The definition of celebrity has changed. Once it took a famous or infamous life to get the attention of the world. Now all you need is a camera and an online channel willing to show the footage.
VH1 goes into the shallow end of the celebrity pool for its latest series, “Barely Famous.” It follows Erin and Sara Foster, the daughters of Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster.
The sisters play heightened versions of themselves in this tale of siblings trying to shoot a reality show. Here, Erin and Sara answer questions about their version of reality.
Is this a serious reality show?
Erin Foster: It’s not a reality show. It’s really just a comedy. None of the situations are from our real life. It’s all improved, and it’s all there for jokes, and it’s all really to poke fun at the culture of reality shows. And it’s not a mean-spirited humor at anything specific. It’s just the culture we live in and the shows that we love to watch.
Sara Foster: The reality sort of stops and starts with “I am Sara, she is Erin Foster, and I’m an actress and she’s a writer,” and that’s where it’s at.
How not famous or barely famous are your characters?
SF: Well, Erin is zero famous on the show.
EF: Yeah. I’m like, “try me.” Sara is at least a little bit famous. I’m just desperately trying.
SF: I milk really hard that I was on “90210” for five seasons. I milk it really hard.
Why are D-list celebrities so funny?
EF: I think that anyone who is on the edge, on the verge kind of famous but not really relevant, is just really fun to play with because it’s like you’ve had all of this notoriety at one point in your life, and then now maybe nobody knows who you are, and you are desperately trying to seek, like, get that back. I think that’s fun territory.
SF: I think the desperation to be famous is fascinating.
What happens if you really get famous?
SF: I doubt it.
EF: I don’t really see that happening for us. We are going to, like, chill in this vibe for a while. I don’t think it really matters because we are playing girls who are going to continue on the same journey. I think that even once someone is famous, they still experience the ridiculousness of Los Angeles and the culture of Hollywood – just from a different perspective.
Why do you think reality shows are popular?
EF: I think that we have such a voyeuristic sensibility now that the obsession with watching people in their real lives, and they are candid, and they are sort of caught off guard – there’s so much content there. I think that we just wanted to find a way to try to make a smart version of that. And obviously, if people are insatiable for that kind of content, we came up with a show that would hopefully give that to them and also have a little bit of, you know, fun in the process.
How much is written and how much is improvised?
SF: We were really lucky to populate this show with celebrities that are all seasoned actors. My assistant, my publicist, my manager, they are all comedians.
EF: Sometimes the stuff you come up with in the moment turns out to be better, because you just have a seed of an idea. Let’s film Sara after getting a spray tan, and we’ll blur her out, and it will look like she’s naked, and it will be funny. And then once you are in it, you come up with more jokes that you didn’t see coming. So I think a lot of stuff that landed is really improv at the moment.
SF: For instance, that started with we all think it’s insane in Los Angeles how everyone has an assistant. I mean, literally, you have no job, but you have an assistant.
EF: We wanted Sara to have an assistant and me be, like, “What does your assistant do?” And she’s like, “Well, she makes reservations for me when I hold the table” – like, does nothing, does stuff that you can do yourself.”
9:30 p.m. Wednesdays, VH1