Life Goes On
Synopsis of TV Show
This series was an earnest family drama with an unusual plot hook: it was the first television series to revolve around a mentally handicapped character, Corky (portrayed by Christopher Burke, who had Down’s Syndrome in real life). The show chronicled the lives of Corky and his family as he tried to make the transition from special education classes to become a freshman at a traditional high school.
Corky’s parents were restaurant owner Drew and ad exec/former singer Libby (Broadway star Patti LuPone). Corky also had a sister, 14 year-old Becca, and a stepsister, Paige, who returned home after dropping out of college.
Stories focused on the travails of the family’s daily life such as Corky’s ongoing struggle to be accepted as normal by his new classmates, Becca’s attempts to resolve her desire to popular with her responsibility to look out for Corky, and Libby’s discovering she was pregnant at the age of 41.
Later additions to the show would include Gina, Libby’s younger sister, who arrived to help run the house when Libby became pregnant, and Zoe, Gina’s daughter. Another important addition to the show arrived in the form of Jesse McKenna, an HIV-positive student who became good friends with Becca.
The show was telecast for four seasons on ABC and ended its run in August of 1993 after 83 episodes. It was successful with families and critics alike for its emphasis on positive family values and its responsible handling of social issues like AIDS. It also won several awards, including an Emmy for Christopher Burke’s portrayal of Corky.
The show’s theme song was the classic Beatles tune “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” (whose lyrics lent the show its title) and was performed by Patti LuPone and the cast. Their family singalong over the opening credits was a perfect encapsulation of the show and the lives it portrayed—energetic, free-spirited, imperfect but filled with the joy in knowing that life does, indeed go on.
Release History of Prime Time Show9/12/89 - 8/29/93 ABC
TV Sub Categoriesdrama
Television StudioWarner Bros. TV/The Toots Company
TV CastDrew Thatcher Bill Smitrovich
Elizabeth "Libby" Thatcher Patti LuPone
Charles "Corky" Thatcher Chris Burke
Rebecca "Becca" Thatcher Kellie Martin
Paige Thatcher (1989-90) Monique Lanier
Paige Thatcher (1990-93) Tracey Needham
Jesse McKenna (1991-93) Chad Lowe
Tyler Benchfield (1989-91) Tommy Puett
Hans (1990-91) David Byrd
Maxie (1989-91) Tanya Fenmore
Gina (1990-91) Mary Page Keller
Zoe (1990-91) Leigh Ann Orsi
Goodman (1992-93) Kiersten Warren
Jerry Berkson Ray Buktenica
Unknown Michael A. Goorjian