In “Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!”, the latest episode of “Riverdale,” Jughead Jones revealed his feelings for Betty Cooper when he kissed her and effectively established himself as heterosexual, at least for the time being. This latest twist comes after a series of debates about Jughead’s asexuality, as a contingent of Jughead fans hoped he would be. In light of Jughead’s romance with Betty, Cole Sprouse — who plays Archie’s best pal — spoke about the character’s sexuality, why fans should give his relationship a chance and more.
“I think, first and foremost, this conversation deserves more time than something that we can quickly do here. There are two forms of representation Jughead has received over time. In Zdarsky’s Jughead, he’s asexual. That’s the only Jughead where he is asexual. He’s aromantic in the digests, which is a different thing but deserves attention as well,” Sprouse explained.
“But what I found when I was really diving in — because once we started putting Jughead and Betty together, I started doing research to see if that was a narrative that even existed in the digests, and it turns out it is,” he continued. “It’s a narrative that’s existed for a long time. There are a handful of digests in which Jughead would say things like, ‘Oh, Betty, if I did like women, I guarantee you would be the one I would marry outright. You are the best person around.’ He would say these things that are really romantic and cute with an appreciation for Betty and I think it’s become clear to me now that Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] has taken off with that trend.”
“As much as there’s a large community of people that really want to see Jughead as asexual — and I am a huge proponent for that kind of representation — there’s also quite a large community of avid ‘Archie’ fans that want Betty and Jughead to be together, too. I think these are things we need to juggle when considering what Jughead is in ‘Riverdale.’ This is a new universe, this is a new take on Jughead and he is this tortured damaged kid — this Holden Caulfield — who ends up finding a lot of comfort in a person who resonates with him and that narrative itself is also beautiful,” he shared.
“While I think that representation is needed, this Jughead is not that Jughead. This Jughead is not Zdarsky’s Jughead and this Jughead is not the aromantic Jughead,” he said. “This Jughead is a person who is looking for a kind of deeper companionship with a person like Betty and Betty ends up being this super nurturing, caring, care-taking person that with Jughead’s screwed-up past they end up diving into each other and it ends up being a beautiful thing.”
“How are people going to respond? Truthfully, they’re probably going to be quite incendiary about it at first. Do I think that’s ill-placed? No. Do I think they should give it a shot? Yeah, I do, because I think now — after filming thirteen episodes — it makes sense to me and, if it makes sense to me as the person who’s dumping so much time and especially so much argumentation into trying to represent Jughead correctly, if it makes sense to me, it will make sense to other people as well,” he concluded.
Starring K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews, “Riverdale” airs Thursdays at 9 pm on The CW. The series also stars Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Ross Butler as Reggie Mantle and more. “Breakfast Club” alum Molly Ringwald will also recur as Archie’s mother Mary.
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