Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Ain't Sayin' Archie's A Gold Digger, But He Ain't Messin' With No Broke...

....cartoon characters. Yep, Archie Andrews is getting married and it looks like he popped the question to Veronica instead of Betty in the landmark 600th issue of Archie.

Controversial. First of all, this is the first major change to Archie Comics in decades. Archie has attended roughly 782054 proms in his life and 350385 graduation ceremonies, so it was time for the poor boy and his Riverdale pals to finally evolve past high school. But frankly, Archie's decision to go with the snotty rich girl over the goody two-shoes Betty isn't all that surprising. Speaking as someone who read roughly a million Archie comics in my childhood, if there was one thing I gleaned from those hundreds and hundreds of repetitive stories is that Archie is kind of a fuck-up. He means well, and he's a good guy, but man, this kid can turn the simplest task into a series of comic hijinks. It only stands to reason that he'd botch his marriage by proposing to the woman that's all wrong for him.

The question, however, is if Veronica is indeed the wrong choice. After all, opposites attract, and cliches have never led us wrong in the past (except for that time when a stitch in time saved me eight). Let's break this down using Mark's Five Most Desired Qualities In A Woman....

PERSONALITY: The worst thing you could say about Betty is that sometimes she was too much of a do-gooder for her own good. Veronica, meanwhile, could get self-absorbed. But as far as actual personality goes, it's hard to pick. Just because Veronica was bitchier doesn't mean she wouldn't be able to carry on an interesting conversation. Frankly, the fact that she's shown interests outside of pining over Archie is healthier than Betty, who would spend all her time babbling about Archie in the same manner that Death's date on Family Guy would go on and on about animals. Screw it, Veronica takes this category.

BRAINS: Even. The success-to-fail ratio of each woman's zany schemes (in Riverdale, you're required by law to have one zany scheme per week under punishment of death) is about the same, so they're at least equal in shiftiness, if nothing else.

KINDNESS: Betty, by a country mile. Continuity in Archie Comics can shift from time to time (sometimes Betty and Veronica are best friends, other times they're bitter rivals, sometimes Betty and Reggie are dating, sometimes Jughead is merely indifferent to women instead of being an overt sexist, etc.) but the one constant in the comics throughout all the years is that Betty is as sweet as apple pie. I'm not saying that Veronica would kick a dog, but we know for sure that Betty wouldn't. I could see Ronnie reach 0.9 on the Vick Scale if a dog, say, swallowed a diamond earring or something. And then Archie would volunteer to root through the dog's shit to search for the earring, Archie is just whipped as hell.

LOOKS: This usually has a lot of subcategories (face, body, eyebrow thickness, etc.) but in this case, we can simplify things since Betty and Veronica look exactly the same. Literally. Betty is blond and usually wears her hair in a ponytail, while Veronica is a long-haired brunette, but other than that, they're dead ringers. Was this an editorial decision, or did Archie Comics just employ a lot of lazy artists over the years? Maybe a future story will reveal that Mr. Lodge and Mrs. Cooper actually shacked up years ago, and Betty and Veronica are twins separated in some sort of Comedy Of Errors scenario. That's probably coming in Archie #700, unless they're going to deal with Reggie's heroin addiction first.

SENSE OF HUMOUR: Both have a love of corny puns, as evidenced by 60 years of comics. Aside from that, you won't exactly be seeing any of them cracking wise down at the Laugh Shack anytime soon. Another draw.

WHO WOULD BE BETTER IN BED: With the score 1-1 with three draws, we move to the tie-breaker. It's hard to figure for a number of reasons. One, should be be judging on sexual prowess in general, or on the specific sexual chemistry that they'd have with Archie? Two, debating how cartoon characters would bang each other is just a bit too weird and takes this whole thing into "this whole conversation bothers me" territory. If I had to wager, I'd say that Betty would be pretty steadily good at any time, whereas Veronica would run hot and cold. If you bought her a necklace, she would be all over you like stink on a hog, but it's also very easy to see her put up the frigid shield if she wasn't in exactly the right mood. It may be a moot point anyway given that ultimately, they'd be sleeping with Archie, and he'd probably screw things up in some goofy way. Like, he'd get the condom stuck on his head. Or he'd forget the condoms altogether and stall for time while his pal Jughead tried to secretly bring some over without the girl finding out, but when Jughead would probably step on a rake or rouse a guard dog and chaos would ensue. Literally, nothing in Riverdale's history has ever gone smoothly. These town is a national security threat. Can you imagine putting a guy from Riverdale in charge of America's nuclear arsenal? The president would push the button, and this clown would trip over the aiming mechanism or something, and it would be the end of the goddamn human race.

So as you can see, it's a pretty tight competition. Maybe Archie is making the right call. Who are we to interfere with this man's private life? If he finally wants to make a decision after all these years, let the boy make up his mind and propose. Or, maybe this is all just a set-up where Archie realizes that his true love is Big Ethel, and they run off together and have lots of gangly, ginger babies. Or, he realizes that Jughead is his true love and pays off that line from Chasing Amy --- "Archie was the bitch and Jughead was the butch. That's why Jughead wears that crown-looking hat all the time. He the king of queen Archie's world."


Speaking of weddings to Veronica, I had a dream the other night. My buddy Trev and I were middle-aged men, and our twenty-something daughters were getting each other! *record scratch* *cue 'I Feel Good'* Trevor was somewhat bemused about the arrangement, largely due to the fact that he would now be legally related to me, while I was just going totally gung-ho and and getting obnoxiously involved in the wedding planning. Trevor and I were arguing over who should pay for the lion's share of the ceremony, since we were both technically the father of the bride. Oddly enough, Trevor and I looked exactly the same in our early sixties as we do now, except he had a bit of gray in his hair and I...well, I basically look like an old man anyway. Is my subconscious telling me that Trev and I are Highlanders? I don't want to have to battle my good friend in a swordfight to the death. Let's stop the violence, Trev. There can be only two.

The dream accomplished two things. First of all, it got me even more revved up against Proposition 8, since if my little girl wants to get married in downtown Oakland, by god she should be able to. (A crack baby can be the flower girl!) Second, my daughter's name in the dream was Ingrid, which is such a great option that it's immediately going on the stand-by list of possible child names. Does my subconscious mind really like Casablanca? Should I be adding Laszlo to the list of potential names for a son? I draw the line at Humphrey. No son of mine will have a name that sounds like a yak coughing. Bogart could only pull it off because he was the coolest motherfucker in the world.

Oh, and it relates to the Archie wedding since Trev's daughter in the dream was named, in fact, Veronica. And Trev himself has red hair, like Archie. What kind of messed-up Oedipal situation is going in your household, Trev? Good lord. You can't marry your fictional daughter just because of a similarity to a popular comic series! Come to your senses, man! Leave your fictional daughter to my fictional daughter and let them be happy together! I don't want to have to hire a fictional bounty hunter to track you down and stop you from fictionally eloping!

I'm glad we got that settled.

1 comment:

Peter Lynn said...

Betty is blond and usually wears her hair in a ponytail, while Veronica is a long-haired brunette, but other than that, they're dead ringers. Was this an editorial decision, or did Archie Comics just employ a lot of lazy artists over the years?

I'm pretty sure this was an editorial decision. I've seen at least one story in which Betty is able to impersonate Veronica by putting on a brunette wig and switching places with her.