INTERVIEW: Guiding Light/Otalia International Following Speak Out

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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.

25 thoughts on “INTERVIEW: Guiding Light/Otalia International Following Speak Out”

  1. This is really wonderful fans love Otalia & GL all over the world, everyone together to save the light! When you believe anything is possible!

  2. Outstanding! So nice to see the international faction getting exposure and showing how deep the fanbase is for Guiding Light as well as how strong the passion is to save the show.

  3. Thanks Tiffany for letting our voices be heard. Thoroughly enjoyed the chat 🙂 Rita (a.k.a. Renville68)

  4. So cool to hear from the international fans! It's a shame CBS doesn't make it easier for them to watch the show on their website. Hopefully, whatever network picks up GL will make more of an effort 🙂

  5. Thank you so much Tiffany! This is a great article (though I may be biased ;-)) – it's good to get the word out that there is lots of international interest in Guiding Light and Otalia. Wonderful! I really enjoyed chatting with you and the girls. 🙂

  6. Great interview! As a member of Team Scandinavia myself, I love the fact that the voices of us international viewers are being heard too.

  7. Thanks Tiffany, this was such a great idea for an article! I have to say as an American fan of GL, part of the most fascinating aspect of the fandom have been the international viewers (and my heart goes out to them with how hard they have to work to see the show!).

    I mean what better barometer toward measuring how extraordinary a program is, when you have it being so appreciated across the globe and how it measures to various local offerings. I feel the same about GL when comparing it to other U.S. soaps and dramas; it feels like its working on a different plane right now, and one can only hope that this global phenom will finally get people to think differently of why this show MUST be saved.

  8. I am one of the international views and can only say one word Otalia!!! The reason I started to watch GL. Love the story, love the acting! Just love being part of that incredible love story. It is a magical experience.

  9. Great article! I love reading about BPD's international contingent. There are so many, spread so far and wide, and they deserve so much love and attention for the efforts they have to make to see the episodes. That's devotion! At least we reward them with the Activia lady.

  10. That was a great interview on both sides! It's great to see Team International get some recognition! We are making a difference, and we must continue to do so! Ten minutes to send an email or write a postcard could do wonders! Team International wants to Keep The Light Shining!

  11. Great article! The international Otalia fans bring so much to the Otalia community. It is good to see them recognized for their devotion. The Big Purple Dreams fansite wouldn't be the same without them!

  12. How wonderful is this! Again such brilliance. The international fans help make it happen in a very big way. Thank you so much for showing how far and how deep this fanbase truly goes

  13. A MASSIVE thank-you to Tiffany for giving us the opportunity to get our voices heard like this. It was great to chat to other international fans and to see the technical viewing troubles that we have in common! I really hope whoever picks up GL will be kind to us and allow us to watch at 3pm with everyone else.
    Thanks again…..the international will keep working hard to help Save Guiding Light.

  14. I just want to say a Big HELLO to our international peeps. Nice to see all of you here. About time someone recognized just how wide spread Otalia is. {CBS, you watchin?} Lifetime, you would be getting a show with a worldwide fanbase. Hooray for you and all of us Otaliafans. Keep watching, keep writing, let's not lose track of our goal. Our goal is, Keep the Light Shining!!!! Have an awesome night!!! Otalia = Big Purple Passion!

  15. Imagine this, I'm from Nicaragua, a little country in the middle of Central America and I'm also watching this show. It's the most beautiful love story I've ever seen on my tv and I had always hated soaps, but GL and Otalia are so good I am hooked…the international fan base is growing every day. i can't believe no one is picking up this show and seeing the enormous potential market it has…*i'm looking at u, lifetime* IT CANNOT go off the air…please!!!!!!

  16. Another great article! BPD is truly a community for all! Thanks again for highlighting BPD and Guiding Light!

  17. A big thanks for the great interview, from a Belgian Team International member! BPD is really a very special place, the positivity, love, respect and purpleness rub off on everyone who visits it. It's the people who are in it that make our living room what it is, but I believe it's also the living room that makes the people, even if it's just for a small part. I have been very excited to see the international fan base grow every single day..I have been glued to my screen ever since I started watching GL 4 months ago (though it seems more like a year to me..) and to be able to share laughter, love, angst and fangirlyness with so many people…It's amazing to feel so connected.

  18. Fantastic article and it was good to hear from some of our international viewers. I love their comments about American tv.

  19. Great article! I'm part of Team International (Finland) and I do wish that the show would be more accessible to international viewers, but where there is will, there is a way and this is a true testiment to that. I'd actually be willing to pay a monthly fee to get access to it wherever the show might end up at, to see the show the same time everyone else does, commercials and all. Do you hear me, P&G/Lifetime/etc.?! I AM WILLING TO PAY to see Guiding Light online!!!!!!! Make it happen, please 🙂

    Thank you Tiffany for this article, really!

    And what comes to advertisement… some products are internationally available, like Activia so not all go to waste. We might not have Jamie Lee Curtis as our Activia Lady, but we do have the product in our stores so … there you go. Message received 🙂

  20. Great Article!! Its good to show that Guiding Light has a worldwide fanbase! I would also be willing to pay to be able to watch it online, and I'm sure that nowadays it would be possible to have the advertising be specific for the country of witch the viewer is from?? Something to maybe think about P&G/Lifetime/etc.??? S-thur, proud member of Team The Netherlands!

  21. We at BPD love our international fans!! It really brings to light how far-reaching the Otalia storyline is, and how much of a positive impact is being made. It is so much fun interacting with such a diverse group! If you haven't checked out Bonnie and Scooby with their 'Brit Girls Do' Otalia run-down, it is a MUST! Thanks, Tiffany, for another fun interview! Keep the Light shining!

  22. International fan here (Scotland) I fell in Love with GL,due to Otalia clips from YT, I have watched as many clips as possible past romances, deaths, fights all the drama you could ask for in a great soap. I hope they Keep the Light Shining it is so worth it

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