let me tell you why i love riverdale’s version of jughead jones.
jughead jones is the son of a deadbeat alcoholic gang member father and an absent mother and brother to a sister who he considers one of the coolest people alive. his father is prone to violence, neglectful, and a terrible influence, and yet through his own actions and intentions, jughead is an intelligent, thoughtful, gentle young man who, despite choosing homelessness over living under his father’s roof, still sees the best in his father and hopes he can become a better man. despite being abandoned by his mother, despite being neglected by his father, jughead never abandons them. he doesn’t resent his parents for their failures; he forgives them, and the only thing he wants is for his family to be whole again.
jughead jones is a friend to archie andrews, who ditched him over the summer to go bang a teacher, and upon finding out about this, jughead is only concerned for archie’s safety and his potential implication in the investigation of jason’s murder. even when he’s hurt and upset by archie’s actions, he’s still primarily concerned about his best friend’s safety, and he’s quick to forgive him as well, because he doesn’t hold grudges. when he’s left without a home after the drive-in closes, he never thinks to ask archie if he can crash at his place because he doesn’t want to be a burden, and because he’s so used to figuring things out on his own it feels strange to ask for help. but when it’s offered, he accepts it, because he has no ego left to bruise and because he would do the same for archie in a heartbeat.
jughead jones is something more to betty cooper, the girl next door who connects with him on a deeper level than anyone else. he sees her for who she really is, not someone perfect to be placed on a pedestal, but someone real who has very real struggles of her own. when archie finds out he’s homeless, jughead’s first concern is making sure that betty doesn’t find out, because he doesn’t want her to worry, because she is dealing with enough issues of her own. he supports her through the entire polly crisis because he knows firsthand how painful it can be to be separated from a sister, and it’s not something he ever wants betty to have to experience. he clears her mind and she makes him happy, and they fit together better than anyone could have ever expected.
jughead jones is a boy who had to grow up too fast, who has seen the worst the world has to offer, who projects an image of indifference, but deep down, truly believes and hopes for the best. he is empathetic and kind when the world and the people in it have shown him nothing but hardship and apathy.
this is why i love the character of jughead jones.
because his upbringing and his family could have turned him into a bitter, angry man, just like his father.
because he refused to let it.