Since it first debuted in January, Riverdale has given fans more memorable moments than they've probably known what to do with. It's safe to say that season one's "Classic Riverdale" sequence is among them - and now we know how it was brought to life.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Riverdale's creative team discussed crafting that sequence, which appeared in the show's seventh episode. According to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the goal was to subvert expectations in Riverdale fashion, with the help of those delightful 1950s outfits.
“The tension of the show is the wholesome iconography and the Norman Rockwell looking back at the past, and the grotty, more noir, underworld-y side underneath it — that’s the thesis of the show." Aguirre-Sacasa explained. "Every story we tell, we say, ‘Okay, what’s the dark underbelly of this?’ That dream, which on the one hand is idealized and perfect and not a hair out of place, but then there’s F.P. just out of frame, down on his luck, there’s Archie with a knife in his back, there’s Betty and Alice tilting their heads at the exact angle as if to say, ‘If you don’t conform, you’ll die’ — that dream sequence captures the essence and the big theme of the show."
As Aguirre-Sacasa revealed, the goal was always to include this "Classic Riverdale" aesthetic in one way or another - and this episode ended up being the perfect way to do it.
“When [writer Aaron Allen] turned in his draft of the script, he had added a dream sequence that was done in the 1950s, sort of Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, black-and-white television show mode." Aguirre-Sacasa continued. "A little bit after that we thought, ‘Oh, this could be a way to do the 1950s Archie if we do that in this dream sequence.’”
The episode's director, Allison Anders, shared excitement about shooting the sequence - and being able to bring those iconic Archie Comics elements into the dark and edgy Riverdale.
“My childhood self was just jumping up and down inside my bones that I got to recreate that look of the comics I grew up reading." Anders revealed. "It was almost like being with the comic book and my vision of them when I was a child. It really was like those characters were coming to life off the pages of the comic book.”
As it turns out, the scene also involved a bit of cinematic trickery, when it came to transitioning from the '50s ambiance to F.P. Jones (Skeet Ulrich) wasting away in the living room.
“The kitchen, which was used in present-day scenes that same day, had to transform into the ’50s, which was really intense." Anders revealed. "But it doesn’t end there — the living room had to be where Jughead’s dad is living, so when Jughead looks over from this idyllic ’50s setting of a Thanksgiving day dinner, he looks into the next room and sees his father in the trailer in a shabby armchair and things strewn all over the place. So we had to do that too, and that’s totally different lighting, but we actually did it all in the same space at the same time."
Riverdale returns from midseason hiatus on January 17th, 2018.