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The Great and the Least,
Long-running Soap Opera on ABC, premiering in 1970. Within the framework of a traditional Family Drama soap, Agnes Nixon created a show that incorporates young love, relevant social issues and high comedy. Its memorable Title Sequence, at least through 1989, showed a woman's hand opening a family photo album.
The show is set in fictional Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, close enough to New York for day travel. A notable character is much-married Erica Kane (Martin Brent Cudahy Chandler Roy Roy Montgomery Montgomery Chandler Marick Marick Montgomery), played since the show's inception by Susan Lucci. Lucci was famously nominated 18 times for a Daytime Emmy for this role without a win, finally winning on #19.
On April 14, 2011, it was announced that All My Children would be canceled. All My Children aired its last episode on September 23, 2011.
More information is available at David R. Jackson's soap opera site.
- AB Negative: Greenlee/Jack, among others.
- Absentee Actor: Ruth Warrick (Phoebe), Eileen Herlie (Myrtle), and James Mitchell (Palmer) were kept on contract long after their age and ill health made it impossible for them to work.
- Accidental Murder: Adam accidentally murders Stuart.
- Stuart was brought back by Project Orpheus in the finale.
- Affectionate Parody: Greenlee's Gilligan's Island dream; the Martin family's Chicago dream.
- The Alcoholic: Phoebe and Erica both develop serious drinking problems. Skye, Hayley and JR also became alcoholics.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Adam's shocked response to Palmer's death. Brooke gets him to concede that Palmer was a Worthy Opponent.
- Anti-Villain: David ruined a lot of lives, but he did show occasional moments of kindness.
David: I'm a villain?
- Arch Enemy: Adam and Palmer; later, Adam and Tad.
- Liza and Damon.
- Ascended Fangirl: Five words: Carol Burnett as Verla Grubbs.
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Averted with Damon.
- Ax Crazy: Alexander Cambias, Janet Green.
- Back for the Dead: Di Cooney, Zac Slater.
- Back From the Dead: Greenlee, Dixie (only to be killed off yet again), Maria, Tad, etc.
- And thanks to the Orpheus Project near then end of the show's tenure, Dixie, Zach, and possibly anybody and everybody else who has died.
- Becoming the Mask: Lenny Wlasik, initially posing as the scholarly Langley Wallingford, actually winds up getting a real doctorate and becoming a serious archeologist.
- Betty and Veronica: Jack (Veronica) and Caleb (Betty) for Erica, JR (Veronica) and Scott (Betty) for Annie.
- Big Fancy House: Wildwind, the Chandler Mansion,
Cortlandt Manornot anymore, it burned down. And Tad's house must be awfully big to fit the amazing amount of people living there.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Cambias, Chandler, Cortlandt, and Lavery families all achieve transcendent levels of dysfunction.
- Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: Just who did J.R. shoot? Was it Erica? Marissa? Someone else? Himself?
- Brother-Sister Incest: Narrowly avoided when Erica was engaged to Mark, who turned out to be her half-brother; her mother intervened before they could go through with it, and told them the truth.
- But I Can't Be Pregnant: Opal.
- The Cameo: Warren Buffett, of all people, who asked to appear on his favorite show.
Myrtle: Who was that?
- Rosie O'Donnell, who had a hilarious turn not as herself, but as a maid.
- The Casanova: Tad "The Cad" Martin, especially before he met Dixie.
- Character Blog: I Am Erica Kane.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The infamous Bobby Martin, many others. Taylor, most recently.
- Coming Out Story: Michael Delaney, Kevin Sheffield, Bianca.
- Cool Old Lady: Myrtle.
- Creator Cameo: Agnes Nixon has popped in for anniversary and memorial episodes.
- Creepy Housekeeper: Myra, initially a very obvious Shout-Out to Mrs. Danvers; eventually subverted.
- Crossover: With sister soaps One Life to Live and Loving.
- Daddy's Girl: Nina Cortlandt.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Di Cooney standing in for Dixie.
- Dr. Jerk: David Hayward.
