I've been obsessed with Riverdale since episode one. Partly because I love my CW shows, partly I love the drama and the story telling.
Since episode one, Kevin Keller, the unapologetically gay character, has been around. Season 1 gave him a boyfriend, but as the murder mystery took the forefront, he was kind of just there. Even in the first two episodes of Season 2, he was just there. I almost forgot about him at first due to the cliffhanger from Season 1. Yet on the latest episode they put him front and center.
Riverdale is a quaint little town. It creates the stark background against the murders and darkness of the story lines for Season 1 and 2.
Coming from a rural town, it wasn't easy being gay. I didn't even officially come out till I moved away. Many of us can relate to that, and if we were out in a rural setting it always wasn't easy. Hook ups were hard to come by and things were done hush hush. Most of us knew of the local cruising site, whether we went or not.
Riverdale tackled this issue with Kevin cruising in the local forest, even though a murderer was on the loose. His best friend Betty Cooper tried to intervene to get him to stop. Recommending he stick to the gay hookup, "GrindEm" like everyone else. Her issue isn't that he is having sex, but how he is going about it. Kevin says he doesn't like the app because people don't look like their profile, and at least in the woods what you see is what you get.
One of my favorite scenes was when bad bitch, Cheryl Blossom confronts Betty with the fact that Kevin has a sex drive and is just like any other teenager.
The episode culminated with Kevin telling Betty he doesn't have the same opportunities that she has being straight. He has to go off the beaten path to find what he wants. He doesn't get to sit there and debate between two guys he wants to date. He also doesn't get to explore his BDSM side, a storyline Betty tackled in Season 1.
Riverdale has already addressed the slut shaming issue and it's great the show is showing sex in a positive light. But what I love about this story line is that it adds so much complexity to Kevin's character. It shows the real struggle of being a teen. It shows the fact that cruising is real, but that Kevin isn't just a piece of meat for sex. It also creates more tension among the polished look of Betty and the reality of life that the other characters are facing.
While some may be worried that Kevin's character may be reduced just to his sexual desires, I'm not worried. Riverdale has shown that it wants to tackle complex topics and add dimensions to their characters. I only hope this propels Kevin's character into more complex storylines and we can watch his character grow as he navigates the rocky life that is the town of Riverdale.