Fan Selected Top 10 Plot Twists on Daytime Television


Soap viewers are a savvy bunch. Most have been watching their “stories” for years. They can tell you everything about their favorite characters: likes, dislikes, motivations, what they would or would not do. They can recount years of history and plot at the drop of a hat. Viewers are notorious for calling out the writers when they have characters saying or doing something that is not consistent with the behavior or the history that we’ve seen play out out onscreen. One of the most consistent complaints on Twitter is how we, as viewers, just aren’t surprised anymore. Viewers have predicting exactly where the writers are headed next with our favorites down to a science. It got me to thinking about when the last time I was genuinely surprised by a plot twist on daytime. I posed the question on Twitter and the responses were varied and interesting to say the least. Whilst paying tribute to the person that first presented the plot twist, here are the TV Source Fan Selected Top 10 Plot Twists:

10. Adam Seduces Rafe–The Young and the Restless (@Chadamfan1)

When your father is Victor Newman, scheming to get what you want is basically encoded into your DNA. So is getting revenge on people that you feel have wronged you. It appeared Adam Newman’s plan to gaslight his father’s girlfriend, Ashley, as part of his revenge plot against his father was about to be exposed. Rafe was dangerously close to the truth that it was Adam, and not Rafe’s aunt Estela, who was actually guilty. When backed into a corner, Adam did what he had to do: he seduced Rafe. While the actual love scene didn’t air, that kiss between Adam and Rafe had jaws dropping…

Photo Courtesy of CBS

Also tied for the No. 10 spot:

10. Janet Pushes Natalie Down the Well–All My Children (@mushyboyKarl) 

When mousy, dowdy Janet Green showed up to town to visit her vibrant twin Natalie, she was incredibly envious of her life, including Natalie’s handsome fiance, Trevor. When Janet decided she wanted Natalie’s life for herself, she Single White Female’d her way into it. She lost weight, got contacts, dyed her black hair blond, removed that hideous duster she was constantly in…and pushed her sister down a well. Yeah, you read that correctly; she pushed her sister down a well. Janet usurped Natalie’s life and almost made it to the finish line as Trevor’s bride. She eventually got exposed by Harold the Dog, but the collective yell my mother, grandmother, and I let out when Janet sent Natalie careening into that well is a sound I’ll never forget. 

9. Maya is Myron–Bold and the Beautiful (@tornadosong)

Maya schemed her way into her cushy life as Rick’s partner and lead model at Forrester Creations (She deliberately broke up Caroline and Rick’s marriage and took him for herself. If that ain’t scheming, I don’t know what is.) Life seemed sweet…until little sister Nicole showed up. Scheming and holding secrets as leverage must be the Avant way because she blackmailed her sister into giving her some sweet perks in exchange for keeping her deep, dark secret. Fans were fully prepared for it to be revealed that Nicole was really Maya’s child but NO one was ready for Nicole’s bombshell: “You’re not my sister, Maya. You’re not Maya at all. You’re Myron; my brother.” When I tell you that Twitter whale went up in 2.2 due to the sheer volume of  “whaaaaat?!?!?” tweets as it became apparent that Bold had changed the game and made Maya the first transgender lead character on a daytime serial. We. Were. Living.

8. Lucky is Alive–General Hospital (@puckdowd)

When Elizabeth and Lucky pledged their love to each other on Valentine’s Day in that church, all of us thought it was a permanent lock. When the fire broke out at Jason’s bike shop, we were horrified at the thought of Lucky being BBQ’d in his sleep because of an overturned candle that Elizabeth gave him. Our hearts broke with Elizabeth and his mother, Laura, when his body was found with the necklace Lucky had given to Elizabeth. We watched his family and loved ones grieve and say goodbye(I can still hear dark haired toddler Lulu asking if Lucky went to Heaven) and then we cut to Lucky, alive (!!!) and being held prisoner and brainwashed by Cesar Faison on orders from Helena Cassadine.

7. F*cking Cousins–Guiding Light  (@PinkElle015)

Tammy Layne Winslow and Jonathan Randall. Good girl. Bad boy. Fighting their mutual attraction to each other. It’s your standard soap trope; we know how the story goes. Then along comes Guiding Light. Jonathan seduced Tammy to get revenge on his birth mother…who is the half sister of Tammy’s mother. Making them half cousins.Yeah. We know. Cue the Dueling Banjoes. The pairing shouldn’t have worked. Tammy tried to stay away from him but every time she stroked that locket, we knew what she wished she was stroking instead. From the fire kisses and almost getting it cracking in that barn to them getting together, breaking up, marrying other people, sneaking around and stepping out on their respective partners, and then finally getting their dream wedding, the off-the-charts chemistry in this quasi-incestuous relationship between these kissing cuzzins was truly “unbelievable.” 

