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Series / Ryan's Hope

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Ryan's Hope is an American Soap Opera that ran on ABC from 1975-1989.

The show focused on the Ryans, a working-class Irish family, and the Coleridges, an upper-class family, in New York City.

Although it had a short run by soap opera standards, and never achieved more than mediocre ratings (its best rating was 7th out of 14 in 1981), the show developed a cult following and is one of the few soaps to be re-run after its initial run.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: The main setting of the Kenneth Castle storyline after he kidnapped Faith Coleridge - Kenneth kept her locked inside the surprisingly well maintained morgue of the old Riverside Hospital.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Jack Fenelli to Mary Ryan. Despite all but admitting that he married Mary for sex, and proceeding divorce proceedings while she was {6 months pregnant}, Mary wanted nothing more than to be with Jack. Fans gave the character the nickname of Jackhole for a reason...
  • Artifact Title: Arguably, an example of this several times during the run when new families were introduced and the storylines focused less on the Ryans. The most popular example is the period in 1982-1983, when the Kirklands were introduced; many in the cast referred to the show as "Kirkland's Hope".
  • The Baby Trap: Delia used this on BOTH Ryan brothers.
  • Back from the Dead: Joe Novak, arguably. It was HEAVILY implied that he was killed after Jack Fenelli killed Joe's uncle Tiso. Month's later, after a recast, it was revealed he faked his death to protect Jack and Siobhan.
  • Back for the Finale: Big time, as many characters (and actors) who had left the show in previous years (Pat Ryan, Faith Coleridge, Jill Coleridge, Rae Woodard) returned for the final two weeks of episodes. Kate Mulgrew, who first made a name for herself as Mary Ryan, returned as the disembodied voice of her deceased character.
  • Batman Gambit: For someone presented as so dense, Delia pulls off a beauty to get Pat Ryan to marry her (despite Pat's engagement to Faith Colefridge):
    • After losing custody of little John, Delia uses the family's distrust of Roger Coleridge (who blackmailed Frank about Frank's affair with Delia AND blackmailed Delia to continue an affair with him) to get Pat to rescue her from a planned cruise...which leads to a night of passion...on the ONE NIGHT she can get pregnant.
    • After being rejected by Pat, she goes to an abortion clinic and breaks down crying. The clinician call Pat's mother Maeve to rescue her - informing Maeve of the pregnancy. Maeve and Johnny, being the good Irish Catholics they are, insist Pat break his engagement to Faith and marry Delia.
  • Big Applesauce: The show was set in the Riverside neighborhood of Manhattan, and name-dropped many real-life New York city locales (e.g., Sheepshead Bay) at a time when most soap operas took place in fictional, midwestern towns.
  • Crossover: A notable aversion for ABC. All of ABC's other soaps were established as existing in the same universe in the 1970s/1980s, and had several cross-overs - EXCEPT for Ryan's Hope, which existed on its own little island...
    • ...that is, until 24 years after the series ended, as in 2013 General Hospital revisited Ryan's, complete with cameo by Ilene Kristian as Delia.
  • Fiery Redhead: Siobhan Ryan was originally this. Averted once the show recast the character as a dopey blonde played by Kelly Taylor's mom.
  • Killed Off for Real: Mary Ryan Fenelli, surprising for one of the main characters in a soap opera. Justified in that audiences did not respond well after the part was recast (Kate Mulgrew left the show for greener pastures).
  • Left Hanging: Faith never answered Pat's question ("Is Grace my daughter?") during the Grand Finale, although her facial expression indicates a "Yes".
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Bucky Carter.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Mary Ryan, to the point that her investigation (on her sister's wedding day!) led to her death. Later, the show tried to make cousin E.J. Ryan this.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Kenneth Castle and his love for Faith Coleridge, which included stalking, breaking and entering, and the murder of Ed Coleridge.
  • The Mafia: A major component of the show once Siobhan Ryan fell in love with Joe Novak, nephew of mob boss Tiso Novotny. Amped up to 10 once Siobhan became involved with Max Dubujak, described in a promo as "the most dangerous man in America".
  • May–December Romance: Michael Pavel and Rae Woodard. Occurred at the same time Michael Pavel was having an affair with Rae's married daughter. It did not end well.
  • Non-Idle Rich: The Coleridge children, while not extremely wealthy, were shown to be well-off. Roger and Faith were doctors, and Jill was a lawyer.
  • Settle for Sibling: Arguably, Delia to Frank Ryan. Delia was involved with Frank's brother Pat in high school, and desperately wanted to marry into the Ryan family. When Pat rejected her, she eventually dated and married Frank.
  • SORAS: The Ryan grandchildren were aged in the 1980s. 10 year old Little John Ryan was aged to 19, and 7 year old Ryan Fenelli was aged to 15 (and played by Yasmine Bleeth).
  • Special Guest:
    • Appropriately, Nolan Ryan made an appearance in 1976.
    • Christopher Reeve, famous for playing Superman (who, notably, got his start on Love of Life which was written by the creators of Ryan's Hope) had a cameo in 1981 during the premiere of Kim Beaulac's play.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Frank Ryan and Jillian Coleridge.
    • The first several weeks of the show revealed the long-running love affair between Frank and Jill, due in part to Frank's unhappiness in his marriage to Delia. The nature of their love made most of the Ryan family (except Pat) side with Frank and accept (if not outright condone) the affair. Meanwhile, once Delia got caught in an affair with Roger Coleridge, hell hath no fury....
    • After Jill married Seneca Beaulac, she had a baby boy...who turned out to be Frank's.
    • After cheating on Frank with Ken George Jones, Frank broke up with Jill and began dating (and eventually became engaged to) her sister Faith. Right before the wedding, Frank got cold feet...thanks to his love for Jillian.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Frank Ryan and his affair with Jillian Coleridge. Despite continuing his affair after fathering a child with his wife, Delia, the Ryans treat Frank's affair with Jill as true love and all but blame Delia for his infidelity.
  • Weddings for Everyone: The finale revolved around the wedding of Jack Fenelli and the reception at Ryan's bar.