Comics – With Friends Like These

Writer: Kathleen Webb
Pencils: Stan Goldberg
Inking: Mike Esposito
Original Publication: Betty’s Diary, No. 17
Cover Date: June, 1988
Length: 5 pages

I’m sorry for doing a quickie this week, but I recently found something really cool that I want to devote extra attention to for next week’s review.

This week, I’ve decided to review another story from the “Betty’s Diary” series. This time, I want to focus on Betty and Veronica’s friendship as perceived by Betty.

Betty muses about how, sometimes, she wonders why she tries to be friends with Veronica Lodge. This morning, Veronica criticized Betty’s choice of clothing colors (blue and white), which made her “look even more dowdy than normal”. She also criticized the material, which “just hangs” on Betty. Betty eventually got so pissed off that she was like “Fuck this shit” and left. Veronica took it as Betty not wanting her “help”.

“Thoroughly disgusted”, Betty came home, went up to her bedroom, back-kicked her door closed (startling her car, Caramel), and started writing in her diary. She has to write this all down and work it all out in her mind. She poses the question: “Why am I friends with Veronica Lodge?”

She has more reasons against their friendship than for it. She decides to list them, so she can examine them one by one:

Sometimes, if Betty tells Veronica a secret dream of hers, Veronica laughs at it. Example: They passed by a bookstore, and Betty expressed her dream of becoming a famous author someday. Veronica said, if Betty wrote her memoirs, she’d bore people to tears. Veronica spread it to some girls at Pop’s. Due to Veronica’s “insensitivity”, Betty had her milkshake at the counter, alone.

If Betty gets a date with Archie, Veronica tries to break it. Example: Veronica “reminded” Archie of a (never-made) previous date with her.

If Betty gets a date with any handsome boy, Veronica tries to break it. Example: Veronica asks Betty if she’d mind if Veronica danced with her date. Betty did mind but also said that didn’t fucking matter.

Veronica gets Betty sucky blind dates. Example: A snob insulted Betty’s intelligence, and Betty made a comeback that doesn’t make sense.

Veronica had previously put down Betty’s taste in clothes.

Veronica often ridicules Betty’s choice of hobbies. Examples: dollhouses and teddy bears. Veronica told Betty to “grow up and be a woman”. Betty asked why, adding Veronica hasn’t yet.

Veronica often flaunts her wealth in front of Betty’s face. Example: As they passed by a travel agency, Veronica mentioned her parents were taking her to Europe for the summer, adding Betty couldn’t “afford a chance to gain culture like that”. Betty couldn’t even afford bus fare home.

Veronica often brags about her breeding. Example: While in the Lodge family gallery, Veronica said the Lodges “date back to kings and queens” (without specifically saying they’re descended from royalty). She also said the Coopers were “just common stock”. Betty asked if her family makes good soup. Cheesy but funny.

If they make plans to go somewhere together (such as spending a whole Saturday shopping), Veronica will cancel if something better comes along (such as Archie wanting to take a drive in the country).

After all of that, Betty still doesn’t know why she’s Veronica’s friend, because Veronica’s so fucking selfish.

Then Betty remember one time when Veronica really needed her friendship. Veronica came over to Betty in tears, because her dad lost a million dollars in the stock exchange. Despite Mr. Lodge still having “vast millions” left, Veronica considered them to be “paupers” and was frightened that they’ll be in the “poorhouse” next. There’s a slight typo: “looses” instead of “loses”. While Betty knew Veronica was overreacting, she comforted her anyway. Soon, it was all over, and Veronica was all smiles again, but she admitted she never would have weathered it if it wasn’t for Betty. Betty told Veronica to call her whenever she’s down. Betty knows anybody would’ve thought Veronica was crazy; only Betty understood Veronica’s eccentric fears.

Betty goes on to realize, if it wasn’t for her, Veronica wouldn’t have any friends at all, because none of the other girls want to bother putting up with her; Betty is the only one that tries to understand her.

Betty realizes Veronica does have her good moments. Lots of times, Veronica has taken her along traveling with her family, given her nice clothes, and “shared boy talk”.

Betty justifies most of the hurt that Veronica does to her as being “caused by her pampered, spoiled, selfish lifestyle”, reasoning “she can’t help her upbringing”.

Betty looks at her framed photo of Veronica and again asks why she’s friends with her. She concludes it’s because, more than she needs Veronica’s friendship, Veronica needs hers.

As she sees Veronica approaching her house and waving to her, Betty waves back, thinking that’s what true friendship is all about.

This story. Wow. Where to begin? It’s nice to have a story in which Betty does an in-depth examination of her friendship with Veronica. Here’s the problem with this particular story, though: all of the negatives are valid points (which Betty wrongly excuses, believing Veronica “can’t help” it), but all of the supposed positives are hollow. To summarize, Betty puts up with a lot of shit (the bad kind) from Veronica (who is, by all appearances, incredibly selfish and neurotic) in the hope of getting free shit (the good kind). She also sees herself as being Veronica’s savior in a way: the one person that’s willing to be Veronica’s friend (because Veronica is apparently nowhere close to being popular, and there is apparently no other girl willing to get in good with the rich girl). This story makes the Betty/Veronica friendship pretty sad. Betty sees herself taking on this responsibility as being “what true friendship is all about”. No, Betty. If you want to be Veronica’s friend, so she won’t be lonely, that’s fine, but true friendship also involves calling your friend out on her shit, repeatedly, until she knocks it the fuck off.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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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