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Jane (Scotland): I came to the show via AfterEllen.com. I clicked on a link and the rest is history! I was immediately struck by the quality of the writing and acting. I’m very interested in same-sex representation on TV. Having said that, I’ve been drawn in by the whole show and watch the entire episode whenever possible; I’ve caught up with the characters and back stories via the web.
Rita (Ireland): I believe I found out about Guiding Light back in early January 2009 on the After Ellen website, around the time of the “My Two Mommies” presentation, and the kiss that occurred between Olivia and Natalia, played by the two actresses, Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia respectively. I have to say that I was initially a bit skeptical of the story, because of the religious aspect to it, but I kept watching it, and it wasn’t long until I was hooked and totally invested in the Otalia storyline.
Whilst I mainly watch the show for the Otalia storyline, I have become interested in other characters that have become involved in the Otalia storyline in one way or another. Orlagh Cassidy, who plays the Mayor, Doris Wolfe had a pivotal role in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve come to enjoy watching her on screen. I think it was a stroke of genius to have Doris come out, as it not only gave Olivia the opportunity to have someone to talk to, which allowed us to better understand where Olivia was in her thought process, but Doris also provided much needed humor during some very intense scenes. I hope that the writers continue to use Doris more, as the Otalia storyline unfolds.
Needless to say, one couldn’t talk about the Otalia storyline, and not mention Emma, played by the adorable Jacqueline Tsirkin, as it was her presentation “My Two Mommies” that started Olivia and Natalia question their feelings for one another.
Although, as I mentioned above, I haven’t been long viewing Guiding Light, but I did take the opportunity one weekend to watch old clips from early 2008, which has given me a better understanding of Olivia and Natalia who they were, and how they came to be at the place they are at now.
Frank Dicopoulos who plays Frank Cooper has also been pivotal to the Otalia storyline, and as he has become the character that we all love to hate, says to me that he has played his part well. I think his chat with Buzz on the day of the wedding where he talks about being the third wheel at a couples table was so moving, and made me feel sorry for the character for the first time.
Although, I haven’t seen much of Phillip Spaulding, played by the actor, Grant Aleksander, I am interested to see what the writers have in mind for him.
EM: What are you thoughts on the show (the storyline, the writing, the actresses)?
Siobhan (Wales): The show gets better every time I tune in, that is why news of the cancellation made me pretty angry. I am so fed up with seeing the same average television, both here in the UK and in the US. I feel as if shows that take risks are always at a disadvantage because people have forgotten how to watch something “different”. My biggest gripe is talk of the production model. This is a similar production model to all UK soaps, and many dramas. We love the hand held! This new model is the future and Ellen Wheeler should have been praised endlessly for taking that risk and learning on the job.
They couldn’t have filmed the graveyard and gazebo scenes if it hadn’t been for the hand held. Those scenes were almost poetic in the way that they were shot. I can’t think of a more perfect setting to complement the acting and writing. Whoever chose those locations and told God to start a blizzard should get an award!
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a relationship, same-sex or otherwise, so beautifully and realistically written as Otalia. I love the slow build…it’s so painful and tense. The characters have so much depth and we on BPD can analyze everything to death!
There are no words for how good these actresses are. They can blow me out of the water without even having dialogue. Crystal and Jessica have been amazing to their fans. The fact that they have taken time to talk to us and to e-mail us…it makes me warm and fuzzy inside! Jessica must have a laptop permanently glued to her!
Speaking of Jessica, I have been eating a really large crow for the past fortnight because I was convinced that they would not get as far as a wedding. I based my entire theory upon the fact that they would never put a six month pregnant Jessica in a wedding dress! Not only did they stick her in a wedding dress but they made her run and then stand out in a blizzard! Cruel…
Bonnie (England): It’s kind of strange to have watched so many hours worth of Otalia footage in such a short space of time, as obviously I haven’t had the same build-up that the US viewers have had over the past year or so, but I’m definitely getting that now I’m having to wait for new episodes! Still, it feels like I’ve been watching these two characters for years. I’ve still seen the progression of the relationship. What I find incredible is that the characters have grown so much, yet have somehow managed to stay consistent. The writing is remarkable, as is the acting, and I can’t fault either. Jill, Ellen, Crystal and Jessica have put such a huge amount of care into this storyline. I’m just starting to get into the other Guiding Light storylines as well as Otalia, as I’ve only been watching the full episodes for a little while; before that it was just Otalia clips. I can really see myself coming to love the character of Dinah, and the adoption story with Marina and Mallet interests me too.
Since I started to come to terms with my sexuality back in the 1990s, I’ve watched pretty much every TV show or film storyline which has featured women falling in love with women. I think it’s natural to seek out media representation of your own situation in a world where the “default” type of romantic relationship is still being shown as a man and a woman. Olivia and Natalia are coming at this relationship from a very different angle to what we’ve seen before, and I think that’s so refreshing. Everything is being done differently to how same-sex relationships are usually tackled in film and television, and it’s really working. The writing is incredible.