The Truman Show
Manipulation and delusion are at the heart of the movie The Truman Show. Carefully crafted, this movie portrays television and its producers as producing a fake environment with a “real person” designed to appeal to the American masses. The smooth packaging lulls the audience into being in on the joke, but perhaps the joke is on the audience to even sit through the almost two hours of bland entertainment.
In fact, the story of Truman Burbank is small town boring, taking place on Seahaven, a diminutive island. Truman believes that he is an insurance broker with a loving wife, Meryl, a nice suburban home, and a best friend. Slowly through a series of unusual events, Truman becomes aware that this quiet, tame life is a fraud. Everyone on the island is not true – not his wife, friend, mother, and the “father” he thought dead- all are actors playing a role performing as told by the producers. Ironically, it is the malfunction of another media form, the radio, which helps clue him in to the fact that his every move is being broadcast.
The media corporation promoting The Truman Show and Cristof, the TV producer, are shown focused on the job to create entertainment for the mass market, even if seeing the dull life of Truman is their definition of entertainment. Does filming a real life make for exciting viewing? Generally, no, although one has only to remember the millions of views fascinated by the sight of O.J. Simpson in a white Bronco traveling down Los Angeles freeways, to realize that there are some moments in real life where the public is interested in seeing the moment to moment happenings. Certainly, television is capable of being able to bring that immediacy into the viewer’s space.
But most viewers are interested in excitement in their entertainment,...