Comics – In Search of Change

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Writer: Harold Smith
Pencils: Stan Goldberg
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring/Production: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Betty’s Diary, No. 17
Cover Date: June, 1988
Length: 5 pages

I’m changing things up again this week, mostly because NaNoWriMo has started, and I’ve decided to participate again this year. This means you might be getting more comic reviews this month instead of TV reviews. I’m still working on the big movie review, so that will be coming up eventually.

I’ve decided to review a story from the “Betty’s Diary” series. “Betty’s Diary” ran for four years from April of 1986 to April of 1990 (cover dates), totaling 40 issues. Unlike the other series, the main focus of this series wasn’t on laughs; it was to make you pause and think. As the name implies, the set-up is Betty is reflecting on events as she writes about them in her diary, and she comes to some kind of conclusion. I guess the closest comparison would be Doogie Howser’s journal entries at the end of each episode.

Before we get into the story, holy shit, can you imagine there was a time when Betty Cooper had two solo titles? Now, she has none. How times have changed!

Betty muses about how, sometimes, something that seems really bad turns out pretty good after all. Today, she went to a movie and stopped for a pizza. She found she had only one dollar left for bus fare, the bus accepted coins only, and the driver had no change.

Betty looked for a place to get change. A bakery wouldn’t give change without a purchase. A “self-service” laundromat (there’s another kind?) had a change machine, but it short-changed Betty by 75 cents. She refused to spend her last remaining quarter to call the (six-digit) service number. The laundromat was deserted, so Betty decided to call Archie to pick him up, but she was so upset that she dialed the wrong number – and then got upset when the person hung up. Why? Was she planning to ask this stranger to come to the laundromat and give her a lift?

Upset, Betty started walking. She passed by a basket filled with deposit bottles and got an idea; they’re worth five cents each. She collected as many as she could. Some stores wouldn’t take certain bottles, but she managed to collect 75 cents. She needed just 25 cents more.

Betty came across a homeless man digging through a waste basket for bottles. He mistook her as being homeless and decided to show her where to redeem the bottles, because “homeless people have to help each other”. He’s been homeless for over a year. He lost his job and then his house. He, his wife, and his young son live in his car. Betty felt horrible for him and, overriding his refusal, gave him her 75 cents and two bottles. She also gave him the address of her church (this is a rare religious reference in Archie Comics), which she, for whatever reason, has memorized. She said they’ll help him find work and a place to stay.

Betty felt really good for helping that man, who she wouldn’t have met if she hadn’t lost that dollar. Also, she’d been so preoccupied with looking for bottles that she hadn’t realized she’s walked more than halfway home. I just want to point out that, if she hadn’t waited for the bus and then gone off in search of change and bottles, she’d be home already. Why take the bus such a seemingly short distance?

Just then, Archie showed up and offered Betty a lift. She declined, saying “I just got the biggest lift in my life!” She concludes she’ll have to explain that to Archie someday.

This is a pretty nice story. Betty went “in search of change” and ended up bringing change to a man’s life, however small. See what I mean about humor not being the primary goal? “Betty’s Diary” is one of my favorite comic series, because it offers insight into Betty’s character beyond what you get in a typical Archie story (comic or cartoon). I’ll probably review more stories from this title whenever I don’t have enough time to write an episode review.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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The New Archies, Segment 04 – Thief of Hearts

Writer: Jon Cohen
Director: Jim Simon
Original Air Date: Saturday, September 19, 1987 (assumed)
Length: 11:21

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First, I should mention something that I didn’t mention in my review of the previous segment. As of episode 02 (segments 03-04), brief music plays during the title cards, whereas they’d been silently previously.

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The segment opens with the gang having just seen a movie called “Sugar Slade: Private Eye”, because children of the 1980s loved detective movies.

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Veronica and Amani want to fuck Sugar Slade, but Archie and Eugene struggle to describe her (yeah, Sugar Slade is a female character).

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Reggie settles on “okay”, which offends all three girls.

I guess I should explain who Amani is. She’s not from the comics. She was made up solely for this series – and, I’m willing to bet, solely so Eugene (the sole black character) could have a love interest without “offending” future Trump supporters birthers Southern white trash fucking assholes bigots.

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Reggie disputes Betty’s claim of Sugar Slade’s awesomeness.

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Archie is an irresponsible pet owner that brought his dog with him and left him tied to his unsecure bike for approximately two hours.

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Some slapstick “humor”.

Reggie makes a claim about being able to solve a case, so Betty suggests a bet, and Reggie accepts.

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Veronica steals the only remaining copy of the newspaper and learns a thief robbed the Riverdale jewelry store last night and made off with a million dollars in diamonds. The only clues left behind were some red fibers and footprints made by “an overweight individual” wearing tennis shoes.

Reggie claims they’ll have it solved in 24 hours. Betty says, if not, they have to do all of the girls’ homework for a week. This is 1) a bad prize and 2) something that they’d never be able to get past their parents or teachers. Anyway, Reggie says vice-versa.

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The lame game is afoot!

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The next day, after apparently having a sleepover at Veronica’s and then putting on the exact same clothes from the previous night (they rarely wear anything other than those clothes, because Goddess forbid they challenge the animators), Veronica decides their first order of business:

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Go shopping. Of course.

Hmm, I wonder if this is the same department store that Archie will later work at.

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What kind of department store employs someone to open the door for the customers?

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Veronica refers to her mother as “Mummy”. Odd.

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At the jewelry store, the girls start looking for clues.

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Their techniques include running and skipping.

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Betty finds a red fiber.

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“Whafuck?”

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At Reggie’s house, Reggie decides they need to dress like “Miami Vice” rejects. This is the second segment in a row to do this, so it’s a theme this episode.

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Ha.

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The girls meet up, having not found anything.

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It’s almost noon, and Betty is over this shit.

