When the credits rolled on the season three finale of Riverdale, the Lodges were both imprisoned, Penelope Blossom had become a cold-blooded killer, the Gargoyle King had been banished, Betty discovered that she and Jughead had a half-brother who was an FBI agent who was secretly working with Alice to infiltrate The Farm, and Cheryl was hanging out with the decomposing corpse of her brother. All that, plus apparently Jughead will die this season?
In other words, business as usual in “the town with Pep.”
Yet since it premiered in 2017, Riverdale has been anything but your normal teen drama. We’ve seen everything from random, hilarious bear attacks to maple syrup blood feuds on the show to date, but even these bonkers aspects of the series aren’t the most atypical thing about it.
So what is then? Simply put, the fact that the parental characters are just as beloved by viewers as the show’s younger leads. For an example of this theory in action, head on over to Twitter to see the overwhelming desire for more romantic scenes involving the Falice ship of Skeet Ulrich’s F.P Jones character and Mädchen Amick’s regrettably named Alice Cooper. And that’s not even mentioning the whole “Hot Riverdale Dads” thing. This is a show where the adult authority figures are complicated, interesting and popular among viewers. (The teen drama equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack, really).
With the series’ fourth season getting underway tonight, we talked with Riverdale‘s main parental figures — Skeet Ulrich, Molly Ringwald, Marisol Nichols and Mark Consuelos — about everything from what’s ahead for their characters to whether or not the Lodges are the worst parents currently on television. What they had to say might surprise you.
While auditioning for the role of Hermione Lodge, Marisol Nichols felt apprehension about taking a part in a series where her character would exist only to pay service to the show’s teen leads. “I want to have something to do, right? Actors like to act,” she told us. However, after a discussion with Riverdale creator/showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa she discovered that the series would be an ensemble piece — yet another example of how the show diverges from the Archie comics that inspired it in which the adults are only background figures.
“When I read for it and talked to Roberto, he explained to me that it was about all the characters in the town and there was plenty for the adults to do as well as the teens,” Nichols explains, detailing how she was won over by the premise.
Playing former gang member-turned-sheriff F.P. Jones, Skeet Ulrich got philosophical with us about the role that the adults play on the series:
“I do feel like the parents really serve the teen audience quite well. For me, being the parent of teens I recognize this is the age where kids start to see the flaws in their parents and I think we really help to represent that, obviously. I think what’s made it successful is that dynamic and the audience, especially the teen audience, recognizing that and having an outlet for that in their own lives.”
Of all of the adult characters on the show, Ulrich’s F.P. is arguably the most beloved due to his bad boy past and a redemption arc that, while strains credulity, is a fan favorite. We asked him what’s ahead for F.P. and he gave us some tantalizing hints at what we can expect from his character this season:
“With the loss of Fred, there’s quite a bit of leaning towards helping Archie and facilitating what he needs — which includes both sides of F.P., the law-abiding side and the non-law-abiding side. So that’s certainly been a bit of a beginning of it, and Jughead starts to peel away at who Forsythe Pendleton the First is and that’s a bone of contention with F.P. certainly wanting to negate that side of his life.”
Ulrich went on to say that by having F.P.’s father introduced to the series fans can expect to see the character revisiting the criminal side of his character. “There’s some Serpent in his future,” he told us, “I don’t know yet how it will present itself, but it seems to be coming.”
Like many of the actors playing the roles of adults on Riverdale, Ulrich is a performer who was catapulted into stardom at an early age. This casting trend continued with perhaps the most iconic actress of the 1980s, Molly Ringwald, who will be appearing on the series more than ever before as Mary Andrews due to the untimely passing of Luke Perry. Of all the characters on the series, we know hardly nothing about Mary, something that Ringwald is eager to dive into:
“I’m really hoping we get to find out about what she’s been doing while she’s away, or what made her make the choice to leave her son when he was 15 years old. Because that’s a pretty big choice for a mother, especially somebody who’s supposed to be a good mother. It’s a little bit complicated, and that’s when Riverdale gets really good is when everything is not what it appears to be.”
If Mary is the most mysterious of the adults, then Hiram Lodge is the most notorious. Mark Consuelos take on Veronica’s father is one oozing with scheming charm, but Consuelos believes that there is a sense of personal honor that drives Hiram. In tonight’s premiere we learn that it is Hiram who pays for Fred’s funeral, relieving the Andrews family of a considerable financial burden during the hardest time in their lives:
“Him paying for the funeral was pretty interesting, I’m glad they put it in there. I think he saw that as the end of a fight, the end of a battle. I think he had a lot of respect for Fred and so he wanted to do the right thing — like how two fighters usually shake hands at the end. Since he couldn’t do that then he was going to do the honorable thing. I like how Roberto tries to redeem Hiram with these little moments. They’re small and they’re far and few between, but they’re still there.”
Yet does Hiram actually feel concern for Archie? Mark Consuelos had some thoughts on the matter:
“I think he sees Archie as the son he never had. First Veronica was the son he never had, she was everything. I think he does care about Archie but at the same time he has to share the love of his daughter with him, and I think he doesn’t like to do that with anybody.”
As season four gets underway, we can expect plenty more suprises from Riverdale‘s adults, and that’s something that viewers of all ages will appreciate.