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Autumn breeze blowing
Wind of whispering sighs
I can't help knowing
You're blowing me a surprise
— The opening of the Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics of the classic 1976-93 Instrumental Theme Tune.

General Hospital is a long-running Soap Opera airing on ABC since April 1, 1963.

The action, ostensibly, centers on the staff and patients at General Hospital in Port Charles, New York. Early characters of importance were Dr. Steve Hardy (John Beradino), his nurse wife Audrey March Hardy (Rachel Ames), Nurse Jessie Brewer (Emily McLaughlin), Dr. Lesley Webber (Denise Alexander), and attorney Lee Baldwin (Peter Hansen). Many current characters are children and grandchildren of these veteran characters.

Launched by former Search for Tomorrow writers Frank and Doris Hursley,note  General Hospital was ABC's first daytime Soap Opera. After a modest start in the ratings, a sensationalistic 1971 storyline that saw Audrey accused of murder boosted the show all the way up to #2 (behind As the World Turns), but by 1978 the ratings had collapsed and the show faced cancellation. In a last-ditch attempt to save it, prolific Soap Opera veteran Gloria Montynote  was hired as executive producer. Monty reinvigorated the show, introducing a bunch of memorable new characters (who still typically had some sort of connection to the hospital). The major turning point came when the beloved (but controversial) pairing of Laura Webber Baldwin (Genie Francis) and Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) took center stage. The romance was infamously spawned after he drunkenly raped her at the Campus Disco in October of 1979. The rape was quickly retconned as a "seduction" (but was later re-acknowledged as a rape) and Luke and Laura became the original soap opera Super Couple.

The early 1980s were a heyday for GH. Storylines delved into international intrigue, involving Soviet spies, Aztec treasure, and megalomaniac Mikkos Cassadine (John Colicos) who attempted to freeze Port Charles and take over the world. Luke and Laura's wedding in November 1981 drew over 30 million viewers, and featured Elizabeth Taylor as Mikkos's widow. The mid '80s brought super couple number 2 in Frisco Jones (Jack Wagner) and Felicia Cummings (Kristina Crump, who would later marry Jack Wagner in real life).

By the early '90s, the focus shifted more toward family-based drama. The show got high marks for tearjerker stories such as Stone's death from AIDS, and young Maxie Jones receiving her cousin BJ's heart in a transplant, plus the realistic addiction problems of the Quartermaine family (Alan and painkillers, A.J. and alcohol, Emily's underage drug issues).

For most of this century the dominant character has been Antihero mob boss Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard). Sonny and fellow mobster Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) were divisive figures among the show's longterm fans, with accusations in the early 2000s that they symbolized how the show was focusing on increasingly dark stories and killing off veteran characters, supposedly to attract a younger audience. In 2012, with the show under threat of cancellation there was a radical change in showrunners. The new regime ended the show's mob focus (more or less), bringing back veteran characters who were written out and restoring the titular hospital and many of the show's core families to the forefront again. For a brief period the show was like most modern American soap operas again, with a mix between domestic/medical drama and outlandish adventure stories. However, in recent years the show has again become dominated by the mobsters, to the division of the fans, though more recent trends of stories centered on legacy characters and some Teen Drama plots involving the younger cast members have been praised.

The series has spawned two spinoffs: Supernatural Soap Opera Port Charles and General Hospital Night Shift, a weekly primetime summer series on Soap Net.

Not to be confused with a 1972-1979 British series of the same name.


General Hospital provides examples of:

