The New Archies, Segment 07 – The Awful Truth

I’m sorry that this is a bit late.

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Writer: Scott Anderson
Director: Jim Simon
Original Air Date: Saturday, October 3, 1987 (assumed)
Length: 11:21

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At Riverdale Junior High School, the girls and guys are excited for something.

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Jughead, however, hangs back and goes to his locker for some food.

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This shot, which goes on way too long (remember, DiC is short for “Do It Cheap”), indicates the students are excited for some kind of posted announcement. Also, I swear I hear an “Omigod” among the ad-libbed lines.

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Through some exposition from the girls, we learn this is about a beauty contest, and Amani didn’t even try out, because she doesn’t believe in beauty contests.

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Veronica is certain she’s “definitely” on the list of finalists for Junior Miss Riverdale. Betty asks her how she knows, and Veronica’s like “Check out this bod. I am.”

There’s a dumb gag where Veronica blows her reflection a kiss, and her reflection returns the gesture (afterward). What’s with this series and images being alive?

Amani falsely reports a Michael J. Fox sighting to get all of the other girls away from the bulletin board. A huge crowd of girls (way more than were actually gathered) run in the direction that Amani points in, and guess what. It’s the same eight girls repeated over and over again (Do It Cheap’s way of drawing less and eating up more running time: 8 seconds worth). You can even briefly still see girl #1 on the right side of the screen after she’s already re-appeared on the left side (although it wouldn’t be obvious in a screencap). Same for girl #8.

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Anyway, Betty deems this feat worthy of a high five.

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Archie and Reggie stop by Jughead’s locker and ask him where the girls went. Jughead lazily points them out, because he’s too busy still deciding on food (or just decided to stay and eat at his locker; I dunno).

There’s a 3.5-second shot of girls’ feet running, recycling 10 frames of animation repeatedly.

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Ha.

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Later, outside school, the guys have “found the girls” and get into the Lodge family’s limousine (which apparently was used to transport Horace T. Silverspoon in the previous segment), which was waiting for them outside the school. Archie, Reggie, and Jughead can’t wait to try out Veronica’s new pool, water slide, and barbecue, respectively. Archie tells Veronica to come the fuck on, because she’s going to be late for her own party.

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Betty is excited that she’s a Junior Miss Riverdale finalist.

Archie comes out and drags them to the limo.

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After a wipe, there’s a zoom-in on the Lodge mansion that lasts way too long and ends with both a fade-to-black and fade-to-scene – as if the editors couldn’t make up their minds.

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Anyway, this pool party is really jumping, what with all of these characters standing almost perfectly still. It’s too intense to take in!

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This rock band is so trippy that I can’t tell if I’m listening to their music or the scene’s musical score. Wild!

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Eugene, ever the nerd, is late to the party, because he was finishing work on his science project, which he then decided to bring over to Veronica’s house…and park next to a pool full of water. A brilliant mind at work.

Anyway, Eugene is confident that it will win him the Young Inventor of the Year Award.

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He turns it on, and all that it apparently does is light up some lights on the top and kinda shake a bit. However, it’s apparently an “amazing truth-telling machine” that makes people tell nothing but the truth.

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He offers to let Veronica help him test it, but the idea frightens and/or repulses her, and she declines, suggesting Betty. Eugene and Archie think that’s a great idea.

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Amani passes on Veronica’s important interview tip to Betty: be yourself. What would this show do without Amani? Betty has doubts.

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Eugene thinks the best way to convince Betty to agree to test his machine is to be a stalker. Betty agrees in this detached tone that indicates she really doesn’t give a shit about his invention but needs something to occupy herself with.

Eugene promptly leaves, and Betty continues her worrying over the interview.

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Eugene aims and fires.

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Betty inhales the funny gas.

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“Like, whoa, I feel, like, funny, man, but also so, so good…”

Betty immediately insults Veronica’s personality and Reggie’s diving, angering the former and causing the latter to nearly have a diving accident.

Yeah, if you couldn’t tell, the theme of this story (well, starting over a third of the way in) is “Betty is really a horrible piece of shit that only pretends to be nice.”

Betty then insults Archie’s new “bathing suit” (actually swimming trunks).

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This is followed by a “gag” in which Archie’s chair collapses, seemingly for no reason.

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Betty comes up to Eugene and wants to tell him something, but he doesn’t think he wants to hear it. He gasses Betty again.

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Betty feels like a horrible piece of shit (because she is one) and wants to go home (instead of, y’know, apologizing to everyone).

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Archie and Reggie are glad to see her go.

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Wow, this series set the trend of excessive use of daydream sequences – two years before “Saved by the Bell“!

It looks like they were going for a unique shot where the camera would zoom in on Veronica’s thought bubble, but then they cut to a slightly different shot of the daydream for whatever reason:

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Anyway, in Veronica’s daydream, Betty calls the judge a fatass, getting herself kicked out of the contest.

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Veronica tries to convince Eugene to let her keep his machine locked up here at Fort Lodge, but Eugene’s like “It’s dangerous, bitch!” They struggle over it for a bit, and then Veronica just lets go, sending Eugene and the machine flying. There’s a crash off-screen, but Veronica is naturally unconcerned with Eugene’s welfare and, in a bored tone, decides to get the machine later. She then walks away like “Fuck him.”

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Eugene heard that “later” bit.

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That night, while appropriate spy music plays, Reggie and Veronica arrive to burglarize Eugene’s house. How the fuck did they manage to get out of their respective houses so late? My parents would never allow this.

