In Defense of Veronica: Why Archie Chose the Bad Girl Over Betty
ComicsAlliance welcomes guest blogger Brendan McGuirk to discuss the upcoming Archie wedding.
Archie Comics recently announced that forever-young bachelor Archie Andrews will be taking the vows of marriage later this summer in “Archie #600,” and the comic-book gossip gutters were instantly aflutter — who would the bride be, Betty or Veronica? After countless years of wooing and hijinx, whom will he choose to take that final, sacred plunge? On The Rachel Maddow Show, pop culture oracle Kent Jones made his case for the bright and bubbly Betty Cooper over the sultry, standoffish Veronica Lodge.
His was the conventional wisdom, citing the down-home, easygoing attitude of Betty in contrast to Veronica’s materialistic, fickle ways. Sorry, Kent — Archie Comics revealed today that Veronica is Archie’s bride-to-be, a choice I happen to agree with. While Jones was accurate in all his characterizations of the two lovely ladies, it seems to me that he undersold the merits of Veronica, and the women of her ilk…
It’s easy to understand why someone would fall for Betty. She’s caring, affectionate, and accommodating. She’s never overly critical, not one to cause a fuss — the level headed, consummate good girl. Veronica, of course, is the consummate bad girl, and high-maintenance to the max. Life’s quiet pleasures are simply not enough for Ms. Lodge — she needs to be taken care of. Archie is forever on the outs with her, constantly caught up in some sort of dramatic power struggle.
“Gah,” people say, “How can Archie ever think this girl is worth the trouble?” Ah, but they just don’t get it.
While some men want a woman to be their rock, their foundation, others would prefer their lady to be a boulder that must forever be pushed up an unconquerable incline. There is a closed-door upside to crazy chicks, a roller-coaster thrill offered by the high-anxiety relationship, and a “Veronica” scratches that itch. “Good girls” seem almost boring in contrast, and their steadiness can rob the relationship of the dynamic tension that keeps things interesting. With a “Veronica,” things might grow hostile, but they will never lack for passion.
Plus, why is Archie feeling pressured to make this decision at all? There are more than two types of women in the world, and a vast world beyond Riverdale. What of the exotic offerings of red-headed Cheryl Blossom? He’s known her for only half as long as Betty or Veronica, has he given her a fair chance? How about about Sabrina Spellman, the famed teenage witch? Surely, (if she is yet of age) she is versed in some tantric Wiccan hoodoo guaranteed to drive a red-blooded American man like Archie wild. Further, regarding Josie and the Pussycats, has he done due diligence on their entire litter? Should they take a world tour with The Archies and let the road be their guide? Life is long, and Archie may not yet have reached his prime. Patience is the name of the game.
Personally, I think Betty is destined for a loving, balanced relationship with Jughead. Like Joey and Pasey, it is the hero’s best friends who turn out to have the most in common, while Veronica ends up trapped in an unfulfilling marriage with either the obvious Reggie Mantle, or, the dark horse candidate, Moose. Either way would leave open the door for secret love trysts in Archie’s jalopy — exactly the kind of scandal a desperate housewife like Veronica would long for.
Maybe, after Archie travels the world, himboing his way around the globe, he will look back on his carousing Riverdale days with regret. He might then reminisce on the simple times, and long for the comfort offered by the women who loved him for who he was. Perhaps he would want to do it all over again, and just make a choice between his two great loves. But if, after all this time, he still can’t decide between the two, the answer is probably neither.