The parents of Riverdale are dropping like flies, but that might actually be a good thing for the show.
First we lost the incomparable Fred Andrews due to the tragic death of Luke Perry, and now Skeet Ulrich and Marisol Nichols are making their departure from Riverdale. If this trend continues, there won’t be any parents left on the show!
It’s true that we’ve come to love some of the Riverdale parents as much as any of the show’s younger characters. Fred Andrews kept the heart of the show beating, F.P.’s redemption story was one of the greatest arcs of the series, the Coopers seem to become more interesting by the minute, Penelope is always good for some chaos, and the word “Lodge” is basically synonymous with “Riverdale” at this point.
The parents of the show’s main characters have become a huge part of the series in their own right. Many of them feature heavily in the storylines of their kids, and they even have their own intriguing storylines. Without the parents around, Riverdale would be a very different show.
But is that really a bad thing?
The kids of Riverdale are getting to the end of their senior year of high school, and they’ll hopefully be heading off to college in season 5. Veronica has hopes to go to New York, Betty and Jughead are contemplating Connecticut, Cheryl will surely do something spectacular, and Archie has some big decisions to make.
If there was ever a time to let the parents go, it would be now. The students are growing up and spreading their wings. Obviously their parents won’t be going with them to hold their hands through college. Most of them don’t even seem to realize their children are in high school!
It’s going to be a huge transition going into season 5 of Riverdale. Some characters might leave, some might stay, some might find new friends or romances, and some might find some new serial killers to hunt!
The characters who leave should be allowed to explore their new surroundings and have the college experience. We don’t want to see them with only one foot in, trying to hold on too tightly to the homes they’ve left behind. Reducing the role of the parents would help to make this transition much cleaner.
If some characters stay in town, like Archie. I still think their parents should take a step back. Whether they leave Riverdale or not, the kids are still growing up and moving onto a new phase in their lives. Without their parents breathing down their necks, they’ll have more agency to do that.
That “agency” is another reason why I think it wouldn’t be terrible to see fewer parents on the show. Teen shows where the parents are really involved can be tricky. The stars of a TV show need to have a certain amount of agency to make their storylines believable and interesting. It’s hard for kids to have that kind of agency when their parents are still weighing in on all of their decisions. That’s why many teen shows keep their parents absent or completely clueless.
The weird thing about Riverdale is that the kids are drowning in agency even though the parents are fully involved in the drama! Many of Riverdale’s plots have been pretty ridiculous, but they’re even more ridiculous when you consider that, for the most part, their parents know exactly how crazy and dangerous their kids are being and still choose to do nothing!
They spend full nights in a bunker, they rarely attend school, they run nightclubs, they talk to their dead brothers, they become vigilante crime fighters…it’s a lot.
To make matters worse, the parents of the Riverdale leads are usually heavily involved in the show’s craziest plots. The Black Hood, the Gargoyle King, Jason’s killer…all parents. They’ve hit us with almost the same twist three times now, and it always comes back to the parents. At this point, the parents of Riverdale are more of a joke than anything else.
Of course, there are many things we’ll miss with so many of the show’s parents missing. There’s still so much Falice to explore, Hermione still needs to grow a backbone, Fred won’t be around to shepherd Archie into his future, and Jughead and F.P. won’t get to continue to shape their family’s legacy together.
However, it’s definitely still possible that the parents can make guest appearances on Riverdale. Just because they’re not regular characters, it doesn’t mean their stories are over. Don’t worry, even though Skeet Ulrich is leaving the show as a regular, there could still be an F.P. and Alice wedding in the future!
Even though we’ll miss them, I think the show could be better off going forward without them. These kids have a lot of growing up to, and since it doesn’t look like many of their parents will be teaching them any actual life lessons, we’re okay with them taking a step back.