Last week in SoapLand, Paul, played by Doug Davidson on The Young & the Restless, barely clung to life, despite being a 30-something year veteran of the show, their longest-running cast member and a 2013 Daytime Emmy winner. And despite the fact that nobody really dies on soaps.
Sure, over on Days of Our Lives, the talk of the town is still Gabi killing Nick. This time. Not the previous time. When she, Sami and Kate only thought they’d killed him by smashing him on the head with a rock and dumping him in the river. But, like Sami said, “Who knew a dead man would be such a good swimmer?”
On General Hospital, the viewers (if not all the citizens of Port Charles) know that Ric is only faking his death to protect his family from the mob (the bad mob, run by Fake Luke, a.k.a. Fluke; and not the good mob, run by Sonny). Meanwhile, on The Bold & the Beautiful, Ridge, who was presumed dead after falling out of a helicopter into the Persian Gulf, has been found, albeit a bit loopy and confused about which woman, exactly, he’s in love with. To be fair, that’s been Ridge’s state of mind since B&B premiered in 1987.
But if you think coming back from the dead is strange and unnatural, check out these Top 10 Most Bizarre Soap Opera Deaths (some of which even stuck … well, so far):
STILL ON THE AIR…
1) Diamonds are (Death’s) Best Friend (General Hospital)
The most-watched bizarre death in soap history came in 1981, when GH, then at the top of daytime’s game and boasting 14 million weekly viewers, capped off its sci-fi-flavored Ice Princess plot with Luke saving upstate New York from a madman-made blizzard by tossing original Battlestar Galactica’s Baltar into his own torture chamber. There, the super-villain froze to death after being covered in … diamond dust.
2) Tomb with a View (Days of Our Lives)
Vivian was unhappy about Carly’s reunion with the son Carly thought had died at birth, but, in reality, Vivian had kidnapped and raised as her own. So Vivian drugged Carly to make it look like she was dead, held off the embalmers, and had Carly buried alive. When she awoke, Carly discovered that her coffin came with all of life’s necessities, including an oxygen tank and an intercom through which Vivian could taunt her nemesis. (Are those standard-issue, or did Viv pay extra?)
3) Taking Out the Trash (The Young & the Restless)
David had already come back from the dead after being shot, when his (justifiably) pissed wife, Nina, decided enough was enough and sicced the cops on her slimy ex (he’d also married her mother under an assumed name). Running to escape the police, David ducked into a garbage chute — where he was promptly crushed to death in the trash compactor. Guess with all his villainy, he hadn’t found time to watch Star Wars.
4) Jaws (of Soap Death) … (The Bold & the Beautiful)
While B&B‘s Ridge is apparently only a little worse for wear after falling into the Persian Gulf, his daughter, then-toddler Steffy, was once presumed eaten by a shark after falling overboard from her family’s yacht. Her chewed up life jacket later washed up on the beach. Eh, turned out to be just a flesh wound.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN …
5) On One Life To Live, Tina interrupted her husband’s wedding to a pre-Desperate Housewives Marcia Cross to announce that not only had she survived going over Argentina’s Iguazu Falls (without a barrel!), but she’d also given birth to his son in the process (without an epidural!).
6) As the World Turns’ Lillith wanted to send a headline to Duncan that his headstrong wife, Shannon, was really most sincerely dead. So Lillith presented Duncan with Shannon’s authentically shrunken … head.
7) Loving’s serial killer took getting plastered to a whole new level when she suffocated artist and sculptor Jeremy within his own (very quick-drying) medium.
8) Don’t have dramatic arguments on the roof of a hotel during a windstorm. Or so Santa Barbara’s Mary learned after she was squashed by a giant letter “C” that spelled out the building’s name.
9) Now that you know “C” stands for more than just Cookie, be advised that puppets can be dangerous too. Edge of Night’s Elliot was stabbed in the back by one. (Okay, so the killer used a puppet to keep her prints off the knife. All viewers saw was a murderous wannabe Kermit.)
10) Having half of Passions’ cast gunning for you is humiliating. Being shot in the chest is painful. But falling into a boiling vat of tuna and being presumed chopped (and also dead) is painfully humiliating. Still, Julian lived to tell about it. Even if the show didn’t.