Writers: Pat Allee & Ben Hurst
Director: Jim Simon
Original Air Date: Saturday, December 5, 1987 (assumed)
Well, here we are, at long last, at the series finale of The New Archies. It definitely felt like the series is a lot longer than it actually is. That’s because I’ve written these reviews a couple minutes of story at a time, for the most part, and, admittedly, I’ve dragged my feet in reviewing this series. Then, after I finished and posted my review of the previous segment, I decided to just watch this segment all in one sitting (something that I hadn’t done for any previous segment while reviewing it), because I remember enjoying it, and I was surprised that it was over so quickly.
Oh, yeah, remember, in my review of the first segment, I mentioned a possible fourteenth episode? Wikipedia and IMDb list the segments as “Got Hair?” and “Teenage Birthday Party”, and the former gives an original air date of December 12, 1987. This info has been copied by other sites. I have found no evidence that these segments were actually made, and, again, thirteen was the standard number of episodes for a network TV season of an animated series at the time. Maybe they’re unproduced segments, but, again, I can’t find anything. So I’m considering “Horray for Hollywood” to be the series finale of The New Archies. And what a way to go out: with a typo in the episode’s title.
Anyway, let’s get into it.
The segment opens with a lovely nature shot.
But, okay, the story begins with Betty fixing Archie’s bike. Wow, they actually added one of Betty’s character traits from the comics (being a bit of a mechanic) into the show.
Archie’s impressed with Betty’s skill.
Jughead shows up with a hitherto-unmentioned cousin, Cary. Archie gives so little shit for this guy that he immediately gets his name wrong, calling him Terry (note: I’m certain that this was a flub).
Betty gets a lady-boner for Cary.
As Cary approaches, Betty tries to make herself presentable. Cary mistakes her for a dude.
Cary apologizes, but Jughead calls Betty “just one of the guys”.
Betty and Cary’s formal meeting doesn’t go well, and Betty ends up feeling embarrassed.
Cary refuses the rag, and Jughead says they gotta go, because they’re on their way to Pop’s. Betty tells “Jerry” that it was nice meeting him. And guess what. We never see or hear of Cary again. I hope you enjoyed his roughly 45 seconds of screentime. Yeah, his sole purpose was so Betty could get embarrassed over her tomboyishness in front of a guy.
So, yeah, Betty’s feeling very embarrassed, but Archie says he appreciates her.
Betty get a lady-boner for him.
Then he calls her “a real pal”, and that’s the end of that.
On another day, at Riverdale Junior High School, Veronica stops to check herself out in a glass case displaying a sign for the Annual Spring Fling.
In the gym, Betty is really proud of her decorations; the theme is Nature Welcomes Spring. Veronica is underwhelmed.
Ethel is making flowers out of toilet tissue. Veronica isn’t impressed, but Betty thinks they’re “cute”.
Eugene is painting a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Moose. Um, why? Did Betty seriously think cut-outs of the people that will actually be attending the dance was a good idea? It just seems really weird. But I guess it’s a bit less creepy than this:
Betty then points out the “great” mechanical birds that Eugene made and has Veronica try one out.
Veronica is impressed.
Betty admits they still need a little work. She asks Veronica what she thinks.
Veronica calls the birds old-fashioned and tacky. This disappoints Betty.
As Veronica goes on about Betty’s choice of decorations, Ethel pop up behind her and makes funny faces to try to cheer Betty up.
Veronica eventually discovers what Ethel is doing and leaves in disgust. Betty and Ethel laugh.
By the next scene, however, as Betty and Ethel are walking along (past DiC’s headquarters, which is based in Riverdale, apparently), Betty has done a complete 180, admitting Veronica’s right.
Ethel’s like “Bullshit! Shopping solves everything!”
How is this supposed to help?
The saleswoman compliments Betty’s choice of dress, but Ethel says it’s not for “our Betty”. She brings over another dress that she says “is Betty” and calls it “durable and reliable”. What a shitty thing to do.
See? It’s clear that Betty doesn’t want to always be thought of in the same way by everyone. She’s getting tired of the same old thing.
At home, Betty is even more depressed, despairing that she even looks like one of the guys. I really don’t see this as an issue, but, then again, I went through school just being myself and giving zero fucks what other people thought of me.
On the other hand, I would find my middle/high school self obnoxious and annoying. I’ve grown way more boring and quiet since then, and I generally try to be non-intrusive and not acknowledge people and hope they’ll treat me likewise (they usually don’t).