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Veronica says they’ve solved the case.

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Betty and Amani don’t believe Mr. Weatherbee’s the thief.

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However, Veronica mentions the tennis shoe footprints, red fibers,…

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…the fact that the thief is a fatass,…

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…and the money that Mr. Weatherbee now has (because it’s not like he could have gotten that money any other way, such as, let’s say, a well-paying job).

Veronica declares they’re gonna “tail him and nail him”.

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After the commercial break, it’s noon, and the guys haven’t turned up any clues either.

Archie thinks maybe the girls were right (smarter than them). Reggie disputes that.

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Mr. Weatherbee runs by. Amusingly, tape damage causes the video to shake at the same time, which fits in perfectly with this:

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As Reggie finishes his male-superiority rant, this happens:

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Beautiful.

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Reggie and Veronica exchange some words, and then Red takes an interest in Reggie.

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Mr. Weatherbee arrives at a men’s clothing store.

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The girls bike into the store through the revolving door, because that’s a sensible and totally safe thing to do.

Then the door “spits” the bikes back out onto the street, where they neatly line up next to each other. Funny?

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Inside, Mr. Weatherbee tries on a “very expensive” suit. The salesperson tries to talk him into buying it. I wonder what Mr. Weatherbee’s reflection thinks of the suit. No, I don’t.

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Veronica symbolically positions her head between a man’s legs (after mounting her two gal pals) and spies on her principal.

Veronica wants to be raised higher, and…

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Yeah, who didn’t see that coming?

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This causes a chain reaction, which hits the salesperson, who trips Mr. Weatherbee, who falls onto a clothing rack, which goes up an escalator, clothing the riders in the clothes. Yeah…

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The salesperson throws the girls out on their asses.

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They slam into their bikes (nothing comes of this).

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Mr. Weatherbee passes by and is like “‘Sup, bitches?”

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The girls are shocked at this and faint for no reason.

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Mr. Weatherbee stops by…a dog, I guess (nothing comes of this).

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Mr. Weatherbee also passes by the guys.

Reggie puts the pieces together just as Veronica had.

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Later, the guys witness Mr. Weatherbee buying “the most expensive bottle of perfume in the place” – with cash. They’re stumped as to how it ties into robbing a jewelry store, though.

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Mr. Weatherbee doesn’t seem to think it odd that his students are following him around town.

The guys give chase.

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At Riverdale Junior High School, Mr. Weatherbee sneaks into Miss Grundy’s classroom, and the guys come by (taking an alternate route through the school). Keep in mind that this is the weekend, a holiday, or a teacher workday, so there should be no way for the kids to get in.

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Anyway, Eugene spies through the keyhole (c’mon, no keyholes are that big) and sees Mr. Weatherbee putting a necklace in Miss Grundy’s drawer.

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Meanwhile, the girls are also spying from outside. Veronica believes this “proves” Mr. Weatherbee robbed the jewelry store.

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The girls follow Mr. Weatherbee to his house and witness him putting a loaded bag into his car, which he wasn’t seen driving around in earlier (that’s my observation; the show doesn’t call attention to that fact). Betty bets it’s the rest of the diamonds from the robbery.

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Mr. Weatherbee drives off, and it’s revealed the guys had followed him home as well. Reggie says it’s time to call the police.

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This worries Red.

There’s a long sequence in which the girls chase after Mr. Weatherbee on their bikes, which does nothing except eat up the running time, show off some of Riverdale, and prove Riverdale has absolutely no traffic problems. Have I mentioned DiC is often called “Do It Cheap”?

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Mr. Weatherbee and the girls arrive at Miss Grundy’s house.

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Veronica and Betty confront him. He’s like “What the fuck are you bitches on?” Amani says they’re making a “citizen’s arrest”.

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The cops arrive. Miss Grundy comes out and is like “What the fuck?”

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The guys appear right the fuck out of nowhere, and Reggie points out Mr. Weatherbee to the cops.

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It turns out that Mr. Weatherbee was bringing roses to Miss Grundy (which doesn’t explain the huge bag).

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The girls are ashamed.

But that doesn’t stop them from speeding off…

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…and…observing from behind some nearby bushes. What?

Mr. Weatherbee explains he was about to surprise his “favorite” on her birthday with flowers. Take notes, Eugene: this is Miss Grundy’s actual birthday.

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Miss Grundy shoves a cop out of the way in her excitement.

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She suddenly becomes embarrassed at Mr. Weatherbee seeing her like this. She runs inside, and Mr. Weatherbee follows her, saying she looks “totally awesome”.

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The guys try to sneak away, but a cop stops them.

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He takes them “downtown”. Reggie tries to blame Archie.

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The girls seemingly get off without suffering any consequences, and they decide to go to see a movie (probably “Sugar Slade” again, knowing their girl crush on her).

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After they leave, though, Mr. Weatherbee makes clear that he’s giving them detention tomorrow, which I’m pretty sure is illegal for a non-school offense, which basically amounted to mild harassment.

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This segment was a “big deal out of nothing” story (to the extreme; did you notice the amount of filler?). The kids try to solve a crime (which ends up going unsolved), something that I can’t imagine real kids taking an interest in, and follow their school principal around town, something that I can’t imagine real kids doing. It’s kind of funny, but it’s also a big cartoon trope.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – A Date With a Dummy

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Writer: Harold Smith
Art: Tim Kennedy & Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman & Gregg Suchow
Production: Gregg Suchow
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Archie Comics Digest Magazine, No. 102
Cover Date: June, 1990
Length: 6 pages

I’ve decided to review a comic this week, mostly to give myself more time to work on the big review. This is actually the first Archie story that I ever read (excluding the cover gag), because it’s the first story in the first Archie digest that I ever got. It’s also the new story in the digest. Back then, new stories were credited, but reprints weren’t (these days, with everything credited, who knows?). Of course, not knowing anything about Archie back then, I assumed the entire thing was new.

