Comics – Tough Turf

Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: DeCarlo and Parent
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom (Summertime Fun*), No. 2
Cover Date: October, 1995
Length: 21 pages

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

*The various Cheryl Blossom miniseries that preceded her ongoing series were simply named Cheryl Blossom, but they have unofficial names. This first miniseries has been referred to as Cheryl Blossom: Summer Fun, but it’s listed on Amazon as Cheryl Blossom: Summertime Fun.

Part I

One morning, Cheryl wakes up, yawns, and stretches. Clifford pops on the monitor (that’s still creepy), wishes her good morning, and asks her about her plans for the day. Cheryl gets out of bed and puts on a robe. She guesses the “usual”: some shopping and hanging out with her friends. Clifford asks about “that nice Archie chap”. Cheryl says he’s looking for a summer job. Clifford is disappointed. Cheryl has to get ready and shuts off the monitor.

Clifford, sitting at his computer in his study, tries to figure out some way to get Archie to spend more time with Cheryl. Penelope comes by and asks if he’s “still on that Archie kick“. Out of all of Cheryl’s many boyfriends, Archie’s the “best prospect”. Penelope advises her husband to quit dabbling in his daughter’s love life. Clifford has an idea and has a servant named Jeeves warm up “one of the helicopters”.

Soon, Cheryl’s driving along in her blue convertible, heading for the mall, when she sees a “familiar” gold helicopter with a “B” on it and realizes it’s one of her dad’s. She wonders what he’s doing here. Archie’s at the beach, trying to get a job at the hot dog stand, but there are no openings. Clifford is spying on Archie with binoculars and has the pilot set the chopper down. Wow, Archie just happened to be where Clifford thought he’d be. Cheryl notices the chopper coming down. Clifford offers Archie a summer job. Archie boards the chopper, and off they go. The hot dog guy is impressed and has second thoughts about not hiring Archie. Cheryl comes by and asks what’s going on. The guy explains. Cheryl’s happy and decides to get Archie a raise, so he can take her on more expensive dates. She’s so excited that she absent-mindedly trashes a kid’s sand castle.

Back at Blossom Manor, Clifford offers Archie the position of groundskeeper, because their old one just quit. He adds it’ll allow Archie to keep a “close eye” on Cheryl. He’ll even pay whatever Archie thinks is fair. Archie happily accepts.

When they arrive at the front door, Clifford says he can start tomorrow morning. Archie leaves just as Cheryl arrives. They’re both excited until Cheryl learns it’s the groundskeeper position. She calls it “a start” but also “so lowly”.

Cedric overhears from the tennis court and tells Jason, who’s upset. As they watch Cheryl and Archie make out, they plot to get Archie fired. Jason suddenly has a plan, and they go to the tool shed. Jason sabotages the riding lawn mower and leaves “a few other surprises” for Archie. Cedric praises Jason as “downright devious”.

Part II: Simpleton in the Grass

The next day, after Archie arrives for work, he kisses Cheryl, who’s wearing a bikini and planning to relax poolside while reading a magazine. She also has a pair of cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and a pair of sunglasses with her…for some reason. Cheryl’s up for more, but Archie needs to mow the lawn, which disappoints her. Archie asks her to help. She’s surprised and asks what he wants her to do.

He says she can ride with him, saying it’ll be “fun and cozy”. She puts on her boots and hat and asks if he knows how to drive a riding lawn mower. They get on, and Cheryl holds onto Archie. Archie says, if he can drive his “bomb”, he can drive anything. Clifford happily observes them riding from inside the mansion and tells Jeeves (a nearly bald, white-haired butler), who doesn’t give a shit. Cheryl’s genuinely enjoying herself, but the mower speeds up on its own, and there’s no brake pedal. Cheryl tells Archie to turn them around, but the steering wheel comes off. In Jason’s room, Cedric tries to get Jason to look outside, but Jason’s too busy looking at Internet porn. Cedric tells him what’s happening, and they rush outside. Archie and Cheryl drive through the shrubs. Cheryl gets a funny line: “Why did I ever agree to date the…HELP” Um, why haven’t they jumped off the mower by this point?

They end up in the yard of the Blossoms’ neighbors, the Van Courtlands. They head for the podium, where Mrs. Van Courtland is addressing the Garden Club on the unveiling of her “glorious new garden”. Her husband warns her about the mower. He runs off to the side, but she runs in front of it.

Mrs. Van Courtland lands on the mower. Cheryl tries to make light of the situation, but Mrs. Van Courtland beats Archie. Cheryl tells her to watch it. Mrs. Van Courtland laments the destruction of her “beautiful garden”. Cheryl again tries making jokes. They and the mower land in the swimming pool. Cedric and (an unseen) Jason arrive. Two guys take pictures and video for the Society column. Mrs. Van Courtland threatens Cheryl and Archie. Archie’s mad, and Cheryl puts a supportive hand on his shoulder.

