Katy Keene Episode 1 Advanced Review: “Pilot”

by Rachel Bellwoar

After four seasons, it’s time for the Archie-verse to expand. While Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has kept its ties to Riverdale loose (assumedly complicated by the fact that Sabrina airs on Netflix), Katy Keene (Lucy Hale) appeared in this week’s episode of Riverdale while Josie’s move to Katy Keene officially marks the series as a spin-off.

Julia Chan, Ashleigh Murray, Lucy Hale and Jonny Beauchamp (Photo: The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

Katy, like Archie, originated in the pages of Archie Comics. She’s currently featured in the newest arc of the publisher’s flagship title, Archie, and a collection of the original comics by creator Bill Woggon and others was released last September. But while Archie lives in the fictional Riverdale, Katy Keene takes places in New York, a city with a long history in TV shows and movies.
That means it isn’t the first show to present New York as a city of dreamers. Katy is an assistant for personal shopper Gloria Grandbilt (Katherine LaNasa). Passionate and dedicated, she’s not afraid to put herself out there, which is why she’s applied for the new personal shopper position at Lacy’s Department Store. Similar to Sutton Brady on Freeform’s The Bold Type, Katy’s dream is to become a fashion designer, and while Gloria isn’t supportive like The Bold Type’s Jacqueline, they’re even at the same crossroads with their romantic partners. Katy’s boyfriend, K.O. (Zane Holtz), was just offered a dream opportunity, but it would mean either them moving or trying to make it work long distance.
Ashleigh Murray, Julia Chan and Lucy Hale (Photo: David Giesbrecht/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

Katy Keane doesn’t make out like living in New York is easy. Katy works hard at her job. Her roommate, Jorge (Jonny Beauchamp), is going through his own version of the audition sequences from Fame. Her other roommate, Pepper (Julia Chan), name drops almost as bad as The Good Place’s Tahani, and while Josie (Ashleigh Murray) looks like she might catch a break early into her move, it’s only the first episode. There’s always room for things to go wrong.
That being said, even while she’s waking up to her roommates racing around, because her bed is the pull-out couch in the living room and there’s no privacy, Josie doesn’t look upset. After all, while New York usually gets portrayed as the big, bad city, Riverdale is “the murder capital of the world.” By comparison, New York ends up being the safer option, and if the show glosses over some of the dangers (and is too prone to have characters give public speeches), it makes for a nice contrast to Riverdale’s darker leanings.
Murray is certainly better served by the material here. Josie’s move to New York makes sense, given her ambitions, and her arrival even spurs Katy to reassess what she wants to do with her career. Rich siblings Alexander and Alexandra Cabot (played by Lucien Laviscount and Camille Hyde) promise to stir up trouble with their sibling rivalry, and while the show will hopefully devote more time to showing Katy come up with her designs instead of having her whip up last minute outfits off-screen for her friends, Hale bring a merry energy to Katy that makes this a show worth keeping an eye on this spring.
New episodes of Katy Keene air Thursdays at 8 PM EST on The CW. The show premieres February 6th.

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