Sob, Sob…..Archie is Going to Die by Appointment

14th Apr, 2014

| by writesolutions

In today’s pop-culture, popping off a popular character is old hat, but it pays

By now, you’d have heard or read about it – Archie is going to die.

In the in the penultimate issue No. 36 of the “Life with Archie” (a future-tense series set in Archie’s hypothetical adulthood), the publisher will kill the popular teenage character, we grew upon.

Incidentally, Archie won’t be the first or the last in the long line of fictional characters who are ‘made to die’ in such a planned, pre-mediated, cold-blooded fashion (Alas! How I wish we had the choice to die by appointment J). In TV sitcoms, such deaths have routinely been ‘conceived’ (pun intended) for protagonists in AMC’s The Walking DeadCBS’s The Good Wife, and How I Met Your Mother. In this last, when the famous Mom had to succumb to the director’s deadly design in the grand finale of the series, the emotional build-up was so palpable, viewers in the US sat with hankerchiefs drawn out to softly dab their tear-saturated eyes.

Something akin to this was witnessed in our house when a character by the name of Mihir someone, fell out with producer-director Ekta Kapoor in Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, and was promptly kicked out of the soap, but my parents couldn’t stop mourning his death in the penultimate sequence. My dad, in particular has a habit of referring to his favorite soap characters by their first names on the meal table, as if they are members of our extended family.

Although adding a deadly twist to a smashing hit is an old hat, a spin on the old cliché does appear to be a good marketing gimmick that revives viewers’ waning interest in a brand property that’s been around for a while, has done good business, but now the chemistry with the audience is ebbing.

Not surprising, a similar fate is anticipated for Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, during the epic battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. In order to keep the mystery alive, the producer is not spilling all the beans but there is enough gist coming from the rumor mill to keep the gossip going through teaser-trailers that will incite movie goers to the cinema halls.

My cynicism aside, death even when it is not “realistic” is always sensationalistic. It’s painful to a fan to engage with a character, fall in love with it and then watch them die in ways that are deliberately made to look crass, random, arbitrary, or even, unnecessary.

Death is a subject that makes people uncomfortable. It stirs old memories of a festering wound. It mimics a stark reality that we are never able to come to grips with – fully. Watching it even on screen can thus be unnerving. That’s why, when Archie dies – I am going to keep my hankerchief ready.

Even if I feel bloody silly afterwards.

 

writesolutions

Radhika Sachdev

Content Strategist

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