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File:Gh1984 6673.jpg

Long-running Soap Opera airing on ABC since April 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, his nurse wife, Audrey, nurse Jessie Brewer, Dr. Lesley Webber, and attorney Lee Baldwin. Many current characters are children and grandchildren of these veteran characters.

General Hospital's ratings slouched in the mid-1970s and the show faced cancellation. It was invigorated by the beloved (but controversial) pairing of Laura Webber Baldwin and Luke Spencer, a romance infamously spawned after Luke raped Laura at the Campus Disco in 1979. The rape was retconned as a "seduction" and the pair 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 (played by 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 90's, the focus shifted to more 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.

The past decade has been dominated by mobsters Sonny Corinthos and Jason Morgan. Most of the show's long-term fans have been alienated by increasingly dark stories and a growing trend of killing off veteran characters, supposedly to attract a younger audience.

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

Tropes used in General Hospital include:
  • 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 portrayors 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.
  • Adult Child - Spinelli is definitely this.
  • Affably Evil: Jerry Jacks.
    • Anthony Zacarra
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 The Other Wiki points out, the spin-off Port Charles initially focused on the hospital and medical-related storylines more heavily when compared to the mothership.
  • Backup Twin - Kevin Collins; Bernie Abrahms; possibly Rebecca Shaw
    • And Sam's never-spoken-of-again doppelganger from the Island of Ballroom Dancing.
  • Bald of Awesome: Taggert
  • Bald of Evil: Theo Hoffman AKA "The Balkan".
  • 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.
  • Big Eater - Carly. She even goes into labor during a clandestine trip to score forbidden french fries.
  • Black Comedy Rape
  • Bloodstained-Glass Windows
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress Kate, when shot while getting married to Sonny.
  • 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 recently.
  • Building of Adventure: Earlier in the series the show was set entirely in the hospital.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant
  • But We Used a Condom - Lulu and Dillon as well as Jason and Liz; the condoms turned out to be defective.
  • Canon Immigrant - Several Night Shift characters made the jump to the mothership.
  • Celebrity Star - Most famously Elizabeth Taylor; most recently James Franco.
  • Character Blog - @DrMattHunter on Twitter.
  • The Character Died with Him - Dr. Steve Hardy, when actor John Beradino passed away from pancreatic cancer in 1996, was written out as having suffered a fatal heart attack. Hardy, whom Beradino had portrayed since the show's beginning in 1963, remained in the opening montage as late as 2004.
  • Claustrophobia - Sonny
  • Coming Out Story - Lucas.
  • Cowboy Cop: Dante
  • 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.
    • And now due to OLTL's cancellation, Todd Manning and his ex-wife Blair Cramer are on their way to Port Chuck with oldest child Starr and John Mc Bain.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many characters, but mostly Johnny Zacchara as of late.
  • Dead Star Walking
  • Distaff Counterpart - Of all people, Spinelli got one in Winifred. Went over about as well as you'd expect.
  • Distressed Dude - Spinelli's usually the guy getting into trouble, and Jason is usually the one getting him out of it.
  • Domestic Abuser: Kristina's boyfriend Kiefer 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 Brooklynn drugged Dante because he wouldn't sleep with her otherwise. Almost worked- If not for Lulu walking in and tossing her out.
  • Dr. Jerk
  • Dropped a Crane On Her: Abby
  • Elevator Going Down: Both GH's and the Metro Court's elevator have been used for this purpose more than once.
  • Fake Irish - Oregonian Erin Chambers plays Siobhan with an extremely thick accent that sounds as fake as it is.
  • Fan Nickname - "Scrubs" for Patrick and Robin, currently the only couple where both actually work at the hospital.
    • Most GH couples have a nickname of this sort. It's usually some form of smushing the character's names together or else calling the couple by their initials. Examples include "Liason," and "Spixie."
  • Five-Man Band - Sonny & Co. provide a classic example:
  • Flanderization - Luke Spencer, Sonny Corinthos, Jason Morgan (see below), Alexis Davis, Spinelli amongst others.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: During the years of the "Fab Four."
    • Carly is Sanguine.
    • Sonny is Choleric.
    • Jason is Melancholic
    • Leaving Courtney as Phlegmatic.
  • Hair of Gold: Laura Spencer.
    • Also inherited by her daughter Lulu.
  • Hitman with a Heart - Jason, referred to sarcastically on Television Without Pity as "the holy hitman".
