Riverdale is one of the weirdest shows on television. It’s also one of the most entertaining. A bizarre reimagining of the classic, wholesome Archie comics, the series is a teen soap a la The O.C., featuring a pack of brooding teenagers who try to solve a mysterious murder that involves drug trafficking, secret pregnancies, and possibly incest. And while Archie, Jughead, and the rest of the gang may be the center of the action, one of the best running themes is the mindblowing incompetence of the truly awful people raising them. Every one of the parents in Riverdale is so exceedingly selfish, cruel, and stupid that they should teach a masters class in unraveling kids’ lives. And that show’s only been on for nine episodes. Here are some of Riverdale’s worst on- and off-screen parenting moments.
Fred Andrews: The Village Idiot
Archie’s dad typically means well, but he has one major flaw that keeps him from being a good parent: Just like his son, he’s a total moron. When his construction crew quits because of a better job offer, he recruits his teenage son and his friends to skip school and work all day for no money. This is obviously in violation of several laws, but at least Fred offers them sodas at the end of the day, right?
His general lack of common sense takes a much darker turn when he finds out his son (who, once again, is a teenager) has been taken advantage of by his teacher. Does Fred call the police on this sexual predator? Nope. Instead, he just asks her to leave town, where she can probably take advantage of a brand new crop of boys. Way to be a part of the problem, Fred.
F.P. Jones: Riverdale’s Top Gangster
In ‘Heart of Darkness,’ Archie discovers that Jughead has secretly living at school in a closet. This is already more than enough to prove F.P. is an awful father, but it’s only the beginning. F.P. is also the leader of the Southside Serpents, Riverdale’s premier gang (it’s more Jets and Sharks than Crazy 88s, but still…) Combine that with F.P.’s heavy drinking and propensity for violence, and it starts to make sense why Jughead would prefer living like Harry Potter to sharing a roof with his old man.
Hal and Alice Cooper: The Perfectionists
The major source of the Cooper’s awful parenting comes from their need to have the “perfect” family. Both are guilty, but Alice is especially obsessed with appearing like her family has it all together. She’ll go to any extreme to maintain that facade — including sending her oldest daughter Polly to a mental hospital and cutting her off from everyone when she discover’s Polly’s pregnancy. Hal initially seems to be the bumbling sidekick to Alice’s master manipulator, but his darker side is revealed when he admits he tried to force his daughter to get an abortion because of the father of her unborn child was a member of a family who the Coopers have been feuding with for centuries.
How these two sociopaths managed to raise Betty, arguably the only truly decent character on the show, is anyone’s guess. But it seems like it’s only a matter of time before they ruin her because that’s what Riverdale parents do. And nobody does it with more passion than Hal and Alice.
Hiram and Hermione Lodge: Smooth Criminals
Hermione is the only parent who really seems to be aware of how her shitty parenting is affecting her kid. Too bad she also seems incapable of doing anything to stop it. Yes, she wants a better life for Veronica, but her idea of solid parenting involves banging Archie’s dad and forging her daughter’s signature on shady business documents.
That being said, Hermione has nothing on Hiram, who’s proved time and time again to be an absolute monster despite not having a single moment onscreen. Currently doing time in prison for making his fortune exclusively through illegal business, he’s constantly manipulating his daughter into seeing him as the victim. Oh, and he also bribes her to stay quiet about his more shady dealings.
Clifford and Penelope Blossom: The Psychos
Let’s talk about the 800 lb. elephant having sex with the other 800 lb. related elephant in the room: It is pretty much implied that the Blossom children were engaging in incest before Jason went face down. Or, at the very least, they definitely wanted to. And while their son’s mysterious death is a tragedy that (probably) doesn’t involve Clifford and Penelope, their treatment of their daughter has been crazy. Look no further than their treatment of her at son’s wake: First they berate their grieving daughter for crying at her brother’s funeral; then they reveal the entire guest list consists of people they believe might have murdered Jason. In a town full of truly horrendous parents, the Blossoms may very well be the worst.