My point is people change. I don’t know what Betty’s going through, but I’m guessing she’s hoping for some loving and wishing people wouldn’t be so reliant on her.
Betty spots an ad in the newspaper (because apparently, like all preteens, she keeps a newspaper in her bedroom): “Mr. Maurice, beauty expert to the stars. Change your looks and change your life.” This is the sole “Hollywood” connection in this story: some dude making a claim in a newspaper ad.
“I’ll do it!” Um, how? Do you have enough of your allowance saved up? Are you gonna ask your parents for money?
Bothering only to take off her headband, Betty heads right over to the office of some guy that placed an ad in a newspaper. Did one of her parents drive her? Do they even know she’s out of the house? This is a major problem that I have with this series: these kids are out and about way too much on their own. I never did this when I was their age. Sure, a friend of mine stopped at my house, trick-or-treating with his friends, one Halloween, and some of my friends came by once, so we could pick blackberries from a vacant lot (well, not me; I considered it trespassing and potentially dangerous), but, whenever I wanted to go somewhere, my mom or dad had to drive me. Then again, I live in a rural town, not a suburb, and everything is way more spread out. To get to any kind of store (other than a convenience store), I’d have to cross a busy highway and then go a few miles north. No way was that happening. And I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. I can get around and shop just fine, now that I have a car. I’m kind of glad that I didn’t get to go walking around town on my own or with some friends as a kid, because who knows what might have happened?
Anyway, the first thing that Maurice does is insult Betty’s appearance, making her feel bad.
Without discussing any payment (that will cum later), the sleazy French guy puts an arm around Betty and has his way with her.
There’s an abrupt cut to a panning shot of Riverdale Junior High School, where Archie, sans bookbag, is having trouble carrying more books than I ever had to. Seriously, there aren’t even that many periods in a school day.
This is only to contrast with Veronica, who has a laugh at Archie’s expense, because she has Smithers to carry her unrealistic multitude of books (but no other supplies) for her. Smithers lets out a creepy moan. Yeah, I know he’s supposed to sound like he’s sick of this shit, but it’s still pretty creepy.
Archie stops at his full-sized locker, which I didn’t have until high school, and then something surprises him.
Ditto for Reggie and Veronica.
Jughead is the only one to have a delayed reaction to:
Oh, dear Goddess…
In class, Ms. Grundy asks when the Magna Carta was signed. She calls on Jughead.
What in the actual fuck?
Anyway, Jughead somehow loses his balance and falls out of his chair, and the class laughs.
Ms. Grundy decides to go to “someone more reliable” and asks Betty.
Betty responds with “Yo!” Veronica’s pissed (for some reason). Reggie has a boner.
Ms. Grundy is a bit thrown off by Betty’s greeting but repeats the question. Betty will have to get back to Ms. Grundy on that, which surprises her.
See, Betty didn’t get to do her homework, because she had to do her nails to match her outfit.
Seen here: absolutely nothing that took more than a few minutes of her time, tops.
Ms. Grundy gets a bit sassy with Betty and gives her detention, but Betty doesn’t give a fuck.
Later, at Pop’s, Reggie demands to know why Betty won’t go to the movies with him. Betty gives him a total bullshit answer, citing “the new me” and “the same old you, such as it is”.
Veronica’s pissed, because Betty’s an hour late.
Betty’s excuse is “Price of popularity, babe. Everyone wants a piece of your time.” No doubt because you’ve been walking around town in a leotard. Just who, exactly, got a piece of Betty’s time, and did they get a piece of Betty’s anything else as well?
Veronica, without a hint of irony, finds Betty’s behavior obnoxious. She’s starved and wants to order. Ooh, we get to see Pop’s menu, and it doesn’t include the name of the business on it but does include a generic design that Pop probably threw together in a few minutes in Paintbrush on Windows 1.0 (Windows 2.0 didn’t come out until four days after this segment aired).
I’m gonna pause the review for a moment and talk about food. I hadn’t been to locally-owned restaurants much. There was actually a 1950s-themed diner right on my street, just over a half-mile from my house, open for thirty years (twenty-seven of which I’d lived here), and I never once ate there. I used to work in a small office in the early-to-mid-2000s, and the mom of one of my coworkers owned another 1950s-themed diner. Our whole office would go there one night per month for a kinda-sorta party/event. I ordered ten sliders and a glass of Pepsi each time. It was okay but nothing special. More recently, my mom and I got gift certificates for free breakfast at another diner. This one, as far as atmosphere (and I use the term loosely) went, was New England-themed. We ordered breakfast platters and got basically the same thing that we get at Burger King, except burned. My point is I really don’t “get” locally-owned diners; they just don’t seem that special to me. And I certainly don’t get how the gang (except Veronica and maybe Reggie) can afford to continually hang out at Pop’s. What kind of allowances are they getting?
