One of the most delightful running gags on the TV show Riverdale is the use of almost-but-not-quite-right brand names: Veronica charges up a storm on a shopping website called Glamazon.com, and buys Fred Andrews an expensive wallet at Barnaby’s. Riverdale‘s faux-name practice is an homage to the original Archie comics, which used similar wordplay for products and celebrities — as when Bingo Skar of The Bottles visited Riverdale (Issue 155, in 1965). This article at EW by Kristen Baldwin lists ten of the best fake brands to appear on Riverdale, such as:
“It’s not the Waldorf nor the Plaza, but The Five Seasons, like all of Riverdale, has its charms.” — Veronica Lodge (Season 2, “When a Stranger Calls”)
Veronica is clearly underselling this establishment. A true luxury hotel knows that there’s no reason to settle for Four Seasons when you can have Five.
“Reporting my American Excess card as stolen? Well played.” — Veronica Lodge to mom Hermione (Season 1, “In a Lonely Place”)
Commentary on our culture’s addiction to consumerism, and it rhymes with American Express? Well played indeed.
“Betty, come on. An impossible situation is being invited to both the Vanity Flair Oscar party and Elton John’s Oscar party on the same night.” — Veronica Lodge (Season 1, “The Outsiders”)
There’s no rhyme or reason to which real brand names Riverdale uses versus which ones they choose to parody. Why namedrop some real networks (HBO, Netflix), events (the Met Ball), and cultural luminaries (Toni Morrison) but spoof something like Vanity Fair? Then again, why am I looking for order in the chaos that is Riverdale’s narrative storytelling?