Remember how in the comics Archie would ignore Betty and Veronica so he could come on to the school secretary in a really slimy fashion? No? You don't? Well, to hell with your stupid treasured childhood memories! Television's take on Archie was that of a scheming, slick fellow with palpable levels of smarm, like Eddie Haskell, except ... no. The sexual tension is a little too real and aggressive for the wholesome 1960s teen sitcom backdrop -- it gives the show an unsettling, date-rapey feel. If this Archie were operating in today's world, he'd make a coke-fueled sex tape with Betty, Veronica and Moose, then sell it to Vivid for a tidy profit.
"Of course you'll get 20 percent if you get Jughead involved."
The strangest piece of this sweaty pie is the characterization of Principal Weatherbee. A full four minutes of the pilot episode is devoted to him, sitting alone in his office, having an argument with his own disembodied voice. Yes, the well-meaning Weatherbee of the comics is reborn as a depressed schizophrenic! He opens the show alternating between questioning his own life's worth and openly acknowledging his disturbing obsession with Archie. Despite all this, his internal monologue reassures him, "Here you are, a successful, important man. A high school principal with 800 young minds to mold." Weatherbee's response? A defeated "... Yeah." But it must be funny, because the laugh-track eats it up! As the episode unfolds we learn that Weatherbee is involved in his own love triangle, featuring aging-and-desperate teacher Miss Grundy and his own secretary. Yes, the same secretary that Archie wants to bang. These are the depraved, twisted scenarios that erotic fan fiction are made of. So, in that sense at least, Archie was well ahead of its time!
Principal Weatherbee prays for just one day that he doesn't feel like pulling the trigger.