- Riverdale -Jughead's Hearing Loss Has An Interesting Tie-In To The Original 'Riverdale' Pilot
The Season 6B premiere of Riverdale, "Unbelievable," features many things that are brand-new to the show's universe — and most of them have to do with the bomb that Hiram Lodge detonated in Archie's house. Since the explosion, Archie has developed super strength, while Betty can see people's threatening auras as a red glow around their bodies. Jughead, who was in the garage during the ordeal, is now suffering from hearing loss — as he tells girlfriend Tabitha at the end of the episode, he has lost 90% of hearing in one ear, and 80% in another. While this may seem like a new development for Riverdale, it's actually a throwback to something that the show planned for way back in Season 1.
In the original pilot script for Riverdale, Jughead is hard of hearing, and wears a hearing aid which is mostly hidden by his hat. (Remember when Jughead wore that hat?) While Jughead narrates the show the same way he does now, when he speaks as a character, his voice is a bit different, as he's unable to hear himself well.
Here's a snippet of the original script:
It's unclear why this change was made, however, it may have to do with the fact that the show hired Cole Sprouse, a hearing actor, for the role.
It does seem that things changed after Sprouse was cast, as a breakdown for the casting of the core four, per TVLine, reads, "A hearing-impaired actor is being sought to play Jughead as an 'emo-heartthrob.' The lanky lad is Archie’s former best friend, seeing as the two still are smarting from a rift that took place between them. Angry, but with a philosophical bent, Jughead 'refuses to take the olive branch being proffered by Archie, the hurt goes that deep.'"
Right now it's unclear what Jughead's hearing loss means for the show. Unlike whatever is going on with Archie and Betty, this does not seem to have a supernatural bent — just an unfortunate circumstance for poor Jughead. However, it could have serious implications for the character: As he tells Alice in the episode, he doesn't have health insurance, which could imply that he'll struggle to cope with the financial burdens of his hearing loss, should he need surgery or a hearing aid.
As for what's next for Jughead — well, we'll just have to keep watching.