Jughead invites Archie to attend a triple-bill monster festival with him on Saturday night, but Archie declines, because he’s taking Veronica to the “Grateful Zombies” concert. Jughead is impressed, because his broke ass couldn’t afford the tickets. Somehow, I can’t picture Jughead as a Deadhead, er,…Zombiehead? Archie explains he got a part-time job as a “stock boy” at the Riverdale Department Store on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. He’ll cash his check at lunch time, and that’ll pay for dinner before the concert. Jughead is envious.

Saturday, at 2:30 PM, Archie’s boss, Mr. Sellers (yes, really, and I’m not gonna make fun of it, because I once had a boss that worked as an employment specialist, and his last name was Works), asks Archie to drive out to their store in the mall and pick up a mannequin that they need for their display. So…the Riverdale Department Store has an additional store in the mall? What do they call it? It’d be pretty odd to walk around the mall, in Riverdale, and come across a store called Riverdale Department Store. Anyway, Archie agrees to do it, but first he calls up Veronica to tell her that he’ll be an hour late. This worries Veronica, but Archie says it’ll still be enough time to go to dinner.

Veronica decides to go to the mall and “console” herself with some shopping.

Later, Veronica walks out of the mall with a shit-ton of bags (which, by her standards, isn’t “serious purchasing”) and spots Archie driving off in his car with a red-headed “floozy”, which pisses her off.

Later, Archie has arrived at the main store with the mannequin. While Archie was out, Mr. Sellers got a phone message that Charlie McGee, the window dresser that the mall is sending over here, has car trouble and has Archie pick “him” up at the mall store. Wait, wait, wait. If Archie was heading out to the mall store anyway, why wasn’t he told to pick up Charlie? Or why didn’t Charlie bring the mannequin over to the main store?

Veronica comes by and confronts Archie about his “red-haired girl friend” (odd spelling). Archie points out her error. Veronica apologizes, embarrassed, but Archie finds it funny. He has to cancel dinner to pick up Charlie, and Veronica gets a good line in: “Your working for a living is ceasing to be amusing!”

At the mall, it turns out that Charlie is a hot blonde woman named Charlene. When Mr. Sellers said he got a “phone message”, does that mean he didn’t take the phone call himself? Archie assumed the dresser was a guy, and Mr. Sellers went along with it before even reading the name.

Meanwhile, Veronica remembers she forgot to pick up her dry cleaning and has to go back downtown.

She spots Archie and Charlie entering the main store and gets pissed again.

Mr. Sellers has Archie return the mannequin to the mall, because they don’t need it after all. Archie calls Veronica to tell her, but she tells him to fuck off.

Unfortunately, the store at the mall is closed once Archie gets there. By the time that he gets back to the main store, that’s closed as well. Archie’s mad at Veronica but then decides to take the mannequin to the concert.

Reggie and…some girl (Midge, I guess) see Archie carrying the mannequin, and Reggie has a good laugh over “the perfect date – a pair of dummies”.

Overall, this is an okay story, but it relies on a lack of communication. I hadn’t read it in years (possibly decades), but it’s still fairly funny.

Tune in next Wednesday!

The New Archies, Segment 03 – Last Laugh

Writer: Kimmer Ringwald
Director: Jim Simon
Original Air Date: Saturday, September 19, 1987 (assumed)
Length: 11:20

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The segment opens with a nice aerial shot of the school.

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We hear Mr. Weatherbee talking to Miss Grundy.

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Oh, dear Goddess, Mr. Weatherbee’s trying to act cool, which apparently involves throwing together whatever clothes that he could find at the thrift store into an approximation of a “Miami Vice” outfit.

Mr. Weatherbee is hoping Miss Grundy will ask him to the Sadie Hawkins Day dance. The dance usually occurs on or around November 15.

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There’s a really cartoony gag where Mr. Weatherbee’s reflection laughs at him while his back is turned.

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Stop it.

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STOP IT.

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Shouldn’t Mr. Weatherbee be frightened that his reflection is alive?

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In the gym, Miss Grundy and the boys are decorating for the dance. For some reason, this involves putting the cake out, even though the dance won’t start for quite some time, and the cake would melt by then. Also, Jughead is asleep as usual, and Reggie is bored. Archie and Reggie each believe Veronica will ask him to the dance.

Miss Grundy has Reggie help Jughead sweep instead of talk.

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Okay, that’s kinda funny.

Reggie’s bored and wants “fun”.

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Reggie suggests Eugene give Miss Grundy a “surprise” “present” for her “birthday”. In exchange, Reggie will take out the trash for him. Reggie guilts Eugene over not knowing when Miss Grundy’s birthday is and uses reverse psychology, which makes Eugene insistent on giving it to her. Reggie then sends Eugene on his way while openly talking suspiciously about his “genius”.

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STOP IT!

Eugene climbs a ladder and gives Miss Grundy her “present”, and…

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Mr. Weatherbee asks where his “hair” went. Miss Beazley asks where the punch goes.

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The frog, wearing Mr. Weatherbee’s wig, hops into the punch bowl, and…

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Reggie has a good laugh over it.

Jughead falls to the floor and wakes up. He sees the mess and admonishes everyone for it, even though it was all Reggie’s fault and even though Jughead didn’t clean jack shit.

Oddly, the scene transition occurs while Jughead is still speaking.

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Future Betty continues her mission in the past.

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Reggie’s recounting the practical joke to Betty.

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Betty says Reggie’s the only one that finds his practical jokes funny.

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She pays no attention to Reggie and is instead preoccupied with her “new hairdo” (which looks the same as always); it cost a lot, and she hopes Archie likes it. She’s going to ask Archie to the Sadie Hawkins Day dance and wanted to look “totally dreamy” when she asks him.

