COUPLE: Olivia Spencer & Natalia Rivera Aitoro
SHOW: GUIDING LIGHT
Olivia: Crystal Chappell
Natalia: Jessica Leccia
Olivia was suffering from a heart condition and needed a new heart. After the death of Natalia's husband, Gus, Olivia received his heart and a new lease on life. Olivia moved into Natalia's farmhouse where she recuperated with Natalia becoming her assistant and helping to take care of Olivia's daughter, Emma (fathered by Phillip Spaulding). The two women slowly grew closer. It was Emma's "My Two Mommies" report for school that finally made them realize how others were perceiving them and how much they had grown to love each other.
The outpouring of passionate fan support was huge, and from all over the world. Similar to Luke and Noah from AS THE WORLD TURNS, the story felt incomplete because viewers only got to see it go so far, but unlike that story, "Otalia" was a slow burn, an old school, falling in love tale that took a year to develop. It epitomized the best of GUIDING LIGHT's new production model and brought new fans to the soap (and daytime television), although sadly not many that were part of the Nielsen sample. Despite the Nielsens, the show did garner a lot new media coverage due to the storyline and was suddenly near the top of the Yahoo Buzz TV Rankings. That's one thing GUIDING LIGHT had not had in years: buzz.
By the time this played out in 2008 and 2009, daytime soap operas had long done away with taking time to play out nuances of a love story, and obviously it had never been done with two women who were previously only with men with this level of detail. This was the best-written same sex story in daytime soap opera history. By the time GUIDING LIGHT went off the air, Olivia and Natalia were firmly established as a loving family accepted by Springfield. The impact on people watching the show and being personally affected by the story is immeasurable.
Crystal Chappell gave the performance of her career during this storyline, and it inspired her to create VENICE, which has set the indie soap world on fire since late 2009.
From Patrick Erwin (A THOUSAND OTHER WORLDS): We can talk about the fact that this couple was controversial and provocative because they were two women falling for each other. And we can complain about the lack of a kiss or any real affection (with network interference the likely culprit). But at the end of the day, this was the most classic of all soap stories: two people falling deeply in love and struggling to come to terms with the conflict between their hearts and their heads. For one brief moment, soaps dropped the insta-romance and gave us a beautiful slow burn of a love story.
- Emma's "My Two Mommies" stirs up controversy at school
- Olivia kisses Natalia
- Natalia's non-wedding to Frank
- Olivia confesses her true feelings at Gus's grave
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