After months of innuendo, longing glances, and sexual tension-filled conversations on porches over ice cream, Olivia (Crystal Chappell) finally confessed her love to her roommate Natalia (Jessica Leccia) yesterday on Guiding Light (CBS) — just as Natalia prepared to marry Frank (Frank Dicopoulos), a man she likes a lot, but doesn’t quite love.
If you don’t know the backstory on these two (nicknamed "Otalia"), here’s the short version: Former rivals who didn’t get along, Natalia and Olivia became friends when they ended up living together after Natalia’s husband died and donated his heart to Olivia. (Yes, Olivia is walking around with the actual heart of the husband of the woman she loves inside of her. Hey, it’s a soap: transplants happen.)
Natalia (Jessica Leccia), left, and Olivia (Crystal Chappell)
Natalia helped care for Olivia and her daughter, Emma, and the three became a family of sorts — which was insinuated to be a different sort of family (and by "different" I mean "gay") by the town mayor, Doris (Orlagh Cassidy), when young Emma did a presentation about her two mommies at school.
Doris (Orlagh Cassidy)
A shocked Natalia and Olivia denied they were more than friends (which was true at the time; neither woman had ever had romantic feelings for another woman before), but Olivia finally realized she did, in fact, have more than platonic feelings for Natalia, and Doris turned out to be a closeted lesbian who became Olivia’s support system during her coming-out process.
While Olivia has slowly come to terms with her feelings for Natalia, Natalia has been less willing to acknowledge her feelings for Olivia, even to herself — in large part because she’s having difficulty reconciling her attraction to Olivia with her Catholic beliefs, and because she’s worried about what other people will think, especially her son Rafe (E.J. Bonilla), who was just released from prison (long story).
Although there was that one time in the hospital when Natalia almost kissed a pretending-to-sleep Olivia…
When Natalia’s friend Frank proposed to her, Olivia encouraged Natalia to accept — even though she obviously doesn’t really want Natalia to marry him — because Frank’s a decent guy and she doesn’t think Natalia can handle a lesbian relationship.
All caught up now? Me neither. But here’s the big deal about this week: after months of subtext and sexual tension, Olivia finally told Natalia "I’m in love with you!" yesterday. Here’s the scene immediately following, in which Olivia expands on her feelings, and Natalia not-very-successfully pretends not to feel the same way:
Olivia’s speech is one of those grand, emoting, self-sacrificing confessions of love that you only tend to hear on daytime TV, but it’s delivered well, and is true to the storyline that has been building for months.
Naturally, the speech prompted Natalia to … go forward with the marriage anyway. At least for now.
But with Olivia’s confession heavy on Natalia’s mind, her nagging doubts about marrying Frank, and the meddling Doris now officiating the wedding, will the wedding actually happen?
I don’t know, but I suspect not, which begs the question: How exactly will the wedding be stopped? Will Olivia make a public plea to Natalia mid-ceremony? Will Doris "accidentally" conduct the wedding in German and secretly marry Natalia and Olivia instead?
Will Natalia slip up and say "I take thee, Rachel?" instead of "Frank"? Oops, wrong show. But you get the idea.
More importantly, with Guiding Light scheduled to end it’s multi-decade run on September 18 (CBS chose not to renew it for another season), will there be enough time for a happy ending to this story, and the introduction of the inevitable sperm-donor storyline? Because I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to have the former without the latter — at least, that’s what all the Writing Lesbians for TV manuals say.