Great Way to Go
"I want to be drunk, and happy, and then I want to explode."—Jeremy Clarkson
A character died.
Time for some traditional funeral? Eh...someone's not feeling that serious, be it writers or characters—heck, maybe the character who died would be insulted by anything so somber. So what's a writer to do? Have someone say what a great time it must've been!
If it's not lampshaded with the trope name itself, then chances are it will be something along the lines of "That's how I wanna go." Someone will say this about Out with a Bang a good amount of the time, regardless of whether it's true.
Note: If no one says anything, it doesn't count. This is not about a character's Crowning Moment of Awesome intersecting with their death—that's Dying Moment of Awesome. This is about a character in-story acknowledging this, ironically or not. By the same token, a character going out quietly in their sleep after spending the most wonderful time with their family still isn't this unless someone says or does something in-story to acknowledge it.
- In the Sandman mini-series, Death: The Time of Your Life, Barry reflects upon the death of Larry:
Barry: Considering the damage he must have done to that body --- thirty years of every drug a man could snort, sniff or shoot, and the last ten years as a practicing health-freak and gourmand... it's a blessing he got as long as he did. Probably how he would have wanted to go. Me, I want to be squashed by a bull elephant at the moment of orgasm while sandwiched ecstatically between two or three agile greased Nubian virgins.
- It also plays as a Brick Joke later in the series.
- One person explains that a family member died laughing in Mary Poppins. Another expresses sympathy, which he brushes off, saying it was a good way to go.
- Deserves a quote, being one of the best ways Disney handled a non villain death ever:
Mr. Dawes Jr: Ah, there you are, Banks. I want to congratulate you. Capital bit of humor, wooden leg named Smith!
[pauses looks a bit confused]
Mr. Dawes Jr: Or, Jones, whatever it was. Father died laughing!
George Banks: Oh, I'm so sorry, sir!
Mr. Dawes Jr: Oh no, nonsense, nothing to be sorry about! Never seen him happier in his life.
- Secondhand Lions refers to this as "going out with your boots on". The uncles themselves earn this distinction at the end of the movie.
- Basic Instinct: A detective, when discussing a murder victim he's standing next to.
Hey, he got off before he got offed!
- In Cabin Fever one of the teens is convinced the deadly disease that's been going around will infect her soon enough. She copes with this idea surprisingly calmly:
Marcy: It's like being on a plane when you know it's going to crash. Everybody is screaming "We're going down! We're going down!" And all you want to do is grab the person next to you and fu*k the sh*t out of them, because you know you just gonna die soon, anyway.
- She proceeds to do just that, throwing the random dude who happened to be beside her at the time down on the bed and going at it like a wild cowgirl. She wasn't even patient enough to use a condom, which turned out to be bad news for the guy, because she was already infected and didn't even know it.
- In Anansi Boys, the dad goes out in a way that's good enough that people assumed he did it intentionally, rather than dying. These are not mutually exclusive. He died of a heart attack during karaoke, fell off the stage, and with his last ounce of strength, grabbed a woman's shirt and tore it off, exposing her breasts.
- In Scott Westerfeld's Succession novels, those who fail the Risen Emperor in a particularly spectacular way are expected to take the Blade of Error—traditionally a self-inflicted knife wound to the abdomen, but those who had been previously offered Immortality for their service to the Emperor are allowed to kill themselves however they want. At least one character in that situation was described as going out "gasping with orgasm as she went".
- From Discworld: In Reaper Man, the wizards are giving a "deathday" party (Discworld wizards naturally know the time of their deaths beforehand) to their oldest member, Windle Poons. The old chap is having a great time, but it's a bit after his expected time of death when he mentions that he could do with "one of Mister Dibbler's famous meat pies..." and dies mid-sentence.
That's how I want to go.
What, muttering about meat pies?
- The Book of Stupid Lists had a list of "7 Quite Nice Ways to Die" but stopped after 'Being orgasmed to death by Charlie's Angels' and 'Drowning in a tidal wave of cointreau' because that's all they could think of.
- In Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 series, one of the viewpoint characters dies of a heart attack while in the bed of his lady friend. The man's son-in-law wryly comments that at least he went out happy.
- Early in The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer, the doctor at the deathbed of eighty-year-old Sylvester, Lord Lavenham, is very irked by Sylvester's last words, and by the reaction of the old lord's great-nephews:
"He made a remark, sir—I may say, a gross remark!—derogatory to my calling!" said the doctor. "I shall not repeat it!"
Both cousins burst out laughing. The doctor cast a look of shocked dislike at them and went away, disgusted but not surprised by their behaviour....
"I suppose we shall never know what it was that he said," remarked the Beau. "I am afraid it may have been a trifle lewd."
"I should think probably very lewd," agreed Shield.
"But how right, how fitting that Sylvester should die with a lewd jest on his lips!" said the Beau.
