Monday, September 18, 2006

That's Entertainment!

There was this big "expose" last week about lonelygirl15 and the fact that she wasn't really a homeschooled 16-year-old named Bree living in small town America. She is actually a 19-year-old actor named Jessica performing scenes created by three California guys in their late 20s.

I hadn't heard of the YouTube based project until the "controversy" warranted enough notoriety to be featured in the LA Times. Apparently some fans of the ongoing lonelygirl15 series were shocked, SHOCKED, to find out the melodrama of Bree, her friend Daniel, and her controlling parents were fabricated. They weren't even truthy. They were well-scripted lies. How dare someone post fake video diaries on the internets? If something's online, it has to be true, right?

To see what all the hubbub was about, I watched about half of Bree's videos this weekend. I liked them. Their entertainment value wasn't diminished by the fact that they aren't "real." I appreciated how the writing, the acting and the mis-en-scene were carefully crafted to suck viewers in to Bree's world, making them question who she is, where she lives, and what creepy religion her family practices. It's kind of like Lost, except shorter, and with a better chance of me watching an episode. (I lived on a strange island for 13 years; I don't need to watch the guy from Party of Five do it every week.)

My point is, I don't care that lonelygirl15 isn't real. This isn't some James Frey fraud perpetrated on the public. Additionally, I didn't care that A Million Little Pieces wasn't "real" either. Memoir or fiction, I wasn't going to read the book anyway. People who are mad that Bree isn't someone just like them have way too much time on their hands. I would understand the anger of the views if the creators of the project had their actor asking for help or something serious like that. But they didn't. Like all good television producers, they crafted a fantasy world that captured the attention of their viewers. For those people who are so concerned about individuals lying to them through some media outlet, I have a better target for their attention: "Journalists," like ballroom dancer Tucker Carlson and loofah/falafel enthusiast Bill O'Reilly who spout falsifications on a daily basis on national airwaves and call it "News."

No comments: