From Supernatural to Sitcom

Location: 
Manhattan, New York
United States
US

The CW’s 2009 teen drama “The Vampire Diaries” was an instant hit. The story of Elena Gilbert and the Salvatore brothers spurred a grand total of eight seasons and two spinoff series before its finale in 2017. Now Nina Dobrev, who portrayed Gilbert in TVD, is moving in a different direction- comedy. Dobrev stars in the sitcom “Fam” on CBS, and I had the pleasure of attending an interview in which she gave the inside scoop on her new project.

The show centers on Dobrev’s character Clem, a “hot mess” (in Dobrev’s words) who is looking forward to a perfect life with her new fiancé and his family. However, this fantasy is thrown off-balance when Clem’s out-of-control teenage sister (Odessa Adlon) moves in. Dobrev explained that one of the biggest differences from her experience with filming dramas vs. “Fam” was the live audience. She had fun filming the show, although it was scary to rely on the audience’s reactions: “you get that instant gratification of [people laughing]... but every now and then a joke doesn’t work... The fear is what drives you and you’re on your A-game all the time.” In contrast, her past films and shows had been single-cam, in which the actors weren’t allowed to react at all until the scene was over.

Dobrev’s took the part because “Fam” is so fresh and unlike anything she has done before, and the character of Clem was attractive because she is flawed: “She had things that she needed to overcome and challenges.” The show’s creator was drawn to Dobrev for the part of Clem because of her “Funny or Die” videos (which she not only starred in but also brainstormed the ideas for). She’s “always been goofy and silly” and “will do anything to get a laugh,”  she’s is also happy that people now know that publicly.

CBS is known for its comedic hit shows- from “Mom” to “The Big Bang Theory,” the network has been very successful in making its viewers laugh. Dobrev definitely felt this pressure when stepping into Clem’s shoes and hopes that FAM will live up to the more seasoned shows. To prepare she visited the sets of Mom, The Big Bang Theory, and Last Man Standing.  She mentioned, “I wanted to get the feel for it before I stepped onto the show that I was meant to carry on my shoulders and I make sure I was a good leader even though I was the greenest person of the cast.”

In addition, Dobrev talked a bit about the attention that she’s been given after The Vampire Diaries. She has a huge social media following, many of which are young girls, and she is aware of it: “You try to be your most authentic self… when you’re altering full bodies and you’re no longer yourself that that’s a problem. I don’t shy away from not wearing makeup… just showing the highlight reel and also the things in between.” On when other people photoshop pictures of her Dobrev declared “It seems so obvious to me which makes me feel like everyone else can tell and then I have to remind myself that maybe they don’t, and a lot of younger girls, especially, definitely do not." That’s just not real and that’s not what people look like, and it’s just not fair to those young impressionable minds… they don’t know that behind this stage right now there’s a hair person, a makeup person, a person who did my clothes- there are all these people that get me to sit in this chair and do this interview.”

All in all, “Fam” sounds like the perfect binge-watch. It’s fun, new, and Nina Dobrev’s first venture into sitcoms. Make sure to catch “Fam” on CBS every Thursday at 9:30.