Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thoroughly Post-Modern Bree?: How to Watch Lonelygirl15 Now

a new world view

After taking a sabbatical from Lonelygirl15, Terryfic returns in this guest blog to find that he now views Bree & Co. through a delightful new lens.

by Terryfic

It’s July, and Lonelygirl15 has enchanted me all over again.

But not quite to the point that I’m ready to break out into song.

After a long break from watching LG I have now finally caught up, and despite swearing up and down when I left that I was done with the show for good and that a simple break wouldn’t allow me to enjoy the show again, I have to say – LG15 is the very model of a popular YouTube auteur.

I’m not sure if my break simply reset my fan cycle, and after a few more weeks I will again grow frustrated and disheartened with the show. Or it could just be, that in my summer entertainment-starved state (where I find myself enjoying Dr. Who far too much) my expectations are so low that LG seems wonderful again.

But I think the big difference was my realization that LG isn’t a mystery or drama as it is usually billed: it's a comedy.

As a pure drama it is slow, frustrating, and nonsensical. It would be difficult to argue it wasn’t a complete failure.

As a comedy it is quick witted, snappy, ironic, comically absurd and at times oddly informative.

I rejoined LG at episode 148 – Beach Bum. This was shortly after Jonas was tied up and before Aunt Alex entered the show. About five videos into where I started watching again was the video where Bree goes off and trains with Tachyon. I think it was this video that cemented the idea of LG as a comedy rather than a drama. In it Bree constantly jokes about not being cut out to be a ninja and in general doesn’t take the situation very seriously. She suddenly reminded me of a very post modern character, the kind of person that grew up watching action movies and is aware of how absurd her life has become. The show actually started to remind me a little bit of Bottle Rocket.

Once I changed my point of view about the show and looked at it as a post modern comedy, a lot of my previous gripes suddenly disappeared. It just started to become more and more amusing that the characters didn’t seem to do anything to help their situation or conversely, despite the cryptic clues and ridiculously complex storyline, their only plan of action was to just run in guns blazing with no real plan at all. Jonas and Bree go sight seeing while ‘Action’ Dan (the only one that ever actually does anything) breaks into Alex’s place while joking about it. This all built up to the comic genius which was the kidnapping of Jules, easily one of the funniest episodes in the history of the show. The scene where DB is vlogging and Jules is tied up in the background caused me to almost fall out of my chair laughing.

My new point of view allowed me to not only ignore the absurd, insane actions and motives of the characters, but I began to revel in them. Even the grand question of why are they still making videos suddenly no longer became a problem. LG was a great example of our new post modern technoculture where people no longer write personal correspondence, but instead write mass correspondence. Conversations that use to be private are now done openly via MySpace comments and such. It has even been known for criminals to continue to post on their blogs even while fleeing from the police. I remember how Adrian Lamo famously continued to blog even while the FBI was chasing him for hacking the New York Times. LG has just taken this to its comically absurdist conclusion by still vlogging despite it putting them in obvious danger.

The big problem I see LG facing is the fact that it has become a show without a star. In my opinion Bree was the only character that was able to consistently make captivating solo vlogs. Daniel, Jonas, Sarah and Taylor are all supporting cast, and it looks like the lead has left. I enjoy the ensemble videos, Daniel and Jonas have great chemistry and I Know What Boys Like shows Sarah and Taylor can work quite well together too. But I think the show will always struggle without a strong lead character to rally around.

After all, there is a reason it is called the Breeniverse.


Wow. Thanks to Terryfic for reordering my lg15 world. I can't imagine that at least of some of Terry's observations weren't the product of intentional acts on the part of the Creators. And maybe most of them. However, the Creators haven't been able to let us know, or found a way yet, to explicitly signal to us what they are doing. Maybe they haven't realized it themselves, just as many of us have been stuck in the rut of Bree's bedroom. But Terry's new world order recasts many things long thought to be low points in the Breeniverse, like Bree taking Jonas to the vet for treatment of a major wound to his hand. That makes no sense if you hold lg15 to a standard of strict reality, but in terms of Pulp-Fictioneseque surreality, its actually kinda cool.