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    Tropes #-D 
  • Above the Influence: When Lulu is drugged at a photoshoot, Dante finds her and takes her back to his place to make sure nothing happens to her. She tries to initiate intimacy but Dante nobly declines.
  • Absurdly Elderly Mother:
    • Tracy Quartermaine gave birth to her son Dillon at 45, prompting a guest at her son's christening to ask if she was the grandmother.
    • Alexis was initially this after giving birth to Molly in 2005. At the time, Alexis was in her late 40s. This trope wound up being temporary for Alexis. Only 4 years later, Molly and her sister Kristina received Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome, changing them into teenagers, which is more age consistent for Alexis's age.
    • The 2022 revelation that legacy villain Heather Webber was the mother of college-aged Esme Prince led to some headscratching, since Heather had debuted on the show way back in 1976 as a 19-year-old nanny. The most generous back-of-the-envelope calculations would put her around 45 at the time of the birth.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In a dream episode during Thanksgiving 2008, Maxie meets Matt and asks him if she's sure they hadn't met before, even asking, "did we go to high school together?" Their portrayers Kirsten Storms and Jason Cook had previously played High-School Sweethearts, Shawn and Belle, on Days of Our Lives. Additionally, Matt and Maxie met by bumping into each other which is how Shawn and Belle first met.
    • Similarly when Sam McCall and John McBain meet. Both actors played vampire lovers on the short-lived supernatural spin-off of General Hospital, Port Charles.
      • A recent storyline took it a step further, having the man playing McBain reprise the role he portrayed on Port Charles.
    • Another example came in a scene involving Franco and Kiki. Kristen Alderson, who originated the role, announced her departure; her final scene was with Roger Howarth, who had worked with Alderson on One Life to Live as Todd Manning and his daughter Starr respectively. As they had worked together since she was 6 years old, they were coworkers for the better part of two decades. As such, the dialogue of their last scene, written on the surface as Franco rambling after a dose of LSD, could also be intrepreted as Todd saying goodbye to Starr and in turn, Howarth saying goodbye to Alderson.
    • Valentin mentioned Pine Valley to his friend and attorney Martin, and Martin shrugged and said he never heard of the place. note  Pine Valley was the setting of All My Children, which starred both James Patrick Stuart (Valentin) and more famously, Michael E. Knight (Martin). Then a 2023 storyline established that Martin does in fact have strong connections to Pine Valley.
    • Steve Burton playing a damaged warrior with a heart of gold, who was once a kind young man until a certain event changed them for the worse (or better?), works under a terrorist organization and has multiple partners. Is that Jason Morgan or Cloud Strife?
    • Kirsten Storms as Maxie tangling with Kimberly J. Brown as Marie Hopkins in 2021, which, if you're a fan of Disney Channel Fantastic Comedy movie franchises of The '90s, means Zenon Kar battling Marnie Piper.
    • The writers managed to get Charles Shaughnessy to say the line "To hell with the nanny!" during his final storyline playing Victor Cassadine.
  • Affably Evil: Jerry Jacks, Anthony Zacchara, Helena Cassadine, cult leader Shiloh. Even Ryan Chamberlain had his moments. It's almost a prerequisite for a murderous villain on this show to have a jolly personality.
  • Age-Gap Romance:
    • One of the very first subplots of the series, with Nurse Jessie Brewer being seven years older than her husband Dr. Phil Brewer, only to have their marriage tested by his philandering.
    • A defining trait for Laura, with her first big storyline revolving around an affair with the much older David Hamilton, then going onto to marry Scotty (five years older), then Luke (13 years older).
  • The Alcoholic: Noah Drake, and most notoriously Luke Spencer and former nephew-in-law, A.J. Quartermaine.
  • Alliterative Name: Jasper Jacks, his parents John and Jane Jacks, his brother Jerry Jacks, and his daughter Josslyn Jacks. His wife was also 'Carly Corinthos' before they got married.
  • Alpha Bitch: Helena until her presumed demise; Ava has certainly taken Helena's position as the HBIC of Port Charles. Tracy Quartermaine in her prime (examples include running down Ned's wife Jenny with a car. Ironically, despite all the horrible things she'd done, this was genuinely an accident).
  • Always Identical Twins: Mostly played straight with the Evil Twin and Backup Twin examples, but averted with the revelation that Willow and the late Nelle were actually fraternal twins.
  • Amnesiac Resonance: Despite her amnesia, Esme named her baby son Ace, which is the name she used when she would talk to her gestating child in the womb while being held captive by Nik at Wyndermere (since she saw the baby as her "ace in the hole" for dealing with the Cassadines). She even commented how that name just suddenly occurred to her and seemed right. Of course, given her history of faking illnesses, it might be a sign that she's faking the amnesia as well.
  • Amoral Attorney:
    • Scotty Baldwin. Even when he was not really a villain he's still pretty much every slimy lawyer stereotype. He's mellowed considerably though and is more of a harmless curmudgeon than an out and out bad guy these days.
    • Diane Miller is portrayed as a serious, skilled lawyer, but her main client is Sonny Corinthos and she specializes in helping him avoid prosecution for his mob activities.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: In 1983, Stavros Cassadine kidnapped Laura and manipulated her into marrying him by telling her that Luke was dead.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: The notorious Luke and Laura scene at the Campus Disco starts off like this. Luke, ordered by his mob boss Frank Smith to kill a politician on a crusade against organized crime, is convinced that he'll get killed by the politician's security guards if he pulls off the hit, but will also get killed if he disobeys Smith and doesn't do it. He gets drunk and vents about it to Laura, who tries to comfort him, but In Vino Veritas kicks in and he reveals that he's obsessed with her and is deeply jealous of Scotty for being married to her.
    Laura: I know...I know that you care about me.
    Luke: Damn it, Laura! I'm in love with you.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: When Taggart came Back for the Dead, his longtime nemesis Sonny took it surprisingly hard, asserting that while he didn't like Taggart (and the feeling was mutual), he deeply respected him.
  • Artifact Title: For a show called General Hospital, very few of the storylines are focused on Port Charles General Hospital. The first 15 or so years of the show were set almost exclusively in the hospital; however, much of the show's focus post Luke & Laura was on action/adventure and mafia storylines. As Wikipedia points out, the spin-off Port Charles initially focused on the hospital and medical-related storylines more heavily when compared to the mothership.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • Lorenzo Alcazar had a yacht on the Coast of Bolivia, a country that has been landlocked since 1883!
    • The show mentions the I-55 running in their location, upstate New York, that goes to Canada. I-55 runs from Illinois to Louisiana. Connected to this was a 2022 storyline with Holly smuggling an extremely valuable diamond necklace, which implied that Port Charles was about an hour or so from "the Canadian border". New York's only land border with Canada is in the northeast part of the state,note  while, as mentioned in Where the Hell Is Springfield?, most evidence points to Port Charles being in western New York.
    • The 1977 hurricane storyline seems like a stretch for western New York, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. In 1954 Hurricane Hazel struck Rochester.
  • Ascended Meme: "Britch", a Malicious Misnaming for Britt Westbourne by fans, ended up getting used on the show and was ultimately embraced by Britt herself.
  • The Atoner:
    • Franco. It turns out his psychopathic tendencies were all part of a tumor that he had removed, and after his surgery he changed into a gentle, sensitive man who, while not with out his edges, wouldn't purposely hurt a fly. And while he's found love with Elizabeth and acceptance with some (but not all) of Port Charles, people are still wary he will revert to his old ways, including Franco himself.
    • Julian Jerome to a lesser extent. He can still be a jerkass, but he's pretty much stayed on the straight and narrow since being acquitted of his past crimes and now ekes a modest living as a Bar owner/bartender.
  • Back from the Dead: While it hasn't done this as much as Days of Our Lives, the show has had several examples over the years. In fact, this almost seems to be a rite of passage for the Cassadine family, with Helena, Stavros, Victor and Nikolas all showing up alive and well years after they supposedly died.
  • Backup Twin:
    • As a standard Soap Opera trope, this has happened a lot, including John Colicos as Mikkos Cassadine's cousin Petros, Richard Fancy as Bennie Abrahms' twin brother Bernie and Natalia Livingston as Rebecca Shaw, the sister of Emily Quartermaine.
    • And Sam's never-spoken-of-again doppelganger from the Island of Ballroom Dancing.
    • The complex cross-show situation of Dr. Silas Clay, Stephen Clay, Dr. Hamilton Finn and Caleb Morley from Port Charles, all played by Michael Easton.
    • Bill Eckert (as mentioned below in Uncanny Family Resemblance) was originally a case of this, to allow Anthony Geary to return to the show as someone other than Luke Spencer. When it was decided to just bring Luke back, then have Luke and Bill interact in a storyline, Geary differentiated Bill's look by giving him longer hair, a beard and glasses, which amusingly made Bill resemble Philo, Geary's character in UHF.
    • The utterly bizarre case of Jason Morgan and Drew Cain. It began as a simple recast, with Billy Miller replacing Steve Burton when The Bus Came Back with Jason in 2014. Then when Burton returned to the show as Jason in 2017, they handled it with The Reveal that the character everyone thought was Jason was his long-lost twin brother Drew, who'd had Jason's memories implanted into his mind, so that even he thought he was Jason, a Mind Screw Plot Twist that allowed Burton and Miller to appear on the show together. They even extended things by having Burton as the Time-Shifted Actor for Drew's flashbacks. Miller left the show in 2019, but then Cameron Mathison was brought in as Drew in 2021.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Highsider, which even gets called "a dive bar" on the show. Every regular who goes there either ends up in a fight, or somehow causes a fight between other patrons.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Stefan flips out when Nikolas becomes involved with Gia, but not because she's black, because she's a commoner. However, Gia believes that it is because of her race and is just as offended otherwise at the implication that she isn't good enough for Nikolas just because she isn't royalty.
  • Best Woman:
    • Brenda serves as both the best "person" and maid of honor at Ned and Lois' wedding, being the best friend to both of them.
    • When Steve and Olivia were going to get married, Elizabeth served at the "Best Ma'am".
    • When Carly and Jax got married, Alexis was Jax's Best Person and Jason served as Carly's.
  • Big Eater: Carly. She even goes into labor during a clandestine trip to score forbidden french fries.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family:
    • The Cassadines, a huge, extremely wealthy clan descended from European aristocracy, with a penchant for diabolical scheming.
    • The Quartermaines in their prime were more in the Dysfunctional Family category, but also fit the parameters for this, with multigenerational troubles intermingling (Edward's scheming and shady past, the volatile Alan-Monica marriage, and AJ's penchant for mischief, with Emily's Troubling Unchildlike Behavior evolving into adult woes).
    • A more low-key example is the Webbers, with a multigenerational history of illegitimate births and ill-considered romantic and sexual pairings, leading to several outright psychopaths ending up on the family tree.
  • Bitch Slap: Nik got an epic one from Ava at the start of 2023 after she learned that he impregnated Esme (followed a little later by Sonny sucker-punching him after learning the same thing).
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama:
    • Tom and Simone in the '80s. Her mother disapproved to the point of tampering with a paternity test to make it seem as though Simone's African-American lover was the father of her child in the hopes that she would leave Tom for him.
    • Keesha Ward and Jason Quartermaine in the '90s. Their respective grandparents disapproved. His because of the frequent clashes that the two families had had over the years, hers because she feared that his family would eventually put their collective foot down and forbid Jason from seeing her. This never happened and both families warmed up to and accepted the relationship once they realized that each was a lovely person that anyone would want to be part of their family.
    • Nikolas Cassadine and Gia Campbell in the '00s. His uncle Stefan disapproved, though he swore that it was not Gia's race that was the problem, but rather the fact that she was not a member of the aristocracy, an absolute must for a potential bride of Nikolas.
    • Currently there's Trina Robinson and Spencer Cassadine, which got Ship Teased for a while before they became an Official Couple. The race angle is more of a subtext, but Trina's family is skittish about Spencer, partly because of his Troubled, but Cute tendencies, and partly because of the general shadiness of the Cassadine clan.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress Kate, when shot while getting married to Sonny.
  • Bouquet Toss: The setup for a famous Wham Shot during the Luke and Laura wedding, when Laura tosses the bouquet and it's caught by her bitter ex Scotty Baldwin, who's crashed the wedding after having been off the show for a spell. He then gets into a fight with Luke, marking his Start of Darkness.
  • Break the Cutie: Michael's entire life has pretty much been this, and shows no signs of stopping. He was raped in prison and his girlfriend died. Before that he shot his stepfather's fiancée and got shot himself shortly after. He also (supposedly) watched his biological dad die. Twice. The second time took.
  • Broken Pedestal: Luke and Laura to Lucky after he learns that Luke raped Laura and she forgave him.
  • Building of Adventure: Earlier in the series the show was set entirely in the hospital.