- Easy Amnesia: Erica, Palmer, Ryan.
- Enemy Mine: Everyone who normally is at cross purposes versus whoever is the latest evil figure. This trope's one of the more common ones.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Subverted. David hated his mother, mainly because she drove his father to suicide. But he did love his brother, daughters, and grandson.
- Everyone Is a Suspect: The murders of Zach Grayson, Will Cortlandt, Michael Cambias, Stuart Chandler, and David Hayward.
- Evil Matriarch: Vanessa.
- Flashback with the Other Darrin: the "Real Greenlee" fiasco
- Gay Aesop: All of the Coming Out Stories, but especially Kevin Sheffield's.
- Genre Savvy: Opal, of all people.
- Geographic Flexibility: Pine Valley.
- Happily Married: In an amazing achievement for any soap opera couple, Joe and Ruth Martin.
- Heel Face Revolving Door: Adam, Palmer, and David.
- Hide Your Pregnancy: Both with actresses and within the show, as Bianca concealed her pregnancy with Miranda
- Hollywood Healing: Inevitably. Characters who should be sporting large, visible scars don't, even when they've shot themselves in the temple (Palmer, multiple times), had their chests cracked open for surgery (Kendall), or suffered facial injuries (Erica). Magic Plastic Surgery is probably to blame.
- Surprisingly averted when Brooke's adopted daughter Laura had a heart transplant--she was subsequently very uncomfortable being intimate with her new husband because of the scar that had been left.
- Also averted (and justified) with Brot. Both he and his actor served in the Iraq War and suffered sever burns that left their faces scarred.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Lily (a bad track record even considering she's autistic).
- Identical Stranger: Erica is kidnapped by a woman who was jealous of her, so got Magic Plastic Surgery in order to take over her life.
- Idiot Ball: Palmer usually wound up carrying one of these when his wives were involved (Cynthia and Vanessa being the most spectacular flame-outs). Not for nothing did Soap Opera Digest twice name him one of the dumbest characters on any soap. His niece Dixie usually held it too.
- Infant Immortality: Massively averted by Palmer John Cortlandt, Leora Hayward, Anna Clair Chandler, and Madison's daughter.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Once retconned, Stuart turned into this: moral paragon, terrific lover, brilliant artist, and so on, and so on, and so on.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Opal calls Warren Buffet "Warren Buf-FAY".
- Large Ham: Phoebe, Langley, Billy Clyde, Palmer (in the 1980s) and, of course, Erica.
- Adam Chandler lived this trope.
- Left Hanging: The finale does this. J.R. shoots into a crowd that celebrates Stuart Chandler coming back from the dead. Then, Jackson breaks up with Erica which leaves Erica, of course swearing that she will win Jackson back. Keep in mind all of this happens just as J.R. fires his pistol. In addition to this, the guest of honor Stuart himself does not show up.
- Lethal Chef: Opal, initially. Later averted by the Chicken Shack.
- Lipstick Lesbian: Bianca and Maggie.
- Long Bus Trip: Jackson, who departed to Europe for no apparent reason.
- Long Runners: 41 years, 10,712 episodes, 1/5/70-9/23/11.
- Love Hurts: Let me count the ways. Zach's and Kendall's relationship is the most obvious recent example, but Tad's and Dixie's marriage-go-round also embodied this trope.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Palmer and Ross, Tad and Damon.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Greenlee and Jackson.
- Magic Plastic Surgery: Janet. Also a woman who was jealous of Erica, and planned on taking over her life.
- May-December Romance: Most of Adam's and Palmer's marriages fall into this category.
- Phoebe and Wade Matthews.
- Most recently, Erica and Ryan.
- Meaningful Rename: Pete Cooney from Pigeon Hollow, VA turns himself into the upper-crust Palmer Cortlandt.
- Similarly, conman Lenny Wlasik becomes Langley Wallingford.
- Caleb Cooney changed his name to Cortlandt to honor his uncle.
- Meddling Parents: Everybody, really, but Adam and Palmer win this category by a landslide.
