The Watchman: Jig Is Up for ‘Riverdale’ Star Perry, ‘Girls’ Brain Trust Tries ‘Camping’

Deputy editor Michael Malone's weekly look at the programming scene
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Season three of Riverdale premieres on The CW Oct. 10. Speaking at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, Luke Perry, who plays Archie’s father, Fred, said he thought he was signing up for a different show. “Honestly, I didn’t have my glasses on,” he said. “I looked at the script and thought it said Riverdance. I thought I was going to play Michael Flatley.”

Luke Perry in The CW's "Riverdale"

Luke Perry in The CW's "Riverdale"

Perry said the highlight of season three is his character not getting shot. “I haven’t taken any bullets yet this season,” said Perry, whose character started season two with a bullet in him after being shot at the diner. “Having said that, it ain’t over, and it’s Riverdale.”

Many of a certain age still see Perry as Dylan McKay from Beverly Hills 90210. Perry likes that playing Fred allows him to flex some different muscles. “I enjoy playing the nice guy, the stay-at-home dad,” he said. “It’s something new for me.”

The writers’ room constantly keeps him guessing. “This is definitely not the Archie I remember,” Perry said. “The pilot blew me away. There were five or six moments where I went, WHAT?”

So, like, how would Perry have done on Riverdance? “I’d have given it my best,” he said.

Comedy Camping starts on HBO Oct. 14, detailing a camping trip involving a married couple and some relatives and friends that goes horribly, riotously wrong. It comes from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, the savvy wits behind Girls, and is based on a U.K. series with the same name, that one from Julia Davis.

HBO's "Camping"

“Julia is so funny and so smart and has such keen perspective on human behavior,” Konner said.

Jennifer Garner, David Tennant and Juliette Lewis are in the cast of the new one. Konner describes Camping as “pretty light and funny and silly, but grounded in reality.”

The woodsy setting is vast, yet somehow becomes intensely claustrophobic as the not so happy campers air their grievances. There is no escape from one another at Brown Bear Lake. “It’s every meal, all day, every day,” Konner said.

There is little overlap between Girls and Camping. “We really tried to do something different,” Konner said.

Camping’s influences come not from television but film. Konner mentions The Big Chill and 2001 comedy-drama The Anniversary Party, which starred Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming, as influences.

Despite the show’s premise, Konner is no fan of the great outdoors. “I hate camping so much,” she said.

She did not quite realize just how much time in the woods there would be for an executive producer of a show called Camping.

“My next show,” she said, “is going to be called Five-Star Hotel.”

Season three of Riverdale premieres on The CW Oct. 10. Speaking at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, Luke Perry, who plays Archie’s father, Fred, said he thought he was signing up for a different show. “Honestly, I didn’t have my glasses on,” he said. “I looked at the script and thought it said Riverdance. I thought I was going to play Michael Flatley.”

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