Riverdale’s 13 Top (Gayest) Cheryl Blossom Moments

All I want for Christmas is canonically queer Cheryl Blossom. And the gods at CW are maybe possibly granting my wish? Between the #SignificantLook Cheryl gives Toni Topaz at the street race and the suggestion in the most recent episode that Cheryl has an intense, obsessive crush on Josie, Riverdale has been dropping hints that Cheryl might blossom into a canonically queer character. And given how much criticism the show has gotten for its blatantly queerbaity kiss in the premiere, it’d be exceptionally dumb for the writers to make the same mistake twice. Right? RIGHT? The show has already made vast improvements in developing Kevin Keller and there’s at least one out bisexual character on the show now (Moose is probably bisexual, too). I’m putting this out in the universe so that it might manifest. Something queer this way comes.

For the uninitiated, Riverdale is a CW series now in its second season that takes all of the characters from the beloved Archie comics and drops them into a glam-gothic murder mystery. As Heather Hogan so eloquently puts it: “Riverdale is like if Twin Peaks and Gossip Girl had a baby who was raised by its lesbian aunt in Vancouver in a house filled with porcelain dolls.”

Cheryl Blossom is the show’s fire queen. Every line that comes out of her mouth is literary gold. She wears a literal HBIC shirt just to remind you that she is, indeed, the head bitch in charge of every space she enters. She has survived fire and ice, and no one seems to fully understand her because she simply burns too brightly for anyone to look at her directly. She’s a hero and a villain all at once. Her insults are written and delivered in perfect dactylic hexameter. Okay, so that last one isn’t true, but for some reason it brings me great joy to imagine it is, so please let me have this.

As we wait to see what the future holds for season two Cheryl, let us reflect on some of her best (and gayest) moments on the show so far.

When she was in the mood for chaos

I’m pretty sure Cheryl Blossom is the patron saint of chaos.

The time she gave Betty a makeover (and then accused her sister of murder)

It literally says LOVE behind them

You, willfully ignorant: Cheryl was only getting close to Betty in order to get info on Polly.
Me, an intellectual: She didn’t have to get THAT PHYSICALLY CLOSE to her to execute that plan!

Her dramatic funeral entrance

Some might argue that funerals are not the time nor place for a dramatic entrance, but they would be incorrect. Cheryl Blossom understands the value of an extremely extra entrance. And shocking your family with an outfit choice is Queer Culture.

The time Veronica just casually played with her hair before her dramatic funeral entrance

Um?!

Her sleepover with Veronica

In season one, after Veronica and Cheryl decide that fighting each other in a bad bitch death-match will only lead to their mutual destruction, they agree to give friendship a try. Cheryl tells Veronica that she can extend an olive branch by coming to a sleepover. Cheryl implies that there will be other people at this sleepover, but when Veronica arrives, she learns it’s a sleepover for two. And then they sit together on her bed, which looks like that, in their lingerie.

Every time she starts a fire and/or accessorizes with a candelabra

The first thing Cheryl Blossom sets on fire is the trash can containing the football team’s misogynistic “playbook” after Veronica and Dark Betty bring down Chuck. The second thing Cheryl Blossom sets on fire is her own goddamn house. Both scenes are instantly iconic. Who just like carries a candelabra around as a statement piece? Cheryl Blossom, that’s who.

The time Betty blackmailed her

So this is more of a Betty moment than a Cheryl moment, but why does Cheryl seem so INTO Betty blackmailing her? Also, she’s shirtless the whole time because everyone on Riverdale is allergic to shirts. Is this a chill time to say that Cheryl and Dark Betty should hook up? Is this a chill time to say I wouldn’t mind being strangled by Cheryl’s hair?

The time she dressed like Sherlock Holmes to lead a search for Polly

This outfit! Also, Cheryl Blossom invented dramatic entrances.

When she calls out gay tropes

As a Professional Gay™, one of my unofficial ongoing jobs includes calling out problematic tropes, and apparently Cheryl likes to call out tropes, too. When Kevin asks in the pilot if cheerleading is still a thing, Cheryl snaps back “is being the gay best friend still a thing?” Then she rolls her eyes at Betty and Veronica’s dumb kiss at cheerleading tryouts: “Faux lesbian kissing hasn’t been taboo since 1994.” Cheryl Blossom sounds like me yelling about bad queer tropes to someone I just met in a bar.

Her dance battle with Veronica

Everyone knows that dance offs, as with the ribbon dance at the end of Cadet Kelly, are an elaborate form of lesbian foreplay. By the way, Betty looks Cheryl up and down at 0:27. Please don’t ask me how many times I have watched this scene.

The time she gave her homecoming date Polly a makeover

Why is Cheryl always doing the Cooper sisters’ makeup for them? SOMEONE enjoys getting very close to Cooper faces. Also, need I remind you that earlier in the episode, Cheryl dramatically stops the Scooby gang in the middle of lunch to announce to them that she’s bringing Polly to homecoming as her date and that they are running for homecoming court as co-queens? If Cheryl’s mom hadn’t intervened by drugging Polly (yikes!), I’m convinced we would have seen them slow dance together at homecoming.

