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Ms. Grundy must die

A lot is changing in the sunny suburb of Riverdale, home to Archie and his friends since 1941. Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character, moved into town this past September, which apparently sent six of the straight characters running to church to get married. This includes renowned bachelor and woman-hater Jughead Jones, who, in an unbelievable twist went from food-lover to woman-lover and married Midge (wasn’t she Moose’s girlfriend?) in the same ceremony as the principal, Mr. Weatherbee and his longtime crush, fellow teacher Ms. Grundy and two other faculty members (A triple ceremony with your teachers? Jughead, what’s happened to you?). Sadly, their marriage was not meant to last and on December 29th Ms. Grundy will lose her battle with cancer.

According to Archie Comics co-executive chief Jon Goldwater, “the goal was to tell stories with important, real-world issues that people deal with like death, financial hardship and marriage issues.” As a former Archie addict, it’s strange seeing the forever young Archie and the gang grow up and deal with financial woes more serious than not having enough gas for the jalopy. I keep trying to imagine what my eight-year-old self would have thought of these plot lines.

Of course, you don’t kill off a character unless you intend on some serious changes, and Ms. Grundy is no exception. After her death Archie and Betty join the teaching staff and Reggie stops being “Veronica’s boy-toy and starts working at a newspaper,” which is still a viable source of information in Riverdale. The writers will also use this opportunity to explore Archie’s two possible futures, one in which he’s married to Betty and the other to Veronica.

In this sense it’s extremely realistic. A group of friends grow up in a small town and settle down in the same place, even taking jobs in their former high school and marrying their teenage sweethearts. It’s either picture perfect or perfectly depressing. At the risk of sounding like an old timer, things were a lot better in my day.