For readers who just checked out the great interview I just posted with Destini, the leader of the Otalia online community, thanks for stopping by! I just wanted to add my own two cents about the story, and why I think it’s so successful.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was a bit concerned about how it would all play out, mostly because viewers have been burned so many times with insta-romances and 180-degree personality changes. But the execution story has been flawless every step of the way.
Video courtesy of Destini and the Otalia YouTube channel
And though the show’s initial, and official response to inquiries – e.g., “This is not being presented as a lesbian storyline,” raised eyebrows and some ruffles, it makes complete sense now. It was genius to take this approach – by just telling this as a love story between two characters, it underscores the universal qualities of love.
It’s like hearing the lyrics to a song; it’s allowing the audience – the people seeing and hearing this narrative piece of art – interpret it in their own way and relate to it from their own point of view.
And though it may seem on the surface that not labeling it as a lesbian love story is a disservice to the story – or even a sign of shame about it – it’s quite the contrary. I think it shows – in a far more tangible way than any other story in recent memory – what LGBT people have been trying to tell voters and judges in their states – love is love.
I love that it’s a very basic, classic love story. And Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia have mad, mad chemistry together. This may sound odd, but their energy together – the sparks and the tension between them – reminded me of another couple, and I finally realized who it was: Roger and Holly.
No, these characters are by no means the same characters, or in the same situations. But Olivia’s tension and anxiety reminded me a bit of Roger. Natalia sees Olivia for who she really is, just as Roger only ever let his mask down and let himself be truly vulnerable around Holly. And Natalia has Holly’s warmth and sexiness (with a lot less neurosis).
One last point – I think the response to this has been so positive because this is new territory. Like the best of the Nuke story, it’s a traditional story told with people we’ve not necessarily seen in our fictional worlds before. I think in a time where fans are bored to tears with the same-old, same-old and can practically recite the dialogue before it happens, it’s great to see a story that actually creates tension for the audience – and leaves them wanting.
Now, I’m not saying new-for-the-sake-of-new is always a great thing. (See under: cloning, walking through paintings, anything prefaced with “this has never been done on daytime before!!!!!!111111!!!!!!!!) But Otalia is an example of the reality I’m always hoping to see – two real, relatable people who care about each other and are involved in each other’s lives. In a messy, complicated way that draws us in, of course!
And more than anything, we know that Natalia and Olivia are falling for each other because of what we see. Finally, a soap is following one of the cardinal rules of drama:
Show us, don’t tell us.
All My Children told us that Reese and Bianca were in love, but showed us Reese kissing Zach – a complete disconnect.
GL has used the word lesbian sparsely, but they show us the love between Olivia and Natalia every time we see them together.