Her Grease-inspired flirtation with Toni Topaz

Cheryl and Toni, the Southside Serpent who recently came out as bisexual, have only had one interaction so far, but sparks instantly fly. Cheryl makes meaningful eye contact with Toni, and we all know that meaningful eye contact is Queer Culture. You know what else is Queer Culture? Grease. Cheryl calls Toni “Cha Cha” during their quick exchange, and as someone who had a Grease-themed sixth birthday party and wrote an illustrated novelization of Grease in third grade, I became so overwhelmed that I had to lie down on the floor. Madelaine Petsch and Vanessa Morgan are best friends in real life and have said they are super down for their characters to date, to which I emphatically reply: SAME!

The time she drew fanart of herself and Josie

Okay, to be honest, Cheryl low-key tormenting Josie in the most recent episode of Riverdale is a little confusing! Especially since she’s seemingly doing it to show Josie how much she cares about her? She sends her a pig’s heart. I have a lot of questions! Cheryl Blossom works in mysterious ways! One thing I do know is that Cheryl drawing this picture of her and Josie while she listens to a song by Josie is very gay! I’m not sure if Cheryl wants to murder or make out with Josie, and that’s pretty much Cheryl Blossom in a nutshell.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is a Brooklyn-based writer, television critic, and comedian who spends most of her time over-analyzing queer subtext on television, singing "Take Me Or Leave Me" in public places, and assembling cheese platters. She has a cat named after Piper Halliwell from Charmed, and her go-to karaoke song is "Everywhere" by Michelle Branch. Her writing can also be found at The A.V. Club and The Hollywood Reporter, and she wrote the webseries Sidetrack. You can catch her screaming in all-caps about Kalinda Sharma, Jennifer Lopez, and oysters on Twitter and Instagram.

Kayla has written 186 articles for us.

32 Comments

  1. How am I supposed to focus at work after reading this??

    Conversations between my group of friends used to include various topics but has pretty much devolved into a 24/7 debate about hottest/queerest riverdale characters and best combinations for multiplesomes

  2. Also, I like the fact that Polly and Betty are Cheryl’s cousins, yet no one bats an eye at the chemistry they have together. Shades of Spencer and her “Flowers in the Attic” chemistry with her siblings.

  3. Omg I am so obsessed with Riverdale, thank you for this! Just the other day I was chatting with another bi girl and we were talking about how we literally want to fuck everyone on the show hahaha.. it’s so funny cause I’m usually a picky person that doesn’t get attracted to that many people but it’s like this show figured out the magic algorithm of everything I’m attracted to and I literally find everyone on the show so hot.. the ladies, the boys, the parents etc hahaha. But that dance off between Cheryl and Veronica is everything, the two hottest characters imo <3 and your queer culture comments made me chuckle! Now the only thing I’m going to need you guys to do is have a queer recap of Riverdale weekly please and thank you!!!

    • Couldn’t agree more.

      I finally feel like an adult cause like FP, Hiram, Hermione can all get it.

      (I feel like just a few years ago I’d only be into the “teens” (played by adult actors!!) but I’m really enjoying this sweet spot where they can really just allllllll get it!)

      • Hahaha exactly and I did look up everyone of them was reassured they were all in their 20s cause I don’t wanna be attracted to actual teens! But that’s usually the case with actors playing high school students they’re usually in their 20s; and I agree I would happily have a 3some with Hiram and Hermione, and I also like FP and Archie’s Dad and when Alice walked it with the snake outfit omg

  4. I’m missing all the facts since I didn’t follow any of the press or teasers for Riverdale, but within the four corners of the show I didn’t feel like the kiss in the first episode was queerbaiting (except to the extent that Betty and Veronica were purposefully queerbaiting the cheerleaders, because they absolutely were). The whole first episode was about establishing this show’s dramatic departure from the tropes of the comics, which is why it focused on rejecting the love triangle trope (and Veronica’s bad girl persona) and the kiss felt in line with that theme by addressing the inevitable Betty/Veronica shipping head on instead of letting us simmer in agonizing wishful thinking. And it worked for me – instead of shipping them with each other, I ship them with, well, just about every other female character on the show.

    Speaking of, I didn’t think of Cheryl and Dark Betty before this article but OMG PLEASE RIVERDALE GODS DELIVER THIS TO ME.

    • The kiss, while in the show it was what it was, but it was put there deliberately so that they could put it in a trailer and pretend that Betty and Veronica’s relationship was something other than what it was.

  5. I binged Riverdale last week in like three days and I REGRET NOTHING. I’m obsessed. Cheryl can do what she wants to me… though my heart belongs to Veronica. That super gay dance off changed my life tbh.

  6. I’ve missed so many things??? my sister says we have to watch it together so im anxiously waiting to start season two but i nEED TO KNOW IF ANYTHING QUEER IS HAPPENING and you did not disappoint thank you for doing the good work and I need to catch up immediately I love this article sO FRUGGING MUCH

  7. I am OBSESSED with cheryl blossom and cannot wait for her to come out PLEASE MAKE HER CANONICALLY QUEER my lil gay heart can’t take it. she is 90% of the reason i watch riverdale

    I really need to catch up on the new season bc I just finished bingeing season 1 on netflix

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