Riverdale is as full of Ho Yay as it is maple syrup.
Betty and Veronica
- Veronica takes an almost instant liking to Betty after having just met her, and instantly jumps to her defense, telling Cheryl they come as a "matching set".
- Veronica's solution to Cheryl not liking their cheer audition? Lay a big smooch on a bewildered Betty. Betty herself looks a little stunned afterwards. It's also worth mentioning that the soundtrack that accompanies the kiss implies that the kiss is serious, right until the kiss stops and Musicalis Interruptus.
- Veronica trying to make up with Betty after their fight at the end of 1.01 comes across as someone trying to get back together with their girlfriend. She even sends her a bouquet of apology roses and signs the card "XOXO, V".
- Veronica's jaw drops at seeing Betty in lingerie in 1.03. There are two people there to see Betty like this: Veronica and Chuck. No one's pretending Chuck doesn't look interested. And his expression and Veronica's are exactly the same.
- If the above scene makes it sound one-sided, that is disproven by the way Betty looked at Veronica and Cheryl during their dance-off.
- When Betty and Veronica are fighting, Veronica confesses to Archie that she feels like being Betty's friend is her destiny. She even compares losing Betty to missing a train headed towards the rest of her life. Many, many viewers have pointed out that Veronica is basically calling Betty her soulmate.Veronica: Even though I only just met Betty, it really felt like we were meant to be best friends, like... like it was our destiny. And now... [sigh] It's like there was this train, that was heading to the rest of my life, and I just... missed it.
- The scene in 1.02 when Betty asks Cheryl to hang out after school to get back at Veronica, and then Betty and Cheryl walk away holding hands, complete with Betty maintaining eye contact with Veronica the entire time and Veronica looking terribly agitated. The whole scene really, really comes across like Betty is trying to make Veronica jealous by "rebounding" on Cheryl.
- In A Night To Remember, Betty and Veronica repair their friendship by singing You Shine from Carrie: The Musical, which is a love song between Tommy and Sue.
Archie and Jughead
- During their falling out, it was pointed out that the way Archie and Jughead acted around each other was less like two people who have stopped being friends and more like ex-boyfriends. After the reveal as to why Archie and Jughead had a falling out (F.P., Jugheads father, was stealing supplies from Fred Andrewss construction company, so some harsh words being exchanged between Archie and Jughead) the behaviour is justified: They didnt just outgrow their friendship, but were two people who wanted to remain friends, but didnt know how to move past the unpleasant circumstances. In hindsight, this doesnt make Ho Yay vibes lessen.
- The Ho Yay between Archie and Jughead has only increased since they've mended their friendship.
- On his birthday, Jughead intended to go to the movies with Archie rather than his girlfriend. He also wasn't enthused when Archie insisted he take Betty instead.
- Canonically, Archie refers to Jughead as his brother, and at times their behaviour does resemble that of siblings rather than that of friends.
- In 2.07, Archie tells Jughead he has a fantasy of them living together in New York city. Just to really ramp up the Ho Yay, Archie says that in this scenario, their girlfriends aren't living with them, but rather with each other—a la Ship Mates.Archie: You know, I had this stupid idea. After graduation, instead of going to college, we'd both move to New York. You were this writer, and I'd be this musician, and we'd both live in like the East Village or something. Just doing our thing.
Jughead: Pretty sure the East Village doesn't exist anymore. [beat] Where are Betty and Veronica in this scenario?
Archie: They're roommates on Park Avenue.
Josie and... several girlsJosie seems to have subtext with all the girls she has any kindness toward.
- Cheryl: Cheryl seems to be the only one able to ask for Josie and the Pussycats to perform at the drop of a hat, and in 1.02, the Pussycats perform a rather sexual rendition of "Sugar, Sugar" while keeping the she/her pronouns. In the extended version of the performance, Cheryl even comes up on stage to sing the song with Josie. After that, its only because of Cheryl that Josie will give Archie a chance with his music, with Josie even calling her "my girl".
