I was under the impression that after lonelygirl15 was outed as a fictional character, she would sink into YouTube’s murky depths. After all, once the series’ central premise — that it’s a putatively real and spontaneous videoblog — is no longer tenable, what would be the point of going on? Surprisingly, the series has not only pressed on, but it’s actually gotten more interesting since it dropped the pretense of reality.

It’s not just that the producers have been able to develop more of a plot now that they’re free of the need to color within the lines of viewers’ credulity. No longer obliged to seem completely truthy, they can now use tools that people have been using for a century to make produced, fictional images seem more real than reality itself. Multiple scenes and background music are not something you encounter too much in real life (unless you’re prone to blackouts and humming to yourself), but they’re deeply ingrained into the videographic language we all learn to speak at an early age.

The edits and audio have a slightly sloppy feel to them, but that’s all right. Videoblogging is as much an aesthetic as it is a form; webcams and rough cuts serve to reinforce the illusion that you’re watching something that was made on the fly to express something personal, even private. Even when the characters aren’t real, things like this can make them seem more true.