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Series / As the World Turns

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Famous long-running Soap Opera on TV which first began airing in 1956 and finally ended in 2010. It takes place in the fictional town of Oakdale, Illinois. It mainly focuses on the Snyder and the Hughes families. Groundbreaking in that it featured the first American daytime male same-sex kiss and gay supercouple.

Has a unique place in political history, as it was the show running on CBS when Walter Cronkite cut in to announce the assassination of John F. Kennedy.


It features example of the following tropes:

  • The Alcoholic:
    • Carly (like her father). This was played surprisingly realistically, being developed over time, with viewers noticing that she started to drink more and more as her life started becoming more stressful and it causing problems for her family. She was Put on a Bus to rehab for a while and didn't magically get better.
    • Luke Snyder was a binge drink and never magically got better, although, he did stop drinking eventually, and his struggles with alcohol continued to be mentioned until the end of the show.
    • Claire Shea, trying to keep up with her husband's love of drinking.
  • American Accents: The media often has explicitly Texan characters speak in an accent that an actual Texan is unlikely to have. Reid doesn't have this accent, but it's never been confirmed that Reid was raised in Texas, only that he lived and worked there. The fandom seems to have decided that Reid is from Boston, where his uncle lives. Reid also went to Harvard, which is in Massachusetts; depending on how long he was there, that could have shaped his current accent.
  • Brian, who was married to Lucinda but had the hots for Luke.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • Antibiotics are useless against a viral infection.
    • Noah's entire surgery and recovery. They didn't even shave his head.
    • Dusty had that same problem.
    • A gay man donating his heart to Chris.
  • Ascended Extra: Katie, Vienna and Henry for starters.
    • Jennifer Landon's Gwen was supposed to be a one episode character. She impressed producers so much that she was signed to a long-term contract, and went on to win three consecutive Daytime Emmys.
  • Back for the Finale: In the show's final weeks, long-departed characters returned, even if their actors had long since gone on to fame in other mediums—Julianne Moore got her start as twins/half-sisters Frannie/Sabrina.
  • Back from the Dead: James Stenbeck does this a lot. For the last few years, the actor who played him lived in Argentina and he would come back every so often. He was eventually Killed Off for Real.
    • Soaps are notorious for this, if there's no body, the person most likely will be this. During James' funeral, Barbara was happy to be sure his actual body was there.
  • Batman Gambit: Often used to explain how somebody came back from the dead.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Luke and Reid. At first they couldn't stand each other, but when they became friendlier to one another, they continually crossed back and forth over the line between bickering and flirting.
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: Julia started out as the Betty to Carly's Veronica, then became a psycho while Carly became one of the show's heroines.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: In the final moments of Brad's life, Katie rushes to get Jacob to Brad so he can meet his son before he dies, but she gets there too late.
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    • When a crazed Julia kidnapped her ex-husband Jack, held him prisoner, and eventually forced him to have sex with her (she wanted to get pregnant to replace the baby she's miscarried), the scenes were initially played as dark comedy, something that would never have happened had the genders been reversed. However, the scenes took a much uglier tone when she tried to kill him afterwards, and when he later revealed what had happened to his fiancee, she reacted with horror and sympathy and never once blamed him or insinuated that he was a willing participant.
    • When Vienna does this to Henry, it's Played for Laughs. There was also a storyline where Katie wanted a child (but Brad didn't at the time) so she started poking holes in condoms and lying about wearing a diaphragm.
    • Averted with Luke (who is gay) when Zoe tried to rape him to have a child.
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: Jessica and Duncan. Shockingly, it was one of the town's most beloved citizens, Lisa, who had a problem with it. They eventually married and had a daughter, Bonnie, who herself played this out when she grew up.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter:
  • Parker was also like this sometimes, especially right before/during Carly's alcoholism storyline. He later matured and focused on helping Carly.
  • Brutal Honesty: Reid, Kim (a character knew they were in for the harsh truth when she called them 'kiddo')
  • But Not Too Gay:
    • Noah and Luke actually had a fan instituted countdown in between their kisses. They went 211 days in between two kisses and it took them 514 days from their first meeting to get their first love scene (which was very tame compared to the other couples). This is unusual, particularly in the Soap Opera media where romance and love scenes happen frequently.
    • One episode that angered fans in particular was when Luke and Noah finally had some time alone. Instead of having sex like anyone else would have done (and Luke says in a seductive voice that he's been waiting so long for what they're going to do), they jump on the bed together. No, really.