- Josie is very physical in her comforting Cheryl after her experience of nearly being raped by Nick.
- Goes into Yandere territory in 2.07, where it's hinted that Cheryl was the one who left the threatening note and pig's heart for Josie out of jealousy that she went on a date with Chuck. And in the following episode Cheryl is very quick to offer Josie a rubdown to untense her back muscles in the girls' shower room. And she accepts.
- Veronica: Veronica and Josie have a quite sensual dance in "In a Lonely Place", which Kevin even calls "going Black Swan."
- Valerie: Josie and Valerie are also very close.
- Let's not forget that Valerie is the song writer and possibly wrote the song "Sugar Sugar" which is essentially a song about how attractive another girl is, one with long legs and brown eyes... hmmm...
- In Chapter 20, Josie is working on the song "Spooky". The song is originally by Chris Montez, and in his version, the line go "a spooky little girl like you." Josie is shown singing it as both "spooky little girl" and "spooky little boy." If she sang it the original way, that wouldn't really mean much, because it's just a song. And if she changed it all the time, that would suggest straightness. But to change it partway but not all the way seems odd, deliberate, and bi.
Veronica and... several girls
- Betty: See the "Betty and Veronica" heading
- Josie: See Josie's heading
- Cheryl: There's Veronica comforting her in 1.03, all of their interactions in 1.05. Veronica is the only one to: 1) notice Cheryl's odd behavior in the days leading up to her suicide attempt, 2) figure out almost immediately what "be with Jason" means, 3) stay with Cheryl for more than five minutes after she tried to kill herself. And she seems to enjoy touching Cheryl's hair.
- Veronica seems to be checking Cheryl out for a moment during their dance-off. The dance off itself being very sexual and sexually charged.
- In 2.06 it's revealed that Veronica let Cheryl sleep over after the traumatic experience Cheryl suffered last episode, and, judging by the color of the silk pajamas Cheryl's wearing, even let Cheryl borrow some of her own pajamas.
- Also in 2.06, Veronica refers to Cheryl as "Cherry Bombshell."
- In 1x10, there's a scene that can only really be explained by Cheryl trying to make Veronica jealous. To wit, Cheryl starts dancing erotically with Moose and ends up making out with him, all while staring right at Veronica and making sure to be in her line of sight. For extra gayness, Veronica actually does seem to be a little jealous.
- In 2x17, many fans pointed out the fact that Veronica chose to wear a very revealing top for her and Toni's mission to rescue Cheryl.
- Ethel: Veronica being very protective and caring towards Ethel, and Ethel in turn even puts aside what Veronica's father did to Ethel's family in favor of their friendship.
- In 3x15, Toni and Veronica sing Call Your Girlfriend, a song wherein the narrator urges the listening to break up with their girlfriend in order to date the former, while Cheryl looks on with jealousy and seems threatened.
Cheryl and... several girlsCheryl is no different than Josie and Veronica in this regard, except that she can do subtext even while being mean.
- Josie: See Josie's heading
- Veronica: See Veronica's heading
- Betty: Of the Foe Yay variety. She really doesn't respect Betty's personal space, and is happy to straddle her lap to put makeup on in 1.02. They also held hands in the same episode, and seemingly for the purpose of making Veronica jealous at that. There's also the extremely Les Yay locker room scene in 2.02, which practically looks like the opening scene of a lesbian porn film. Not helped by the fact that Cheryl is wearing lingerie the whole time and gets rather close to Betty's face, almost like they are about to start making out.
- Polly: Cheryl went as her date to Homecoming, and campaigning for them to be co-queens of homecoming. (She says that it's because it's the next-best thing to Polly and Jason being king and queen together, but still.) Cheryl playfully calls her "naughty!" She even nicknames her "Pollykins," which, of course, evokes Veronica's nickname for Archie, "Archiekins."
- Cheryl arguably had some of this with her Girl Posse Ginger and Tina, before she "fired" them as her minions.
