Everyone has that one character they relate to or see themselves in; everyone searches to find someone who looks like them on screen. For me, that character is Veronica Lodge on The CW’s Riverdale, which is based on the Archie Comics characters. Despite the fact that she has had one of the most important evolutions on the show and has been there since the pilot, she is often overlooked and over hated, for no real reason besides Archie continuing to choose her.
Back in season 1, we were introduced to Veronica Lodge, former ice queen of New York. She was determined to reform herself after her father’s arrest and it didn’t take very long for her to succeed, bettering herself and learning what real friendship and a home meant. We also get to see Veronica experience what it means to fall in love, something she never learned from her parents, her relationship with Archie Andrews still ongoing in the current season.
The thing is for the whole series so far, Veronica has been given the same exact plot for all five seasons. While there were dramatic instances added to attempt to pretend it was a new, refreshing storyline (like Veronica’s secret half-sister, Hiram’s illness, and Hiram sending Archie to prison) at the end of the day, all the writers do with the character in terms of an individual plot is pinning her against her father. She is the only member of the core four to receive this treatment. Even in season 1 before we even met Hiram, he was a major part of her storyline. And honestly, in season 2, it was an interesting plot, but we’re in season 5 now — it’s time to give it up.
What’s really disgusting about this is that people will blame Veronica for her father’s actions, as if she’s not a victim of his manipulation and abuse. We have seen Camila Mendes bring such a depth to this storyline in subtle ways, the character struggling with the fact that at the end of the day, this is her father. What’s funny about this is, you never see Betty blamed for her serial killer father’s actions or any other character blamed for a parents’ actions, the argument is only used against Veronica as if she hasn’t been actively trying to stop her father from harming those she loves and the town of Riverdale for the entire series.
Unfortunately, the double standards don’t end there. Veronica kissed Archie during a game of spin the bottle after knowing Betty for a matter of days before their friendship even truly started in the pilot and will be crucified for it still to this day, yet Betty gets a pass for kissing Veronica’s boyfriend after years of friendship, while the two were in a relationship. Not to mention how often Veronica is excluded from the narrative — fans, writers, and media acting as if the whole thing is a love triangle between Betty, Archie, and Jughead even though for most of the series, Archie and Veronica have been in a committed relationship. She is also reduced by many to her money, which proves how little some people watch the show. She is one of the only ones, if not the only, in a position where she can help her loved ones and she doesn’t ever hesitate to help, an act that is completely selfless, so why isn’t it seen that way?
Her entire core as a character is forgotten most of the time, her actions or lines ignored to fit the wanted narrative. Veronica drank poison to save Betty’s life. She helped Toni save Cheryl from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Veronica has been Archie emotional support, which is constantly ignored, for five seasons — in case you want to argue, here are only a few instances: when his father was in the hospital and he broke down crying in her arms, during everything with the Black Hood, his father’s death, and breaking him out of juvie, assuring him that they all did it because they loved him. She bought Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe so that she and her friends would always have a safe place after her father tried to completely monopolize the town. She continues to prove episode by episode what a good person she truly is.
In season five, Veronica was given what could have been a really good storyline, breaking the toxic cycle her parents set for her. While there is still time to see the aftermath of this storyline and have it explored more, Veronica already got a divorce and we didn’t even get to see the full scene. Instead, she is back to battling it out with her father in the name of Riverdale. Veronica deserves her own storyline during the time jump, one that is actually new. And before anyone says it, she should be able to be in a relationship AND have her own storyline — it shouldn’t have to be one or the other. The whole fake care act some people preach, saying they want Veronica to be single so she can finally get her own storyline is so frustrating. If Betty can get both then Veronica deserves the same treatment. She should be able to be with Archie and still get a real, leading storyline.
It’s 2021 so why am I seeing people slut-shaming Veronica for being intimate with her boyfriend? Why is she the ONLY female on the show receiving this narrative? She has been with a total of two guys and her husband throughout the entire show, in what world should that be shamed? People in relationships sleep together, that’s considered normal. If you have an issue with that, I really don’t know what to tell you, but I promise no one needs to be shamed for it. Considering the show has actually had characters cheat, I think Veronica’s actions can stop being held under a microscope. Some couples do have a more physical relationship, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to ignore the emotional aspects of it too.
No one’s telling you that you have to like every character or ship the popular ship, but focusing on the ones you do like instead of creating a false narrative around the ones you don’t would be so much more beneficial. Enjoy the content you get; every character and ship means something important to someone. Veronica is the only POC in the core four and the only main Latinx character on the show, she deserves respect, especially with what she represents for so many.
I want to end this by saying a giant thank you to Camila Mendes for portraying one of my biggest comfort characters in television history. Thank you for making me and so many others feel seen and heard on screen, thank you for fighting for representation, and thank you for inspiring me and so many others. Having a strong and powerful female character like Veronica is something so needed in today’s entertainment, so many girls and women feel represented by her — that will be her legacy.