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EM: How has this story affected you personally?
Siobhan (Wales): This is the first time that I have felt that a same-sex story has reflected back to me what I really feel about life. I always struggled with labels and I have never wanted them. This story made me realize that I don’t need them; that’s not what life is about. For the first time, I realized that I want what Olivia and Natalia have. I want that love and that family and security. I can’t believe someone has managed to slap me in the face and show me that!
I’ve been much happier since watching this show and that’s not just because of Guiding Light. Big Purple Dreams is an amazing community that has an interactive relationship with the show and the actresses. Destini, Mel, Christi and many others work so hard to make that place everything that it is and I can’t thank them enough.
Bonnie (England): It hit me hard! I didn’t know what to do with myself the first week after I got into watching this storyline. Like I said before, I usually just watch documentaries. I wasn’t prepared for the effect this would have on my emotions. Seriously, I said to Claire (Bonnie’s partner), “What have you done to me? What is this? This isn’t like me.” This storyline has had a profound effect on me. I was an emotional wreck when Olivia started to fall in love. It’s so perfectly crafted that the viewer really feels what the characters are feeling. It’s intense. It’s been great for our relationship, though, and I’m glad we can share it, that we can watch this great love story unfold together.
It has also been very touching for us to see a really positive representation of two women raising a child together, as we are in the process of adopting. This is not something that has really been shown on TV much, if at all, and it’s a very real part of many people’s lives. I hope that as Olivia and Natalia’s romance develops, their family life at home with their children will also blossom, and that people will realize that kids don’t need the typical family setup of a mum and a dad to thrive. Personally, some of my favorite scenes are when Olivia and Natalia are just at home, being themselves, doing laundry or stacking the dishes, and getting Emma ready for school. I really identify with that.
Jane (Scotland): It’s just lovely to see a positive same-sex relationship on regular TV – it makes me happy! I’ve also met some very lovely people through the BPD board. I think that’s a very lasting positive result of this story, and one not to be underestimated. The BPD has created a warm, supportive environment for people touched by this story on any level; irrespective of orientation, background or gender.
Rita (Ireland): Well I’m a blubbering wreck of “Otaliaitis” at this stage! I’m sleep deprived because I stay up all hours watching the clips on YouTube. It’s a week on from the whole wedding thing and I still haven’t recovered! I find myself commenting on everything online that has to do with Otalia. I’m putting my name to petitions. I’m allowing myself to be bossed around by some Welsh woman, called “Liz-Lemon” (aka Siobhan) to get things to done to help save Guiding Light. I’m sending postcards to people I don’t even know asking them to listen to my voice. I’m voting for Crystal and Jessica in every poll that is highlighted on the Big Purple Dreams board. I read the play-by-play on a daily basis. I’ve even started putting some animated clips together.
Basically, all I can say is, I’m glad that I’m self employed, and we are currently in a recession, otherwise there wouldn’t be enough hours in a day to feed my Otalia addiction!
EM: Do you feel anything gets lost in translation since it is an American soap opera?
Siobhan (Wales): The emotions and situations are universal, so not trouble on the writing front. Also, we are very used to American shows in the UK. Personally, I watch more U.S. TV than U.K. TV right now.
The format was one thing that took getting used to. You have an enormous amount of adverts, which we find quite frustrating. The BBC has no adverts, and other channels only show a few adverts every 15 minutes.
However, the biggest thing for me was the “re-shoot”. You end a day with one scene, and you open the next day with the same scene having been re-shot. That is ODD! We don’t do that at all in the UK and it confused the hell out of me. I’m still not sure what to think of it.
Bonnie (England): I don’t think we miss out on anything really important, and it’s so easy to ask others if we don’t understand something! Here in Britain, we’re probably more exposed to US TV and films than the other way around, so we’re familiar with all the slang terms and American lingo. We do occasionally miss out on jokes and references to US culture, though. When Olivia says to Natalia that Phillip is “not Captain Kangaroo” I don’t think we really got that, and when Natalia asked Emma if Betsy Ross knew her lines, we thought Betsy must be one of Emma’s friends and wondered why Natalia cared so much! Apart from that, as I said earlier, the format of the show took me a while to get used to, plus the crazy number of ad breaks! Yeah, the ad breaks. We have to pay a TV license here, so we can watch Eastenders with no ad breaks, and even our channels with adverts don’t have as many as you guys have other there. It’s crazy.
Jane (Scotland): Not especially, other than the long heritage GL has in the cultural life of Americans.
Rita (Ireland): The language of love is a universal one, so no, nothing gets lost in translation as far as I’m concerned.