Why Bree's Death on 'LonelyGirl15' is Different

By 08/06/2007
Why Bree's Death on 'LonelyGirl15' is Different

Daniel, Jonas, Sarah, Taylor, and Spencer were on a rescue mission to find their friend.

Sarah and Taylor at first wanted to bail. Daniel got into a car crash. They all escaped from an occultist “Watcher”. Spencer’s vial of lonelygirl-saving serum broke. A musical jingle uncovered a hidden, underground hospital. Jonas got stabbed and Daniel presumably killed Jonas’ stabber. Oh…and Bree died.


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 “After more than a year and 260 episodes, 16-year old Bree, the main character on the Web drama LonelyGirl15 (Tilzy.TV page) was killed off Friday at the hands of the religious cult that had chased her for the life-giving qualities of her rare blood type,” reports the Associated Press. In her final moments captured on camera, Bree lays unconscious and dying on a hospital bed while her blood intravenously flows into one of the cult’s elders.

When asked if she minded not having a more dramatic death scene, Jessica Lee Rose, the actor who plays Bree on the show, told AP, “I didn’t want it to be over the top or cheesy.”

A slightly laughable answer considering the series revolved around a homeschooled girl vacillating between being intimately involved with and evading a worldwide, underground, deadly Satanic order. But Virginia Heffernan says, “you shouldn’t be cynical about the dead too soon after they’re gone…and you should never be cynical about LonelyGirl15,” so I’ll stop there.

Besides, Bree wasn’t just your ordinary soap opera heroine. She meant something different.

In part it had a lot to do with the duplicitous nature of the show. It took roughly two months from Bree’s first appearance on YoutTube before viewers figured out that the quirky, overprotected, post-pubescent teen might be “fake”, and within that time she developed a strong network of friends, sympathetic to a real person’s troubling situation. 

But it had more to do with the medium. Bree’s story was told through the small screen of a personal videoblog, where, like thousands of other videobloggers, she disclosed intimate details about her life, solicited help, and interacted with those willing to listen.

LonelyGirl15 marks one of the latest steps in McLuhan’s technological path where the medium is the message.  True fans cared more about Bree than they do about the death of fictional characters in TV, film, or theater because of the intimacy they shared with her. Bree showed herself to the world through a personal webcam and fans most likely watched alone on their latptops or personal computers, creating a new type of personal entertainment experience that’s perhaps more emotionally engaging and endearing than anything before it.

Am I sad that Bree’s gone? No, but I wasn’t her biggest fan. Still, I can relate to those who are. I was much more sad to see Ze Frank’s tenor end than I was to hear about Deadwood being cancelled. Granted, Ze’s videoblog (Tilzy.TV page) was based in reality as opposed to the fictional Breeniverse of LonelyGirl15, but the comparison still works on some level. 

For those that were fans of Bree, try not to be upset for too long. Jessica Rose has a budding career ahead of her, and Daniel and Jonas still have more girls to save in Season 2 of LG15 and the UK-based spin-off Kate Modern. Surely, there will be more super cute teens running from the occult to adore.


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