Anyway, Betty ditches Veronica to get to her acting class, surprising and pissing off Veronica. Betty’s taking an acting class? How is she paying for it? And how is she paying for her numerous new outfits? Is it part of a package deal that Mr. Maurice offers? If so, who actually paid for it?
Before she leaves, Betty asks Veronica to “be real with” her. Veronica happily agrees, despite being pissed at her a moment earlier. Betty tries out the new name “Jasmine” and asks for Veronica’s opinion. Veronica isn’t quite sure what to say.
Betty doesn’t have time for an answer, though, and tells Veronica to get back to her on that. Betty teases the decorations for the dance, telling Veronica that she won’t recognize the gym. Veronica’s afraid of that. Then, with a parting “Toodles”, Betty leaves.
Archie asks Betty to take a look at his bike, but Betty doesn’t “do bikes anymore”.
When Betty leaves Pop’s, Ethel sees her and comments on her “wild” outfit. She also asks “Whatever happened to blue jeans?” Um, when, precisely, has Betty ever worn blue jeans on this series? She’s a pink overalls kind of girl.
Betty’s exact response is “Oh, Biggie, get back! I don’t do jeans anymore!” You’ve never done jeans, bitch; shut up.
Archie comes by with Moose and worriedly asks “Just what does she do now?”
After the commercial break, Veronica’s at the park, ready to skateboard. Because it was the 1980s, and everybody skateboarded. Even Reagan. Anyway, she asks Jughead if he’s seen
Betty Jasmine. Jughead kinda-sorta says yes, implying Betty’s also skateboarding. See? Told ya.
Jughead comes across Ethel, who complains about Betty’s shitastic ’80s clothes.
Veronica skates over, complaining about Betty’s hair. Then Reggie skates over and complains about Betty turning down a date with him. Jughead insults Reggie and skates off, and a pissed Reggie gives chase.
“Motherfucker, don’t you fucking hurt him, or I’mma fucking kill you!”
Wait, wait, wait. A large chunk of that bridge/path is very blatantly missing. Shouldn’t the area be sealed off to, I dunno, prevent dumbass tweens from trying to skateboard over it?!
Anyway, can we get back to Betty, please? This is supposed to be her story, and I feel this stupid rivalry between Jughead and Reggie is taking away precious time from that.
In case you’re wondering, Jughead puts absolutely no effort into his skateboarding, just standing perfectly still. Because that’s totally believable.
Anyway, Ethel comes out of nowhere and knocks Reggie into a shallow pool of water. Whatever.
Veronica has a laugh over it and then tells Smithers that she’s ready. What the fuck? That’s just ridiculous. Besides, why, after recent events, does she still want Smithers to do stuff with her? Also, we just saw Veronica’s regular skateboard earlier in the scene. But anything for a cheap laugh, right?
Whatever. Can we get back to Betty now? Please?
Later, they go to Riverdale Junior High School for the Spring Fling. Ethel says Betty wouldn’t let anyone in to see it. She can’t wait. They enter the gym.
Jughead makes a Star Trek reference.
Honestly, though, it feels more like Star Wars.
Yeah, Betty went with a sci-fi theme for the Spring Fling dance. That’s…different.
Archie suggests checking out the food. Jughead says he’s brave.
Archie asks about a certain food, and Veronica – the worldly, well-traveled girl – incorrectly identifies it as sushi, even though it’s actually sashimi. Jughead thinks it’s disgusting not after he tries some but after Veronica talks. So typically sitcomy.
Ethel identifies steak tartare.
Okay, I’m gonna pause the review to talk about food again. I grew up in the 1980s and was raised by two Polish parents that, really, were old enough to be my grandparents, having been born during World War II. One dish that we often made was what they called “tatar” (TAH-tahr). That might be a corruption of tartare or a Polish version of the word. I don’t know, and my mom doesn’t either. Anyway, we made it by mixing raw ground beef in a bowl with olive oil or vegetable oil as well as salt and black pepper. We cut up garlic and onion into little pieces and added it to the mix. We served it on bread (usually Italian). It actually tastes quite good. I often add a homemade Cajun seasoning and/or hot sauce into the mix (after my mom’s taken her share). So it’s not quite like the recipe in the Wikipedia article, and we’ve never used egg yolk. Anyway, just thought I’d share. Now, back to the review.
