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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Popping 'the question'

I've mentioned on several occasions that for most adult men today, the question; 'Ginger or Maryanne?' is instantly understood from a contextual standpoint, and that pretty much every man knows, without a moment's hesitation, what his answer is. 

Part of the fun of this question is that the show (Gilligan's Island) never provided an answer to how the unmarried castaways (Ginger, Maryanne, Gilligan, the Professor and the Skipper) might have hooked up had the need arisen. 

But in truth, the question 'Ginger or Maryanne?' was only about who GIlligan would end up with.

The skipper and Professor were never in the running (although the two single girls never hesitated to use their feminine wiles to gain an alliance with one or the other when needed).  But these two 'older men' seemed to have been cast as asexual... and completely unaware that despite the possibility of living out their days on the island, there were not one, but two totally beautiful potential mates.

Gilligan, for all his goofiness, was the one character that the viewer always assumed might have a shot.

But one forgets that before there was 'Gilligan's Island'... and before there was the question of 'Ginger or Maryanne?' ... there was another cornerstone of American pop culture that invited American boys to contemplate a similar question; 'Betty or Veronica?'.  I'm talking, of course, about the Archie comics (and the TV spin-offs it created).

Unlike Gilligan, Archie was always actively chasing after either Betty or Veronica... and it was always understood that one day he would end catching (or more likely, being caught by) one of them. 

Amidst all the other adolescent hi-jinx of the Archie comics story-lines, the 'Betty or Veronica?' question was an ongoing moral play; demanding that the reader root for Archie to go for either the pushy, self-entitled (but totally hot) brunette from the wealthy family, or the sunny, down-to-earth (and also totally hot) blonde who embodied the 'girl next door' we were always told we should bring home to mom.

Sadly, if all the online talk is true, the upcoming issue of Archie Comics will finally resolve this tug-o-war that Betty and Veronica have been waging over Archie.  Archie Andrews is set to propose to one of them, and the leading assumption is that it will be Veronica Lodge.

If this actually happens it will be (IMHO) a tragedy of cultural proportions.  Several generations of kids who grew up with Archie will finally be told that the opportunity to marry into money is worth overlooking bad character.

Personally, I hope that if Archie and Veronica really do get engaged, he should leave her at the alter and elope with Betty Cooper... evenif it means they will end up living in a trailer park next door to Moose and Midge.  That, my friends, is the only story line that would properly resolve this incredible injustice!

And now back to the real world...

Posted by David Bogner on June 3, 2009 | Permalink

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I always thought of the professor as gay. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Alice | Jun 3, 2009 3:31:26 PM

No way they'd let Archie do that. Betty all the way. Kindness and friendship over money.

Posted by: Ezzie | Jun 3, 2009 5:37:30 PM

It's called conflict. If there wasn't a possibility that Archie would end up with Veronica, there wouldn't be a story. But sadly he wouldn't end up with Betty for the same reason. Mmmmm, Betty.

Posted by: David Bailey | Jun 3, 2009 6:27:21 PM

Some of us greybeards would ask "Thalia or Zelda?", from the paleozoic Dobie Gillis.

Posted by: Barzilai | Jun 3, 2009 7:18:50 PM

Word! If Archie & Veronica were real people, I'd be that curmudgeon who yells "OBJECTION!" at their wedding.

Posted by: Chantyshira | Jun 3, 2009 8:04:39 PM

Granted, I haven't been following the comics, so I only have your descriptions to go by, but it almost sounds like a scenario where on the last page (or panel) Archie will wake up, ready to go to school for another day, everything having been a dream.

Posted by: JDMDad | Jun 3, 2009 8:15:41 PM

Remember how the hunter Kincaid explaining why he couldn't hunt Mary Anne? It would be like shooting the Easter Bunny.

Posted by: soccer dad | Jun 3, 2009 9:08:17 PM

Jughead is going to have his say in this, just you wait.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 3, 2009 10:58:23 PM

1. I'm totally voting for Betty.

2. What I really find sad is that the question is being answered at all. The whole fun of these things IS the question!

Posted by: Erachet | Jun 3, 2009 11:42:00 PM

I beg to differ with your premise. While you're right that probably neither had a shot, but it is clear from many episodes that the Skipper preferred Ginger while the Professor preferred MaryAnne.

Posted by: DJ | Jun 4, 2009 3:54:30 AM

i always loved archie comics. i agree with chantyshira, i think that if archie actually chose betty or veronica it would turn out to be a dream sequence. its all about the thrill of the chase.

Posted by: frum single female | Jun 4, 2009 4:46:38 AM

At least that still leaves us to ponder the big question, "Betty or Wilma?"

Posted by: Bob | Jun 4, 2009 8:12:53 AM

Archie doesn't deserve Betty.

Posted by: Mirj | Jun 4, 2009 10:18:38 AM

On an old British show called Red Dwarf, two of the characters were watching The Flinstones and a similar question came up: Betty or Wilma?
The answer? "I'd go with Betty, but I'd be thinking of Wilma."

Posted by: Garnel Ironheart | Jun 4, 2009 3:27:33 PM

One of the older guys here said the proper answer was Mrs. Howell ... she had all the bucks ... once they got off the island anyway

Posted by: anon | Jun 4, 2009 7:39:18 PM

NO!! They can't marry him to Veronica! He'll be miserable the rest of his life!

Posted by: aliyah06 | Jun 4, 2009 10:38:17 PM

Who else remembers the Archie reunion TV special from a while ago? Nutshell - it's Riverdale High's 10-year reunion for Archie's class. Archie and Veronica are engaged - to other people. Betty is still happily single. By the end of the movie, Archie and Veronica have both broken up with their respective fiance/es, who have hooked up with (surprise!) each other. And Archie is back to bouncing between Betty and Veronica as the three of them ride off into the sunset.

And that's as it should be. That triangle should never be resolved - that would ruin everything! It makes killing off Superman look like a minor faux pas. Please say it ain't so!

Posted by: psachya | Jun 5, 2009 3:28:34 AM

some questions should remain unanswered....

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Jun 7, 2009 12:13:46 AM

some questions should remain unanswered....

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Jun 7, 2009 12:14:19 AM

um... what about the possibility that the neither of the girls want Archie or any other guy??? jes saying... it could happen!

Posted by: val | Jun 7, 2009 12:51:25 AM

I disagree, I say the signs point to Betty.While Veronica makes him go a little bonkers, it's Betty who he always turns to.

Posted by: Aliza | Jun 9, 2009 5:15:27 AM

Betty was always after Archie, but he wanted Veronica. Jughead, now he didn't care for either, he was holding out for Richie Rich.

Posted by: the misanthrope | Jun 10, 2009 5:54:49 AM

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