Credit: Lorenzo Bevilaqua/PGP

6. NecklaceGate–Bold and the Beautiful (@Dylan_StJaymes)

Good girl Hope Logan was ready to give her V-card to photographer boyfriend Oliver. He said there was no pressure. She said when she was ready, he’d know. Hope would put her arms around him and whisper, “I’m ready.” It was a case of mistaken identity involving leather jackets and masks (Oliver and Ridge) and Hope and Brooke wearing the same dress and mask. Combine Brooke wearing the birthday necklace Oliver gave Hope combined with Brooke whispering, “I’m ready” in Oliver’s ear thinking he was Ridge, and the next thing you know, Oliver is chopping down Brooke Logan. How Oliver thought virginally sweet Hope would want to get her cherry popped up against a wall outside a smoky club with the soooo not romantic mood music of a Daddy Yankee concert going on in the background is beyond me, but whatever. The look on his face when he realizes he plundered his girlfriend’s mom’s sugar walls was priceless and “NecklaceGate” became a legend in soap history. 

Photo Courtesy of CBS

5. Marlena’s Possession–Days of Our Lives (@joeiscool1981)

Storytelling in Daytime Television was forever altered when Dr. Marlena Evans did a dance with the devil. Aided by some hypnotism and mind-altering drugs courtesy of Stefano DiMera, Marlena switched personalities and she became this eery, green-eyed levitating baddie possessed by The Devil. It took daytime in a direction it had never gone before. Even if the storyline dragged out months longer than it should have, and sexy Priest John Black saying one measly Our Father to exorcise the Demon was anticlimactic as hell, Deidre Hall levitated her way into the Soap Opera Hall of Fame. The storyline was so popular that Days of Our Lives is revisiting the possession storyline and has turned it into an umbrella story that involves the majority of the cast. Previews tell us that a sexy priest is on his way back to Salem to do battle for Marlena’s soul, but, in the meantime, we are LOVING the sassiness of MarDevil.

Photo by: Gary Null/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

4. Jerry Jax is Mr. Craig–General Hospital (@purplelvngmom)

It used to be a thing of beauty to not know what plot twist was coming next on a soap. The last time I was genuinely shocked (and unspoiled) by a show was when we found out that James Craig, the masked gunman that held guests in the Metro Court hostage trying to obtain a briefcase being held in hotel vault, shot Robin Scorpio, and left Alan Quartermaine to suffer, untreated, as he suffered a heart attack, and ultimately detonated a bomb and escaped with a gunshot wound in the mayhem that followed was none other than Jerry Jax– with some fresh AF plastic surgery and a new attitude to match. Mr. Craig was cruel, sadistic, a monster, and we were completely drawn in. The backstory with Irina explaining Jerry’s radical personality change and extreme lack of ethics was utter garbage, but Jerry Jack’s cemented himself into the annals of bad ass GH villains and Sebastian Roche is still missed to this day. 

Photo Courtesy of ABC

3. Reva “Pushes” Annie Down the Stairs– Guiding Light (@JBB1971)

Nurse Annie Dutton fell for Josh Lewis while she was treating him for injuries sustained during the Fifth Street Fire. They fell in love and, despite Annie keeping quiet about still being married to Rick Bauer and Josh still being in love with his returned-from-the dead wife Reva, they married. Annie was pregnant and that baby (conceived without Josh’s knowledge or consent through artificial insemination) was the only thing keeping Josh and Reva apart and Annie knew it. Annie miscarried, kept it a secret, and, in a twist that had me screaming at the TV, picked a fight with Reva at the top of the stairs at the Spaulding mansion. Annie took Reva’s hand, and made it seem as if Reva pushed her down the stairs causing her to lose her child. Reva was charged with murder. Alan Spaulding, in love with Annie at this point, helped her cover up her crime, but she neglected to tell Alan that the doctor that inseminated her was the only other soul that knew she miscarried. The look on Annie’s face when the doctor took the stand at Reva’s trial and revealed that the insemination occurred, that the baby was already dead, AND that Annie chose to leave his office without having a D&C done was exposed. Annie lost Josh AND the ability to carry more children because she left the dead fetus inside her womb too long. Annie caused a bunch of mayhem before leaving town (and returning with plastic surgery under the assumed identity of Teri DeMarco) but the legend that is Crazy Annie Dutton still lives on. 

