Riverdale loves nothing more than casting former teen idols as the adults of this show. So far, this show has gifted us with Luke Perry as Archie’s dad, Fred. We know that soon his mum will show up, played by Molly Ringwald. And in the latest episode we met Jughead’s dad, Skeet Ulrich. These former stars add a layer of meta-irony to the show, but why stop there?
Image: Dean Buscher /The CW
After all, Riverdale is clearly aspiring to levels of camp previously unheard of. We’ve come up with several more beloved teen actors from the ’80s and ’90s the show can make use of, as well as who they should play.
1) Melissa Joan Hart as Hilda or Zelda Spellman
It’s been hinted at that Sabrina, the teenage witch, could make an appearance in season one of Riverdale. In that case, we would like to please make sure one of her aunts is played by Melissa Joan Hart, the titular star of the ’90s sitcom adaptation. The DC shows on the CW always bring back actors to play relatives of the characters they played in the past; why not do it in Riverdale?
2) Richard Grieco as Hiram Lodge
There’s no way Veronica’s father Hiram — who is borderline evil in the regular Archie Comics — isn’t coming onto this show, despite the fact that his TV incarnation is missing because of some horrible financial crime he supposedly committed. And why not 21 Jump Street‘s forgotten star Richard Grieco? Please imagine it and love it.
3) Phoebe Cates as Gladys Jones
Look, I can’t hold back on the spoilers here at all. Skeet Ulrich plays Jughead’s father who is, in this universe, a gang leader. Also Jughead is homeless and his sister is missing. Riverdale took the comics character “Forsythe Pendleton Jones II” and made him a gang leader. I know Cates, best known for iconic ’80s film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, retired from acting, but she looks enough like Jughead actor Cole Sprouse that I would believe her as his mum in what I’m assuming would have to be flashbacks because everything is so tragic for Jughead Jones’ home life. For some reason.
Image: Karate Kid, Columbia Pictures
4) William Zabka as Coach Kleets
It’s so undeniably funny to imagine Zabka as a PE teacher with an anger problem. If The Karate Kid nemesis Johnny Lawrence didn’t grow up to basically be a volatile coach who talks all the time about how great he used to be, then I don’t know what world we live in any more. It’s so perfect, I love this casting and will do anything to make it happen.
5) Joey Lawrence as Superintendent Herkimer Hassle
You cannot tell me that, with all teacher-and-student sex already going on, a teacher with a stolen identity and, you know, a murdered student around, that the comics’ Superintendent Hassle isn’t going to show up on Riverdale. And what reaction could you have to what’s going on at Riverdale’s school other than “Whoa”? I think Saved by the Bell‘s Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s too busy these days, but I would also accept the former teen heartthrob and Blossom brother in this role.
6) Danica McKellar as Miss Simpkins
In the comics, this maths teacher character was very minor, but it would be a fun cameo for The Wonder Years‘ McKellar to show up as a teacher for the other thing that McKellar is famous for (so famous, in fact, she discovered a theorem which now partially bears her name). Maybe she can help Veronica reach out to her nerdy cousin Marcy and teach her about nerd acceptance or something.
Image: The Librarians, TNT
7) Jerry O’Connell as O.O. Wellenmellen
Please let a pretentious director come to Riverdale in a later season to make a movie based on the scandals. And please, please, let it be Jerry O’Connell, who throughout a long career (Sliders, Crossing Jordan) has proven a love of chewing scenery that is practically unparalleled. I would like to see him in jodhpurs with a whip and a bullhorn yelling directions in old-timey Hollywood speak, please.
8) Ralph Macchio as Elmer Benjamin Flutesnoot
I’m fairly certain the show’s already introduced a science teacher for our main characters, but I would very much like to watch Archie explode experiments in the Karate Kid’s face. Wax on, wax off, indeed. Then you can also have a confrontation between Flutesnoot and Coach Kleets which would arguably the best thing that could ever happen on TV.
9) Judd Nelson as Mr Malcolm Meeks
In the comics, Meeks was a substitute teacher with a timid personality which, it was revealed, was the result of a trauma he suffered as a soldier in Vietnam. Riverdale loves to tackle big issues, and this character is such an obvious way for them to tackle things like PTSD and the treatment of veterans that I’m shocked he hasn’t shown up yet. And I’m even more certain that Judd Nelson is a good fit. Especially after seeing him in the final season of Nikita.
10) Literally everyone else as the rotating cast of Riverdale High School counsellors
In Archie, the position of counsellor at Riverdale High School isn’t a permanent one. Basically, everyone hates the job and hates how completely ridiculous the students are, primarily because all they all have visions of their future that are just not realistic. The first one (Jenkins) left in a nervous breakdown. His replacement, Grimley, got ulcers from trying to deal with the kids. Grimley was followed by Burble, who actually managed to say somewhat sane. I kind of love the idea of this role being a different person every few episodes and rotating cast of former teen idols trying to counsel the Riverdale crew on normal career paths and failing miserably. David Faustino? Ally Sheedy? Jason Priestly? Jennifer Grey? Literally everyone could stop by. Do it, Riverdale, I know you want to.