- The storylines revolving around the entire core four. While the show itself has always had quite a mature tone despite the characters being teenagers, season two escalated the plots into downright outrageously levels. Keep in mind that these are supposed to be high school sophomores; Archie aspires to being a vigilante and briefly flirts with becoming a mobster; Jughead is currently the leader of a motorcycle gang; Betty has pretensions of being a great detective; Veronica has essentially become a businesswoman. In stark contrast, the supporting characters are often far more believable, which only increases the narminess. Kevin is a lonely gay teen looking for love. Reggie is a classic Dumb Jock. Cheryl is the epitome of The Cheerleader. Josie aspires to be a great musician but only plays local gigs.
- There are a number of obstacles to taking the fictional Jingle Jangle drug as seriously as everyone in the show does. First there is the cheesy name. The drug is packaged to look like pixie sticks out of all things. Nobody using them is shown to display any effects distinguishable from being slightly intoxicated, nor does anyone explicitly tell what the effects of using the drug are. The Serpents deal weed but won't touch Jingle Jangle, and it is mentioned in the same breath as heroin like it is equally serious, but there is no indication why that is.
- It gets kinda hard to take this show seriously as a dark drama when you have characters named "Geraldine Grundy", "Edgar Evernever", and "Principal Featherhead".
- In Season One, some of the parents having unhappy marriages was understandable and tragic, but by Season Three, when every marriage in the show has been revealed to be deeply unhappy (all of which also including one parent pining after another they dated in high school), it runs right past ridiculous territory into the hilarious zone.
- The town of Riverdale itself. In season one it was depicted as a quiet small town rocked by the shocking murder of maple syrup heir Jason Blossom. From season two onward it has become an epicenter of organized crime, supports multiple gangs, has serial killers, cults, rioting in the streets, been quarantined for weeks... In-universe all of this has happened within about a year and half, which is the fastest community decline you would see outside of a war zone!
- While getting revenge on Chuck, Betty decides to come out wearing a black bobbed wig. For no explainable reason. It looks goofy and the show tries to play it straight. The writers seemed to realise, as Chuck mocks Betty for how dumb it looked several episodes later.
Chapter Six: Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!
- Archie's stage fright being represented by his seeing the rest of the football team wearing werewolf masks. It's like they suddenly thought they were making a completely straight adaptation of the original comics in the middle of all the Darker and Edgier stuff.
Chapter Eight: The Outsiders
- The script's careful tiptoeing around actually using the word "abortion" when Polly reveals her father tried to make her get one, even between two adults. It's a quite bizarre descent into Never Say "Die" territory for a show that makes no bones about the central plot thread being a murder investigation.
Chapter Nine: La Grande Illusion
- Alice out of nowhere throwing a brick through the window of the Riverdale Register while yelling "I want my daughter back, you bastard!" in the most unconvincing delivery imaginable is giggle-worthy.
- Veronica breaks down crying after Ethel's dad attempted suicide because of the financial situation Hiram Lodge put him in. What puts it in narm territory is the camera zooming in, revealing that Camila Mendes has a rather goofy crying face.
Chapter Ten: The Lost Weekend
- The Veronica vs. Cheryl dance-off. Though presented as impressive, if you take out the music, the dance moves are awkward and don't flow well and seem to have only been made with the purpose of looking sexy. Especially in Veronica's case, who has a dance move where she just turns around and runs in place to present her butt.
- Jughead has many sympathetic and difficult plights in his life, but his "I'm a weirdo" speech came off as pretentious and hipster-like. Not like the entire fandom and Cole Sprouse himself didn't notice.
- Josie saying the Pussycats are sending the comatose Fred "as many of our nine lives as he needs." As one review put it, does she think they're actually cats?
Chapter Fifteen: Nighthawks
- When Mayor McCoy refuses to do anything to help Pop Tate or FP, it's difficult to take Jughead's dramatic threat seriously, when all it amounts to is basically him telling her to 'remember this day as the day you let me down.' Okay there Juggy.
Chapter Sixteen: The Watcher in the Woods
- As pictured above, Archie's video addressed to the Black Hood, announcing the formation and goals of "The Red Circle", is extraordinarily cringe-worthy. It's him, surrounded by... a bunch of ripped, shirtless guys with red masks over their faces, that look pink due to how the video is shot. In no small part, some viewers find it... oddly homoerotic, adding ridiculousness to something that is already fairly anti-climatic. It really does not help that the framing of the video has reminded some people of the infamous "Piper Perri on a couch" meme.
Chapter Seventeen: The Town That Dreaded Sundown
- Related to the above, everyone acts like Archie's video is violent, scary, and morally questionable, to the point that he becomes something of a pariah with everyone being disgusted and terrified of his actions. Though he is in a dark place, it's kind of a ridiculous over-reaction to a pretty ridiculous video of Archie posing with a bunch of shirtless dudes. Even without that ridiculous detail, all Archie does is declare that he wants to hunt down and 'end' the Black Hood, which while it could be interpreted as violent, is still pretty tame.
- During the fight between the Red Circle and the Southside Serpents, Archie punches Sweet Pea in the cheek, who falls sideways in a very unrealistic manner.
Chapter Nineteen: Death Proof
- When Veronica and Betty are insulted, Ronnie goofily fires back with "I beg your misogynistic pardon?!".
- Betty dramatically declares that she never stopped loving Jughead... after having been broken up with him for a day.
- Betty puts her foot down and delivers a dramatic threat to the Black Hood: "I found out who killed Jason Blossom, I found out who the Sugar Man was. You're next, Black Hood. I'm getting closer. I'm breathing down your neck. Can you feel it? Can you feel me?!" Like several of Betty's edgier moments, there's a sense that her actress is trying a bit too hard. That line was already a weirdly suggestive threat to make to a psychotic serial killer, but the later revelation that the Black Hood was actually Betty's evil father definitely makes it even funnier in hindsight.
Chapter Twenty-One: House Of The Dead
- Betty's serpent dance / initiation scene is just the right mix of awkward, cringy, stilted and hilarious. Betty takes over performing for the Serpents from Archie and Veronica, and then, out of nowhere, this teenage girl starts stripping off her clothes, singing seductively and doing a full pole dance in front of some total strangers, her boyfriend, her boyfriend's father, and her own mother. The people in the audience grow increasingly mortified / disturbed, but no one actually tries to stop her out of sheer uncomfortableness, like they're watching a train wreck happen in slow motion, and Betty just keeps pressing on, like she's seemingly oblivious to their true reactions. As an added bonus, Betty's song keeps going, even after her lips have stopped moving, giving the impression she was lip-syncing it.
Chapter Twenty-Three: The Blackboard Jungle
- When she breaks up a would-be fight between Reggie and Sweet Pea, Veronica takes a moment to think up a quip that's equally sassy and clunky: "I am so over the toxic masculinity in this hallway right now!" It's also an ironic quip, since Cheryl and Toni were actually the first ones to throw down the gauntlet.
Chapter Twenty-Four: The Wrestler
- The show treats doing role-playing for an online masturbation site as some kind of horrific mortal sin that will forever damn your soul. Plus, just like the abortion bit above, the writers seem bizarrely terrified to actually say that's what's going on, as if the show's primary audience is supposed to be ten year olds.
Chapter Twenty-Six: The Tell-tale Heart
- All of a sudden, Agent Adams starts wearing a distinctive hat in every scene (and keep in mind he's supposed to be acting inconspicuous), for the sole purpose of the shot where Archie sees the hat on the table and realizes he's talking to Fred. You can easily imagine the crew falling in love with the idea of the shot and insisting on going ahead with it, despite Adams not having any kind of distinctive item before this.
Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Hills Have Eyes
- Love, Simon being made into a key plot point in Cheryl's Coming-Out Story. Not only is it blatant product placement for a then-upcoming release, but the film itself is directed by Riverdale EP Greg Berlanti, making the whole thing come off less as dramatic and more as self-congratulatory.
Chapter Twenty-Eight: There Will Be Blood
- After nearly two seasons of build up implying Hiram had some terrible agenda at play with his plans, it turns out he's... building a prison. As far as evil plans go, its pretty mundane, and while private prisons aren't the nicest of business plans, its not quite as evil as they all made it out to be or continue to after.
- After Cheryl starts her Coming-Out Story in the last episode, Penelope becomes super homophobic out of nowhere. Though she was never a nice mother, she never seemed to express displeasure at Cheryl's previous Les Yay moments with Josie and others, not to mention Cheryl inexplicably becomes submissive and fearful of her mother once again, after having previously stood up and forced her mother to bend to her will. It almost feels like they were afraid people wouldn't root for Cheryl because of her past cruelty, and felt the need to increase her Woobie aspects as much as they could.
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Primary Colors
- The scene where the girls hear a loud noise, then exit Cheryl's room to see Nana has been pushed down a flight of stairs. The scene would be horrifying, until we see that Nana looks to have an out-of-place smile.
- Earlier in the episode, 5'1" Veronica manages to punch out 6'3" Reggie, and knock him down. His reaction to it, plus the degree of injury, are not realistic, to say nothing of the actual event.
- Betty threatening Chic in his bedroom. Ignoring how ridiculous Betty's idea is to threaten him in such a way, her Badass Boast that she 'catches bad men', citing the examples of Clifford Blossom, the Sugar Man, and the Black Hood, easily crosses into this given that she ignores how little she actually did in those casesnote . It comes off as Betty taking full credit for stopping several cases that were, largely, the work of others or being extremely lucky.
Chapter Thirty: The Noose Tightens
- The setup to Jughead and the Serpents' dramatic entrance into the Cooper home seems to imply that Betty locked the door just to help them be more showy about it. Not helped at all by their timing, as they arrive just as Chic's former landlord threatens Betty with a switchblade, all brandishing their own; it almost seems like they were somehow watching the entire time and just waited for the best moment to come in.
- Similarly, Archie and the Bulldogs' dramatic entrance as they confront Hiram's former associates. For the most part the scene almost works, but Archie declares this group "The Dark Circle", a reference/homage to the Red Circle vigilante militia he recruited the Bulldogs into some time ago. It feels like Archie really wants to be part of some kind of Circle-based vigilante group. When police sirens are heard, they also seem to react as if they realised what exactly they just did and regret it as they flee.
- Continuing the theme of unintentionally-ridiculous-Big Damn Heroes moments, Toni and Veronica's rescuing of Cheryl from the gay conversion camp loses a lot of its awesome by having the two dressed in revealing black outfits and heeled boots; it seems like they wanted to look like badass Action Girl types ala Black Widow, except they're breaking into an orphanage run by nuns (who are treated as scary and unstoppable despite being, well, nuns), and the outfits really don't look as cool as they evidently thought. Particularly as they run away, it becomes very clear Veronica didn't think this through as she's unable to run very well with the heels, and her Absolute Cleavage top looks like it has no support at all as she runs.
- The ending of the episode is probably one of the most abrupt, narm-y moments of the show. You get the hint that the writers couldn't find a way to properly close off the episode with a dramatic hook. Cheryl and Toni are talking to one another when, with no real segue, Cheryl gets up and walks straight to Kevin. They talk about the school musical (a topic that wasn't brought up before in the show) and, to cap it off, Cheryl does a dramatic turn and, as if talking to the camera, says "This school is going to burn" in an overly-dramatic tone. Then the episode just ends right there. Kevin's reaction in the background when she says the line doesn't help.
Chapter Thirty-One: A Night to Remember
- Kevin casts Alice as Margaret White, saying he hates age-inappropriate casting. Which makes you wonder how old he thinks Josie is, as she plays Ms. Desjardin. The line is likely a Breaking the Fourth Wall joke about the show's own Dawson Casting, but the lack of internal consistency makes it just plain confusing.
- If you're familiar with the Carrie musical, Cheryl singing Chris' lines while preparing her revenge on her mother is laughably inappropriate.
Chapter Thirty-Two: Prisioners
- Chic revealing that Betty's real brother is dead. While there's nothing wrong with the set up or the scene, Chic's line of how he died cannot be received with a straight face. It's an entirely too somber and serious moment up until he says that Charlie "OD'ed on Jingle Jangle". The bizarre and ridiculous phrase really undercuts the seriousness of the situation.
Chapter Thirty-Four: Judgement Night
- Principal Weatherbee, up until now nothing but laughably incompetent and useless at his job, suddenly turns into Joe Clark out of nowhere during the riot, apparently breaking up a rumble just by glaring at everyone while holding a baseball bat.
Chapter Thirty-Five: Brave New World
- The episode treats us to the quite amusing spectacle of hastily trying to resolve the identity of the second Black Hood despite having clearly lost the culprit's actor. His offscreen death in an epic gun fight with the police is simply reported after the fact, which comes off so odd that you spend the whole episode waiting for there to be some twist that it's someone else, and then it just isn't.
- Betty beats herself up over not realizing her father was the Black Hood by saying "I'm supposed to be this great detective", when at no point in the show has she built up any kind of reputation for being this great detective, nor has anyone else but her treated her as such.note
- Jughead's narration helpfully reminding us that main characters are just starting their Junior year of high school. It comes across as the show reiterating that yes, they're all supposed to be barely 16.
- The Serpent Queen is a Warrior Queen, and with that, Betty made every viewer cringe.
- In the midst of the show's hero facing possible prison time for first degree murder, what are the Serpents busy with? Angsting over whether they'll start a gang war with the Ghoulies, all because the Ghoulies stole a dog!
- The two sequences of some sort of cult suicide/sacrifice at the end of the episode are less dramatic than they were most likely intended to be and just... cartoonish. If you look closely in the scenes of Betty convulsing, she looks to be laughing or at least smiling. This may have been intended to make her look like she was losing her sanity, but it comes off as unintentionally hilarious.
Chapter Thirty-Seven: Fortune and Men's Eyes
- The football game between the inmates could be this, especially when the Vixens begin singing "Jailhouse Rock".
Chapter Forty-Two: The Man in Black
- Betty's time at Quiet Mercy includes perhaps the most ridiculously non-abstract "ink blot tests" since Batman Forever.
Chapter Fifty-One: Big Fun
- Cheryl's being cast as Heather Chandler in the school's production of Heathers is played as just as big a deal as her playing Carrie last year. Except that despite being one of the title characters, Chandler is a Sacrificial Lion who doesn't make it halfway through the story, making her pride in the role seem very misplaced.
- The censored song lyrics can lead to this. Although this is a fault of the high school versions that the show is using, but you'd wonder why for a TV-14 show where they've previously cussed and made references to sexual content, why don't they just use the original versions?
Chapter Fifty-Six: The Dark Secret Of Harvest House
- When Archie and Veronica spring their trap for Hiram, Veronica performs a cover of Beyonce's "Daddy Lessons" for entertainment, crooning 'daddy' over and over again while her buff, shirtless father and her buff, shirtless boyfriend have a macho contest and pummel each other to a pulp in the boxing ring. This scene somehow manages to give off homoerotic vibes to rival Archie's Red Circle video, and heterosexual incest vibes from Veronica at the same time.
Chapter Fifty-Seven: Survive the Night
- It is revealed that when Betty got a concussion from riding her bike when she was little, the doctors ran a bunch of tests on her and discovered that she carried the "serial killer genes", and none of her family carries the gene. This is utter nonsense in real life, because one, there is no reason for the doctors to have run a genetics test on her for a concussion; two, your genes are inherited from either of your parents unless you were artificially genetically modified; and three; the "serial killer genes" theory has been disproven a long time ago. All it does is provide another flimsy soap opera-esque reason for why something in this show is Darker and Edgier than the source material.
- Fortunately, the show doesn't belabor this plot point for too long; it's only ever brought up in one episode, and only as part of a ruse to convince Betty to buy into The Farm's brainwashing techniques. Based on this, it can safely be assumed that the whole story about "serial killer genes" was a lie.