Way to Go….
According to Wikipedia, One Life to Live was originally going to be called Between Heaven and Hell. The sponsors thought that was too controversial. In changing the title, they did the PC thing even before the ‘politically correct’ term was coined. Too bad; Between Heaven and Hell is a dead-on accurate description of the stories over the years, whereas the name, One Life to Live… Well frankly, were it anything other than a soap, ABC could have been hauled into court for truth-in-labeling infractions.
Realistically, it ought to be More Than One Life to Live. I don’t have nearly enough fingers to count how many characters were once presumed dead, but later discovered alive. A partial listing would include Joe Riley, Marco/Mario Dane, Tina Lord, Viki (ah, remember sweet Gilbert of the floating spaceship?), Sarah Gordon/Buchanan, Mitch Laurence, Carlo Hesser, Cord Roberts/Buchanan, Todd Manning, Mike-Al (Al Holden embodied in Michael McBain), Asa Buchanan, Keri & Jamie Reynolds, Victor Lord, Cristian Vega, and, most recently, Margaret Cochran. I’m certain I’ve missed a few— there were a couple of Asa’s wives I ignored, but I’ve proven the point: In Llanview, not even death is a sure thing.
But occasionally, dead really does mean dead. And it appears that Duke Buchanan’s lot in life is a plot in the cemetery. When you gotta’ go, it may as well be in grand style. It is probably none too psychologically healthy to sit around planning the ultimate death; but it appears the writers of OLTL did that anyway.
In a fantasy world, and yes, even on paper, the tornado that triggered the demise of Duke should have been a whirl-wind finish to a tempestuous family triangle. Consider: For years, Duke’s Aphrodite eluded him. Always so near, yet oh, so far away. Until… a vision in her floaty gown, he finds her, and throwing caution to the wind, he conquers. One moment of perfect rapture, and then the roof falls in—literally.
It should have offered viewers the perfect mythopoeic death. So why did it feel plain old icky?
In nearly any other genre, that would be a
dramatic death scene in the spirit of Shakespeare; sans the iambic
pentameter, of course. But… A perfect death won’t keep going and
going. And OLTL doesn’t know that. Surely it has crossed the mind of
every true soap fan that Duke has not truly left this world without
making a deposit on the future. We are jaded, but we are not fools. We
know that the ignoble Dr. Spencer Truman may have helped one Buchanan
heir pass on, but that in saving Kelly to win the favors of Blair, he
probably enabled another heir to live. Maybe two. Anybody want to lay
odds that Soap Karma has made Kelly the mother of twins?
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