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Reggie gives Betty a bouquet of flowers.

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Betty inhales deeply.

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Reggie cums all over Betty’s face, leaving her immensely satisfied.

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But then Betty gets pissed.

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Reggie jizzes on her again.

Betty has a kind-of-amusing line: “I look like a blonde mop.”

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She decides to hide from the world.

Reggie informs Betty that Archie is on the clean-up committee for the dance and makes a blonde mop / clean-up “joke”. Betty starts to make a vague threat to Reggie about what will happen if Veronica asks Archie before she does, but Reggie is certain that Veronica is going to ask him to the dance and allows Betty to go with “Carrot Top”. That’s one of Reggie’s nicknames for Archie; he’s not actually suggesting Betty go with Carrot Top.

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Betty is still wary of Reggie’s practical jokes, but Reggie promises to stop. Betty’s stuck and tells Reggie to give her a hand.

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For some reason, this freaks Betty out. Reggie has a good laugh over it and just fucking walks away, presumably leaving Betty stuck in her locker.

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Later, Veronica greets “Archiekins”.

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She’s about to ask Archie to the Sadie Hawkins Day dance, but Reggie salts Archie’s game with itching powder.

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Archie starts itching and runs away. Reggie laughs out loud, Veronica presumably somehow not hearing him.

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Later, at a competition, Reggie glues Moose in place on the track.

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Later, Reggie does something to what he presumes will be Archie’s discus, but Fangs insists on going next. Fangs Fogarty is a character that was introduced in the long-running (1956-1983) “Little Archie” title, which focused on the gang’s childhood years at Riverdale Elementary School. It’s neat to see Fangs here. He was eventually integrated into normal Archie continuity in 2000. His name was Edward in the Little Archie continuity and Fred in the normal continuity.

Reggie relents and has a laugh over it, which confuses Archie, so Reggie explains he put glue on that discus. Archie’s worried, but Reggie insists it’s just “a harmless practical joke”.

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Reggie has a laugh over this.

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Fangs demands to know if Reggie did it. There’s a horrible animation mistake in which Reggie’s response comes out of Fangs’ mouth.

Fangs has a good line: “I only laugh when I turn people into globs of Jell-O. Wanna see me laugh, Reggie?”

Reggie apologizes and vows to give Fangs whatever he wants (coincidentally, this comes very shortly before the time mark in which Betty promised her voters whatever they wanted in the previous segment). Fangs wants Reggie to get Veronica to ask Fangs to the dance; in exchange, he’ll “save” (should be “spare”) Reggie’s life.

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Check out Veronica just calmly watching this bullying with a smile on her face.

Anyway, Reggie guarantees it to his “old buddy” but then immediately admits he’s gonna fucking die.

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After school, Reggie catches up with Veronica and reveals her “secret admirer”, Fangs Fogarty, who she finds disgusting.

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Reggie gives her a necklace as a present.

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Veronica loves it and thanks Reggie.

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However, she knows Reggie too well and realizes he wants something.

Reggie begs Veronica to ask Fangs to the dance. She refuses and gets in the limo.

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She’s keeping the necklace to go with her new dress. I fucking love Veronica. She also insists she’s going to the dance with Archie.

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Fangs comes by and demands an update. Reggie bullshits about Veronica being shy and calling Fangs at home, which makes Fangs happy.

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After the commercial break (I assume; the video that I have abruptly cuts to black for a few frames; judging by the file’s running time, very little footage appears to be missing), Fangs is getting off on Reggie’s poor impersonation of Veronica over the phone. Reggie isn’t even attempting a Valley accent.

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But at least he’s physically pretending to be a stereotypical girl talking on the phone.

Nice touch, by the way, with the “expensive” look of Reggie’s bedroom. It shows his family’s rich. I gotta wonder, though, why there are no personal touches, such as posters or whatever.

Anyway, Reggie talks himself up to dissuade Fangs from beating him up, and then he lets out a loud sigh before he hangs up the phone. I wonder what Fangs would think if he heard that. He’d probably think Veronica’s lying on her bed, naked and masturbating, while talking with him.

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At the dance, Veronica and Archie are together. Archie compliments her on her looks, and she agrees. That is so Veronica!

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Archie offers to get her a glass of punch, and she accepts. While he’s doing that, she’s gonna go brush her hair.

Wait. Where are Veronica’s new dress and necklace?

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Meanwhile, Fangs is too stupid to recognize Reggie dressed as Veronica.

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And it takes Reggie a while to realize he shouldn’t take off his wig around Fangs.

By the way, how did Reggie manage to figure out what Veronica was gonna wear to the dance? Did he spy on her through her bedroom window?

Fangs decides to get them some cold punch, which Reggie agrees with. However, Reggie sees Veronica approaching and decides to get the punch himself.

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So, of course, Reggie just takes Archie’s two glasses of punch away from him, talks in his normal voice, and then tries to cover for himself.

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Despite the fact that he’s looking at Reggie’s face, Archie’s mostly fooled and even suggests they dance. Not even holding Reggie’s hands tips him off.

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Meanwhile, Fangs manhandles Veronica.

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Veronica demonstrates she’s possibly the bravest student in the school by threatening to punch Fangs. She displays no fear at all.

Fangs pulls her to dance, regardless.

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Betty, dateless, is hanging out in the bleachers with Ethel and Jughead.

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It turns out that Ethel asked Jughead to the dance, and he accepted once she mentioned the free food.

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Betty didn’t ask anyone, because Veronica had already gotten to Archie. So I guess going with anyone else in school wasn’t an option for her.

Ethel sees Veronica seemingly dancing with both Fangs and Archie at the same time.

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Miss Grundy interrupts to announce who the judges have chosen as this year’s Queen of the Sadie Hawkins Day Dance: Veronica Lodge. Guess what happens.

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Despite not being able to recognize the alien for what it was earlier, Veronica immediately sees right through Reggie’s disguise, making her also the smartest student in the school – at least in this segment.

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I get Veronica, Fangs, and even Archie being upset, but why does everyone else join in the chase?

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Heh, check out this random shot of Betty looking ultra pissed. Why, exactly?

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And then almost everyone just comes to a screeching halt and looks on in…surprise?

As Veronica and Fangs continue chasing Reggie, Veronica yells “If I catch you, I’m gonna turn you into a basketball!” Um…

Jughead says “This time, the joke is on Reggie.” Thanks, but we didn’t need you to explain the segment’s title.

Betty points out that Archie lost his partner. After finding out that Betty hasn’t asked anyone yet, Archie suggests she ask him.

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They have a laugh over it, and that’s it. So…I guess they’ll go back inside and dance together.

This segment was pretty nice – if a bit silly. But did Miss Grundy end up asking Mr. Weatherbee to the dance or not?

Tune in next Wednesday!

The New Archies, Segment 02 – Ballot Box Blues

Writer: Kimmer Ringwald
Director: Jim Simon
Original Air Date: Saturday, September 12, 1987
Length: 11:18

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An unseen Mary Andrews informs Archie that he’s going to be late for school again. Archie rushes out of the house…

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…and trips over his dog.

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Archie McFlys it to school on his skateboard.

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His dog, Red (made up for the show), realizes Archie forgot his lunch and chases after him. There’s a really shit continuous shot (which screencaps won’t do justice) of Archie skateboarding through the shot, followed by Red, followed by Archie! What the fuck, show?

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Meanwhile, Michael Jugson is just dancing on the fucking sidewalk, supposedly on his way to school (does no one take the school bus?), and not paying any attention to his surroundings.

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That’s amazingly lucky.

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In class (there’s no homeroom?), Miss Grundy collects homework.

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A worried Reggie “looks” for his homework, but then…

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Archie, Jughead, and Red crash in a closet. In the most short-term lie ever, Reggie “finds” his homework in the pile of papers that Miss Grundy dropped.

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Apparently, students are required to put only their first names on their homework.

And what the fuck kind of questions are those? It seems more like an anxiety/depression survey.

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Somehow, Reggie survives this.

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Somehow, Miss Grundy doesn’t gives these assholes detention.

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There’s a bit where Miss Grundy is pissed at Red and has him get out of the chair, but apparently she’s fine with him staying in the classroom.

Miss Grundy says they’ll be electing a class president today and asks for candidates. For some reason, she specifically asks Reggie if he wants to run. Reggie asks how much that it pays, and she shakes her head in disapproval.

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She asks Jughead, but the dumbass is listening to music in class. He pays her no mind, and then she just leaves him be. Why is she so lenient with Jughead regarding his bullshit?

Miss Grundy asks Betty and Veronica, but they refuse, saying they can’t run against each other, because they’re best friends. Then why don’t they agree just one of them will run?

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But then Betty and Veronica each daydream a grossly inaccurate scenario of what it’ll be like to be class president – namely, being treating like royalty and being insanely popular. Interestingly, Betty’s daydream has her winning Archie from Veronica and having him as her fucktoy 24/7, whereas Veronica’s daydream has her putting off sex with both Archie and Reggie until later.

So, yeah, both girls simultaneously agree to run for class president, and so our plot is made clear a third of the way through the episode.

Seriously, what was up with all of that time-wasting bullshit at the beginning?

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Betty then immediately pretty much concedes the election to “the prettiest girl in the class” and even says she’ll vote for her. It’s amazing. Veronica makes a token attempt at not making it sound like her winning is inevitable.

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But then Betty gets pissed that Veronica isn’t voting for her.

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It’s on!

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Class then lets out for recess (only a few minutes into the school day), and…what the fuck? Is that an anachronistic cameo by Betty from “Archie’s Weird Mysteries”? Did she come back in time for some reason?

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After the commercial break, we rejoin Veronica, seemingly mid-sentence, as she’s looking for “somebody to help [her] get the class to vote for” her. Naturally, Veronica has sought out her “best friend in the whole world” – Archie.

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Betty overhears the remark and is hella pissed at Veronica. Veronica uses Betty’s own words against her: “You’re right. You were.” Daaaaaamn, bitch.

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Veronica then makes the best fuck eyes that DiC is capable of animating at “Archiekins”.

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Archie’s like “I’m with her, bitch.”

He’s also Betty’s campaign manager.

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Reggie comes by and trash-talks Archie. Betty takes Archie to discuss “campaign strategy” and perhaps give him a little sucky-sucky. Reggie talks himself up to Veronica, and she insults him but then hires “Reggiekins”, her “best friend in the whole wide world”.

Let me just say right now that I hate Veronica’s various “kins” nicknames for people. Who talks like that?

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When the fuck did they have time to put that together?

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Veronica is unable to come up with a good reason why she’s best for the job. There’s a weird bells sound effect while she scratches her head; it’s totally out of place.

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Archie pressures Betty to make campaign promises, so she promises more spinach for lunch, which costs her potential votes.

Veronica tries to buy votes. Archie calls her out of that: “You can’t do that!” In an actually funny twist, Veronica “misunderstands” and says “No, but my daddy can.”

Oh, and apparently Mr. Lodge is only a millionaire. I bet the comics have been pretty inconsistent over the decades (much as they’ve been regarding the source of his wealth), but I’m pretty sure, today, he’s consistently portrayed as a billionaire.

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Archie demands better from Betty, so Betty promises her voters whatever they want. She then gives a knowing smile and asks “What more do you want?” Okay, so Betty will be working the glory hole in the boys’ bathroom until the election.

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The girls, unwilling to admit they want Betty to go down on them, demand headbands (?!?!?!), so Betty gives her own headband to the first asker, and then Archie passes out a bunch of other headbands (what in the goddamn fuck?) to the other girls.

Reggie and Veronica are pissed. Veronica has Reggie “take care of Betty and Archie” while she leaves school grounds to have a chat with daddy about rigging the election.

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Reggie plans something.

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He has Moose give him a spin.

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Moose goes over to check on Reggie, leaving the merry-go-round…still spinning. I know cartoons often exaggerate, but this is ridiculous.

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The box that Betty’s standing on is suddenly pulled away from her cheering crowd – along with Betty, despite the fact that we didn’t see Reggie tie the rope to her.

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Somehow, Veronica is already back and has gotten a van onto school property. She promises every girl designer jeans and every boy a “rad” new baseball jacket. How the fuck does all of this manage to happen during recess?

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Anyway, the plan works, and the election turns Veronica’s way.

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Archie has Moose strap him to a kite, so he can write “Vote For Belly” in the sky. Even Moose points out Archie’s error, which he soon corrects.

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Veronica sees this and wishes she’d gotten Archie for her campaign manager. She has Reggie climb a tall ladder and hang a banner on the front of the school, which is a massive lawsuit waiting to happen and probably expulsion-worthy behavior.

Veronica demands Reggie put the sign up higher, and…

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Meanwhile, Eugene has invented an “automatic spray painter” that will paint Betty’s campaign signs in “milliseconds”. Betty sensibly suggests just using the paintbrushes, which blows Eugene’s mind. I guess he’s like Doc Brown: he always has to overcomplicate things. He then has Betty try his invention anyway, betting it’ll “blow [her] away”. Take a guess where this is going.

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Betty manages to paint Eugene and Jughead, the latter of which just walks away like he doesn’t give a shit.

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Archie wants Moose to pull him back down, but Moose is distracted by a fly and takes the time to kill it, letting Archie fly away. Moose gives chase.

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Meanwhile, an out-of-control Betty paints Veronica, and Moose runs past Reggie’s ladder.

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Rather than be concerned for Reggie’s safety, Veronica demands he bring the banner back right fucking now.

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Hehehe, karma, bitch!

By the way, am I the only one that notices the banner is making a heart shape while Reggie and Veronica are together?

Even while out of control, Archie manages to spell out “Help” in the sky.

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Both Betty and Reggie/Veronica collide with him.

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They all crash – and somehow survive.

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With a little over a minute left in the segment, they skip past the actual election and get to the results. Betty and Veronica have withdrawn, because they’d rather be friends than class president. Veronica clarifies it as best friends.

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Sounds good to Archie and Reggie.

The announcement comes too late, though, because the students couldn’t decide between Betty and Veronica, so they didn’t vote for anyone.

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Jughead voted for himself, so he’s their new class president. He’s asleep and doesn’t give a shit, though.

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The class cheers for him, anyway. I can’t quite understand what they’re cheering.

Okay, so this episode was pretty unrealistic and pointless. Absolutely nothing of consequence happened, and I’m willing to bet Jughead being class president will never come up again.

Tune in next Wednesday!

The New Archies, Segment 01 – The Visitor

Writer: Kimmer Ringwald
Director: Jim Simon
Original Air Date: Saturday, September 12, 1987
Length: 11:17

In 1987, DiC Entertainment and Saban Entertainment got a license to make an Archie cartoon series. However, from what I understand, the rights to the teenage version of the characters were licensed to some movie studio to make a live-action Archie film that never happened, so DiC re-imagined the gang as tweens attending Riverdale Junior High. The series debuted on NBC, coincidentally, exactly 17 years after the premiere of “Josie and the Pussycats“.

I never saw this series back when it originally aired. However, I did see a commercial for it when reruns were aired on The Family Channel, probably in the 1991-1992 season (I believe that’s when my family first got cable). I still didn’t watch it, though, even though I had become aware of Archie in 1990, when my mom bought me a digest from the supermarket check-out line. It wasn’t until early 2013 that I found this series on YouTube (it’s not available on DVD) and watched it.

Details about this series are sketchy and contradictory. There are two story segments per episode. There are either 13 or 14 episodes, meaning there are either 26 or 28 story segments. However, I’ve never seen either of the two segments of the supposed episode #14 that some sites list (and 13 was a standard number of episodes for a cartoon series at the time), but I’ll deal with that when I get there.

Yeah, this is the first “featured” series for this blog, meaning it’s one of three that I’ve chosen to review in its entirety. Why? Well, I remember enjoying it.

I found an old commercial for the series on YouTube. Here’s what the narrator had to say:

“They’re back, and they’re hotter than ever. It’s those rockers from Riverdale, The New Archies: Archie and Reggie, Betty and Veronica, the incredible Jughead, and all their wild and crazy friends. The New Archies will make you scream with laughter. They’re hip. They’re hot. They’re happenin’. They’re The New Archies. Whatever you do, don’t miss ’em.”

Does the series live up to the hype? We’ll soon find out. First, though, I need to comment on the title. The series is obviously saying it’s an update of “The Archie Show” (where The Archies debuted). The commercial makes it clear that this is supposed to be the Archie of today, not your parents’ Archie. Archie is supposed to be cool. We’ll see.

Here is the main voice cast:

J. Michael Roncetti – Archie Andrews
Lisa Coristine – Betty Cooper
Alyson Court (!!!) – Veronica Lodge
Sunny Besen Thrasher – Reggie Mantle
Michael Fantini – Jughead Jones
Rex Hagon – Hot Dog (uncredited)
Marvin Goldhar – Mr. Weatherbee
Colin Waterman – Eugene
Greg Swanson – Coach
Karen Burthwright – Amani
Victor E. Erdos – Big Moose
Jazzmin Lausanne – Big Ethel
Linda Sorenson – Miss Grundy

IMDb also credits a Stevie Vallance (credited as Louise Vallance) as providing additional voices.

First, let’s look at the opening title sequence and theme song:

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As you can see, the series is trying to convince us that it’s cool and modern.

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And nothing says “cool and modern” like a reference to “The Wizard of Oz”.

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There’s also a random, boring shot of the outside of the school.

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“Showtime, Synergy!”

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The More You Know

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Random Extreme! zoom-in on “Pop’s”

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For whatever reason, Veronica is the one shown to be keeping a diary, whereas it’s Betty that normally keeps a diary in the comics.

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The theme song is upbeat and kind of catchy. It’s nominally sung by The Archies.

Now that we have an idea of the kind of series that we’re in for, let’s look at the first segment:

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At Riverdale Junior High School, Miss Grundy asks Jughead about his science project.

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It’s an automatic sandwich maker and Jughead feeder, because Jughead is a lazy motherfucker that likes to eat a lot.

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It also (harmlessly) explodes, because Jughead is also a fucking idiot that can’t build anything worth shit.

Miss Grundy angrily exclaims “Arson!” – and then just shrugs and walks away. Seriously.

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Archie is daydreaming. Eugene is working on a science project and then suddenly informs Archie (with absolutely no indication from Miss Grundy) that it’s time for recess and fucking leaves.

Oh, yeah, Eugene. He’s one of the characters “original” to this series. By “original”, I mean he’s Dilton Doiley turned black, I guess to make the cast more diverse, because it’s not like Archie Comics already had any black characters or anything.

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Archie decides to take a quick nap before heading outside, but then Eugene’s invention starts doing weird shit (it’s explained Archie accidentally turned it on, but it doesn’t really look like it; Archie’s arm just brushes against one of its antennas).

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It gets up and walks away.

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Eugene, Archie, and Jughead leave school grounds to chase after it. Strangely, Eugene is clueless as to what his invention actually does.

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It suddenly stops and sends a beam into the sky.

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Hmm, this visual seems to place Riverdale in California.

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The beam grabs hold of a (seemingly nearby) spaceship and pulls it and its alien pilot down to Earth.

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After a bit of uncertainty, the guys befriend the alien (and are not astounded by the confirmation of extraterrestrial life at all), and Archie vows to fix this and get the little guy home.

Seemingly, absolutely no one else sees the alien. Seriously, I know television animation budgets are limited, but it’s awfully convenient that the streets are completely deserted.

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Back at Archie’s house (fuck school, I guess), they’ve “disguised” the alien. I guess both of Archie’s parents are at work.

By the way, I like the subtle joke on Archie’s letter jacket: a lowercase “r” instead of a capital “R”.

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Through the power of shitty continuity, they’re suddenly outside.

Jughead points out the alien’s antennae, and Archie, to Jughead’s protest, wants to hide them with Jughead’s hat.

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Later, Jughead feels “naked” without his hat.

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Back at school, Betty and Veronica are cheering…during gym class. Betty seemingly can’t spell “Riverdale”. Veronica gives up on this shit.

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Archie brings the alien to motherfucking gym class instead of stashing him at home. The coach (who might be Coach Kleats from the comics, although he doesn’t really look like him) chews Archie out for being late. Archie introduces him to “Jughead’s cousin”.

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Reggie comes by and inflicts physical violence on the alien, because he’s an asshole.

Archie has “Dude” (that’s pretty much the only word that the alien knows) sit in the bleachers and watch them play.

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We then get a boring montage of one-on-one basketball in which Archie schools Reggie.

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Betty and Veronica do an “Archie” cheer.

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Only then does the alien notice them and decides he wants to be the salami in that womanwich. “Dude” even has his tongue hanging out.

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The alien howls, runs over, jumps on Betty, and intends on putting his antennae to good use.

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Veronica finds the sexual assault of her friend hilarious.

Of note, Veronica has a Valley Girl accent on this series. That’s certainly an improvement over the Southern accent (and it certainly fits in with Riverdale seemingly being in California on this series), but it still doesn’t fit Veronica as she’s portrayed in the comics.

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The alien takes the basketball from Reggie, uses his short size to get past all of the other players (who are suddenly there), and manages to do a slam dunk.

The coach is impressed. Reggie isn’t and challenges the alien.

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The alien catches Reggie in a beam and nearly brutally murders him. No one thinks this strange or concerning. Then again, no one can tell this dude isn’t human either, because “disguise”.

Archie takes “Dude” away. The coach enthusiastically calls the alien “out of this world”. Ha.

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After the commercial break, Eugene is repairing the alien spacecraft out in the open (school’s over, I guess, or else they’re ditching). The ship’s out of fuel, though. Archie asks the alien about it, and the alien, with no indication that it comprehends the question, gives some alien word in response.

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Awww, the alien misses his family.

They go off to search for the fuel to power an alien spaceship.

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Reggie has overheard and starts orgasming over the money that he’s gonna make.

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Reggie and Veronica find Archie and the alien at Pop’s. Yeah, Reggie and Veronica are kind of cohorts on this series. In the old comics, Reggie and Betty were often cohorts, because Betty wanted Archie and Veronica broken up.

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Apparently, Veronica’s dad owns a research laboratory, and Reggie entices Veronica with dreams of headlines.

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Archie questions Pop (who’s greying on this series, despite it taking place earlier in “continuity”) about the alien fuel.

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Yeah, that’s about the reaction that Archie should have expected.

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The alien is intrigued by a space-themed arcade game…

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…and accidentally blows it up (harmlessly, of course).

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Veronica comes by and says she saw something (daddy? her accent’s so thick that I can’t tell) outside, which excites the alien, who runs outside.

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Reggie bags him.

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Veronica is concerned with the alien’s well-being.

