‘Riverdale’: KJ Apa Doesn’t Think 9-Year-Olds Should Be Allowed to Watch the Show

KJ Apa, who plays the heartthrob Archie Andrews in The CW series Riverdale, doesn’t think younger fans should be allowed to watch the show. Find out how Apa’s upbringing and the content of the show influenced that belief.

KJ Apa 'Riverdale'
KJ Apa | Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

‘Riverdale’ themes might be inappropriate for younger audiences 

Riverdale is a teen drama on The CW based on characters made famous by the Archie Comics. According to users on Common Sense Media, the show is appropriate for fans 14-years-old and above. 

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In the four seasons that the show has been on network television, Riverdale has covered an extensive amount of topics — most of which have been disturbing or complicated. From “slut-shaming” to teen homelessness, sexuality, and mental health, Riverdale has portrayed a variety of societal issues relevant to today’s teenagers. 

What’s more, Riverdale portrays a variety of complicated relationships between the main characters of the show and their parents. Veronica Lodge’s (Camila Mendes) parents experience troubles in their marriage, which results in a psychologically abusive relationship between the two. And we can’t forget when Betty Cooper’s (Lili Reinhart) father became known as the “Black Hood” serial killer in Season 2. 

All in all, Riverdale tackles a range of topics that might be inappropriate for an audience in the single-digit age range. It’s understandable, then, why the show’s lead heartthrob might be against a 9-year-old fan watching. 

KJ Apa wouldn’t have been allowed to watch ‘Riverdale’ as a kid

During an interview with the Los Angeles Times promoting I Still Believe, Apa was interrupted by a young fan. “‘I’m a huge fan of ‘Riverdale,'” she said before sharing her name and age.

After obliging for a photo, Apa questioned the fan’s age. “Nine-year-olds shouldn’t be watching Riverdale,” Apa said. “I wasn’t allowed to watch that kind of [stuff] when I was 9. I wasn’t even allowed to watch The Simpsons when I was a kid because it was rude.” 

Given the suggestive themes, violence, and sexual nature that Riverdale often evokes, it’s understandable why Apa would make such a comment. In Season 4 alone, Riverdale High’s students have been threatened with voyeuristic tapes and had to deal with a classmate feigning his death to get even with the Stonewall Prep kids — some pretty hefty stuff for kids under 10, let alone teenagers.

‘Riverdale’ might get even more unrelatable for young fans

As Season 4 of Riverdale comes to a close, fans have learned that Season 5 will jump ahead five years. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Apa talked about what makes Riverdale so easy to work on. “We can go anywhere,” he explained about the storyline in the series. “The only spoiler I can give people is it’s not your typical graduate high school. It’s going to surprise a lot of people, I think.”

Skeet Ulrich reinforced Apa’s semi-spoiler in an interview with The Today Show Australia. Ulrich talked about leaving his role as Jughead’s father and ultimately, what influenced his decision to move on from the longest part he’s ever played. “Creatively, I’m just ready to do other things,” Ulrich said. “I know they want to take the show in a little bit [of a] different direction next season, too, and jump five years ahead.” 

If Riverdale is jumping ahead five years, that will put the characters in their final year of college, if not later, and out pursuing whatever career they may choose. Will a 9-year-old audience still be tuning into The CW series then? 

Most likely! But only time will tell.