By Lee Travis
If possible, I'd live in a small town that has all the luxuries of a big city and always required a light sweater, jacket, or hoodie on a crisp autumn day. Which would be every day. Is that too much to ask for? The CW network has brought this very niche wish of mine to life in several of their shows, most recently in Riverdale. Though the fictional town of Riverdale does have its trade-offs, I still find it alluring for the perpetual season that its residents find themselves trapped within. My kingdom for an August that isn't a sweltering heat wave.
Shows like Riverdale portray the ideal small(ish) town with a dark haunting secret that grips the community. Still, I'd take a scandalized local murder here and there. Well worth the ability to wear my favorite jacket nine months out of the year. Where do I signup?
But more to the core, why does media portray small towns as romantic cozy villages that have all the luxuries of the affluent suburbs? This disconnect is apparent if you ever visit a small town in rural America. Real-life small town communities are filled with hardworking people, but the lavish stores, coffee shops, and restaurants are hard to find. This idealized life leaps off the page and screen but is a shock to those who believe these communities are always so fruitful.
Similar disconnects have been present in media for years. How often do you see a lavish apartment occupied by someone who barely scraped by in life? We use these shows, books, and films to escape from our own realities. I am always a fan of this setting, but I know this town isn't plausible for many reasons. Those football pep rallies are over the top for every week. Plus, they wouldn't have a music teacher from Juilliard. But the small town hiding a dark secret is always intriguing and a genre I'll never tire of.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be dreaming of the fall. Where, once again, I go back inside of my favorite sweaters, jackets, and hoodies. I hate the humidity. Also, I'll be binging the rest of Riverdale on Netflix. Jughead for life.