Part III: How Green is My Groundskeeper

The next day (I guess), Clifford calls Cheryl and Archie into his study and talks to them about today’s newspaper (Daily Globe) and its headline (“Crazed Groundskeeper and Bikini-Clad Debutante Wreak Havoc at Garden Party”). They’ve already seen it. Archie expects to be fired, but Clifford hates Mrs. Van Courtland, so it’s all good. Oh, and Penelope pops in and prevents Clifford from saying “ass” in front of the children. Um, Penelope, sweetie, during my junior year (1994-1995), I heard a senior girl say “punk-ass motherfucker”, so I think your daughter already knows every curse word – probably in multiple foreign languages. Anyway, Clifford sends Archie back to work. Jason and Cedric are incredulous that Archie still has a job. Jason suspects Archie’s blackmailing his dad and tries to come up with a better plan. Archie decides to try patching up the shrub. Cheryl advises him to steer clear of Mrs. Van Courtland.

Later, Cheryl is sitting on a couch somewhere and watching TV. Jeeves (who’s now apparently using brown hair dye) announces the arrival of guests. Cheryl thanks him and has him send them in. It’s Priscilla and three other girls (one of which appears for only one panel and doesn’t say anything) from Pembrooke Academy Sorority. Cheryl’s snooty high school has a sorority? Well, whatever. They’re staging an “intervention” for Cheryl’s “own good”. Cheryl’s like “What the fuck are you bitches talking about?” See, Archie’s now household staff, which makes him un-hang-out-with-able in their circle. Cheryl tearfully admits they’re right. If Cheryl wants to come to the sorority’s private beach bash tomorrow, she’ll have to dump Archie. Cheryl is uncertain. A blonde girl adds there are gonna be college boys from Yale there. At the prospect of getting college cock, Cheryl decides Archie’s history.

Soon, Cheryl brings Archie water to drink. He guesses she loves him. She promptly dumps him. Okay, that’s pretty shitty. She explains her reason and tells him to call her when he gets another job. She leaves. Jason comes out and tells Archie that Clifford wanted him to tell Archie to get the sprinkler system going.

Cedric exposits about how he and Jason attached a high-pressure pump to the outside watering system. How the fuck do these rich, preppy assholes know so much about mechanics? Anyway, hijinks ensue.

Part IV: I Love You Too Mulch, Part 4 (no, that’s not a typo)

Mrs. Van Courtland is out looking for Fifi, her beloved dog. Fifi almost gets run over by a speeding car outside the Blossoms’ estate, but Archie quite accidentally launches Fifi into the air with the water from the runaway hose (which I’m not sure is much better for poor Fifi). Archie guesses Mrs. Van Courtland will be really pissed.

Meanwhile, Hiram Lodge has arrived in Clifford’s study to discuss their new joint hospital project. Outside, the hose somehow lifts Archie into the air, and the water breaks through Clifford’s window and drenches Hiram.

Clifford’s like “What the fuck?!” Outside, Cedric and Jason cut the water supply. Inside, Archie apologizes to Clifford and Hiram. Jeeves arrives ahead of Mrs. Van Courtland and Fifi. Mrs. Van Courtland yells at Archie.

In a twist that literally everyone saw coming, Mrs. Van Courtland praises Archie’s quick thinking, saying he saved Fifi’s life. Fifi loves Archie. Mrs. Van Courtland kisses Archie on the cheek and tells…someone (Clifford, I assume) to forget the damage figures that she came up with. Cheryl comes in from outside on this ground-level floor and asks about the commotion “up here”. Clifford says Archie saved a life. Hiram’s pissed that Archie ruined a dry-clean-only Italian suit. Archie gets cuddly with Cheryl and wants to say three little words to her in front of her father. Clifford practically gets a boner, and Hiram thinks he’s a nut. Actually, Archie quits. Cheryl’s happy and hugs him. Archie explains. Clifford is accepting and allows Archie to hang out here. The four of them go outside to continue talking. Jason and Cedric, who have somehow come back inside, are incredulous at Archie’s good fortune.

The next day, Cheryl and Archie are dancing and having a great time at the beach party on Pembrooke’s beach (Langley Beach, if we’re pretending to be consistent with the previous issue). Archie asks Cheryl if she’s sure her friends don’t mind him being here. Cheryl says, as long as he’s not hired help, they can’t say a thing. Jeeves (who has apparently ditched the hair dye) brings over three pink milkshakes.

Across the body of water that separates the two beaches, Betty is spying on Cheryl and Archie with binoculars from Riverdale’s beach. Betty’s angry. Veronica has a wicked look on her face and seems to have an idea of infiltrating Pembrooke’s beach.

Oh, Betty’s wording of “Cheryl’s side of town” clearly makes Pembrooke to be no more than an exclusive community within Riverdale, not its own town. Of course, the comics are terribly inconsistent about this.

The note at the end says “Beach Blanket Blossom” is next month.

This story is pretty fun. Cheryl was a bitch for dumping Archie, though, and he ended up quitting his job to get back together with her (and, admittedly, because he knew something bad would happen eventually).

Between parts 1 and 2 of the story is a 1-page fashion feature called, creatively, “Cheryl Blossom’s Fashions”. This is not included in the digital edition, which is a shame. Here’s the description from Grand Comics Database: “Fashion ideas are illustrated.”

Between parts 3 and 4 of the story is a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” advice column (presumably) by Sara Algase (the GCDb entry has a ?). This is not included in the digital edition. The description is “Cheryl gives advice on life and love. Letters column that encloses each entry within a colored box.” Betty and Veronica also appear.

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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