Hey there, LonelyGirl ...

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Her name is not Bree, she is not a teenager and she has not been home-schooled by parents who are superstrict and very religious about whatever it is they believe in. And she seems to have more friends than her film-editor pal Daniel. The YouTube phenom LonelyGirl15 is actually just another aspiring actress. The New York Times' Virginia Heffernan last week revealed her real name is Jessica Rose, and she is a "20-something" graduate of the New York Film Academy who hails from New Zealand and Los Angeles.

The unmasking follows the creators' online confession that the LonelyGirl15 saga was not the work of two teenage friends killing time, but a collaborative effort to tell a story. A Sept. 3 "press conference" from YouTube user Lonesome October, hosted by Bree's mascot, Purple Monkey, also made it clear that the LonelyGirl story was a fictitious one.

If you haven't caught up to the 4-month-old saga by now, you clearly have not been paying sufficient attention to the new pop-culture byways. YouTube, it seems, is no longer the home of all of teenage America's funniest home videos. It's a platform for a new narrative form.

With over 30,000 subscribers to her channel, the LonelyGirl shorts, which have racked up nearly 5.2 million video views, attracted an audience that had to put some work into seeking out this beautiful young brainiac testing her wings by posting videos without her parents' knowledge. Bree-who is custom-built nerd bait with her sweetly delivered monologues referencing everything from Richard Feynman to the Coriolis effect-could turn out to be the first bonafide Web 2.0 star.

Since the unmasking, YouTube reaction has ranged from extremely angry and profane to pleas to Bree/Jessica to continue posting. The creators, identified as budding screenwriters and filmmakers Ramesh Flinders and Miles Beckett, have set up a website for LonelyGirl to live on and give us the end of the story. But somehow Watercooler thinks pulling the saga off YouTube will mean it could lose the bit that made it fascinating: the real-time reactions of a very large and very involved audience.
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