In a 2017 Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), Cole Sprouse, who portrays Jughead in “Riverdale,” answered questions from fans to promote the show and quell curiosity. One such question came from u/cardiggan, who asked: “MY BIGGEST QUESTION: should the show be set in modern times with old cars, or in ‘less’ modern times (like another decade) but with modern phones? piss me off.”
To his credit, Sprouse chose to respond in a way that mixed humor and useful information. “Riverdale does not have a formal or announced timeframe at this time,” he said. “And with the amount of money we’re putting into atmospheric fog, we want the setting to feel like a dream. My understanding of the city is a twilight zone between modern and nostalgic ‘golden age’ America. Hence the set pieces like the cars.”
But perhaps this source is too old to satisfy contemporary fans. Well, think of Alex Zalben’s 2021 article for Decider in which he got out of hand and all the disjointed time trivia mentioned in “Riverdale,” from the explicitly stated dates and time jumps to environmental cues like proliferation from VHS tapes and the local theater performances, describes in detail “Love, Simon.” Ultimately, he came to the same conclusion Sprouse offered back in 2017, saying, “The point is that having no idea what time period Riverdale is set in is a feature, not a bug.” Maybe more will be revealed in the upcoming seventh and final season of Riverdale.