  • The Bus Came Back: As a soap, this happens a lot, but the most notable case was Angie Costello (played by Jana Taylor), the Troubled Teen from the show's early years, returning briefly to visit Steve Hardy for the show's 30th anniversary in 1993, having last appeared in 1965.
  • Bus Crash: Luke Spencer departed in 2015 (with a brief return in 2017), but in early 2022 it was announced that he died in a cable car accident in Austria, which was implied to have actually been a hit set up by Victor Cassadine.
  • But We Used a Condom!: Lulu and Dillon as well as Jason and Liz; the condoms turned out to be defective.
  • Call-Back: Season 60 has had a bunch of these to the show's history. An amusing one was Lucy re-adopting her "mousy librarian" look from when she debuted on the show in 1986, after escaping from the safe house where she was hiding with Anna and Valentin.
    Anna: What is this, mousy librarian or something?
    Lucy: You like it?
    Anna: No. It’s not altogether original.
  • Canon Immigrant: Being (arguably) the central soap on ABC, this has happened a number of times:
    • Several Night Shift characters made the jump to the mothership.
    • Marco Dane, a villainous character on One Life to Live, was a regular for a year in the early 1990s.
    • Skye (Chandler) Quartermaine moved to Port Charles from One Life to Live. Equally notable is that the character first appeared on All My Children.
    • Likewise the previously thought dead Anna Devane and her identical twin Alexis Devane Marrik found themselves as notable residents of All My Childrem's Pine Valley for quite a while in the late 90's and early 2000's, even including the long awaited emotional reunion of Anna with her beloved daughter Robin Scorpio on AMC and not GH.
    • After One Life to Live was cancelled, GH moved a few of the characters from Llanview to Port Charles, notably Todd and Starr Manning & John Mc Bain.
      • When OLTL was rebooted online, GH removed those characters, but recast Todd and Starr's actors, turning one role previously occupied by another actor into a Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
  • Canon Welding: Back in the 60s, another soap on ABC, The Young Marrieds, took place in the suburb of Queen's Point; it was intended by the writers that Queen's Point be near the (then-unnamed) city that General Hospital took place in. TYM was canned after two years, so no crossovers ever materialized. However, it was established by the 80s that Queen's Point was in fact a Port Charles suburb (though the TYM cliffhanger was never resolved).
  • Celebrity Paradox: The 2013 Nurses' Ball established that Dr. Noah Drake and Rick Springfield both exist in the show's universe, and apparently know each other (with Noah making the arrangements for Springfield to show up and perform "Jessie's Girl"). By contrast, that same year Jack Wagner performed his Real Life hit from The '80s "All I Need" in character as Frisco.
  • Celebrity Star:
    • Most famously Elizabeth Taylor; most recently James Franco. Also Ricky Martin and Rick Springfield. Jack Wagner at the height of his singing career might also qualify.
    • Jennifer Smith (Luke's ex-fiancee and daughter of his old mob boss) was played by Roseanne Barr in 1994 and Sally Struthers in 2002. In connection with Barr's stint, Anthony Geary and Genie Francis made cameos on Roseanne as Luke and Laura.
    • Morgan Fairchild as home shopping host Haven de Havilland in 2022 and 2023.
    • From another branch of the ABC/Disney family, ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith plays Recurring Character Brick, a surveillance expert who shows up periodically to advise Sonny on various matters.
  • Chronic Villainy: Manny Ruiz, an Ax-Crazy serial killer who terrorized Jason and Sam for months, is revealed to be suffering from a brain tumor that apparently caused his psychotic tendencies. When Patrick Drake removes said tumor, he's believed cured... but he soon returns to his villainous ways.
  • Christmas Episode: As with most soaps, an annual occurrence, often with The Bus Came Back moments, and time honored tropes like Yet Another Christmas Carol (Luke was the center of such an episode in 2003). One longstanding tradition was Dr. Steve Hardy recounting the Biblical story of the first Christmas to a group of kids (with Alan Quartermaine taking over after Hardy died).
  • Churchgoing Villain: Cyrus Renault's Turn to Religion after getting sent to prison, complete with random Bible quotes and unctuous piety, though because of his Faux Affably Evil history, no one's quite sure how genuine it all might be.
  • Citizenship Marriage: A bizarre version when the British Holly feared she would be deported and the Australian Robert offered to marry her. How this would have helped her stay in the United States is never explained.
  • City of Adventure: Port Charles, ostensibly a nice, respectable midsized city in New York State, often finds itself at the center of world intrigue, as a hangout for tycoons, crime bosses and even royalty (complete with a castle located on an island). Possibly justified if you consider that its location on Lake Ontario about 60 miles/100 km as the crow flies from Toronto would make it a convenient international shipping point.
  • City with No Name: For the show's first 13 years the setting was never specified outside of being a sizable city in the northeastern US. It was finally identified as Port Charles, New York in 1976.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Brenda would flip out if Sonny so much as said "Hello" to Lily and Carly has been known to verbally and physically assault any woman who dares to even talk to a man she's interested in or involved with.
    • Oddly enough averted with Sonny's amicable ex Olivia, who became very close friends and business partners with Carly.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Maxie sometimes gets called on to function as this for both Spinelli and Lucy. Spinelli also has Sam, and Lucy also has Anna.
  • Cold Ham:
  • Coming-Out Story: Lucas.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Jessie Brewer and Audrey Hardy both had dramatic miscarriages in the show's first decade.
  • Cowboy Cop: Dante is always very direct and unorthodox in his investigations, sometimes crossing swords with Chief of Detectives Mac Scorpio, with the added pressure of being the son of crime boss extraordinaire Sonny.
    • Averted when Dante came back to the force, he cut his hair, began wearing formal suits and developed a more straight forward, all business police style. Scorpio actually told Dante he intends to recommend him to replace him as Chief of Detectives when he retires.
  • Crazy-Prepared: After all the 1980s style adventure movie storylines, it was established that Luke and Laura Spencer both keep go-bags in their closet just in case they need to leave town suddenly for any number of reasons — being chased by an enemy, having to hare off to the wilderness to rescue a wayward child, whatever. The exact contents of these bags has never been fully revealed, but its known that Laura's included $10,000 in various foreign currencies, a pipe wrench, thirty feet of surgical tubing, and 2000 rounds of hollow point ammunition, while Luke's contained a sealed canister of liquid nitrogen, a pound of beef jerky, a razor-sharp dagger, and a copy of the book "The Way Things Work". Both bags contained ten rolls of duct tape, each.
  • Creepy Crossdresser:
    • Memorably with bar owner (and brief Luke Spencer love interest) Sally Armitage in 1980, who was actually one of Frank Smith's hit men, as revealed in a famous wig removal Wham Shot. Professional female impersonator Christopher Morley was convincing enough in the role that a lot of viewers were genuinely shocked.
    • Mac and Kevin have both gone undercover this way. The fact that they managed to fool anyone is hilarious.
  • Crossover: Mostly with Port Charles, but with other soaps as well.
    • The late Gerald Anthony's many appearances as Marco Dane from One Life to Live cemented the fact that the two soap operas occurred in the same overall Verse, along with All My Children and Loving.
    • And due to (what can now be called the "original") OLTL's cancellation, Todd Manning, oldest child Starr, and John McBain headed to Port Chuck, with occasional appearances by Todd ex-wives Blair and Tea. As part of the agreement between ABC and Prospect Park (the current licensee of OLTL), those characters were removed from the show in early 2013. However, their portrayers Roger Howarth, Kristen Alderson and Michael Easton wound up staying on the show as different characters (with Howarth taking over the role of Franco Baldwinnote , and Easton and Alderson as new characters Silas Clay and Kiki Jerome). Howarth & Easton are currently the only OLTL holdovers that still appears on GHnote .
    • And in 2013, Luke and Holly went to Corinth, PA into the old Alden mansion- from another ABC soap, Loving, which ran from 1983 to 1995 (and was succeeded by The City from 1995 to 1997) to hide and find an enemy. While there, Luke explains the infamous "Loving Murders", which was the final arc of the series and led into The City.
    • Sydney Chase from The City showed up on GH, where we learned that she was an old friend of Tracy Quartermaine. Then Tracy moved over to The City and became a lead character in its final season.
    • Almost a decade after All My Children ended, a 2023 storyline had Felicia and Lucy travel to Pine Valley, where they met Jackson Montgomery (with Walt Willey doing a Role Reprise), and Anna Devane's stint on AMC also figured into things, along with strong hints that Martin Grey (played by Michael E. Knight, who played AMC mainstay Tad Martin) has some deep connections to Pine Valley.
  • Cross Promotion:
    • A 2012 episode featured characters attending a screening of The Avengers and talking it up in front of posters for said movie. Hello, corporate synergy!
    • An arc involving a relish contest in May 2013 involved a crossover with The Chew, a cooking talk shownote  aired by ABC as a lead-in to GH.
    • And as a further example of corporate synergy, the New Year's Eve-themed episode in 2015 featured a bar scene that featured a character expressing his preference to be at a bar on New Year's Eve to watch the College Football Playoff semifinals, December 31 on ESPN (for the first time of New Year's Eve!).
    • An episode in 2018 leading up to the Nurses' Ball namedropped American Idol. While this could be excused as a typical cultural reference at the peak of the show's popularity, the fact that the show got Un-Cancelled by ABC turns this into subtle cross-promotion.
  • Crying Wolf: The pregnant Esme, held captive at Wyndermere by Nikolas, twice fakes pregnancy complications in a bid to get sent to the hospital, but is forced to confess when Liz skillfully plays along, then calls her bluff by proposing extreme treatments (an emergency C-section after fake cramping, then pumping Esme's stomach after she appeared to have swallowed a whole bottle of prenatal vitamins; she really just threw them away). Thus, when she comes down with a case of Easy Amnesia after escaping Wyndermere by jumping from the parapet into freezing water, there's suspicion that she's faking once again.
  • Curse: The Cassadines are known to place these upon people, most famously Helena's curse on Luke and Laura, from the shadows while watching their happy wedding ceremony.
  • Dating Service Disaster: The 2022 storyline revolving around a dating app called Society Setups, mostly centering on Britt Westbourne's lousy experiences with it (getting stood up, then matching with sketchy loser Cody Bell), then the revelation that Spinelli is behind the app, and has engaged in some very illegal data mining to develop the app's database.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many characters, but mostly Luke Spencer, Tracy Quartermaine, Johnny Zacchara and Maxie Jones has her moments.
  • Dead Star Walking
  • Determinator: Jason Morgan has survived being shot stabbed, blown up etc and is somehow still alive with few scars and no crippling injuries. Heather Webber was stabbed by her son in 2013 and buried alive, only to survive that and kidnap Carly Jacks in a few short months. She also swan-dived off the roof of General Hospital, something proven to have killed one man (Trevor Lansing) before. Esme Prince (later revealed to be Heather's daughter) twice survived a fall from the parapet of Wyndermere Castle into the waters of Lake Ontario (the second one an intentional jump), though she ended up with amnesia after the second fall.
  • Discriminate and Switch: Caucasian Stefan flips out upon discovering that his son/nephew Nikolas is dating the African-American Gia, angering them, but Stefan swears that it's not her race that's the problem, it's the fact that she isn't a member of the aristocracy, an absolute must for a potential bride of Nikolas'. True, considering that he was consistently nasty and disapproving of all of Nikolas' girlfriends who were commoners, but quite hypocritical, considering that his own love interests weren't of Noble birth. And Gia is just as displeased at the implication that her socioeconomic status makes her unsuitable as she is at the racial one.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Of all people, Spinelli got one in Winifred. Went over about as well as you'd expect.
    • He got a new one in his new girlfriend, Ellie (Ellie Spinelli, get it?), but she was far better liked.
  • Distressed Dude: Spinelli's usually the guy getting into trouble, and Jason is usually the one getting him out of it.
  • The Ditz: The emphasized trait for Lucy Coe after she Took a Level in Kindness, which also puts her into Brainless Beauty territory. Typically her storylines will have her get into trouble because she overestimates her intelligence and does exactly what shouldn't be done, though she also displays Genius Ditz traits when it comes to organizing the Nurses' Ball or slaying vampires.
  • Domestic Abuse: Kristina's former boyfriend Kiefer, and depending on what stance you take, Sonny when he was married to Claudia.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male:
    • The Jasper Jacks and Irina incident
    • Also, when Brook Lynn drugged Dante because he wouldn't sleep with her otherwise. Almost worked- If not for Lulu walking in and tossing her out.
    • Although Brenda did not really sleep with Michael, no one ever REALLY brought up that it would be rape since Michael was too drunk to consent.
    • Nikolas Cassadine sleeping with Esme Prince happened while he'd been drinking, and he was unaware that she had an ulterior motive to seduce him (she'd been ordered by her father Ryan Chamberlain to break up the marriage of Nik and Ava), but he never tried to claim it as an excuse, likely because the two-decade age gap between them and Esme being his son Spencer's girlfriend made him far less sympathetic in the matter.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Britt Westbourne has actually been referred to as "Dr. Westnile" (or "Dr. Bitch" by fans).

