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Erika Slezak Library

Soap Opera Digest
November 14, 2000, Vol. 25, No. 46

Married to the Mob

By: unknown

Up Front SOD Cover Story...Once upon a time (actually, February of 1999) on One Life to Live, there was a doctor named Ben, who had ditched his job stitching up mobsters for a bartender's life, and a seven-times married, newspaper-publishing grand dame of Llanview society named Viki - and their lives intersected on night at a dive called Crossroads. Charmed by Ben's chemistry behind the bar and in front of it, Viki announced (via karaoke), "I Will Survive"; won a pair of red, fuzzy dice and fell in love. This week their offbeat, fairy-tale romance will climax in a romantic, fairy-tale wedding - assuming nobody gets killed first.

"For Viki, this is the last time she's getting married," insists Erika Slezak. "Of course, I'm sure she thinks that everytime!" For Mark Derwin's Ben, the feeling is mutual. "He's pumped. He's deeply in love with Viki. With all of the bad things that have happened to him in his life, he finally feels like it's all behind him. Of course, Ben doesn't realize he's in a soap opera...."

No, he doesn't. Ben and Viki are concentrating on their impending nuptials, which come on the heels of an extended breakup: Ben kept mum about being Asa's son (a factoid he learned in March), and she didn't want to burden him with her breast cancer. But they came clean and reconciled, so it would seem they've put the worst behind them.

But they've failed to realize the depth of Asa's loathing for Ben's adoptive family, the "Rappa-Davidsons." And since Asa doesn't know that Ben is really his son, that twisted wrath is on a collision course with what should be the most joyful day of Ben and Viki's lives together. "It's the climax of a love story and the climax of a hate story," explains OLTL Head Writer Megan McTavish. "Asa is being driven to an edge, and he does something that he may well live to regret...and that they may not live to regret."

In other words, he's hired a hitman to take out the on-time mob doc, something that the engaged couple is blissfully unaware of because they've been busy planning an all-out bash. As Slezak notes, since she's been playing the character of Viki, she's never had a true bridal gown until now. "What they've made for me is just lovely," she enthuses. "I feel like I'm wearing a dress out of a 16th century painting."

Ben and Viki also surprise one another with gifts - a bracelet with gold and diamond dice charms for her, and a set of onyx and diamond-studded dice cufflinks for him. Says Slezak, "[The dice] symbolize a totally different world for Viki, so I'm glad they brought them back."

McTavish agrees: "This is a new beginning of life for her. Any love story and wedding is wonderful, but for Viki, this is permeated by the fact that she might not have survived. But she did, and the dream has come true."

Well, almost. Yes, the bride and groom are in danger of not getting to the reception on time, but there may be a dark horse in the running to convince Asa to call off the hit. Explains McTavish, "Max loves Asa enough that he doesn't want him to kill his [biological] son. If there's saving to be done, it might come from an unlikely savior - named Max."

Can there be a happily ever after? Ben and Viki have already rolled the dice in life-and-death situations - luck is on their side. After all, this is one couple that hasn't come up snake eyes yet.

Eighth Time's the Charm
Victoria Lord Riley Burke Riley Buchanan Buchanan Carpenter's been at this wedding game for 30 years - and has gone through some very different bridal gowns in the process...

1970: Viki and Joe Riley
Nuptial Notes: Though she was in the throes of her first multiple-personality episode, Viki got hitched to blue-collar fellow Banner reporter Joe.
Erika Slezak Comments: "The original Viki - Gillian Spencer - wore a big, white wedding dress for her first wedding. But until now, "I'd never gotten to wear one!"

1972: Viki and Steve Burke
Nuptial Notes: When Joe was presumed dead, Viki let her domineering father talk her into tying the knot with company man (and new Banner editor) Steve on Memorial Day. Wouldn't you know it? Joe turned up alive!
Erika Slezak Comments: "When I joined the show, they were just putting Viki and Steve together. They had this second wedding in the garden and she wore a long, white-ish afternoon tea dress with a big, flowery hat."

1974: Viki and Joe Redux
Nuptial Notes: After much indecision, VIki left Steve and wed Joe in September (although it nearly didn't happen because Joe felt obligated to propose to Cathy Craig, who was pregnant with his child). After Cathy said, "No," Viki said, "Yes."
Erika Slezak Comments: "When Viki married Joe again, she had on a beige cocktail dress with a matching chiffon wrap. The wedding was on location in New York City on 69th Street in St. Stephens Church."

1982/1986: Viki and Clint Buchanan
Nuptial Notes: Joe died of a terminal brain tumor, and a grieving Viki bickered constantly with Clint. They finally realized they were made for each other and wed. But when Viki's personality split into Niki, she dumped Clint. They reconciled after she came to her senses.
Erika Slezak Comments: "For the first wedding with Clint, Viki wore a long evening gown; for the second one, she was in a white blouse and white skirt by Ralph Lauren. Hello, I still remember the designers!"

1989: Viki and Roger Gordon
Nuptial Notes: Viki got pregnant and wed Roger Gordon when she was a teen, but her evil daddy, Victor, annulled the nups and hypnotized his daughter so she'd forget the whole incident. Which Viki did, until she ran into the underground city of Eterna.
Erika Slezak Comments: "Well, this was a bit of a rewrite of history, so there was no ceremony to be seen."

1994: Viki and Sloan Carpenter
Nuptial Notes: Clint divorced Viki after learning of her illicit romance with Sloan. The two married, but Sloan died of Hodgkin's disease shortly after.
Erika Slezak Comments: "Viki wed Sloan on his deathbed in the hospital in a beautiful red dress and matching coat that I believe is still in her wardrobe."

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