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That doesn’t stop her from making a getaway with him, though. Even Smithers is in on it. I wonder how much that Veronica told him.

Also, Smithers, too, is greying on this series, despite having black hair “later”.

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Archie gives chase.

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When they pass a hamburger stand, the alien is excited and yells the name of (presumably) his spaceship’s fuel.

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Archie picks up on this and lets Jughead and Eugene know.

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Jughead puts his hamburger into what he (correctly) guesses is the fuel slot.

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The ship takes off. Jughead has fun with it. He also somehow is able to hear Eugene yelling to him from the ground.

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The alien sees Betty, gets a boner, and jumps into her arms. Archie skate by and grabs him, and…

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Veronica is pissed and decides to go to her dad.

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Jughead finally crashes the spaceship at Pop’s.

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By the way, I distinctly remember the above shot being used in a commercial (probably on The Family Channel), but Jughead said “dig this” instead of “rad ride”. Did they use a different take specifically for the commercial?

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Pop comes out and demands to know what the fuck is going on. Archie is evasive.

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Mr. Lodge is on the way. That was fast.

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Archie and Jughead have Pop get hamburgers.

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Archie deposits them in the larger fuel tank.

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The alien is attached to Archie and doesn’t wanna leave.

Archie puts the alien in the spaceship. The alien returns the hat to Jughead, who “almost forgot” it. Jughead’s characterization is weird in this episode. He willingly gets rid of a hamburger. He almost forgets his hat. I guess you could chalk it up to the character being younger.

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After a tearful goodbye, the alien leaves.

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Mr. Lodge (who didn’t see any of this happen and who also, for whatever reason, was driving his own limo) demands Veronica show him the alien. Veronica demands Archie show him. Archie and Jughead bullshit a bit.

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Mr. Lodge takes Veronica home for some spankings and Reggie to his home, where he’ll have a talk with his parents.

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That night, Archie takes out the trash.

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Archie looks up at the night sky, sees a bright blinking light, and presumably hears Dude’s voice.

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The closing credits sequence is more animation in the same vein as the opening sequence (with the credits overlayed), and there’s a shortened version of the opening theme.

So this is “The New Archies”. Either you like it, or you don’t. I like it. I know it doesn’t look as colorful and vibrant as “The Archie Show” (although part of that might be due to the VHS quality), but, if this segment is any indication, I’ll enjoy the plots more. Sure, it’s typical 1980s fluff and cheese with its fair share of stupidity, but sometimes, like when you’re relaxing after a stressful day, that’s all that you want.

No laugh track here. This is cool, modern Archie, bitches. He don’t need no damn laugh track.

The cast is pretty good in their roles. Nothing particularly outstanding, but the voices, for the most part, fit the characters.

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Archie Comics published a “The New Archies” comic book in the style of the show that lasted for 22 issues, running from November of 1987 to May of 1990 (cover dates). Yeah, it was really infrequent.

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There was also a “The New Archies Comics Digest Magazine” that ran for 14 issues from May of 1988 to July of 1991 (cover dates). From what I’ve read, these digests didn’t contain just reprints; they contained a bunch of new stories! This makes sense, considering digests are so much thicker than regular comic books. So that’s a lot of extra New Archies material to check out if you’re interested. In fact, I bet every issue of each of these two series contains more story content than each episode of the cartoon series!

We’ll be staying with “The New Archies” on this blog for a while – until the first big review is ready. Yeah, if you know about the history of Archie on television, you know what I’m talking about.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Barely Friends

Writer: Frank Doyle
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo Jr.
Inks: Jimmy DeCarlo
Colors: Barry Grossman
Letters: Bill Yoshida
Original Publication: Archie’s Pal Jughead, No. 325
Cover Date: October, 1982
Length: 6 pages

Jughead is napping on the beach. Cheryl comes upon “Spindle Schnoz – the clownie townie”. Jughead asks her what’s new in “snob city”. We learn Cheryl attends an “exclusive institute of learning” named Pembrooke Academy. Jughead gives Cheryl a hard time about her swimsuit, which she says is “the very latest in European beach wear”. Jughead continues to make fun of her bikini. Sloppy artwork has Cheryl’s bracelet switch from her left hand to her right hand.

Anyway, Cheryl yells at the “insensitive boor”, and Jughead continues to insult her. Jughead leaves. Cheryl finds Jason with his tongue down some girl’s throat and calls on him to “defend” her “honor”, which amuses him. Even she admits it’s “maybe not exactly honor”, but she’s been insulted by a “townie”. Jason is confused, because Cheryl supposedly has the hots for Jughead (that’s just weird), and Cheryl admits to flip-flopping on it. She sends her brother off to beat the shit out of Jughead.

Meanwhile, Jughead wants to go for a swim, so he has Moose keep an eye on his hat, because “wise guys” are “always hiding it” on him. In other words, Jughead gets bullied for being weird. Moose puts the hat on and gets under the shade of Midge’s umbrella to avoid the heat.

Jason’s looking forwarded to beating the shit out of a “townie”. He sees the hat and mistakenly confronts Moose, who hurls Jason into a waste basket.

Some onlookers are amazed, and a girl claims the “skinny townie with the silly hat” did it, despite Moose no longer wearing the hat while he was hurling Jason. This leaves the guys fearful, the girl craving Jughead’s cock, and Jughead confused.

Overall, this is an okay story. Cheryl appears for only the first half of it. We learn Cheryl attends a different school than the main characters, and we finally learn her and Jason’s last name: Blossom. As in the previous story, the main characters are already familiar with them. Jughead knows Cheryl by name, and Moose knows Jason by name. It’s also kind of funny that both stories are set on the beach and involve Cheryl wearing a skimpy bikini – not that I’m complaining!

Tune in next Wednesday, when The Archies suddenly become “New”.