2. Kimberly’s Scar/Wig Snatch–Melrose Place (@abpgh1)

Melrose Place wasn’t a daytime soap, but, seeing as primetime has deep roots from the daytime genre, we HAD to include one of the soapiest events to ever happen in primetime. Drunk driving Michael Mancini got into an accident that causes Kimberly Shaw to go into a coma. It was later revealed that she didn’t die comatose as her mother later told them. She turns up alive and reveals herself just as Michael, married to his ex sister-in-law Sydney, decides to make the best of the blackmail situation Sydney has him in. After Kimberly is shown to be alive, and Sydney loses her blackmail leverage over Michael, he boots her out of his life and Kimberly and Michael reunite. After earthshaking sex, Kimberly goes to the restroom and sits in front of the mirror. She rubs her temples, teases her locks, and takes some pills. When Kimberly starts messing with the side of her face and then rips that wig off revealing a jagged Frankenstein-esque scar that runs the length of her nearly bald head, you could hear me and my neighbors in their apartments on both sides of mind start yelling and screaming simultaneously. This scene went down as one of the best wig snatches in television history. 

Photo Courtesy of Fox

Writer’s Choice: Sharon Wears the Phyllis Lingerie–The Young and the Restless

After their daughter’s death, Nick and Sharon, trapped in their individual grief, started drifting away from each other and towards other people. Sharon was drawn to engaged Brad Carlton and Nick was spending his free time with married Phyllis Summers. Sharon stopped herself from going too far with Brad, but the same could not be said of Nick with Phyllis. After piecing together a picture of Nick and Phyllis having a fabulous time at the Baldwin Wedding, a motel receipt Nick was stupid enough to not have charged to the Newman Corporate account, a tacky monkey knickknack both parties shared and busting Nick lying about the Newman website, a suspicious Sharon dialed a number that kept showing up on Nick’s cell phone bill and Phyllis answered. Sharon surmised they were having an affair and set about exposing it. Sharon left Phyllis’s glove, left behind after one of their trysts, by her computer, alerting Phyllis to the fact that Sharon knew the truth. 

Sharon goes to Fenmore’s and tells Lauren she wants to buy something special. We later find out she bought the same lingerie Phyllis did and she booked the same room Phyllis had slept with Nick in at the Genoa City Hotel. Our jaws dropped at Sharon, in all her hotness, lounging in that lingerie. Sharon telling Nick it was the same outfit Phyllis had bought had us leaning forward in our seats with anticipation, especially when, after Nick posited how he could have possibly known that, Sharon dropped the hammer on him and said that Phyllis bought it to wear with him…maybe on the night they were in the same hotel room, or when they were together in the stable…or maybe it had been in that cheap motel room where they’d stayed during the snowstorm. Nick was busted and Shick busted up as well. 

Photo Courtesy of CBS

1. Clink Boom–General Hospital (@Rodrigosworld81)

Everyone knew that Sonny was married to Lily but madly in love with Brenda. Sonny had decided to leave it all behind and go into hiding with Brenda when Lily revealed she was pregnant. Knowing what having a child means to Sonny, Brenda realizes they could never have a future together. Sonny chose to give his child the childhood he never had and left Brenda standing in the rain in one of the saddest and poignant breakups in General Hospital history. Lily’s mobster father thought Sonny was not living up to his promise of being a good husband to his daughter and decided to get rid of Sonny by placing a bomb in Sonny’s car. 

Brenda, meanwhile, dove headfirst into a relationship with corporate raider Jax. He demanded that she give up on Sonny completely and start anew by marrying him. So, two celebrations were taking place simultaneously. Sonny and Lily celebrating their baby news at Luke’s alongside the scenes of Brenda and Jax getting married aboard his yacht. We see Lily walking to the car in slow-mo and waving to Sonny as she got in juxtaposed with rings being exchanged and a kiss being shared between Jax and Brenda. We see Lily close the door and, as Brenda and Jax clink champagne glasses, pregnant Lily turns the key, the car blows up, and “Clink Boom” becomes soap canon. 

So. Did your favorite plot twist make our fan voted list? Let us know in the comments.

Dee Flintakis
Red carpet maven, social media influencer, the girl with the look that's got you hooked. In 2020, Dee "TMZ DeeDee" Flintakis joined the TV Source team as a staff writer, focused primarily on soap operas, primetime dramas, and is currently willing a spinoff of 'Josie and the Pussycats' into existence. When Dee isn’t teaching the kiddies, she is addicted to traveling, reading, attending soap events, nuanced storytelling, and making dramatic proclamations on that bird app.

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