When Google made the deal to purchase YouTube last week for $1.6 billion, one of the key components in the latter’s value must have been the ongoing lonelygirl15 video series. The lonelygirl15 videos, which began appearing last June, are probably YouTube’s most notable hit, producing a total of more than 15 million viewings.
The videos are purportedly the videoblog diary of Bree, a home-schooled 16 year old girl, residing apparently somewhere in the suburbs of Southern California. The series eventually included supplementary video commentaries from Bree’s boyfriend Daniel (Danielbeast), and has reached, as of October 17th, a total of 53 individual episodes.
The earliest videos simply featured the very pretty, very young Bree interacting with her stuffed animals, performing music parodies, or simply mugging for the camera. But, before very long, a plot line gradually began to emerge. It became evident that Bree’s family was unusually religious, which accounted for her home schooling, and Bree was involved in peculiar studies and preparations for some upcoming ceremony.
The questionable character of the family’s religion grew increasingly evident, as Bree’s activities and secrecy began to strain her relationship with Daniel, and as viewers began to recognize the picture of Aleister Crowley on her bedroom wall.
As early as mid-July, a number of YouTube viewers began to notice the professional execution of the lonelygirl15 videos, and the emergence of a story arc. Rumors began to fly in fan circles that lonelygirl15 was really a brilliantly conceived and executed promotional teaser for an upcoming television program, film, or game.
Increasing interest led to detective work by lonelygirl fans exposing a variety of commercial clues, including a registered trademark.
On September 12th, a number of sources announced that the identity of the actress playing Bree had been discovered to be Jessica Lee Rose.
The following day, the exposure of the lonelygirl15 videos as fiction made the national news. Example: AP
We had often seen links for the lonegirl videos on YouTube ourselves, but had just been too busy to watch one until very recently. We picked a good time to tune in. Bree has just completed the Ceremony, Daniel is investigating, and Halloween is right around the corner.
It is also convenient to arrive late at this particular party, because the proliferation of fandom has produced helpful viewer guides, numbering the episodes, so that one can watch them in order. LGpedia even provides episodes transcripts, in case one has trouble making out a line of dialogue.
They are definitely amusing, and Jessica Lee Rose, the actress playing Bree, is extremely cute. The 53 episodes range in length from just over a minute to over 4 minutes. My guess is that the whole series runs just a little over two hours, though they will take somewhat longer to watch due to navigation time.
Children of Anchor Cove fan site (named for a casting call discovered on CraigsList)