It’s time to celebrate another birthday, and this time we’re wishing many more to Forsythe Pendleton Jones III – though you may know him as Jughead Jones. The character Jughead has been around for many years in the classic Archie comics. But modern audiences have come to know the sarcastic scamp from the Netflix teen drama Riverdale. While we love the whole gang, from Archie to Betty, Jughead resonates with the underdog inside us all.
According to the Riverdale universe, Jughead Jones was born on October 2, 2001, making him 19-years-old. Jughead didn’t have the best childhood after his father was arrested, and Jughead was put into foster care. Despite the obstacles in his life, Jughead grew up to be intelligent, loyal, and caring. He discovered his passion for writing and even reopened Southside High’s newspaper, the Red and Black. Though we might want to celebrate Jughead’s birthday, we probably shouldn’t throw him a party… Unless we want to pull a Betty and unleash Jughead’s dark side.
Jughead is a writer and a cinephile. And while books and movies are his passions, he is also fiercely protective of his friends and family. Jughead may not get to see his sister Jellybean often, but when they do meet again after a long absence, their bond is just as strong. Archie is Jugheads best friend. And though there’s a divide between Archie, as the popular footballer, and Jughead as an outsider, the pair have remained strong as friends. Similarly, Jughead and Betty seem to be from two different worlds and not relationship material. But they connect on a level above high school drama and society’s labels.
One of the most notable moments from Riverdale is Jughead’s impassioned “weirdo” speech to Betty. He proclaims, “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m weird. I’m a weirdo. I don’t fit in, and I don’t want to fit in.” The speech is a little dramatic, but it hits home the point that Jughead, even the original Jughead, has always stood for nonconformity. While Archie, Betty, and Veronica have all been plagued by the pitfalls of fitting in, Jughead has stayed true to his quirks and downright oddness. He is himself, stupid hat and all, and he doesn’t apologize for that.
Cole Sprouse, who portrays Jughead in Riverdale, is not unlike his character. Sprouse has often been an outsider; growing up as a child actor doesn’t mean you get to make many friends. Like Jughead, Cole got to know himself better through his education when he went to college. Cole enjoys using his critical thinking skills to analyze situations intelligently and crack the odd sarcastic comment. Just like his costar Lili Reinhart, Cole recognizes that Riverdale addresses serious issues like mental illness, loneliness, and peer pressure that mirror his own life. Lili even wrote a book of poems book about her struggles with mental health titled, Swimming Lessons.
Knowing who you are is an important lesson we can learn from Jughead Jones. It’s not an easy one to master but taking the time to understand you and be comfortable in your own skin will give you the strength to pursue your passions and be a good friend to others.
So, let’s let Jughead enjoy his double-feature at the Bijou theater like he does every year. Then we’ll sidle into a booth a Pop’s along with Archie, Veronica, and Betty to wish Jughead Jones a happy birthday!