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Anyway, Eugene’s bedroom is stereotypical nerdy with a bunch of equipment that would be questionable for a person of his age to be in possession of. He really is a black clone of Dilton Doiley. Or, fuck, Eugene was Steve Urkel two years before Steve Urkel.

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Oopsie.

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Somehow, this does not wake Eugene up.

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The next day, at school, Veronica and Reggie ambush Betty by hiding in her locker, and then they commit a school shooting.

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Betty, once again stoned under the influence of the funny gas stoned, insults Mr. Weatherbee’s hair loss (but not his weight, surprisingly). He can only sputter nonsense in disbelief.

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Betty admits she doesn’t take notes in class, because Miss Grundy bores her. Same reaction as Mr. Weatherbee.

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Betty admits she didn’t invite some random girl to her party, because she doesn’t like her. Credit to the animators: the girl goes slack-jawed.

Betty insults Archie’s art project.

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There’s a dumb gag where Archie’s painting talks to him. Archie freaks out…at the idea that Betty has gotten another hit of the truth gas. Yeah, because that’s the biggest shock in this scene. I guess this type of gag is going to be recurring throughout this series. Anyway, Archie runs to get Eugene.

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In the next scene, Eugene is sitting in the science classroom, sad, and…this goddamn static shot goes on for nearly fourteen seconds (while sad music plays) before Archie finally runs in.

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Archie asks Eugene if he gave Betty another hit of the good stuff, and a sad Eugene denies it, reveals it was stolen, and says he should have listened to Veronica.

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Archie determines Veronica is responsible.

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At the Junior Miss Riverdale contest, Veronica is confronted by Archie and…Jughead. What?

Veronica confesses but claims she was just trying to help (which is true; she was just trying to help herself).

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Betty comes by and insults Veronica’s “frizzy” hair. For some reason, just before Betty walks over, the shot changes to a similar shot. This is the second time that this has happened in this segment. I have a suspicion that, for whatever reason, the animators encountered problems after doing an effect (whether a zoom or a pan), so they switched to a similar shot before introducing new material (movement in Veronica’s daydream, Betty walking on-screen).

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Anyway, Betty’s insult of Veronica’s hair leaves Veronica and Archie shocked for a few seconds.

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Then Archie gets angry at Veronica, probably because he sees how this can hurt Betty’s chances. Veronica shrugs it off by explaining Betty said she wanted to be herself (even though this was actually advice from Veronica that Amani had passed along to Betty). Admittedly, Betty is being herself, and it’s ugly. More on that at the end.

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Later, Archie and Jughead search various rooms in the school for the hidden truth machine. Brief hijinks ensue, including Jughead wanting to stop for food, because he has no sense of priorities.

Why is Jughead doing this? What happened to Eugene?

Later, they’ve checked everywhere except the “girl’s gym” (one girl has her own gym?). Wait, wait, wait. Since when do the girls have their own gym? You do recall Betty and Veronica practicing their cheers while the boys played basketball, right?

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Anyway, Jughead is forced to dress in drag and be the lookout.

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Archie also dresses in drag and opens Veronica’s locker. I don’t care that Veronica comes from a wealthy family. How the fuck does that get her a large, custom locker in a public school?

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Of course, the truth machine is in there – along with a chair. What’s that for? Does Veronica change in her locker, so none of the other girls get a free show? If so, what does she change into? Because those are not gym clothes.

Anyway, Archie grabs the machine, and they head for the contest.

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At the contest, Betty is called up as the next finalist, and she walks to center stage, completely fucking stoned. No, I am not making that up. She still has that goofy look on her face, and they animated her walking funny – as if she’s having difficulty.

Archie and Jughead barge into the auditorium with the large, gun-shaped device. People look at them but do nothing. Ah, the days before Columbine…

The interviewer asks Betty a loaded question, and she’s about to insult him.

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Fortunately, some timely gas saves her from sabotaging herself.

Eugene runs over, excited that Archie found his truth-telling machine, which he himself hadn’t bothered looking for.

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The crisis averted, Jughead puts on his headphones and listens to music.

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There’s a final gag where Jughead patting himself in time to the music causes him to knock the machine out of Eugene’s hands. It goes off, gassing Archie (who insults Eugene’s inventions) and Jughead (who agrees with Reggie that Archie looks a lot like a carrot). Archie insults Jughead’s nickname.

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The interviewer/judge is gassed, and he insults Veronica’s personality.

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Veronica is gassed, and she insults the judge’s toupée.

Eugene finally catches the machines but realizes the batteries are out of juice. Veronica insults the looks of other girls in the contest. Eugene excuses himself to get new batteries – as if anyone’s listening to him.

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Then he seemingly addresses the audience before running off.

Archie, Jughead, and Veronica continue hurling insults as the segment ends.

We never do find out who wins the damn contest.

Also, Betty has only a very brief reaction of shock once she turns back to normal near the end. She doesn’t seem to feel bad about the numerous insults that she’d hurled throughout the day.

This segment was pretty good. It was interesting to see Betty unrestrained by her filter. The awful truth, to borrow the segment’s apt title, is people often think and believe horrible things about other people, even those that are relatives or friends. It would be catastrophic for society if no one had a filter and just said everything that they felt. Veronica is an awful person, but she’s honest about it. Betty isn’t. She unleashes verbal hell (or at least heck, since this is an American cartoon series from the 1980s) on everyone as soon as she’s freed. I wish this story was longer, so we could see some repercussions. Would Betty’s friends still like her? Would she have to re-earn their trust?

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Author: markmooreauthor

I love watching anime and superhero movies, and I love playing video games. I also write fan fiction and original fiction.

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