Reggie and Archie
- Reggie's very first scene in the first episode is complimenting Archie's new physique, and acting as his hype man for the rest of the episode. Given the theory from the old comics that he was a closeted bisexual with a crush on Archie...
- Reggie also immediately (and very enthusiastically) seconds Cheryl's vote for Archie to be the first player in Spin The Bottle. Almost as if Reggie wanted the bottle to land on himself.
- After this the two settle instead as rivals, butting heads thanks to Reggie antagonising Jughead, however despite their competition to become quarterback, the two end up treating one-another as a Worthy Opponent, Reggie going as far as to make sure Archie isn't damaging his health and Archie subsequently dropping out so Reggie could take it.
- After Reggie's recasting in the second season to allow the character more screentime, his Ho Yay with Archie has massively spiked, with him regularly making physical contact, affectionately teasing him, and being his Number Two within the Red Circle. Given their evolution into Bash Brothers, it also makes Reggie's previous antagonism towards Archie come off as more Foe Yay.
Archie and other boys
- Some fans have picked up on a certain Foe Yay between Archie and Sweet Pea.
- Archie and Dilton seem to have a picked up a habit of getting very physically close to each other, speaking in hushed tones, and maintaining eye contact way longer than necessary.
- Archie's Red Circle video is infamously homoerotic.
- In the outtakes, apropos of nothing, KJ Apa (Archie) starts holding Casey Cott's (Kevin) hand after finishing—or rather, thinking he's finished—a shot.
- Archie and Hiram may have some Foe Yay going on, particularly in "The Wrestler" and "The Hills Have Eyes." Some fans even think they have better chemistry than Varchie, which is all kinds of Freudian No Yay weirdness.
- Archie and Mad Dog.
Jughead and other boys
- There was a lot of Foe Yay between Jughead and Sweet Pea early on in the second season, with Sweet Pea showing absolutely no respect to Jughead's personal space and almost harassing Jughead into joining the Serpents. Toni even lampshades it by suggesting Sweet Pea "take the hint" that Jughead "just isn't that into you." After Jughead officially joins the Serpents a mutual respect starts to grow, although there is still some animosity and just as much sexual tension.
- There was arguably some Foe Yay between Reggie and Jughead early in the series, with Reggie going out of his way to harass Jughead and clearly putting a lot of thought into creating very specific insults for Jughead coming off almost as if he had a crush on him.
- In the early episodes of the series, fans picked up on Jughead's habit of either remembering or imagining instances of he and Jason gazing into each other's eyes from a distance for longer than necessary.
Other Ho Yay
- Fred and FP in season one gave off a lot of ex-boyfriends vibes. Their reconciliation at times comes off as a romantic one. In Chapter 39: The Midnight Club they even streak together!
- There was a ton of Foe Yay between Betty and Toni in early season 2. Toni noticeably checked Betty out in their first interaction and looked rather intrigued by her serpent dance.
- Penelope really comes off as having a crush on Sierra in Chapter 39: The Midnight Club. In particular fans noticed that Penelope never reprimanded Sierra for drawing on the mirror, nor did she demand a hall pass like she did from Alice and Hermione, despite Penelope being a rule pushing teachers pet, the way Penelope perked up when Sierra suggested playing Truth or Dare, the way she and Sierra walk down the hall with their arms linked together just like FP and Alice and Hermione and Fred do, and the fact that she specifically set up the pairs for the scavenger hunt so that she and Sierra would be alone together.
- Theres a lot of Foe Yay between Alice and Penelope. They tend to lack respect for each others personal space and have great chemistry. In the above mentioned flashback episode, Alice even responds to Penelope slapping her back by grinning and licking her lips.
- Evelyn is completely obsessed with Betty and relentlessly attempts to court her friendship, even after Betty repeatedly makes it more than clear that she wants nothing to do with Evelyn or The Farm. Evelyn also goes out of her way to touch a noticeably creeped-out Betty in the musical episode, and then there's the scene in 3x19 where Betty pins Evelyn against a wall and gets right in her face while threatening her.