    • Luke and Reid never even got to have sex. They kept getting conveniently interrupted.
  • Bury Your Gays: Reid is killed off close to the end of the series, never having even had sex with his boyfriend Luke. His heart, of course, is transplanted into a straight man who gets a happy ending. Luke has a moment with his ex-boyfriend Noah but it's too soon for them to get back together before the series ends. This meant that Luke was the only core character not given a happily ever after when the show ended. A minor gay character, Reg, is also killed off earlier for gratuitous plot reasons.
  • Chained to a Railway: Played completely straight when Gwen's stalker and doppleganger Cleo ties her and Jade to the railroad tracks in order to Murder the Hypotenuse and romance Gwen's husband Will.
  • Citizenship Marriage:
    • Katie married Simon so that he could stay in the country to be close to Lily, who he had fallen in love with, but true to form, Katie and Simon eventually fell in love.
    • Noah marries Ameera, a girl from Afghanistan, whose family his father Colonel Mayer was trying to help. This ends up failing and the girl gets arrested.
  • Closet Key: Luke to Noah. Luke's crush on Kevin made him realize he was gay.
  • Coming-Out Story:
    • Luke at 16. His love interest, Noah, as well. Amusingly averted with Reid, who was much older when he was introduced.
    • Luke's story involved his biological father trying to send him to a straight camp and his mother reluctantly going along with it. Holden, however, was very supportive. Noah's story involved loads of denial and his father trying to murder his love interest.
  • Continuity Nod: Done often usually involving milestones.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Reid's heart actually being a match for Chris.
  • Crossover: With an NBC soap rather than a CBS one (though Michael Baldwin of The Young and the Restless did make a brief appearance) After Another World was cancelled in 1999, several characters were transferred. Baldwin's appearance would indicate that all three shows were in the same universe.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Reid. Faith snarked at Lily a lot when she became a teenager.
  • Death Glare: This is Reid's default facial expression.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Reid, Luke's boyfriend was killed off in one of the last episodes. Although, Luke didn't get back together with Noah (it was too soon, and Noah planned to move to LA).
  • December–December Romance: Lucinda is paired with John Dixon at the end.
  • Dirty Old Man: Brian, who made unwanted advances toward Luke while married to Luke's grandmother.
  • Dr. Jerk: Reid does care deeply for his patients, but anyone who watched the scene where he was going on about how awesome a woman having a rare something was because he got to show his genius by performing a extremely experimental procedure, only blithely acknowledging that his failure would be worse for her (as in, she would either be a vegetable or dead) than it would be for him can be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
    • His Fan Nickname is Dr. House for a reason, though ironically he's more comparable to Scrubs's Dr. Cox.
    • He once kept Henry under quarantine because he kept annoying him.
  • Et Tu, Brute? Lucinda swindled out of her own company by Connor and Evan.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Katie was in on Vienna's plan to trap Henry into marrying her (Vienna). She drew the line at faking a miscarriage. Not really evil though, she really thought she was doing a good thing, at that point it became My God, What Have I Done?.
  • Faking the Dead: James Stenbeck is a master at this. Damian did this at least once. Joyce Colman Hughes was the first back from the dead character on the show.
  • Fan Sequel: The Reid Oliver Cartoon Saga The series was cancelled soon after the Cartoon Saga began.
    • Which the actor playing Reid is aware of and has said he enjoys.
  • Gay Aesop: Subverted in that the person who learned the aesop was the on who left the show as opposed to the gay person.
  • Gayngst: Luke and Noah got a lot of this.
  • Good Girl Gone Bad: Julia Lindsey Snyder, especially. She was an insecure heroine initially, but once she descended into madness, she became one of daytime's most notorious psychopaths.
  • Happily Married: Tom and Margo. Kim and Bob, too. Nancy and Chris. Ellen and David. Kim and Dan before he died.
  • Has Two Daddies: Johnny, who is biologically Craig's son, but was being raised by his mother Jennifer and Dusty. After she died,and Johnny returned from his kidnapping by Lucy, Dusty and Craig fought over custody of Johnny. Craig won, but allowed Dusty visitation rights and Johnny still considered him his father.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?
  • Hide Your Gays
  • Hospital Hottie: Lampshaded by Richard when seeing Dr. Oliver:
    "Dude, You doctor is hot!"
  • Hot for Student: Noah's film professor, though Noah is completely oblivious.