- Mega Corp: Chandler Corporations, Cortlandt Electronics, Fusion Cosmetics. Recently Chandler bought Cortland, making it even more mega.
- Mistaken for Cheating: In a bizarre running theme, Palmer believed that Opal and Vanessa were cheating on him with men who, in both cases, turned out to be their sons.
- Never Found the Body: Tad, Maria, Leo, and many more
- Subverted with Greenlee, as they did find the body, but it was a fake put in place by David.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Played straight and averted with David's death. Greenlee, Krystal,and Marissa go to his funeral, while everyone else has a
- Only Sane Man: Zach and Caleb.
- Pity Sex: Subverted. This is Krystal's excuse for sleeping with Tad on: emphasis on excuse, since she does have feelings for him.
- The Plot Reaper: Julia dies to make it easier for Tad to get Kathy back.
- Psychic Link: Used by Ryan to find Greenlee, who had fallen into an abandoned mineshaft.
- Adam's telepathic link to Stuart cropped up when Stuart "died".
- Rape as Redemption: Brooke English, Gloria Marsh
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Vanessa tells off all of Pine Valley while she's holding Greenlee hostage.
- Janet did the same thing in 1995 when she got fed up with the way the townspeople were treating her after her release from prison. Starting by outright calling them a "sanctimonious, self-righteous bunch of HYPOCRITES!", she proceeded to quite truthfully point out that nearly everyone present had done despicable things, yet they were all piously condemning her for her crimes and refusing to give her a second chance, despite the fact that they had all either given or received forgiveness for their sins and in many cases, were now viewed as pillars of the community.
- Sadistic Choice: Angela has been taking medical drugs to treat her oncoming blindness, and they're working. But now that she's pregnant the drugs could harm the baby, and she has to choose: her sight or her unborn child. She chose the baby.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: The entire cast of characters, at one time or another.
- Secret Other Family: Seabone Hunkle's two families.
- Smug Snake: J.R, oh so much. Reverend Ricky Torres, too.
- Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Too many to list, but J.R. Chandler and Charlie Brent stand out for having grown to adulthood entirely onscreen in a short period of time.
- Almost averted by the 2008 edition of Peter Cortlandt, who is only about two years too old.
- Inverted with Kendall Hart who showed up in Pine Valley 8 years younger than she should be. When viewers complained (because this meant that they were being asked to believe that her mother Erica was only in her early thirties, at least 10 years younger than was possible), suddenly, Kendall became approximately the age she was supposed to be and numerous references were made to her being Older Than She Looks.
- They Have the Scent: Palmer and his Dobermans trap Daisy in the barn.
- Those Two Guys: According to a snarky David, Palmer and Adam.
- Transsexualism: Lesbian Bianca falls for "lesbian trapped in man's body" Zarf (hence, "Barf").
- The Un-Reveal: David refuses to reveal the last patient brought back by Project Orpheus.
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: Tad. Dixie. A chicken suit.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Liza only wants her daughter Colby to be happy. However, she is completely convinced that Damon is no good for her, so she tries to drive them apart... by trying to seduce Damon and replacing his ADHD medication with placebos.
- Who's Your Daddy?: roughly every other pregnancy depicted, Krystal Carey's being the most recent.
- Will: Phoebe's will attempted to throw a monkey wrench into Jamie's relationship with Babe.
- Palmer, despite multiple living children, grandchildren, and other relatives, left his company to a previously unknown nephew.
- You Fail Geography Forever: Pine Valley, PA somehow manages to be right on the ocean.
- You Fail Law Forever: All trials in Pine Valley ignore every legal form known in the United States, ranging from protocols for questioning witnesses to rules for admitting evidence.
- Then again, given that for a large portion of the show the judges were always bribed/blackmailed/involved in the case, and this was usually explicitly commented on by whatever side lost...
- David and Greenlee's insta-eviction from Wildwind is hilariously out of whack with the relevant laws.
- You Look Familiar: Jesse McCartney's appearance as himself after leaving the show.
- Walt Willey (Jackson) had multiple guest spots before landing his contract role.