    Tropes E-H 
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The show's first decade was heavy on Melodrama, with an exploitation-style focus on female suffering. Storylines dealt with miscarriages, rapes, divorce, unwanted pregnancies and even in-vitro fertilization. The "Nurse Audrey accused of murder" storyline in 1971 and the arrival of Dr. Lesley Webber in 1973 gradually moved it more toward grounded, character-driven stories, then Gloria Monty added adventure and Crime Drama to the mix when she took over as showrunner in 1978.
  • Easy Amnesia: It's a Soap Opera, so, yes, quite often.
    • Much of 2021 was dominated by a storyline where Sonny loses his memory after getting caught in a bridge collapse, then ends up in the small town of Nixon Falls, Pennsylvania. Nina happens to find him, but, for various complicated reasons connected to his dealings in Port Charles, doesn't try to help him regain his memory or let anyone know where he is.
    • The summer of 2023 saw them juggle two amnesia storylines at once (Esme Prince conveniently forgetting her past misdeeds after jumping from the Wyndermere parapet, and Ned Quartermaine believing himself to be his old rock star alter ego Eddie Maine after slipping into the Metro Court pool and injuring his head).
  • Elevator Going Down: Both GH's and the Metro Court's elevator have been used for this purpose more than once.
  • Ephebophile: Laura had an affair with David Hamilton, married Scotty, then became the object of Luke's obsession, all when she was only a teenager. Anthony Geary, Luke's actor, has explicitly stated that his rape of her also counts as child molestation since she was still underage.
    • Sonny giving drugs to an underage Karen Wexler and engaging in "sex" with her also counts, and what he did was technically rape (as a drugged up underage teenage girl can't give consent). Sonny also asked Karen if she liked being molested (in reference to incidents where she was being molested as a child).
  • Evil Matriarch: Helena Cassadine may well have been the show's most ruthless character, with countless criminal schemes and several outright murders on her rap sheet, coupled with powers like being able to place curses on people and resurrecting the dead.
  • Evil Old Folks: The show has had quite a few aged villains, going back to Frank Smith and Mikkos Cassadine, with Helena Cassadine and Cesar Faison memorably picking up the torch, and currently there's Cyrus Renault and Gladys Corbin.
  • Evil Twin: It's a Soap Opera, so naturally this has happened quite a bit, most prominently with Kevin Collins and his Serial Killer twin Ryan Chamberlain.
  • Expy:
    • Thanks to the Executive Meddling that removed Todd Manning from General Hospital, a new character was introduced in May 2013, still played by Roger Howarth, but with a slightly different appearance and a somewhat similar personality. Lampshaded in his debut appearance, when a stagehand calls upon a man named "Todd" to get paper towels to clean up after a Vomit Chain Reaction from poisoned relish on The Chew. "Todd" ends up being just a janitor. Eventually the new character was revealed to be a recast Franco.
    • As a rich, influential Dysfunctional Family, the Quartermaines are basically the Port Charles equivalent of the Kennedys. This connection was explicitly made by Edward Quartermaine himself in his last years, comparing his life to Joseph Kennedy Sr. You can especially draw a direct line between Alan and John F. Kennedy (handsome, charismatic, idealistic, but deeply flawed), A.J. and Ted Kennedy (troubles with alcohol, with a devastating car accident as his personal low point) and Lila and Rose Kennedy (the saintly Grand Dame who spent her last years in a wheelchair).
    • Robert Scorpio started out as a Soap Opera version of James Bond. Tristan Rogers has even admitted to this.
    • Sonny Corinthos is very obviously Vito Corleone (powerful mob boss) meets Michael Corleone (personal turmoil stemming from being deeply conflicted about his organized crime life) meets Tony Soprano (juggling mob activities with being trying to be an attentive father to his children). He's even acknowledged many of these similarities on the show.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Most famously with Scott Baldwin, who, after losing Laura to Luke, changed from a Nice Guy to a bitter, scheming, corrupt Amoral Attorney. He even sported a Beard of Evil for a while to emphasize the turn.
  • Fake Shemp: While Edward and Lila Quartermaine were both cases of The Character Died with Him, body doubles only shown from behind played the roles when they returned to escort A.J. (in 2014) and Oscar (2019) into the afterlife, joined by a double for Alan in 2014 (though Stuart Damon was still alive at that point).
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Stefan is introduced as Nikolas' uncle, but dialogue between him and Laura reveals that he's actually his father. They agree to keep it secret so that Nikolas can keep his princely birthright. But a few years later, it turned Nikolas was Stavros' son after all—their sadistic mother, who inexplicably despised Stefan, knew of his affair with Laura and manipulated a blood test so that Stefan would think Nikolas was his, wanting Stefan to get his heart broken when the truth came out.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Cyrus Renault is unfailingly polite to everyone he encounters, offering kind words and handshakes. Not one person is fooled into thinking he is anything but a murderous drug dealing thug.
    • Charles Shaughnessy's version of Victor Cassadine has a lot of similarities to his signature irritable-but-good-hearted characters Shane Donovan and Maxwell Sheffield, it's just that with Victor the "irritable" leads to full-blown Cassadine sociopathy.
  • Fille Fatale: Esme Prince, the classmate and girlfriend of Spencer Cassadine. She's a masterful schemer who causes all sorts of mischief in Port Charles, including faking a pregnancy to manipulate Spencer, then seducing his father Nikolas. She's even described In-Universe as "a vengeful Lolita".
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: The classic "Autumn Breeze" theme actually had lyrics (written by the tune's composer Jack Urbont), and the Folk Music group The New Christy Minstrels even recorded and released a vocal version of the song.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: The Port Charles Asian Quarter, dominated by the fearsome Wu crime family, and its current head, the ruthless Selina Wu.
  • Full-Name Basis:
    • Luke consistently referred to the women in his life by their real names rather than the nicknames everyone else used—sister Bobbie as Barbara Jean, niece Carly as Caroline, friend Alexis as Natasha, and daughter Lulu as Leslie Lu.
    • Liesl always refers to her daughter Britt as Britta.
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang: The Five Families of Port Charles include The Mafia, The Mafiya and The Triads and the Tongs (via the Wu family), but also the multiethnic Five Points and Smith/Corinthos organizations. Sonny Corinthos himself is often assumed to be Italian, but is actually of Greek, Irish and Cuban descent (and played by Maurice Benard,note  who's Nicaraguan-American).
  • The Ghost: The Quartermaine family chef from 1985-2012, who was always referred to as Cook (not an Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep" situation, but a Last-Name Basis one, since she was named Virginia Cook, though Meaningful Name and Prophetic Name might also have been in play). Never seen, but mentioned a lot, especially around Thanksgiving. Her prickliness about people being in her kitchen was a factor in many of the annual Thanksgiving stories that ended up with the Qs having pizza for Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Josslyn is a fashionably-attired young blonde woman, but she's also athletic (particularly excelling at volleyball) and has a feisty personality.
  • Grief-Induced Split: Tony catches Bobbie kissing another man just minutes before they learn that their daughter has been fatally injured in a car accident. Despite them eventually reconciling after a year of counseling, he's still so emotionally drained that their marriage falls apart anyway.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Quoted, word for word, by Luke as Faison pulls out a coin to decide whether to kill Luke or Nikolas.
  • Heinousness Retcon: Soap operas are infamous for their never-ending character retcons, but Franco on General Hospital is a particularly egregious example. Originally created as a means for James Franco (the actor) to have some fun with daytime TV, Franco (the character) was introduced as a sadistic serial killer gleefully messing with peoples' heads when he wasn't messing with their lives and bodies. After the character supposedly died and Franco (the actor) had had his fun, the writers decided to revive Franco (the character) as a series regular worthy of some audience sympathy. To that end, a lot of his supposed crimes were revealed to have either been acts of defense or simply not happened. The rest were explained away by a brain tumor, showing Franco really wasn't so evil and sadistic after all!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the start of 2023, Britt Westbourne, on her way out of Port Charles after her New Year's Eve/birthday party, saves Joss by fighting off the Port Charles Hook when the Serial Killer targets Joss, but gets slashed in the process and dies from the poison the killer laced their metal hook with.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Jason, referred to sarcastically on Television Without Pity as "the holy hitman".
  • Hollywood Hacking: The whole point of introducing Spinelli was to have a character who could do this, to allow the show to add computers into its storylines, but eventually his quirky personality became his character focus instead.
  • Hospital Hottie: Robin, Sabrina, Britt Westbourne, and a few others.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Sonny cheated on Carly numerous times during their marriage. This included Alexis and Sam, both of whom became pregnant with Sonny's children, and did some emotional cheating with Brenda. Carly forgave Sonny for all of these indiscretions. But when Sonny found out that Carly had known that Alexis's daughter Kristina was his daughter as well, he immediately demanded a divorce and railroaded her for her betrayal.
    • Mob hit-man Jason lecturing his stepmother Monica about "doing the right thing" and confessing to being responsible for Sam's hit-and-run. More frustrating was that he only cared about Monica telling the truth because Elizabeth had been the prime suspect and he was more worried about clearing her name.
    • Carly herself. Aside from being an all-over horrible person, she slept with Jason for weeks without even knowing his name, seduced her stepfather Tony then cheated on him, married AJ, then cheated on him with Sonny—she's probably cheated on every man she's ever been married to or involved with. But she verbally and physically assaults any woman who dares to so much as TALK to a man she's interested in, branding them a "slut" or "tramp". As well, she spent nine months passing off a child who she knew might not be Tony's off as his, then spent years keeping AJ's son away from him—but blasted Liz for doing the same thing with Jason.

