INTERVIEW: Guiding Light/Otalia International Following Speak Out

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Rita (Ireland): First, as I am unable to view the complete show through the CBS site, due the fact that I live outside of the United States, I can only really comment on the Otalia storyline. Whilst I now reside in Ireland, I have lived in England, Germany and Austria, and I have to say, that this is without doubt, the best written love story that I have ever seen on TV daytime or otherwise. The incredible care and dedication that has been given to this story by both the writers and the actors involved is clearly evident. The writing in my opinion has been flawless to date, and the two main actresses, Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia, have given Emmy award winning performances.

When it was first suggested that they were going to tell a non-gendered specific love story, I was fairly skeptical that they wouldn’t be able to pull it off. But I’m more than happy to say that I was wrong on this occasion. The slow burn of this blossoming romance between Olivia and Natalia has been a privilege to watch. The pace has been perfect as both characters deal with their feelings and with their own “baggage”.

What the writers have succeeded in doing with this storyline is groundbreaking, and history in the making. Not only is this a non-gendered specific love story, but it is a love story that is totally believable.

EM: Do you think everyone involved has a responsibility to the gay and lesbian community when telling this story and if so are they succeeded with that responsibility?

Siobhan (Wales): I would rather that the writers and actors of Guiding Light didn’t over-think their responsibility for fear that it would effect what they are already doing. I don’t want it to feel forced, I want them to write what’s true for the characters.

Ordinarily I would never say this. Too many TV shows have showed too little respect for their audience in the name of apparent “creativity”, but these writers have managed to show nothing but respect to their LGBT audience by staying true to their characters and their vision. I have complete faith that they will continue to do so; nothing so far has made me think otherwise.

Bonnie (England): I don’t think feelings of responsibility should really come into it. They shouldn’t have to worry about that as they’re telling a love story, plain and simple, and it’s playing out in a true-to-life, very realistic way. I do think, however, that visibility is important, and showing two women in this particular kind of loving, happy relationship, which is what we will hopefully see eventually, can only be a good thing for the gay and lesbian community. This soap seems to have a lot of long time viewers who won’t have seen anything like this in the history of the show. The storyline has been handled with a huge amount of respect. This has never been done before, at least as far as I can remember, and certainly not in this way. I find it completely believable, and I trust the writers and actresses to do this well. I don’t think people, particularly those the LGBT community; need to be worried about what they’re doing with this.

Jane (Scotland): I may be in the minority here, but I do think a certain responsibility comes with telling a “girl on girl” love story. I wish it wasn’t the case, and it may not be some years down the line, but presently, same-sex romances on TV are still “an issue”. How they’re portrayed directly influences the opinion of people who have little or no experience of homosexual relationships. I think the GL producers, writers and actors are doing an amazing job with the Otalia storyline. The slow-build helps in this, but the whole approach has been one of care and respect – it’s not a “ratings grabber” or a scandalous exercise aimed at titillation. The actors are portraying the relationship as a simple love story – of course their obvious chemistry helps – but it’s their focus on love, romance and family that makes the burgeoning relationship so believable.

Rita (Ireland): The Otalia storyline has been put forward as a non-gendered specific love story. I think that as the storyline is being told in such a positive way, that it can only have a positive impact on the LGBT community. I think the writers have a duty to continue telling this love story in the way that they have been, and that that should be their priority.

EM: How is this different from other shows in the United States and UK?

Siobhan (Wales): For me, the main difference at the moment is the quality of the writing for the Otalia story line. It’s been so realistic and well thought out. I can’t think of another example from either side of the pond. No one takes the time to invest in and develop their characters any more. I hope other shows learn from this story; this is how you do it!

Bonnie (England): Guiding Light is the only US soap I have ever watched, so I can’t really compare it to others, but it is quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It took me a while to get used to the style of it; though that was more down to the way it was filmed than the storylines or the acting. The first time I saw an outdoors scene on Guiding Light after a few hours of watching indoors scenes was refreshing. I like the outdoors scenes; most of our soaps in the UK have a lot of outdoors scenes and not so many indoors scenes. I can’t think of anything we have in the UK which is quite the same sort of style as Guiding Light. Our soap operas tend to be shown during the evening, after dinner, and daytime soap operas aren’t really that popular here. British soaps are generally quite gritty, particularly Eastenders, and there are a lot of close-ups of people looking really, really rough. No soft tone filters here!

Jane (Scotland): As I mentioned before, just the slow pace of the storytelling sets it apart. I can’t think of comparable example on TV at the moment; that and the consistently good writing and acting.

Rita (Ireland): The main difference that this storyline has over other storylines that I know of in the UK or Ireland; is the length of time that has been given over to developing it. This storyline started back in early 2008 and it has been built up slowly and steadily since then. On the other hand, Home & Away, which is an Australian soap, is currently running a lesbian storyline, has shown them in a space of a few weeks, kiss and declare their undying love for each other!

One thing that I have noticed from reading comments is that some people were unhappy about the fact that the writers allowed things to get as far as the wedding day before Natalia came to her senses. And whilst, I would secretly have liked that too, I think because the writing is so good, we forget temporarily that it is a SOAP that we are watching, and therefore there has to be some elements of “soapness” involved so in that aspect, it is similar to our soaps here on this side of the pond. If something major is going to happen, you can be sure it will be at a wedding, funeral, or christening!

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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