Barely Famous: Sara, Erin Foster talk celebrity stalkers, state of TV industry
We've created something 'we’ll always be proud of going forward'
Every week, Erin and Sara Foster, the creators and stars of VH1’s Barely Famous (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.), will reveal the best from behind the scenes of their faux-reality show in a conversation with EW. This week, the sisters dish on the sixth and final episode of the season, “Breaking Blonde,” in which Erin and Sara find themselves in police custody, clearly unaware of how they ended up there. Plus, Sara tries to solidify a true friendship with Kate Hudson by using her daughter to get close to the actress.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can you explain how you managed to fit together so many plots into this finale?
SARA FOSTER: We wanted to do our Momento episode, is what we wanted to do. We knew that a good place to start off was the two girls in an interrogation room having no idea what happened and then going from there.
ERIN FOSTER: I really wanted to do an Ambien episode of some kind. I used to take Ambien all the time and do really weird things, wake up, and not know what happened.
SARA: This really is Erin’s reality show.
ERIN: [Laughs.] I had to have my Ambien taken away from me because I was basically abusing it. Anyway, we were trying to figure out how to bring a lot of things together. Kate Hudson really wanted to come back and be this sort of nemesis with Sara to pick up from that joke in season one. Sara has also really wanted to do a storyline about parents in L.A. who use their kids to connect with celebrities. There have been celebrities that Sara is friendly with that have said that they’ve had parents push friendships on them through the kids. It’s gotten so bad before that they’ve had to move their kids to new schools. We also really wanted to do a storyline where Sara forces me to get plastic surgery.
SARA: It’s a play on how people associate beauty now with having fake lips. There’s this new trend where you look around at actresses, models, and people we assume are natural beauties are actually not. No one actually really talks about it, right?
ERIN: Well, Kylie Jenner has gotten a lot of heat over that.
SARA: I think she has, but there’s a lot of young girls getting a lot of work done. I’m not saying we should shame people for it, but we just perpetuate their beauty even more instead of calling out that it’s a bought face. We were making a play on my character essentially saying to Erin, “You’re going on a talk show. Are you crazy? Of course you have to have fake lips, or no one is going to think you’re pretty or like you.”
Did you always know that this would be the last episode of the season?
SARA: We don’t usually change the order of episodes. In the writers’ room we know clearly how we want the series to flow. We knew that the finale needed to be big so this wouldn’t have made sense as the second episode, for example.
Erin, you have to call in to producers on the talk show and tell a story. Do you have to do that when going on an actual talk show?
ERIN: Yup. It’s really intimidating. So basically, every single thing that happens on a talk show is planned out and you go through every story that you’re going to tell. You have to really get into what you’re going to talk about. Sometimes when you call in you can’t think of anything funny, which is extreme pressure, so there would be times where I would call in and be nervous that I lost my funny. We really wanted to play around with this idea that on the show my character would be thinking that I’m the clear, funny one, but then I try to think of some great jokes but am just bombing.
SARA: It’s never off the cuff, really.
NEXT: People who use kids to get close to celebrities
You did an interesting plot about exploiting celebrities’ kids to become friends with the parents. Where did that come from?
SARA: Yeah, it’s sick, right? I think there’s this overwhelming desperation to be accepted with celebrities or the cool crowd, or whatever it is. People spend all year trying to solidify their invite to this event, that party, or the annual whatever, and I wanted to play on that by trying to get Kate Hudson’s son to like me to get solidified with her.
Where do you go from here now that season 2 has ended?
ERIN: We are so proud of the show we’ve made and for the network that has put us on. We have struggled in ratings even though we’ve had great reviews and responses from fans that really appreciate the show. If we aren’t able to continue on exactly how it is, then we really feel like there’s more life left in this show and would love to continue on somewhere else. The state of the industry, though, is tricky. Everyone is struggling to compete with how people consume television these days. So we may have an amazing fan base, but if it doesn’t meet network ratings numbers, then the show won’t last. Our show needed time to get its audience and grow. It’s been a really grass roots effort on our part to get people to know about the show. At the end of the day, if we have an important but small audience, then it won’t work.
SARA: Look at The Grinder, people loved it and it had amazing reviews. It was canceled after one season over ratings. That’s crazy.
On a meta level, do you ever see these girls gaining fame, and what would that mean for your personal careers?
SARA: I think what people love about this show is watching these girls always fail and be on the outside. I think that’s what people strangely enough “relate to,” not that our characters are actually relatable, but I do think that if we were to actually get on the other side of the velvet rope, so to say, I don’t think there’s as much comedy in that. That’s my opinion, though.
ERIN: That’s Sara’s opinion, but I think that just like on Extras, Ricky Gervais’ character got his own pilot, and he still found a way to mess that up and feel like he failed in the end. So, I don’t think these girls are only categorized as not being famous. I think that they can have different levels of fame as long as they’re always self-sabotaging.
SARA: I would hope that it wouldn’t matter if we personally as Sara Foster and Erin Foster were cast in a huge movie, because here on Barely Famous we’re playing characters. We can still play these characters. I hope that people can differentiate between our personal acting and writing careers outside of our characters on the show.
ERIN: Look, if I was in some Marvel movie and made all that Marvel money, you wouldn’t see me ever again. [Laughs.] We don’t really think that much about that though. I think in anyone’s career you have to map out some sort of strategy of steps that take you closer to the career you want. I like to think that this show as a great stepping-stone into the next part of our careers. If you looked at us three or four years ago, you would’ve seen that I didn’t really know what I wanted to write next and Sara didn’t know what she wanted to act in next. We’re proud because we came out of that moment in time and created our own path. With Barely Famous, we’ve tapped into and created something really exciting that we’ll always be proud of going forward.