"Teenage Paparazzo" Explores Fame-Obsessed Culture
Grenier, who plays Vincent Chase on HBO’s “Entourage,” turns the camera on the paparazzi and explores America’s fame-obsessed culture.
People have become infatuated with fame — not with acting, modeling, writing, or directing — but with living the luxurious life all celebrities seem to live. Shows like MTV's "Cribs" tease young audiences by inviting them into the inside walls of a celebrity's house, only to have them "kicked out" by the end.
The real problem with the notion of celebrity is the growing desire of people gaining fame and wealth from seemingly doing absolutely nothing (Kim Kardashian anyone?)
There's no argument that Paris Hilton was born into a wealthy family, but there are many children of multi-millionaires who are not famous. Hilton has smartly used the media to her advantage and created her celebrity based on the paparazzi. The paparazzi are the people who make her accessible to the public, and the pictures they take help keep her career afloat.
While the paparazzi pictures can help a celebrity's fame factor, the relationship it creates with its viewers can have a negative effect.
People form what Grenier describes as para-social relationships, in which people think they know a celebrity from what they have learned through the media, but in reality, they actually do not know the person.
These unhealthy relationships are part of what sells movie tickets and magazine subscriptions, but they give people an unclear view of reality. However, the idea of celebrity is also an integral part of today's society.
“…the American dream is about community and making a positive contribution, especially now with the Internet. We all contribute in our own way to this media scape,” said Grenier to TheWrap.com.
The media does tend to get unflattering critiques, but it provides endless forums for self-expression, connection and information. Online newspapers update their articles endless times a day, and readers can now voice their opinions about what they read. The social phenomenons of Twitter and Facebook alone, have changed the face of society's relationships with celebrities, and the line between the celebrity's public sphere and private sphere has become increasingly blurred and disregarded.
Media technology is a spectacular thing, but people must refrain from getting lost in cyberspace or the unreality of glossy pages. Grenier's "Teenage Paparazzo" leaves us feeling slightly unsettled as teenager Austin is slowly drawn into the realm of false celebrity, and Grenier achieves his goal of holding up a startling mirror to our own perspectives of celebrity and society.
Reach reporter Jessica Zech here.