Jughead takes a piece, sniffs it, and says it looks weird. Ethel says it’s “raw hamburger” (not really accurate). Jughead promptly drops it in disgust. Are we expected to believe Jughead, who lives for hamburgers, has never tried making his own?
Anyway, Jughead declares, this time, Betty’s gone too far.
Betty comes by, fishing for a compliment from “Juggy” regarding the dance, but he isn’t impressed, and she’s like “What the fuck?”
Betty asks Archie to dance, but he doesn’t do “that kind of music”, utterly shocking her.
Betty asks “Ronnie” and “Big Ethel” (this was back when making fun of tall people was considered okay) if they wanna go to the “powder room” with her, but they “don’t do powder rooms anymore”. Considering “powder room” is a euphemism for “restroom” (from back in the days when females wanted to avoid acknowledging they piss and shit), that’s unintentionally hilarious.
Aaawww. Betty’s sad. Do we feel sorry for her? Well, we shouldn’t, considering it’s already been established Betty’s a horrible piece of shit when freed of any self-restraint.
Suddenly, Betty brightens up.
Reggie calls her out on wanting to hang out with him only because everyone else has turned her down. She whimpers sadly and walks away. Reggie considers hanging out with her, but it’s too late: she’s gone.
Betty goes to Pop’s to drown her sorrows. Pop is surprised to see her (or perhaps surprised at how she currently looks).
Betty tries to order a root beer float, but she can’t even get it out before she starts crying.
Eugene walks by Pop’s and is shocked to see a sad Betty. He runs off.
Back at the gym, Jughead wants to fucking leave already. Yeah, um, why are they still here? They were clearly pissed at Betty, so I don’t think they’d stay out of obligation to her.
Also, Moose is wasted in this segment. He doesn’t really say anything except maybe one line mixed in among other characters’ lines.
Eugene rushes in and fills them in.
Archie and Ethel feel bad over how they treated Betty, but Veronica and Reggie defend their actions.
Reggie goes too far with his suggestion of a bucket of cold water in the face, and the others let him know they disapprove.
Reggie claims it’s a “joke”.
Ethel feels awful, because Betty was just trying her best with the decorations. Jughead says Betty’s best was “pretty good”. They all miss “good old Betty”.
Archie suddenly has an idea.
Back at Pop’s, Betty has recounted everything to Pop. He tries to make her feel better.
Suddenly, the others show up. After confirming Betty’s still here, Archie signals to the others to be quiet and come on.
Pop points out that Veronica didn’t work on the decorations.
Betty realizes, if Veronica wanted other decorations, she could have done the work.
Betty mentions “Big Ethel” called her “dependable and reliable”. Actually, she’d called the dress, comparing it to Betty, “durable and reliable” (although Ms. Grundy had called Betty “reliable”).
Anyway, Pop is amused that Betty thinks this is bad, and Betty, knocking her stupid wig off the counter, realizes it isn’t.
But then Betty gets upset again over Archie and Jughead calling her “just one of the guys”. Actually, just Jughead did; Archie called her “a real pal”.
There’s some antics as the gang brings in and sets up Betty’s original dance decorations, which they had somehow found (and were damn lucky that she hadn’t thrown out).
Pop gets a bit creepy when he predicts Betty’s future sexiness.
Rather than be creeped out, Betty’s just sad; she says it doesn’t matter, because it’s too late now.
She believes she’s lost all of her friends.
“Look behind you, dumbass.”
Pop offers ice cream sodas on the house.
Jughead asks about hamburgers.
Betty gets the final line of the series: “I’ve got the best friends in the whole world.”
This segment was really nice and actually my favorite of the entire series. This and “The Awful Truth” are good character studies of Betty. I only wish they were longer, so they could further explore the issues that Betty has. Speaking of those issues, that’s where this segment kind of bungles it toward the end. Through Pop’s questions, we’re led to believe Betty was making a big deal out of nothing and feeling depressed about basic compliments (she even agrees with him), but I always understood Betty’s issues to be not wishing to be thought of in exactly the same, predictable way all of the time; she desired something more, something different. Still, overall, the series went out on a high note.
I will do a recap of the entire series fairly soon.