- In Lexx, the (renegade) Brunnen-G launched a hopeless counterattack against the forces of the Divine Shadow believing it was better than simply waiting to die (like the rest of their people). The Brunnen-G Battle Hymn is dedicated to this trope, and the Brunnen-G sing it as they go to their deaths. The musical episode "Brigadoom" features a song titled "A Good Way to Die" that is also dedicated to the idea that dying while fighting an unwinnable battle is still preferable to doing nothing.
- In Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Time Chasers, Crow attempts to change history so Mike won't be trapped in space. When he succeeds, he learns that the Satellite of Love's human occupant is Mike's Jerkass brother Eddie, and that in the altered reality, Mike became a successful rock musician, but was killed while touring when a groupie threw her hotel key (with a large keyfob) to him he got hit in the head. Eddie comments that he's proud of the way his little brother went.
- In almost any incarnation of Star Trek, Klingons are known to express this sentiment whenever they hear about a death in combat or battle, especially if it qualifies as "glorious". Considering their afterlife functions like Valhalla, in that you have to die in battle to get in to the good part, it's a pretty understandable sentiment.
- In Torchwood, one of the first aliens the team fought against on the show was a body-possessing sex alien (yes, it was that kind of show) who fed off of men's lust by turning them into dust upon reaching an orgasm. When the team saw CCTV footage of its first victim, one of them comments "That's how I'd like to go!"
- Servilia's theatrical and ritual suicide in front of her rival's house in Rome . It even gets commended by another long-time enemy.
Antony: Now that is an exit!
Emile:Big man said he would never leave Reach
- In Quest for Glory 4, the farmers talk about the Rusalka, a spirit who lived in the lake and lured into the water with her, seducing them and then pulling them under. Ivan the elephant herder comments "What a way to go."
- In Rance Quest, Suzume dies in the middle of one of the best lovemaking scenes of the game with Rance. The dialogue she had with him in Sengoku Rance about the kunoichi's lifespan was proven true, and by that point the poison was too much for her to resist.
- Dinosaur Comics has a strip about the related concept of deaths (and other events) that are "extremely sad, but also extremely amazing." T-Rex proposes a new word to describe it:
T-Rex: I call my new word "sawesome"! Like sad and awesome? Someone dropped an arrow out of a plane and it nailed my friend in the eye and it was extremely sawesome?
- Its Walky: one of the characters fakes his own death as...Having died in a fire while in the middle of an orgy with various women. Once someone else finds out he comments that they were supposed to be proud rather than sad - he almost wishes that he did go like that.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Dan McNinja, regarding the death of Gordito's father, The Amazing Flying Shooting Juan: "What an... incredible way to die."
- Several times on Futurama:
- "Amazon Women In The Mood" has a non-verbal variant where Fry and Zapp go between properly terrified and excited. Verbally, there's:
Fry: (after being sentenced to death by "snu-snu") [resigned] I never thought I would die this way. [brightens] But I've always really, really hoped.
- "A Pharaoh To Remember":
Fry: Dearly Beloved, we are here today to remember Bender, taken from us in the prime of life; when he was crushed by a runaway semi, driven by The Incredible Hulk.
Bender: Aww, you knew my favorite cause of death.
- "A Clockwork Origin":
Fry: (carried away by a robot pterodactyl) This is a cool way to die!
- Parodied once on the Family Guy episode "Long John Peter" when Peter's parrot died.
Dr. Jewish: Mister Griffin, I'm afraid that your Parrot is dead.
Peter: Noooo! Did he at least die with dignity?
Dr. Jewish: Well, he convulsed a lot and fell off the operating table. Then he flopped around a little on the floor, then a passing nurse accidentally stepped on him and kicked him into a puddle of urine, which must have frightened him because his bowels released all over himself. I tried to pick him up, but then, I got angry because some of it got on my thumb. So I threw him against the wall, and that's where he died.
Peter: That's the way I wanna go.
- Tommy Cooper. You know it's true. His death (heart attack while performing on live television) is constantly referred to as an artist's dream come true, or at least a generally good way to go.
- Further to that, comedian Dick Shawn had a heart attack and died in the middle of his routine in front of his favorite audience (college students).
- While watching The Goodies, Alex Mitchell found one episode -- "Kung Fu Kapers"—so funny he laughed for nearly a half-hour straight. Only someone in peak physical condition could survive that kind of exertion for so long. He didn't, literally dying of laughter. His wife wrote The Goodies a letter, thanking them for making her husband's last half-hour of life so happy.
- Organ virtuoso Louis Vierne went to give a performance at Notre Dame Cathedral. He told his assistant, "I think I'll die tonight." He gave a masterful performance, with some in his audience saying that it was the best he'd ever done. Going back to the console for his third(!) encore, he collapsed, suffering a massive stroke and dying, surrounded by adoring fans, in the middle of Notre Dame, at the height of his musical prowess. What a way to go.