Archie Goes Hollywood

Can the Riverdale High gang survive in a "Gossip Girls" world?

By Jere Hester
|  Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009  |  Updated 10:45 PM PDT
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Archie Comics

First Archie proposed to Veronica – now he may be headed for Hollywood.

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The thought of having to listen to "Sugar Sugar," even in a dance remix, is enough to send one into diabetic shock.

Sweet, though, may soon be making a sticky comeback.

The folks at Archie Comics signed with uber-agents CAA, Variety reports, suggesting movies and TV shows could be in the offing for the freckled forever teenager. The deal follows the recent publicity spurt over the comic book story arc in which Archie finally decides between Betty and Veronica.

But can the gang from Riverdale High survive in a "Gossip Girls" world?

That little has changed in Riverdale over the last 67 years is both comically absurd and oddly reassuring, particularly in less-than-stable times. Archie's comic scribes largely have been in on the joke – even in the late 1960s and 1970s, the Archie TV cartoons were self-consciously retro amid the Woodstock Generation’s bloom. (Bubblegum earworm "Sugar Sugar" is what passed for "rock" for the Archies in 1969, the year Led Zeppelin released its first album.)

Reviving Archie for a mass TV or movie audience could prove trickier now. Perhaps the model – or the competition – shouldn't be "Gossip Girls," whose Blair Waldorf would eat Veronica alive.

Archie and the gang likely would feel more at home on the set of "Glee," the FOX breakout show that sets a "Revenge of the Nerds" plot to an "American Idol" soundtrack. “Glee” has the makings of a classic underdog tale, seasoned with a streak of irreverence you won’t find within light years of “High School Musical.”

Underdog charm and steadiness have helped every-teen Archie survive seven decades of plots centering around one man’s love triangle and his best friend’s love for hamburgers.  Archie, though, may yet turn into a man of the times: In the September issue, he proposes to scheming rich girl Veronica over sweet, humble Betty, in the first of a six-chapter series.

That’s a pretty big deal for a character who hasn’t changed his sweater since 1942. Between Archie’s big life decision and new, high-powered representation, the Riverdale crew could be headed to a strange, new place: Hollywood.

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

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