The set of the CW’s teen sex party series Riverdale has to have at least twelve different instances of sexual assault a day, and now art is immitating life as series regular Madelaine Petsch talks about the trauma behind filming her first ever rape scene. Something for the baby book. Celebrities all over Hollywood are adopting the if you can’t beat ’em, rape ’em mentality, leading to a birage of salacious clickable headlines in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s exposed Vienna sausage. The wires between newsworthy and a normal Tuesday in Hollywood have gotten crossed lately, leading to white noise, and I’m going to be really pissed if people leave this mess not remembering the bizarre quote CW exec Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa panted out while jizzing his panties about casting Riverdale:
Of course, they are all beautiful to look at, but for me, what I wanted more was a sense that the characters had a ripe sexuality. Like they were all kind of on the cusp of transitioning from teenagers to young adults. It’s almost like the 1950s pinup girls, or the guys that were, like, a little bit like Physique Pictorial. There was a sexual energy to them that I look for, more than, like, Oh my God, is this kid TV pretty.
It’s like he only gives interviews in underage high schooler fan fiction prose. Until the world finds out that casting for the CW is like the sex slave auction scene from Taken, I will keep sharing Aguirre-Sacasa’s words of wisdom. This “sexual energy” on the Archie comics-inspired series took a turn for the deviant as Petsch’s character Cheryl Blossom suffered an attempted rape by Graham Phillips’ character Nick St. Clair. The underage Archie already shared some steamy statutory car sex with teach in season one, so the CW is having to pull out all the stops for season two. While the twenty-three-year-old Petsch obviously wasn’t actually the victim of an attempted rape, the experience did wreak havoc on her emotions:
I’ll be honest, I cried. I cried and I called my mom. I didn’t tell her what happened, obviously, but I was like, ‘This is a really heavy episode.’ This is a huge topic, especially right now with what’s going on in the world, and it’s so close to home and it’s so important to portray it properly.
I felt a huge responsibility to make it real, but then also there was a part of me where my heart was breaking, so it was a very interesting moment for me to get that [script] and there was no warning coming.
The story of sexual assault has now been told in movies and television and interviews and memoirs and exposes endlessly. In addition to understanding how to stop old gross majorly powerful men in Hollywood from molesting people full stop – something that will never happen – we might want to get to the bottom of why audiences just can’t get enough rape in their lives. There’s a reason headlines now read like plot ideas for CSI: SVU and even shows like Riverdale are lazily putting their half-baked characters into these situations to the delight of prepubescent audiences. It’s ubiquitous and now kid-approved. Watch out for a revamped Tony the Tiger coming shortly. They’reeeeee rape!
Photo Credit: Madelaine Petsch / Instagram, Mr. Skin