So, a few words to open up this edition of the New Archies Reviewed. The screenshots that I have used for this edition of the blog are not the best. That's because the only copy of this and next week's blog came from a video source that isn't exactly the best quality. It's not completely pixelated, but they aren't as clear as the ones for the previous entries.
But they're all I have so they'll have to do.
So, let's go ahead with Episode 5A: Future Shock.
The first thing that I'm going to make note of is that these episodes are clearly aired out of order. This one seems to take place as a summer picnic which happens to have the entire student body of Riverdale Junior High in attendance. Either this is filmed during the summer months, or the class is on yet another field trip. I wish I went to that school when I was in junior high. Our field trip highlight in seventh grade was going to the town museum. What fun.
The first students we come across are Betty and Reggie, and they happen to be involved in a canoe race. Naturally, Reggie is puffed up with ego and taunts Betty about how he's going to win the race, but Betty assures him that she won't let it happen.
The canoes pass by Archie who is lounging quietly in the middle of the lake. A child's cries soon fill the air, and Archie quickly notices that a little boy is drowning. Of course, in this show, nobody ever dies, so Archie manages to save the boy's life. What a hero!
Back on dry land, there's a dance going on in one of the beach pavilions, and Amani must have succeeded in teaching Eugene to dance because they are busting a move on the floor.
Weatherbee and Grundy are also dancing together, and during the dance, Miss Grundy decides to jump ten feet in the air. Extremely random, but funny as a sight gag. Maybe Grundy took gymnastics as a side hobby?
Archie reunites the little boy with his obviously negligent mother, and the mother decides to give Archie money to
hide the fact that she is a terrible mother for
saving her little boy's life. Archie,
on the other hand decides to refuse the reward, saying that doing a good deed
is all that mattered.
Then we hear someone shout "My Hero", and at first, I'm thinking that the mother said this to Archie. Instead, it happens to be Big Ethel who is absolutely mesmerized by Jughead's binge eating. She must REALLY be in love with Jughead, as I'm sure most would be grossed out. It's a wonder he doesn't get indigestion.
Oh, and there's a random shot of Veronica staring in a mirror telling everyone how beautiful she thinks she is. I'm sure there's a reason for it, but right now, it just serves to remind us all what a horrible person she is.
With so much going on in this episode, we almost forgot that there is a race going on between Reggie and Betty. And at the last moment, Betty turns her arms into propellers and zooms past Reggie to the finish line, making her the winner of the trophy. Of course, Reggie, rather than admit to losing to a girl because we already established that he is a sexist pig, tells everyone that he pulled a muscle in his arm and that's why he lost. Of course, Reggie's one big phony and nobody believes him.
So, you might initially think that all of these scenes are just random. But they all happen to be linked to the main plot.
And just what is the main plot? Well, Grundy and Weatherbee explain that there is a King and Queen of the Summer Picnic competition going on, and that the whole student body can vote on who they want to have the honour. A total of three couples have been selected for the running.
Couple #1 is Archie Andrews and Veronica Lodge.
Couple #2 is Reggie Mantle and Betty Cooper.
And, couple #3 are these guys.
No, wait. Couple #3 at this point is unknown, as Mr. Weatherbee slobbered mustard all over the bottom of the list. I'm sure we'll find out who the mystery couple is, but for now, we have two couples.
Oh, one last thing. Aside from one exception, all of the couples who have won the honour have gone on to be married, which sends Archie, Reggie, Betty, and Veronica into complete shock.
And, surprise, surprise, Weatherbee and Grundy are the couple that never married. The show's been toying with these two all series long. Are they a couple? Are they not a couple? Do we care?
On a side note, they said that EVERY couple got married? So, does this mean that we have a couple of eighth graders who are now shacking up together? Scandalous!
So, with the couples announced, and everyone dispersing into the crowd to do more summer activities, Archie sits down by a tree and thinks about what life would be like if he was married to the richest girl in town. Get ready, this is the first of four dream sequences.
So, right off the bat, we learn that in Archie's dream, he has turned into Archie Bunker. Well, okay, not really, he just owns a business called Archie's Place, which I think was the business Archie Bunker ran in the later seasons of "All In The Family" which turned into "Archie Bunker's Place". Anyway, what kind of business does Archie run?
Well, he gives haircuts...
...and washes cars?
And he's the ONLY employee in the whole store? Gee, that sounds strangely familiar...I'm suddenly starting to feel very sorry for Archie.
Fortunately, Archie's incredibly tough day at the office is interrupted by a phone call, and on the other end is
Joan Collins his wife Veronica, who is dressed as if she's
going to the Academy Awards. But
instead of Veronica asking Archie if he would like a nice meal, or a foot
massage, she is just interested in how much money he can bring home.