  • Hollywood Hacking: Spinelli used to do this.
  • Hollywood Nerd - Spinelli is made to be a Type 1, though those who've seen Bradford Anderson outside the show would probably put him in Type 2.
    • Winifred is Type 1 also; similarly, anyone who's seen Senta Moses outside of GH would say Type 2 as well.
  • Hospital Hottie
  • Improbable Age: Several. Robin came back as an surgical attending at 27 years old and Patrick was introduced as a well known neurological surgeon despite being in his late 20s/early 30s at the most.
  • 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, Edward, and Maxie.
  • 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.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Most episodes of General Hospital from 1963-1978 are extreamly rare (especially the early color episodes from 1967-1975 which some are extinct) and exist only in B&W Kinescopes.
  • Lampshade Hanging - Spinelli in his detective alter ego once said, "Have you ever noticed that there are no doorbells in this town? Everybody knocks!"
  • Let Them Die Happy - Tearjerkingly 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Magical Computer - Any Spinelli scene.
  • Mama Bear - Alexis, Carly.
  • Mandatory Motherhood
  • Morality Pet: Michael to Jason.
  • Naive Everygirl - Laura Spencer, Georgie Jones.
  • Never Say "Die"
  • The Nicknamer - Spinelli, obsessively.
  • Obfuscating Disability - Anthony Zacchara.
  • 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 Mc Bain. The former typically goes by "Johnny" and the latter is usually on a Last-Name Basis with other characters.
  • The Other Darrin - Lucky Spencer has had three different actors, and Carly has had four, with Carly #1 coming back as a different character with Carly #4 still around...
    • Michael's getting there: He's already had three actors play him, and he's not out of his teens yet.
    • Lucas Jones had 10 actors play him in total.
  • The Place
  • Playful Hacker - Spinelli, half the time.
  • Playing Gertrude- Genie Francis (Laura) is only 10 years older than Tyler Christopher (Nikolas).
    • Lisa LoCicero(Olivia Falconeri) is only nine years older than Dominic Zamprogna(Dante Falconeri).
    • Sarah Brown (Claudia Zacchara) is only four years older then Brandon Barash (Johnny Zacchara).
  • Pregnant Hostage - Claudia, when confronted by Sonny at her birthday party, takes a very pregnant Carly hostage to escape.
  • Prison Rape
  • The Rainman - at least, that's what we think Spinelli is...
  • Rape as Drama: A lot of examples over the years.
  • Rape as Redemption
  • Reassigned To Alaska - Hannah Scott, because the actress got married to Jonathan Jackson. (Lucky Spencer #1/#4)
  • Rich Bitch: Tracy Quartermaine. She's also a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness - Spinelli
  • Shipper on Deck: Olivia is very invested in son Dante's relationship/marriage with Lulu.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat - Jason/Sam (Ja Sam) vs. Jason/Liz (Liason) is probably the most heated example. M&M, Jo Max, and Spixie is another.
    • Legendary past battles include Brenda/Sonny vs. Brenda/Jax and Sonny/Carly vs. Sonny/Alexis.
  • Shower of Angst
  • Smug Snake: Lisa Niles, bonus points for being a total psycho.
  • Snow Means Cold - Mikkos Cassadine instantly created a blizzard in Port Charles during the middle of a hot summer.
  • Spin-Off - Port Charles and Night Shift.
  • Starfish Character
  • Stylistic Suck
  • Suicide by Cop
  • Super Couple - Luke and Laura are the Ur Example.
  • Supernatural Soap Opera - particularly with the "Casey the alien" story in 1990.
  • Their First Time
  • The Mobsters 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?
    • Johnny recently tried the Organ trade but Sonny shut him down.
  • "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 Micheal's shooting.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Franco in regards to Jason. It turns out to be because their fraternal twins.
  • The Stoic - Jason.
  • Too Soon - Luis Alcazar fell out of the window at least 10 stories high and the fall was shown from the outside. This scene took place a year after the 9/11 attacks.
  • 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).
  • Victim Falls For Rapist: Luke and Laura
  • Villainous Crossdresser
  • Wardrobe Malfunction - During the years of the annual Port Charles Nurses' Ball (1994-2001), 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.
  • Weather Control Machine
  • "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 father's respect.
  • What Could Have Been: Too bad Taggert and Gia being Sonny's siblings was only for Fan February.
    • Winnifred's similarity to Spinelli was originally supposed to be a full-on act. That got derailed when the producers liked her similarity to Spinelli.
  • Woman Scorned: Lisa Niles.
  • You Fail Geography Forever: 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.
  • You Look Familiar: Sarah Brown, Carly #1, came back as Claudia Zacchara, while Carly #4 was around.