  • How Unscientific!: Paul has psychic visions sometimes. How or why this happens is never explained.
  • Hypocrite: Jennifer Munson. She is primarily responsible for the death of Bryant Montgomery, by having an affair with his cousin behind his back and Bryant's grief was so profound that he got into a fatal car crash. Not too long later Jennifer had a one-night stand with Bryant's father, Craig, and got pregnant. However, a mix of guilt and Craig's own shady personality meant that Jennifer didn't want Craig around their child. So she faked an accident so that Craig would be denied full custody of their baby and whenever Craig confronted her about her actions she would throw Bryant's death in his face and blame HIM for it!! Only a handful of people knew the actual truth about Bryant's death so she was able to get away with it, but it was HER fault Bryant died!! Yet she sat on a sanctimonious high horse and continually blamed Craig for Bryant's death, to the point that then everybody blamed Craig for his death.
  • Insufferable Genius: Reid
  • Improbable Hairstyle: An In-Joke within the fandom is how often Luke changes hairstyles, frequently from one scene to the next, and at least once within the same scene, which shouldn't be possible.
    • When Ameera was visited in prison, she was shown with professionally done highlights.
    • Happens so often on soaps that Soap Opera Digest actually needed to applaud the fact that when a kidnapped Emily was rescued, "she actually looked like she hadn't been to her hairdresser in months" (several months worth of growth, split ends, etc)
  • Jerkass: Paul Ryan. Among his most memorable moments on the show included publicly humiliating his fiancee, Rose D'Angelo, and dumping her at the altar; stealing his half-sister Jennifer's newborn baby and allowing his sister to believe her baby died just because his mortal enemy Craig Montgomery fathered the child; coaxing his comatose ex-wife Rosanna out of her coma for no other reason than to hurt his ex-girlfriend Meg; and hiring an imposter to PRETEND TO BE HIS DEAD SISTER JENNIFER to lure Dusty Donovan away from Meg. Yet despite his deplorable actions, he acted like he somehow had higher ground than anybody else on the show and constantly acted like a Morality Pet against other characters. He even called the cops on Rosanna when he found out she'd falsified Meg's paternity test results—this being after he stole Jennifer's baby!!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Reid.
  • Karma Houdini: Craig. James Stenbeck. Katie sometimes.
  • Kissing Cousins: Parker/Liberty, though they aren't related by blood (Jack isn't Parker's biological father) and they didn't grow up knowing each other, since Liberty's father Brad didn't know she existed until she was a teenager.
    • Faith was also shown to have a crush on Parker.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: Mostly done concerning Luke and Noah.
  • Kiss-Kiss-Slap: Quite literally with Reid-initiated kisses — see here.
  • Killed Off for Real: Usually only happens when the actor died.
    • James Stenbeck.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Reid did this a lot
  • Like Father, Like Son: Parker decides to become a police officer like Jack.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Love Dodecahedron
  • Love Makes You Crazy
  • Love Makes You Dumb: In particular, Lily Snyder and her son Luke spring to mind but they aren't the only ones.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Craig and Damian.
  • Lucky Charms Title: Through the 80s and 90s, the iconic rotating globe took the place of the "O" in the opening credits.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One of Reid's best contributions to the show.
  • Mama Bear: Lucinda, although she seems to handle things better when her grandchildren are involved rather than her children; many argue that Lily being so screwed up is due to Lucinda herself. Nancy was an overbearing mother when Penny, Don, and Bob were younger.
  • Marital Rape License: John Dixon to two of his wives, Kim and Dee.
  • Marriage Before Romance: Simon and Katie.
  • Married to the Job
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Reid. Noah sees him helping Chris up some stairs at The Lakeview but doesn't see Chris's face. He tells Luke, and when confronted, Reid says he was seeing a patient but refuses to break doctor-patient confidentiality. Luke doesn't exactly believe him.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Paul and Henry. Made all the more hilarious by the fact that they were in a lingerie store. Reid isn't entirely convinced that Henry is straight either.
  • Monochrome Casting: After Bonnie left the cast was all white.
  • Morality Pet: Luke is the Morality Pet for Reid in a MAJOR way, mostly trying to get him to be nicer to the hospital staff.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Casey got a lot of shirtless scenes. Luke, Brad, Noah, and Reid also had some. Holden in the 80s.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Vienna
  • New Old Flame: John and Lucinda, Emily and Paul.