And home just happens to be a fabulously expensive mansion - which poor Archie never gets a chance to sleep in as he's too busy being Veronica's slave filling up more bags of money than the average bank has. And it's still not enough for Veronica. She wants more money, more money, MORE MONEY!
Yeah, I think Archie's suffered enough. Time to wake him from his nightmare and pop in on Veronica, who is thinking about what life would be like if she were married to Archie. And as we pop into the second dream sequence, we soon find that Archie's refusal to take rewards for good deeds plays a big part in Veronica's dream.
Veronica's dream is short and not so sweet. She and Archie are dressed in rags living in a dilapidated basement apartment eating turnip soup. Veronica is obviously angry at Archie for not getting a job, but Archie insists that he has a job doing good deeds. To which Veronica tells Archie that because he won't accept any money for the good deeds, they are living in poverty, and she cannot handle that. But Archie refuses to change his ways, and Veronica bursts into tears in her dream. While I have to say it is satisfying to see a character like Veronica so miserable, she does make a few good points. If Archie doesn't believe in getting paid for doing good deeds, then maybe he's not mature enough for marriage.
Wait a minute, what am I saying? They're TWELVE!
Wait a minute, what am I saying? They're TWELVE!
Anyway, Veronica thinks marrying Archie is a real poor idea, which I'm sure she gets over when she is seventeen and fighting over him with Betty.
Let's move on to Reggie's dream, which is the longest of the four. In Reggie's dream, he imagines life with Betty to be on a giant farm with cows, tractors, and apparently more kids than Octomom. Even more bizarre, Reggie and Betty seem to be the parents of ten daughters who all look like Betty. Man, did Betty swallow some girl power pills or what?
For the first part of Reggie's dream, it all becomes a contest of "anything you can do, I can do better". But Betty always seems to one up him on EVERYTHING. Milking cows, for example.
Chopping down trees.
Even driving a lawn tractor!
Reggie is completely beat down by Betty's ability to win at everything, and I must say that I am loving it!
But when two of Betty and Reggie's children come up and tell Reggie that Betty is sick with the flu, Reggie sees this as his chance to prove what a man he is and take over the duties of the farm.
Well, Beatrice, Belinda, Beulah, Becky, Bedelia, Bernice, Bessie, Bettina, Beyonce, and Bebe might have something to say about that, as all of the daughters decide to pitch in and do the chores themselves. By the way, I just guessed at the names of the kids.
Reggie is gobsmacked that once again, Betty's spawn seems to be better at chores than he is. In fact, Reggie gets into a fight with his own imaginary daughter over egg collecting, and in the end he ends up with egg all over his face.
And as the dream sequence closes down after Reggie admits that it is not easy being married to Betty. And then he falls out of his canoe.
We come across the last dream sequence in this group of four. And Betty's dream about what life would be like married to Reggie is so bizarre that I have to actually show you a video of it! Really, it's the only video clip I have of the show, so enjoy it.
And after realizing that being married to Reggie and having fake guests, fake furs, and fake kids would be inevitable, Betty decides that she wants a divorce before she even says "I Do".
Okay, seriously, who chose these couples? Betty and Reggie have zero chemistry together in The New Archies. And Archie and Veronica - despite getting married in Archie #601 - look absolutely miserable together. If these couples were matched based on computer technology, then Riverdale Junior High needs to get better software.
But we can't worry about the budget problems at Riverdale Junior High. It's time to find out who won the King and Queen titles.
But judging by this screenshot here, I'm guessing that Archie, Veronica, Reggie, and Betty do NOT want to hear their names.
Oh, but wait. There's an upset! After getting Weatherbee's mustard off of the list, they can now see who couple #3 is. And couple #3 got the most votes, which tells me that while Archie and the gang were imagining the marriages from hell, the rest of the student body voted for...
...Jughead Jones and Ethel Muggs! (Seriously, it really is Ethel Muggs. Look it up.)
And while in the high school series of books, Jughead does everything to try and get away from Big Ethel, in this episode, Jughead and Big Ethel happily take their thrones with the other couples relieved that they don't ever have to see each other again until Episode 5B.
Oh, and Jughead and Big Ethel's version of happily ever after? Big Ethel feeding Jughead a supermarket aisle's worth of food. I don't know whether to be disgusted or happy for them.
You know, I have to say, this episode is not a favourite of mine. Too much going on, and it was edited very badly. Granted, Reggie and Veronica's dreams were satisfying to watch, but I felt terrible for Archie. I could feel his exhaustion. Trust me on that one. I think that if this episode was made a full half hour one, it would have been more satisfying.
And the whole King/Queen of whatever festival storyline has been done to death. Not very original. I give this episode a solid D.
Coming up next week, the cast performs Cinderella - as a rock opera. And when Betty gets the leading role, it makes a certain young lady see red.
Hint. It's not Miss Beazley.