It shouldn’t surprise anyone that our favorite fan forum Big Purple Dreams reached another milestone over the weekend. As of yesterday, Big Purple Dreams reached 4000 members! That’s 4000 members in five months for a television show that has been canceled. Hey Lifetime, you might wanna keep an eye on this one, 4000 members in five months…just think what they could do in a year! The members of this fan forum are going exponentially rivaling any other fan forum in daytime or primetime for that matter so congratulations to BPD, Guiding Light and Otalia!
While the U.S. population make up a majority of those very fans, there is an impressive international following as well that most definitely needs to be acknowledge and praised. Guiding Light is being followed in at least 28 countries other than the United States from countries such as Australia, Bosnia, and Finland to Israel, Peru, and Wales. Keep in mind, these countries don’t receive a live feed the way U.S. audiences do. They aren’t even able to watch online from the CBS.com website the way U.S. viewers do either. To say the international following is dedicated is an understatement. Really, how many shows would you go out of your way to find that don’t show up in On Demand or cable reruns or download from iTunes? The international Guiding Light fans have none of that and yet they show up each and everyday to watch the show. They have also started their own international campaign to save Guiding Light with phone calls, emails, postcards and letter writing to join their U.S. family in the fight to save a show they love. I was lucky enough to sit down with several members of Team International over Skype (gotta love technology) to discus how they actually watch the show, differences in culture and how the international audience has a strong voice.
The leaders of Team International are:
My name is Siobhan (pronounced Shivan) and I’m from Wales. I’m 22 years of age.
I’m Bonnie; I’m 27 and live in Hull, England with my partner Claire.
I’m Jane (aka tottie007) and I’m from Edinburgh, Scotland. I was born the same year as Crystal C – I’m 44.
I’m Rita Roberts, 40 years old, and I like approximately 35 kms from Galway, which is on the west coast of Ireland.
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Siobhan (Wales): Usually I watch the show on a live feed from the San Francisco area. That airs at 10pm my time. Sometimes it will crash and I then have to try and catch it on various websites, which is all kinds of difficult and involves a few technological miracles! If that fails, I have to watch just the Otalia clips on the YouTube BPD channel. I don’t like to do that because I enjoy watching the whole show…I hope that Guiding Light is eventually more accessible to the international fans!
Bonnie (England): It varies. If it’s an episode we’re really excited about, such as one featuring the Otalia storyline, we’ll watch through a streaming online player at 10pm our time, as that’s the earliest we can get it. If we can stand to wait, then we’ll watch through a website, though usually the following day as episodes are posted in the early hours of the morning for us. The website is much more reliable than the streaming player and there are fewer ads, plus our internet bandwidth is monitored during the streaming player airing, so it’s better for us to watch the following day if we can stand to wait. We always re-watch the Olivia and Natalia clips on YouTube afterwards on the otaliafan channel!
Jane (Scotland): I watch on YouTube. CBS does not allow non-US viewing but that’s the only way I can watch entire episode.
Rita (Ireland): I watch the show in two ways, one via the Otaliafan channel on YouTube, but I also have the opportunity to watch it live via webcam on Yahoo!. Basically, I have a friend in the States that records Guiding Light, and then when she comes home from work, she sets up the webcam on her laptop, points the webcam towards the TV screen, and we both get to watch and comment on it together. I have to admit that this ingenious idea was my friend’s and not mine, but as I don’t have anyone else near me who watches it, doing it this way gives me a sense of being part of a team.
EM: How did you find out about the show, have you always watched Guiding Light or was it the Otalia storyline that brought you to the show? Do you watch other storylines on Guiding Light?
Siobhan (Wales): Before January I had never heard of Guiding Light! Blasphemous, I know! But we just don’t get U.S. soaps over in the U.K. I was drawn into Otalia after seeing a couple of articles on afterellen.com. The humor in the story really appealed to me, as it’s too frequently missing from TV soaps and dramas. Crystal Chappell should do stand up!
After a month or so of watching JUST Otalia clips I decided to make the effort to watch the rest of the show. I’m so glad I did. There are some fantastic stories and characters, a great deal of humor. Special shout-out to my favorite Springfield crazy- Edmund! I love him!
Bonnie (England): I hadn’t even heard of Guiding Light until early this year, which was when my partner and one of our friends started talking about the Otalia storyline. So I had a sketchy idea of what it was about, but daytime soap operas have a bit of a reputation in this country for being kind of cheesy, so I resisted watching for a long time. I am more of a documentaries and news kinda girl, so it takes a lot for me to really get invested in a fictional storyline. It wasn’t until my partner showed me a screencap from one of the episodes where Emma runs away, probably because she knew it would tug on my maternal heartstrings; that I decided it might be something I could watch. They looked like a really sweet little family unit and that really appealed to me. I just happened to be unwell the following weekend and Claire sat me down with a blanket, made me lots of cups of tea, and I agreed to sit through eight months’ worth of Otalia clips dating back to last autumn. I was hooked after about thirty minutes, though I didn’t actually know anything about the relationship, and it was a surprise to me when the “My Two Mommies” clips came up. I didn’t know things would start to turn romantic. Now we’re working our way through the rest of their history from the Gus days and are almost caught up on all things Otalia.