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Why Jenny Banks From Ordinary Joe Looks So Familiar

On "Ordinary Joe," viewers follow the adventures of Joe (James Wolk) through three parallel storylines as he leads lives as a police officer, nurse, and musician. The life changing moment stems from a choice he makes at his high school graduation ceremony. 

While the show was unfortunately cancelled after one season, it still gave a heartwarming and fun ride to the viewers who stuck it through. Aside from the trio of central performances from Wolk, a standout of the show was the character of Jenny. Jenny appears in multiple timelines on the show as love interest for Joe. She's carries some of the most dramatic moments of the narrative, many of which revolve around her and Joe's various efforts to become parents. The impressive performance of the actor playing Jenny holds her own against Wolk's three versions of himself. If binging the show's 13 episodes has left you wondering where you might've seen Jenny before, we've got the answer.

Elizabeth Lail guest starred on Once Upon a Time

Elizabeth Lail is the actor who plays Jenny on "Ordinary Joe." She's been around the block a number of times, especially on television. Her first major role came on ABC's "Once Upon A Time" where she portrayed the live-action version of Anna from the "Frozen" films (via IMDb). She appeared throughout the entirety of season 4, which was broadcast in between the two installments of the animated film franchise and is considered a separate canon in film versus television formats, according to "Frozen" screenwriter Jennifer Lee (via Screen Rant). 

On the series, Lail's Anna journeys through the central town of Storybrooke where fairytales collide. She's on a quest to save her sister Elsa (Georgina Haig) from giving up her ice queen powers to a new, wicked witch-type, Ingrid (Elizabeth Mitchell). The role is one of her only fantasy projects and gave Lail a fair amount of comedic material to work with.

Although some fans on the "Once Upon a Time" subreddit have found the overall half-season "Frozen" storyline to be one of the show's more lackluster entries, reactions to Lail's portrayal of Anna remained overwhelmingly positive. Either way the performance garnered Lail enough attention to propel her to bigger television projects in the coming years, as she popped up in episodes of "The Blacklist" and "The Good Fight" in 2017 and 2018 respectively (via IMDb).

Elizabeth Lail's villainous turn on Dead of Summer

Elizabeth Lail reteamed with the creators and a writer of "Once Upon a Time" in 2016 for the short-lived series "Dead of Summer" (via IMDb). 

"Dead of Summer" took cues from classic '80s slasher films like "Friday the 13th" and "Sleepaway Camp" to tell the story of Camp Stillwater. This time Lail had a starring role as Amy Hughes, a counselor at the midwestern summer camp where dark mythological entities awaken when the camp is reopened in the late 1980s. 

With the role, Lail was able to take on a scream queen character headfirst, which would be echoed in later projects. Amy first appears to be a naive young adult who simply wants to have a fun summer alongside her crush, fellow counselor Alex. However, she's the perfect match for a demonic entity haunting the ground of Camp Stillwater, Malphas, and her body is possessed by it. She quickly becomes a leading antagonist of the series and begins a murderous rampage the other counselors have to stop or die trying to.

Unfortunately, the show was cancelled by ABC Family not long after the channel rebranded itself FreeForm (via Deadline). While Lail was not about to return to the dark, twisted role, a project soon followed that allowed her to embrace many of the same eerie emotions.

Elizabeth Lail played Beck on Netflix's YOU

Netflix's hit series "YOU," based on the bestselling novel by Caroline Kepnes, featured Elizabeth Lail as protagonist Guinevere Beck. While later seasons only featured Lail in flashbacks or other fleeting visions, she was the grounding force of the first season. Beck is a struggling author who enters into a seemingly innocent relationship with bookstore owner Joe (Penn Badgley) around the time of a serious personal tragedy. The thriller takes some dark turns, giving Lail great material to work with and show her impressive range.

"YOU" functions as a mystery, as Beck becomes aware of inconsistencies in Joe's stories of his former girlfriend. In an effort to figure out the truth behind the man she's falling in love with, Beck goes full detective mode, but things backfire and she soon becomes imprisoned and at the mercy of her psychotic boyfriend. While Joe's disturbing behavior is the main attraction of the show to many viewers, it's Beck's charming personality and heartbreaking story that anchored the first season in viewers' minds.

Season 1 of "YOU" was 10 episodes long, ramping up the tension with each passing minute, and fans ate it up. Although Netflix doesn't release viewership data for many of its titles, the streamer touted over 40 million viewers of season one, has released two more seasons, and is gearing up for a fourth, which has already been filmed, though it likely won't feature Lail in any way.

Elizabeth Lail also featured on Gossip Girl

Elizabeth Lail has seemingly cemented herself as part of television's next generation after being featured in the first season of HBO Max's relaunched "Gossip Girl." The series serves as follow-up to the show which originally ran on The CW in the early 2000s, starring now A-listers such as Blake Lively, Kristen Bell, and even Lail's eventual "YOU" co-star Penn Badgley.

In the 2021 show Lail portrays Lola. Lola first appears in a nightclub scene in episode 3 "Lies Wide Shut" and has a perfectly hilarious reveal involving puns and the gay hookup app Scruff. After protagonist Julien Calloway (Jordan Alexander) discovers Lola is the secret girlfriend of her father, Davis (Luke Kirby), she forces him to begin living more openly, allowing Lola to continually pop up throughout the rest of the season. 

While certainly a minor character in the overall show, it's still impressive just how versatile of an actor Lail is in a small supporting role. Some reviewers were quick to point out that given the similarities of Lail's characters in "Gossip Girl" and "YOU" and Badgley's relationship with both shows, Lola is almost a continuation or alternative version of Guinevere Beck from "YOU" (via Decider).