesn't have the huge gut of the character he's based upon.
- Race Lift: He's usually portrayed as white, but is now black here.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Zig-zagged. He does everything he can to keep things stable at the school. He also encourages Archie to speak up if he knows anything about Jason's murder, but doesn't force him to come clean. However, he can also be quite grouchy and a hardass. Demonstrated when he acts very condescending toward Betty and lashes out at her for asking for help with homecoming decorations, and he very harshly interrogates, blames, and tries to suspend Jughead for the murder of Jason after his father gets arrested.