    Tropes I-L 
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Several times in their brief marriage, Lily offers Sonny the chance to be with his true love Brenda (she had asked her father to engineer the marriage in exchange for keep Sonny out of prison)—even at their wedding itself. When she learns that she's pregnant shortly after being forced to finally accept how miserable he is, she even willingly leaves him on her own, only to have Sonny chase her down, apologize for how badly he's treated her and ask if they can start over.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine:
    • Prunella Witherspoon, the cousin of Robert Scorpio, showed up from Australia in 1988. She was played by Chantal Contouri, who'd previously worked with Tristan Rogers (Robert) on Number 96.
    • Michael Easton and Kelly Monaco had played vampire lovers Caleb and Livvie on Port Charles, then ended up interacting again on GH as John McBain and Samantha McCall, with Easton then taking on the role of Dr. Hamilton Finn, which, since Port Charles is a GH sequel with a shared universe, adds some You Look Familiar issues.
    • As mentioned above, Jason Cook (Matt Hunter) and Kirsten Storms (Maxie Jones) had previously played a couple (Shawn and Belle) on Days of Our Lives.
  • Improbable Age: Several. Robin came back as a neuropathologist at 27 years old and Patrick was introduced as a well known neurological surgeon despite being 27 years old.
  • In Love with the Mark: Sonny Corinthos got two FBI agents to fall for him, and Spinelli got a third smitten.
  • Insult Friendly Fire: The current masters are Diane, Tracy, and Maxie.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Several over the decades. The first few years had some light piano pieces for the opening. In 1976, the familiar Bacharach-esque "Autumn Breeze" by Jack Urbont was created for the show and served as the theme for its most famous era (though, as mentioned above, it has Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics). For the 30th anniversary in 1993, the show commissioned a new theme by Smooth Jazz saxophonist Dave Koz (who was born in 1963, the same year the show debuted) called "Faces of the Heart". However, it used a lot of the same chord changes as "Autumn Breeze", and many viewers probably just took it to be a rearrangement rather than a new song. In 2004 they abandoned it for a modernized "Autumn Breeze", but Paul Glass wrote an entirely new piece in 2012 that's still in use. However, it has a subtle nod to "Autumn Breeze": the final sting consists of the same three notes that begin "Autumn Breeze", and Urbont still shares a writing credit for the theme because of that.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Nikolas Cassadine broke off his engagement to Britt Westbourne, but she still stayed close to his son Spencer, as he became her Morality Pet while her character was softened up a bit.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Sonny has a dream where he lived his life as an honest NYPD cop and the circumstances, both good and bad, that occurred without him as the town Mafia Boss.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: This was Jason's reason for leaving Sam. Many Jason/Sam shippers are still rather pissed. Jason also broke up with Elizabeth due to this same excuse.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tracy, especially in recent years.
  • Kick the Dog: When Kristina needed a transplant and Alexis found out Sam's unborn child with Sonny was a perfect match for a donor, she railroaded the other woman to induce premature labor. She was successful but Sam suffered a miscarriage—and, adding insult to injury, Sonny decided (against Jason's wishes) to okay the transplant while Sam was still unconscious. Later on, as Sam is still reeling from the loss of her baby, Alexis visits her and positively gushes about how successful Kristina's operation was. Completely disregarding the fact that Sam's baby had to die for it.
  • Lady In A Powersuit: Diane Miller definitely dresses the part of "high-powered defense attorney".
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Spinelli has done this a few times, putting him on the road to Meta Guy status. In his detective alter ego he said "Have you ever noticed that there are no doorbells in this town? Everybody knocks!" He also realized how much Sonny Corinthos is an Expy for various members of the Corleone family, referring to him as "The Godfather" and "the Pacino-esque dude."
    • Ava has recently had some moments of this. She noted the tendency of falls from Wyndemere Castle's parapet to be extremely dramatic but ultimately non-fatal after Esme Prince fell over it during a fight with her, reminding Nikolas that she herself had survived the fall in the recent past (and Esme indeed would survive the fall as well). When Kevin Collins convinced her to help the police by talking to Ryan Chamberlain, she was a little perturbed that Kevin wasn't joining her for the conversation (because Ryan is Kevin's Evil Twin and Jon Lindstrom was already on the set as Ryan).
    • The Quartermaines eventually started trying to be proactive to prevent having to end up ordering pizza on Thanksgiving, but Failure Is the Only Option. The 2022 edition had Olivia making elaborate plans for a French company called Dinde Vivante to prepare a full Thanksgiving meal for them, unaware that Dinde Vivante means "live turkey". Then while they debate what to do with the live turkey, young Leo lets it out of the cage and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Large Ham: Mikkos Cassadine, to name one. Stavros has shown that it runs in the family.
  • Last-Name Basis: Dr. Hamilton Finn prefers to be called simply "Finn" by his friends and family. His half-brother, Detective Harrison Chase, arrived in town a few years later and also prefers "Chase". Hardly anyone refers to Damian Spinelli by his first name.
  • Latex Perfection: In 2022, Holly, reluctantly working for Victor Cassadine, helped frame Anna by (non-fatally) shooting Lucy wearing a very lifelike prosthetic Anna mask.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: The World Security Bureau, an apparently extra-governmental international spy organization with an unlikely major presence in Port Charles. They often get involved with investigating crimes, as well as doing battle with the rival Sinister Spy Agency DVX. An odd consequence of the WSB's Port Charles operations is that many agents have settled in town and left the group to participate in local law enforcement—former star agent Robert Scorpio is currently the district attorney.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The show has a habit of tying in Milestone Celebration episodes with an in-universe anniversary, even if it leads to a Retcon on the previously established timeline. The opening episodes in 1963 made it clear that General Hospital had existed for a while and Dr. Steve Hardy had worked there for a few years, but the 30th anniversary in 1993 was tied in with Hardy's 30th anniversary of working at GH, while the 60th anniversary storylines for 2023 are being based around the idea that GH itself opened up in 1963 (which allows everyone to use the phrase "the 60th anniversary of General Hospital" in-universe).
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: One reason why Sonny Corinthos eludes the authorities so well is that the economy of Port Charles would probably collapse if he were caught, with all the front businesses he controls, including Corinthos Coffee, Pozzulo's Restaurant, Xtreme Motors and Volonino's Gym.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Averted when Robin told her boyfriend Stone (who was dying from AIDS) that she contracted HIV from him. Sonny and Luke discuss whether it would have been better for Robin to lie to Stone for however long Stone had left or if it would have torn her apart to be dishonest with Stone during his last days. No one knew that Stone only had a couple days left.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Jason Morgan, much? Anytime you got him out of the leather jacket was cause for celebration.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Maxie and 3 (Cooper) bonded while locked in the vault.
  • Long Bus Trip: Keesha Ward.
    • In fact, pretty much anyone who falls out of the writers' favor. Laura's been overseas for awhile, and Brenda was on said trip until her recent return.
  • Long Runner: The longest running Soap Opera currently on American television. The series aired its 15,000th episode on June 21, 2022 and April 1, 2023 marks its 60th anniversary. John F. Kennedy was the President of the US when it debuted, and there have been 11 more presidents since then.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: A given with the show running for almost six decades, but also some big exceptions, with the famed "Class of '77" (Genie Francis, Kin Shriner, Jackie Zeman, Leslie Charleson)note  having played Laura, Scott, Bobbie, and Monica, respectively, since 1977 with no recasts (apart from Time-Shifted Actor flashbacks and brief fill-ins), though they've all taken frequent sabbaticals from the show.
  • The Lost Lenore: Sonny has two—his wife Lily (killed by a car bomb meant for him), and Brenda (presumed dead in a separate incident, but he blames himself anyway). So much so that when Hannah Scott came to town, he fell for her because of her eerie resemblance to both women. He's infuriated to learn that she's an undercover FBI agent and that she no doubt used the way she looked to get to him.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Carly and Tracy. Both were mean-spirited schemers for most of their stint on GH, but over the years, they have become nicer and kinder towards people, while still retaining their ruthless and bitchy Alpha Bitch qualities.
  • Lovable Rogue: Luke Spencer pretty much embodies this trope.
    • Duke Lavery, even when he was clearly up to no good he was just so charming about it.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: As they prepare to escape from Spring Ridge Prison along with Heather, Ryan, having just murdered a guard, tells the now-amnesiac Esme, who's completely frightened, that she's his daughter. Esme reacts basically the same way Luke Skywalker did.

