The CW’s Riverdale is set to premiere on Jan. 26 and the teen drama is doing all they can to reel in all kinds of audiences through a series of trailers and teasers — but it’s the girl-on-girl sweet lady kiss flash in the ‘Stranger’ teaser that’s caught our attention.
The television series, loosely based on the characters we know and love from Archie comics, launches in time with the 75th anniversary of the red-headed male lead’s character.
But unlike the comic’s pun-ny humour and soda shop feel, the television shows theme is darker and seems to take on a different level of drama. Also, unlike the comics, the teaser brings us a quick seemingly sapphic scene featuring Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) smooching.
Don’t get excited, lady lovers — this Beronica ship will not be sailing. It’s not even a maybe. Actress Reinhart, playing Cooper, has already explicitly shot down any hope.
“They’re soulmates in a friends’ way. Our show is not meant to be fan fiction. We give them a taste of it when they kiss, but that’s all it is,” Reinhart told HollywoodLife.com. “People love Beronica and they want to see them together, but that’s just not our show.”
No, you read that correctly. The ‘taste’ of gay they’re giving audiences that want queerness represented onscreen has a term — and it’s queer baiting.
After all, queer baiting by definition, is luring in queer and/or slash fans with elements of gay — with no intention of following through by showing any actual representation of a queer relationship on screen.
It’s not cool.
The reference to the show not being ‘fan fiction’ is another problematic statement from the actress. As mentioned, the television series has a darker take and is already very different to what is canon in the comics. It’s obvious from the style of filming, dialogue and character representation that this show is aiming to cater to heterosexual audiences — the flash of gay was a painful attempt to suck in potential LGBTQ+ viewers who are starving for queer representation.
It’s an annoying scene. Flat out.
The good news is queer audiences are clever — we can see a good ol’ queer bait miles away. We see what you’re up to, Riverdale.
Also, in case you’re wondering, that is, indeed, Luke Perry playing Fred Andrews on screen.
For those who like the darker teen drama feel of the show, you may be interested in viewing the pilot on the 26th anyway. I mean, I’m not one to talk — I’m a hundred per cent going to hand over my dollars to Pitch Perfect 3 when it comes out and they’ve been queer baiting me with the BeChloe ship for two feature films. I’m also saying I know what’s up.
For your convenience, here’s the Stranger trailer for your viewing pleasure:
Image credit: YouTube