We’re only three episodes in to the new season, but I’m cautiously optimistic that Riverdale has put the creative missteps of its past behind it—please, no one ever say “SoDale” again—with its creepy-cool Gryphons and Gargoyles murder mystery.
There’s something else happening with Riverdale in season 3: It has become the Walt Whitman of CW dramas, embracing homoerotic imagery like never before. And this week’s new episode will be no exception:
Yes, Cole Sprouse and KJ Apa will be running around (TV) naked on your screens. What a time to be alive!
Of course, this high-concept teen drama has always been fond of showcasing the physical beauty of its male actors, as when Archie and 12 of his buffest buddies formed the “Red Circle” vigilante group last season…
…or that time young Mr. Andrews tried to impress Veronica’s dad by joining the wrestling team.
This season, though, Riverdale’s gone from “intermittent beefcake” to “an appreciation of the male form that rivals that of the Ancient Greeks.” Before we get to the 5 most homoerotic moments of Riverdale season 3, though, one important note: Nothing on this list involves the show’s gay characters. Why? Because on Riverdale, the romantic encounters between LGBTQ characters are either just that, romantic—like Cheryl and Toni’s kiss in the Sisters of Quiet Mercy gay-conversion dungeon—or nonexistent. (Poor Kevin has graduated from cruising in Fox Forest to being rejected by his closeted boyfriend Moose when he tries to kiss him in the hallway.)
For now, the gayest, sexiest moments on Riverdale are all about the breeders—and season 3 is in homoerotic overdrive. Let’s review, shall we?
5. Street gang or Village People Appreciation Society? (“Chapter 36: Labor Day”)
I think this scene had something to do with Jughead and Co. figuring out a plan to spy on the Ghoulies, but the bigger takeaway is that the Serpents get their fashion inspiration from the fabulous disco group—specifically Mr. David “Scar” Hodo, the Construction Worker.
4. Reggie’s special delivery (“Chapter 38: As Above, So Below”)
The only thing more laughable than a teenager opening a “speakeasy” (even one that doesn’t serve alcohol) is a teenager hauling boxes into said speakeasy while not wearing a shirt. Gay or straight, nothing says “porn movie setup” like “shirtless speakeasy delivery boy.”
3. Archie and his cellmate feel the burn (“Chapter Thirty-Seven: Fortune and Men’s Eyes”)
The stage was set for even more homoerotic visuals after Archie—who pled guilty to the murder of a character no one remembers—was sent away to the Leopold and Loeb Juvenile Center (LOL). Here, Red and his new friend Mad Dog (yep) get to know each other by working their biceps and triceps in a confined space. It’s all in the service of…
2. Prison Fight Club!!! (“Chapter Thirty-Eight”)
What’s sexier than a prison yard full of jacked young men? A secret prison basement where jacked young men punch each other in their extremely-defined oblique muscles. (This ab-tastic shot of Archie beating the stuffing out of a fellow prisoner comes courtesy of director Jeff Hunt. Kudos to you, sir.)
1. Archie’s wet welcome (“Chapter Thirty-Seven”)
Everyone knows juvenile delinquents are dirty, so naturally the intake process at Riverdale’s premier juvie hall involves this guy:
“It takes its shirt off in the episode or else it gets the hose again. That’s right, Precious, it gets the hose!” They’re talking to you, Archie. Chop chop.
And we have a winner.
Did I miss any of your favorite homoerotic moments, Riverdale fans?
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.