    Tropes M-P 
  • Mad Scientist: Mikkos Cassadine, Liesel Obrecht, Cesar Faison...
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Jerry Jacks; turned him from Julian Stone to Sebastian Roche...which was good enough for him to sneak back into town under an alias. Didn't fool his mother Lady Jayne Jacks though.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: About five or six extended families seem to be connected to every single event that happens in Port Charles. Exemplified by the fact that both Luke and Laura have served as mayor.
  • Marital Rape License: Back in the Melodrama-heavy 60s, Jessie (with Phil Brewer) and Audrey (with Tom Baldwin) both saw attempts to reconcile with their estranged husbands end in rape, resulting in pregnancies in both cases.
  • Marriage Before Romance: Robert and Holly have a marriage of convenience, while Scott and Dominique have an accidental one.
  • Meaningful Name: The Mook that Sonny brings in to torture Dex into talking by threatening him with knives is named Carver (though it might also be a case of Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep").
  • Meaningful Rename:
    • Jason Quartermaine became Jason Morgan after his brain injury, in honor of his grandmother Lila's maiden name, since Lila was the only part of his former life he could remember.
    • Ned Ashton legally changed his last name to Quartermaine (his mother Tracy's maiden name) in 2017 to distance himself from his Con Artist father Larry Ashton and to signal his embrace of the Quartermaine family legacy. His daughter Brook Lynn changed her name from Ashton to Quartermaine as well.
  • Medical Drama: The genre the show started out in.
  • Mega-Corp: ELQ, the Quartermaine family company, whose assets include a bank, a brand of pickle relish, clothing, cosmetics, condoms, a summer camp (Lila's Kids) and even a record label at one point.
  • Morality Pet: Michael to Jason. Jason to Sonny. Spinelli to Jason.
    • Robin to just about everybody.
    • Charlotte to Valentin. For all his faults he prides himself on being a doting, loving father. When Charlotte started acting out and showing sides of socipathy (eg telling Valentin how proud she was of her Papa for throwing Ava out the window). He was devastated and blamed himself.
  • Musical Episode: Episodes rather. The annual Nurses Ball featured musical performances from the cast.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Laura Spencer, Georgie Jones.
  • Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters: Sonny easily counts for this, being a major donor to the hospital, plus his steadfast refusal to get involved in drug trafficking
  • Never Found the Body: Jason Morgan, Jerry Jacks, Ceasar Faison, various Cassadines throughout history
  • Never My Fault: Sonny, who seldom accepts responsibility for his actions, particularly when it comes to the mob violence that ensues due to his role as a mob boss. Sonny has been responsible for shooting his eldest son in the chest, causing his stepson to get shot in the head in an act of retaliation over him kidnapping and torturing Johnny Zacchara, and nearly killing Kristina with a car bomb, but both Sonny and his enablers overlook his actions and act as if he is a good father despite nearly killing his children. Sonny refuses to accept that his occupation endangers the people around him, even when his family and his love interests get hurt or killed because of it, which was brought up when his stepson Michael wanted to protect Avery Jerome from his dangerous lifestyle.
    • Sonny murdering AJ also led to both Sonny and Carly refusing to allow Sonny to accept responsibility for his actions, instead blaming AJ.
    • Jason Morgan's role as a mobster directly and indirectly leading to the deaths of many Quartermaines.
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: A favorite soap trope, used often. In fact, the page image for this trope is when Nina was caught holding a bloody knife over the dead body of Silas in 2015, but the murderer ended up being her mother Madeline instead. Similarly, practically everyone in Port Charles assumed that Esme was the Hook during their 2022-23 killing spree, but it was actually her mother Heather Webber, targeting Esme's rivals.
  • The Nicknamer: Spinelli, obsessively.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Trotted out once in a while to delve into a character's psyche.
    • The most famous one was when Edward Quartermaine napped before Thanksgiving dinner in 1996, and dreamed that everyone behaved the opposite of how they usually acted. It started off well, with the Quartermaines being excessively cheerful and close-knit (Edward compares them to The Waltons), but Sonny, Jax and Jason show up to give him a hard time, then everyone else turns against him.
    • 2022 saw almost back-to-back cases, with Willow dreaming that Nelle showed up Back from the Dead to torment her (with Nelle later appearing as a ghost to Nina), while Spencer got a spectral visit from Esme (missing and presumed dead at that point), who taunted him about sleeping with his father Nik.
    • In 2023 this was crossed with Dream Within a Dream, with Ava dreaming that Nikolas (who she thought she'd accidentally killed with a Tap on the Head) was alive and in bed with her, then waking up alone, but with a puddle of blood in the bed (so she literally has his blood on her hands), then waking up alone again to realize that the first wakeup was part of the nightmare.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In the mid-90's, the show introduced the Ward family, whose matriarch, Mary Mae, ran a foster home for abandoned children, many of whom were also born addicted to drugs or with HIV. This was based on the work of a New York City woman named Clara Hale, known as Mother Hale, who ran such an institution out of her Harlem brownstone. Right down to Mary Mae's home being known as Ward House, just as Clara Hale's place was Hale House. In fact, given that the Wards were brought on two years after Ms. Hale's death, this could even be seen as a tribute.
  • Noisy Shutup: Robin did this with a machine gun on Cassadine island to break up a fight Robert and Anna had gotten into.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: Luke first met Holly when he caught her Skinny Dipping in a lake at night. Indignant, she ordered him to turn around and hand over her clothes and he complies. She dresses quickly and sneaked away while his back was still turned.
  • Obfuscating Disability:
    • Anthony Zacchara regained use of his limbs but pretended to still be paralyzed out to throw his enemies off.
    • Edward Quartermaine feigned senility to fight off lawsuits related to the Port Charles Hotel fire.
    • Ryan Chamberlain pretended to have locked-in syndrome in his last years.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Whenever Winifred and Maxie were on the same screen, she would always remind her that Winnie was the one who put Spinelli in prison (as part of her job as an FBI agent).
    • Anytime Monica reminds anyone that the Quartermaine mansion is "HER house" someone else(originally Alan and/or Tracy but now someone else) would remind her that Alan gave it to her.
  • One-Steve Limit: Ways to get around similarly named characters? Give the namesake son a nickname (as Luke did with his son Lucky, and as Mike did with his son Sonny), use a more formal name (Mike Corbin vs. his grandson Michael Corinthos III; Luke Spencer vs. Lucas Jones), or use your last name (Spinelli's first name is Damian, which is also the name of a notorious '90s villain.)
    • John Zacchara and John McBain. The former typically went by "Johnny" and the latter was usually on a Last-Name Basis with other characters.
    • Averted in 1982 with Laura Templeton (Janine Turner), who debuted while Laura Spencer was missing and was specifically intended as a semi-Doppelgänger, even getting involved romantically with Luke and Scotty Baldwin, and one storyline even hinged on her getting mixed up with the other Laura.
    • The head of the Wu crime family was originally going to be named Nina, but when Nina Reeves was introduced the character's name was changed to Selina.
    • Olivia Falconeri Quartermaine debuted in 2008, 18 years after Olivia Jerome was Put on a Bus, but then Olivia Jerome briefly returned in 2017.
    • Maxie named her daughter Georgie in honor of her late sister.
  • The Oner: The celebrated 1979 scene where Alan weaves through the crowd at his son A.J.'s christening while racing against the clock to save his wife Monica and her lover Rick from a roof he'd rigged to collapse, after having second thoughts, alternates between a camera following an anxious Alan around as the guests congratulate him, and quick cutaway shots of clocks and the roof beams.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Mac Scorpio's already dodgy Australian accent was pretty much dropped entirely within a few years of his first appearance. His brother Robert had a full Aussie accent right through. Mainly because Tristan Rogers(Robert) really is Australian, while John J. York(Mac) is not.
  • Parental Incest: Kevin recalls that when growing up, he was always jealous of the favoritism that his mother showed his twin brother Ryan. Not until he pretended to be Ryan during one of their special occasions and his mother made an advance to him did he have a horrified realization of what her favoritism really was.
  • Parental Substitute: Laura is, for all extents and purposes, Liz's mom despite being her former mother-in-law via her son Lucky. This extends to her kids who all see her as their grandmother whether she is by blood or not.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Do we ever find out what Sonny smuggles into Port Charles?
    • Do we ever find out what any Mobster on this show smuggles into Port Charles?
      • Lorenzo Alcazar was briefly an international arms dealer.
    • Sonny trafficked in guns, and Todd Manning used one of Sonny's guns to threaten his life.
    • Johnny recently tried the organ trade but Sonny shut him down.
    • Mob? What Mob? Sonny isn't a mobster, he's a Coffee Importer!
  • Police Are Useless: A competent and efficient Port Charles Police Department wouldn't allow for very many convoluted, dramatic, drawn-out plotlines, so basically the circumstances of being on a Soap Opera dictate that they have to be corrupt bunglers. Murderers escape justice, organized crime operates unimpeded (not helped by one of the department's top detectives being Dante Falconeri, son of crime boss Sonny Corinthos), the innocent are often arrested, and they have a long history of allowing inmates to escape custody via botched prison transfers.
  • Pregnant Hostage: Claudia, when confronted by Sonny at her birthday party, takes a very pregnant Carly hostage to escape.
  • Prison Rape:
    • Michael Corinthos. Not shown but very heavily implied and finally confirmed a few years later.
    • When Elizabeth confronts her rapist, she taunts him about the possibility of this happening to him.
  • Product Placement: In recent years, GH has occasionally had blatant plugs for real-world products, especially in the Nurse's Ball episodes where it almost became a Running Gag of sorts:
    • A 2011 episode had a very awkward scene that shilled Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. Said scene was followed by a commercial break led by an ad for said product.
    • The Nurses' Ball in 2014 was sponsored by Yoplait Greek Yogurt, in-universe. Cue scenes of photo ops in front of a giant Yoplait logo. In 2015, it was proudly presented by Aveeno Active Naturals lotion.
    • The 2017 Nurses Ball had several plugs for Burt's Bees cosmetics.
    • The July 6, 2018 episode literally featured Colonel Sanders trying to defend his secret recipe from hackers.
  • Put on a Bus: Frequently, as per soap conventions, with a lot of the criminal characters getting sent away to prison until they're needed for another storyline.