  • No Bisexuals: Luke and Reid are gold star gays, and there's never even unintentional chemistry with any female characters. Noah, on the other hand, begins closeted and dates Maddie, which is portrayed as him being in denial. Later, however, after one of Noah's many breakups with Luke, Noah gets close to Maddie again and there's a hint that there might be a genuine attraction (and there is chemistry) but the show never dared to go there.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Vienna Hyatt was originally meant to be an imitation of Paris Hilton. A wealthy heiress whose first name was the name of a European capital with the last name of a chain of expensive hotels.
  • No-One Could Have Survived That
  • Not So Different: One of the reasons Luke and Reid didn't like each other at first was because they each thought the other was rude and arrogant, but turned out to be nicer than they expected.
  • Not Quite Dead
  • Offing the Offspring
  • Only Sane Man: It seems generally agreed upon that Reid is an example of what would happen if a real person were ever to enter a soap opera.
  • Pair the Spares: Done when the show ended. With everyone except Luke, whose boyfriend was killed, Noah, and Vienna. John Dixon, who had been Brother Chucked years ago, was brought back as a Last Minute Hookup with Lucinda.
  • Pet the Dog
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Katie and Henry, though they did have a romantic relationship at one time.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Henry
  • Rape as Drama: Margo, Emily.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Nancy was supposed to play a much larger role in Chris's transplant storyline but her actress (Helen Wagner) died.
  • Retcon: Tends to happen when Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome is involved.
  • Rich Bitch: Lucinda
  • The Rival: Reid to Chris
  • Romantic Fake–Real Turn: Simon and Katie's Citizenship Marriage.
  • Screaming Birth
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!
  • Series Continuity Error: The death of Bryant Montogmery. Originally he died in a car accident after receiving the devastating news that not only was his girlfriend, Jennifer Munson, cheating on him with his cousin Billy, but his close friends Adam and Abigail knew about it and kept it a secret from him. A couple years later the cause for his death was changed to his father Craig being responsible, and other characters continually threw Bryant's death in Craig's face to show what a monster he was. Including Jennifer.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Reid and Luke
  • Smart People Play Chess: Reid, who was a chess champion as a kid.
  • Smug Snake: Craig, Lucinda.
  • Shipper on Deck: Some people, especially Luke's mother who seems to hate Reid, ship Luke with Noah. Katie is a notable exception and ships Luke with Reid.
  • Soap Opera
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Dan Stewart, born onscreen in the late 50s, a doctor by the mid-60s. Tom Hughes, Annie and Dee Stewart.
  • Straight Gay: Most (if not all) of the gay characters introduced are this to some extent, with Noah Mayer perhaps being the most striking example.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Craig toward Carly.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Reid seems to think the rest of the hospital staff is incompetent, though he has a lot of respect for Bob Hughes.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Even by soap opera standards, the Snyder family is something to behold. One example: Super Couple Holden and Lily are also uncle and niece because Lily is the daughter of Holden's adopted sister Iva, who was raped by an adopted Snyder cousin who later married Holden's bio sister Meg. Keep in mind there are six Snyder siblings.
  • The Baby Trap: Vienna does this to Henry, he gets an annulment ASAP upon finding out. Vienna pretended to be pregnant, wearing a pad on her stomach for months, and planned to fake a miscarriage. Katie goes along with this at first, but when Vienna reveals plans to fake a miscarriage, she says it's gone too far.
  • We Interrupt This Program: The live note  broadcast of ATWT on November 22, 1963 was interrupted by Walter Cronkite reporting the first bulletins regarding the shooting of President John F. Kennedy. The actors were not immediately informed, and continued their efforts as CBS cut back to the show between bulletins before abandoning the broadcast entirely in favor of continuous news coverage. Because CBS was routinely videotaping the show for time zone delay and rebroadcast, the entire sequence survives and can be viewed online; see here.note 
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: John Dixon, who randomly just stopped appearing in episodes with no explanation. When he came back six years later, he revealed he had been working at John Hopkins University's hospital.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Everybody has been called out for something at some point. One story line had Carly pretend to be dying of cancer.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Luke, who turns out to be Damian's son.
    • Janet's son turns out to be Dusty's.
    • Henry is revealed to be James' son.
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: How Henry came into ownership of Al's Diner.
  • You Didn't Ask: Reid didn't tell anyone except Katie about his homosexuality because no one bothered to ask. He told Luke when he accused him of being homophobic.


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