    Tropes Q-U 
  • Rape as Backstory: When her mother's sleazy ex-boyfriend comes back to town, Karen Wexler begins having frightening flashbacks of him approaching her bed and remembers that he molested her when she was a child.
  • Rape as Drama: A lot of examples over the years. Most notably Luke and Laura at the Campus Disco.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Luke and Laura at the disco is one of the most famous examples, with Luke dragging a tearful Laura down to the floor, then the handheld camera panning over to the lights and cutting to other fixtures at the disco as Herb Alpert's "Rise" plays, before we see her laying there as he stands over her with his clothes undone.
  • Rape Portrayed as Redemption: A lot of this too. In particular, the initially bratty and bitchy Elizabeth Webber became one of the town heroines after her attack
  • Real Fake Wedding: Ned Ashton was madly in love with Lois Cerullo, who knew him as "Eddie Maine" but being blackmailed into marriage by Katherine Bell. He promptly enticed Lois to run off with him to Las Vegas and marry him, holding his hand over the marriage license so that she couldn't see his real name written down and ensuring that he would at least be legally married to her instead of Katherine.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Sonny lays an epic one out to Claudia at her birthday party after he finds out she was involved in Michael's shooting.
    • Nina delivered an emotional one to Carly after the latter reluctantly admitted that she had DNA test results proving that Nina was Willow's mother, but withheld them from her largely out of spite to punish Nina for similarly withholding the news that Sonny was in Nixon Falls back when he had his amnesia problems (and more generally Nina stealing Sonny from her). It climaxed with Nina telling Carly (in the hospital chapel, mind you) "Go to Hell, you selfish bitch!"
  • Reassigned to Alaska: Hannah Scott, because the actress married Jonathan Jackson. (Lucky Spencer #1/#4)
  • Relationship Revolving Door: Most prominently with Sonny and Carly, who have married and divorced each other four times since 2000.
  • The Reliable One: Ned is this to the Quartermaines. A levelheaded Only Sane Man for decades, he is generally the one to mediate family squabbles.
  • Repressed Memories: Several characters have learned that they repressed the memory of accidentally killing someone in their teen years—Laura killing Theresa (the adulterous lover of her adoptive father Rick Webber), Liz killing Reiko (the adulterous lover of her father Jeff Webber), Luke killing his mother Lena (while defending her from his abusive father Tim). Subverted with Karen, whose memories weren't fatal, but of one of her mother's boyfriends sexually abusing her.
  • Required Spinoff Crossover: Characters from this show occasionally made appearances on Port Charles.
  • Retool: It debuted in 1963 as a 30-minute live show, almost entirely set in the hospital itself. After a while it switched to "live to tape" (i.e. it was produced as though it was live, complete with strictly-timed gaps for commercial breaks, but aired later), then in 1977 it got extended to 45 minutes (with airings starting at 15 minutes past the hour). When she took over as producer in 1978, Gloria Monty got it changed to an hour show with a more relaxed production timetable, coupled with a faster pace, a bigger budget and more outlandish storylines.
  • Rich Bitch: Tracy Quartermaine. She's also a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Rule of Pool: Odds are quite good that a dramatic scene at the Metro Court's rooftop pool will end with someone getting pushed into the water. It's even become something of a Running Gag for Josslyn whenever anyone ticks her off.
  • Running Gag
    • The Quartermaine family inevitably has to fall back on having pizza for Thanksgiving dinner due to various circumstances, including the oven not working, someone being The Klutz and knocking the table over, the oven catching on fire, and so on. Always accompanied by an ironic performance of the hymn "We Gather Together" as they clean up whatever mess was caused by the mishap.
    • Any time there was a typical Quartermaine family argument in which Edward would declare the Quartermaine mansion to be his house, Monica would instantly contradict him, saying "It's my house!", followed by Alan just as quickly reminding her, "I gave it to you!". Following Alan's death, it fell to his sister Tracy to be the one to remind her, "Alan gave it to you!"
  • Self-Made Orphan: Revealed in 2015 as the backstory of Luke Spencer, in a Pensieve Flashback episode where Luke went back to his old house and observed the events of April 1, 1963. 15-year-old Luke got into a big family fight instigated by his alcoholic, physically abusive father Tim. Using a baseball bat to protect his mother Lena, Luke accidentally struck her, then later used the bat to kill Tim in a fit of rage after learning that Lena died at the hospital (after Tim's Never My Fault rant blaming Luke solely for the death).
  • Serial Killer: Port Charles has more than its fair of these, most famously Ryan Chamberlain, but also several mysterious figures like the Text Message Killer (revealed to be Diego Alcazar), and, most recently The Hook (aka the Port Charles Hooker, with Heather Webber confessing to the murders). There are also the cases of villains who manage to rack up body counts alongside their other misdeeds, like Franco Baldwin and Helena Cassadine.
  • Series Continuity Error: In 2023, Bobbie told Spencer Cassadine that he was named for Luke Spencer, but when the character was born in 2006 his father Nikolas specifically revealed that he chose the name to honor his half-siblings Lucky and Lulu Spencer (since they're Luke's kids, Bobbie's right that the name ultimately derives from Luke, but not directly).
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness - Spinelli
  • Sex for Solace: A mere hour or so after nearly getting murdered by the Port Charles Hook, Joss fell into bed with Dex (who helped save her).
  • She Cleans Up Nicely:
    • Sabrina for the Nurses' Ball.
    • Willow shed her usual Delicate and Sickly look and was quite stunning at her wedding to Michael.
  • Shipper on Deck: Olivia is very invested in son Dante's relationship/marriage with Lulu.
  • Ship Sinking: The legendary couple of Luke and Laura of all people were subjected to this. Starting in 1995 when the couple first became estranged when she couldn't deal with his involvement with the mob anymore, then kicking into high gear in 1998 when they were forced to deal with the fact that he'd raped her 19 years earlier, the writers threw one problem after another at them until they finally divorced in 2001, a few months before they would have celebrated their 20th anniversary. Despite the unanimous belief that they still care very much about each other, all attempts at reconciliation have failed. To the point that when he was leaving the show in 2015, Anthony Geary, Luke's portrayer, outright described them as being "toxic to each other by now", in response to hopes that Genie Francis (who played Laura) would return to the show so that the two could go Riding into the Sunset. And when Geary briefly returned the following year, it was to escort Second Love Tracy out of town so that they could go running around the world together—with Laura's blessing!
  • Shout-Out:
    • Way back in 1981, during the "Ice Princess" storyline, there was a Shout-Out that likely few regular General Hospital viewers of the time would have understood. Secret agent Robert Scorpio, having gone to his agency for help against the Cassadine plot to freeze Port Charles, comes back after being told he was on his own. Scorpio calls Luke Spencer on a payphone, and when Luke answers, Scorpio says, "Dark side of the moon, side two, song two," to which Luke responds, "I figured it would be like that." Then they hang up. The line is a reference to the Pink Floyd song "Us vs. Them", the second song on side two of their legendary album, "Dark Side of the Moon".
    • A character named Alan Quartermaine.
    • The perp In the Hood terrorizing Port Charles with a fishing hook in 2022 borrowed their outfit and weapon choice from I Know What You Did Last Summer.
    • An asylum named Arkham....errr, make that D'Archam.
    • Recently an Italian restaurant called Beradino's has shown up in a few storylines, named after the late John Beradino (Dr. Steve Hardy), with its sign listing its founding date as 1963 (same as the show itself).
    • The 2023 storyline of Victor Cassadine getting hold of a necklace made from the Ice Princess diamond so he can complete the original plans of the Cassadine brothers from 1981 (before Mikkos went rogue and tried to freeze the world) basically saw him seeking to apply the philosophy of Thanos to combat climate change (kill off half the world's population to restore balance with nature).
    • A Recurring Character at the hospital is a nurse with the rather familiar name of Deanna Sirtis.
  • Shower of Angst
  • Slipping a Mickey: A very common method for villains to incapacitate victims.
    • A signature move for Heather Webber, most famously with the glass of LSD-soaked iced tea she planned to give Diana Taylor, but which she accidentally drank herself.
    • Seemingly a genetic trait, since Heather's daughter Esme Prince knocked out Trina Robinson and Oz Haggerty with spiked drinks.
    • As revenge for his forcing Holly Sutton to commit crimes against her will, Selina Wu drugged Victor Cassadine's drink with some sort of toxin that apparently causes permanent erectile dysfunction.
  • Smug Snake:
    • Lisa Niles, bonus points for being a total psycho.
    • Being extremely cocky and always smirking were two of Scotty's main traits in his full-on villain phase.
  • Snow Means Cold: Mikkos Cassadine instantly created a blizzard in Port Charles during the middle of the hot summer of 1981. Got a Call-Back in 2023 when a backup computer Mikkos had programmed suddenly booted up in the Cassadine family's Greenland lair, leading to a springtime flurry in Port Charles until Laura remembered the formula to stop it.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Quite a bit over the years, with the champ probably being Tom Hardy (son of Audrey and adopted son of Steve), who was born in 1971 and graduated medical school in 1987. But also the home of the most famous Soap Opera aversion of it, with seven-year-old Robin Scorpio-Drake debuting in 1985 and aging at the same rate as her sole portrayer Kimberly McCullough over the next few decades.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse
    • Laura Webber's beauty has led to her gaining the attention of, and being raped, by her desperate boss, friend, (and in a weird twist her eventual True Love) Luke Spencer, and later abducted and forced into a false marriage with Stavros Cassadine, the menacing son of her nemeses, Mikkos and Helena Cassadine.
    • Like wise the lovely Secret Agent Anna Devane found herself being lusted after by insane serial killer Ceasor Faison, which led to her being kidnapped, and later seemingly Killed alongside her husband Robert Scorpio in a boat explosion.
    • Felicia Jones fell victim to this too, also being lusted after by Faison. Earlier still, psycho doc Ryan Chamberlain became positively obsessed with her, resulting in her stabbing him in self-defense. When she was sent to prison (he survived, but twisted things around to make her look like the crazy one), she had to fend off a lecherous guard who nearly raped her.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: Given the show's tendency toward villains with exotic names (Mikkos Cassadine, Cesar Faison, Cyrus Renault), it's amusing that the mob boss who owned the Campus Disco and brought in Luke to run it was named simply Frank Smith.
  • Spin-Off: Port Charles and Night Shift.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Currently, Sonny and Carly always seem to find some way to get involved in every single storyline.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Franco in regards to Jason. It turns out to be because he thought they were fraternal twins.
  • Starfish Character: In 2014-15, Luke Spencer's dark side broke away and became a separate character, usually called Evil Luke, but fans also called him Luke-Alike and Fluke ("fake Luke").
  • The Stoic: Jason.
  • Stylistic Suck
  • Suicide by Cop
  • Suicide Dare: In 2015, when Luke was visited by the ghost of his despicable father Tim.
    Tim Spencer: You're old, Luke! You're old and miserable and alone! So why don't you just do it? Kill yourself. Come on! Come join Daddy in Hell, boy!
  • Summer Campy: Lila's Kids, the camp that the younger characters attended throughout much of the 2010s. For starters, it's a fully-owned for-profit venture of ELQ. And the personal lives of the campers' parents always seem to spill over and affect the kids in some way.
  • Supernatural Soap Opera: Particularly with the "Casey the alien" story in 1990.
    • Port Charles in its last two years.
    • The Caleb the Vampire storyline, an homage to the above series.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Particularly because the show loves Half-Sibling Angst, the relationships between everyone can get quite convoluted. A notable example is that Kristina Corinthos-Davis and Molly Lansing-Davis are both half-sisters (sharing Alexis Davis as a mother) and cousins (because their respective fathers Sonny Corinthos and Ric Lansing are half-brothers). Speaking of Kristina, her maternal half-sister Sam McCall and paternal half-brother Dante Falconeri are currently dating.
  • That Man Is Dead: After Jason becomes Jason Morgan, he tells Monica that Jason Quartermaine is dead.
  • Their First Time
  • Three-Month-Old Newborn: Willow's baby Amelia in 2023 was an especially blatant example, since it was supposed to be an emergency premature birth.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: Trina Robinson started off as a troublemaker, exerting her Toxic Friend Influence on Josslyn. Once she became a regular character she softened up considerably, and is now the resident Ingenue among the young adult characters. She even pushed for the release of amnesia-stricken Esme, the one who tried to frame her for making and distributing a sex tape of Joss and Cameron.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Luke Spencer began as a cruel, selfish rapist with mafia ties. Over time, while he never did lose his edge, after an incredibly popular, and also just as controversial, love story with the woman he raped, Laura, the show made it clear despite all his faults, he was ultimately a good person, and one of the show's heroes.
    • The same could be said of Lucy Coe. Starting the show as a scheming, gold digging Femme Fatale wannabe. However, after experiencing the kindness of the people of Port Charles, she ultimately proved to be a loving and warm hearted woman, who annually ran the Nurses' Ball to raise money for AIDS research, and eventually the Big Good, and a vampire slayer, on spin-off Port Charles.
    • Dr. Britt Westbourne started off as a scheming villainess (as befits her being the daughter of villains Cesar Faison and Liesl Obrecht), but as with Luke, she became a fan favorite, so she got mellowed out a bit, even getting a Morality Pet in young Spencer Cassadine and sympathy for her My Beloved Smother relationship with Liesl. She would evolve into a Lovable Alpha Bitch whose main flaws were her self-centeredness and her ego.
    • Ava Jerome in spades. Especially via her very close mentorship and friendship with Trina Robinson. Initially her marriage to Nikolas Cassidine had this effect on her as well to the point where when Nik turns out to be a sleazy douchebag, pretty much all consensus is Nik isn't good enough for Ava.
    • Cody Bell was introduced as Britt Westbourne's Dating Service Disaster match, a dim-witted epitome of The Slacker, who was also underhanded, slovenly, and had criminal ties and greedy ulterior motives, most infamously lying about DNA test results when it looked like he had a chance to inherit an expensive necklace. But after Britt's death he began undergoing a Heel–Face Turn, tied to helping Sasha Gilmore in her struggle against her unscrupulous mother-in-law Gladys Corbin, which culminated in Cody getting himself committed to the mental hospital that a drugged Sasha was being held at against her will, just so he could help her escape.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: BLT sandwiches for Heather Webber.
  • Transplant: Several One Life to Live characters came to Port Charles after that show was canceled: John McBain, Todd Manning and Starr Manning among them (Blair Cramer & Tea Delgado had brief guest spots).
  • Troubled, but Cute: The show is currently playing up this angle with Spencer Cassadine, who's undeniably handsome, but struggles with his uncomfortable relationships with his father Nikolas and stepmother Ava, came under the bad influence of his evil girlfriend Esme, and is in unrequited love with Trina.
  • Troubled Teen: A staple character type for the show. In fact, the very first character to appear on the very first episode in 1963 was 18-year-old Angie Costello, a patient with severe facial cuts after a car accident, whose fears of being permanently disfigured lead to her act out aggressively against the hospital staff.
  • Troubled Toybreaker: An infamous adult example in 2013, when Emma handed her baby doll Ariel to her prospective stepmother Britt at a Fourth of July cookout, only to have the doll wet on Britt, causing her to angrily throw it onto the barbecue, where it was incinerated. This incident played a role in Patrick's breakup with Britt.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance:
    • Luke's lookalike cousin Bill Eckert was briefly a major character in 1991, then got Put on a Bus, but reappeared a few other times afterwards. Anthony Geary also played Luke's father Tim in flashbacks and as a ghost in 2015 (though Luke's father and a cousin from his mother's side of the family looking alike is a bit strange).
    • Laura Wright (Carly) has played Carly's grandmother (and Luke's mother) Lena Eckert Spencer (in flashbacks and as a ghost in the aforementioned 2015 segment) and great-grandmother Beatrice Eckert (in a 2020 Time Travel sequence).
    • Also in 2020 this got mixed with Time-Shifted Actor with a flashback where Eden McCoy, who plays Carly's daughter Joss, plays young Carly.
  • The Unfavorite: AJ to Jason, Elizabeth to Sarah, Stefan to Stavros, etc.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: The major subtext of the show's early years, with Dr. Steve Hardy and Nurse Jessie Brewer having obvious chemistry and affection for each other, but never pairing up, even with Jessie's Love Martyr issues and Steve's rocky marriage to Audrey.
  • Unseen No More: Dr. Portia Robinson began as Trina's never-seen mother who she would mention from time to time, before she was brought on-screen as a regular character in 2020.
  • Unusual Pets for Unusual People: Lucy and her pet duck Sigmund were featured in several Thanksgiving episodes in The '90s.
  • Unwanted Harem: Lulu Spencer. She even had three boyfriends. At once.
    • Caused by there being only one or two other girls in her age range at the time (the others being Maxie and Georgie).

    Tropes V-Z 
  • Ventriloquism: Mac performed at the Nurses' Ball with his dummy Mr. Marbles, described by Lucy as his "bad boy alter-ego." Most memorably he used Mr. Marbles to deliver a Stealth Insult volley toward Frisco when he showed up to reclaim Felicia.
  • Very Special Episode:
    • After Karen finally confessed to Jagger about having been sexually abused as a child, the footnote of the episode was of her actress, Cari Shayne referring viewers to a hotline where they could get help.
    • There was an unusual 2020 episode honoring the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote via the 19th Amendment, featuring only the female cast, centering on Josslyn and Trina making a Time Travel journey back to 1920 (via a special candle that Lucy lit by accident).
  • Video Wills: Victor Cassadine had one played after his death in 2023, with Laura, Alexis, Ava and Spencer invited to watch it.
  • Villainous Lineage: The well-established ruthless history of the Cassadine family casts a pall over its younger members, even the ones who tend toward White Sheep. It speaks volumes that Portia Robinson could just casually toss out the phrase "I don't think he's interested in world domination" when discussing her concerns about Spencer Cassadine being in a relationship with her daughter Trina.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Robert Scorpio and Luke Spencer. Even in their 60s they continue to get in trouble together, bickering all the while.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: During the years of the annual Port Charles Nurses' Ball (1994-2001, 2013-), a Running Gag was that Lucy Coe would somehow always wind up onstage in her underwear at the end of the show ... often because of a rival's plotting. One year, several characters were even seen taking bets on if/when this would happen. It's not a coincidence that Lucy Coe returned as the hospital rebooted the Nurses' Ball, and she wound up in her underwear. Again. She even brought this up in 2022 as she defended her own resilience and toughness during an argument with Anna Devane.
    Lucy: I have gone toe-to-toe with Bobbie Spencer, with Tracy Quartermaine, and everybody else in town, it feels like! I have ended up in my underthings, thrust out on the Nurses' Ball stage in front of everybody, I don't know how many years! Actually, one year, I ended up hanging upside down in my underwear!
  • Water Source Tampering: Jerry Jacks does this to Port Charles water supply with a hydrochemical disease and demands a large ransom in return for the cure.
  • Weather-Control Machine: The "Ice Princess" storyline in 1981 centered on Mikkos Cassadine building one of these, which could freeze the world via "carbonic snow".
  • Wedding Episode: Many examples, dating back to Steve and Audrey Hardy in 1965, but the Two-Part Episode devoted to Luke and Laura's wedding (November 16-17, 1981) is easily the most famous episode of the whole series. Things went full circle in 2023 when Laura officiated the wedding of Curtis and Portia.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Michael has this with Sonny SO much. Basically everything the poor kid does is a misguided attempt to prove he's "tough" enough to earn his mobster stepfather's respect.
    • And his biological son Morgan is bringing up the rear.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Remember when Laura and Lucy were going to open the Deception spa? And Milo quit his job for it?
  • Where da White Women At?: Hannah and Taggert. His ex Dara was jealous and disapproving.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Port Charles is officially somewhere in New York State but beyond that the location hasn't been too explicitly defined. Several location scenes were shot in and around Rochester in the 1990s, leading to speculation that it's a Fictional Counterpart to the citynote , but Rochester itself exists in the show's universe. Some fans still view Port Charles as having the same relation to Rochester that Metropolis and Gotham City have to New York City; another popular theory has Port Charles situated on Lake Ontario, about midway between Rochester and nearby Buffalo.
    • A point against Port Charles being in the vicinity of Rochester or Buffalo is that the area's federal courts would be part of the Western District of New York, but when Sonny got busted by the FBI in 2023, the case was filed in the Northern District of New York, which basically only goes as far west as Ithaca. Going with the idea that Port Charles is on Lake Ontario, that might put it on the lake's eastern shore, more in the area of Oswego or maybe Watertown.
  • White Sheep: While most of the Cassidine's are diabolical, a few members of the family (eg Alexis and Nikolas) are generally decent people. Even Stefan and Valentin were mostly considered an Anti-Villain at worst, as their misdeeds pale in comparison to the rest of their family. More recently Valentin has been working to take down his evil father Victor.
  • The Wildcats: A sign in Trina and Josslyn's dorm room establishes that Port Charles University's sports nickname is the Tigers, and the school colors are orange and black.
  • Womanchild:
    • Much of the character establishment for Nina Reeves centered around the fact that she'd just awoken from a 22-year coma, so she was mentally a 22-year-old woman in a 44-year-old body, which accounted for her impulsive and selfish nature.
    • Even well into middle age, Lucy behaves like a flighty, self-centered 16-year-old girl, flat-out going into Bratty Teenage Daughter mode when she interacts with Anna.
  • Woman Scorned: Lisa Niles.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Ryan is established as a Serial Killer with a fetish for blondes after Felicia nearly becomes one of his victims. But after his twin brother Kevin comes to town and reveals the horrific abuse Ryan endured at the hands of their mother (physical, mental, sexual), he becomes a hell of lot more sympathetic, despite his horrible actions.
  • Workaholic: This was Dr. Steve Hardy's defining trait in the show's early years. His devotion to his work at the hospital was the beginning of the strain in his marriage to Audrey.
  • Workout Fanservice: The aerobics classes at the Campus Disco in the 1979-81 period, spearheaded by Dr. Lesley Webber and attended by much of the female cast in leotards.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The local mob-controlled garage is called Xtreme Motors.
  • Yandere: Lisa Niles, again. She first tries to kill Robin then she tries to kill Patrick.
  • Your Son All Along: Alan and Monica spent several years believing that their son AJ was the result of Monica's affair, before finding out that he was Alan's son after all. Unfortunately, crucial bonding time had been lost between the two, resulting in years of AJ being The Un-Favourite (to Jason, the son conceived during Alan's affair) and him being an alcoholic failure. Decades later, AJ (correctly) suspected that he was the father of Carly's unborn child, but she lied and told him that his brother Jason was, fearing that either AJ or her boyfriend Tony would take the child away from her. Years later, Jason's girlfriend Robin finally told AJ the truth.

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