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Headscratchers: The Truman Show
  • What exactly was Christof hoping to accomplish by trying to convince Truman to stay? Let's assume he listened to him and stayed - what then? The illusion of a real life is broken both for Truman and the audience; how could the show go on after losing its "reality"?
    • Christof likely wasn't thinking very far ahead in the future, given he had just tried to kill Truman only to change his mind and chose to speak to him. Better a continuing show with a star then no show at all, he probably figured. And it may have been that he just wanted to keep Truman inside, being the control freak that he is.
    • How could it go on? By Jumping the Shark, of course.
    • Probably in Cristof's mind, Truman would have gone back to town and gone back to enjoying the life he had, even knowing it was artificial, and just continued acting like he always had. Remember, in Cristof's mind, the world of Seahaven being fake didn't matter, what mattered was that it was good.

  • We see the ridiculous amounts of effort that is put into making Truman think there is nothing interesting outside his town. Then how did he find out that Fiji has unexplored islands? This info seems to be something that never should have been allowed in that dome.
    • It may have been in a book that got in before they started making such extreme efforts. Again the thing to remember is that Cristof always wanted to provide Truman with the perfect world... it probably never occurred to him that Truman might want to leave until Truman started showing a curious streak as he got older.
    • Plus, realistically, there's only so much they're really going to be able to predict he's going to latch on to and / or keep from him if they want to approximate a more-or-less normal life for him.
    • Truman's entire education was filmed, and broadcast to millions of fans, including millions of other children. If they hadn't included accurate information in his lessons - geography lessons included - the program would've been lambasted by teachers for misinforming Truman's young fans; instead, they probably got praised for being "educational TV" for a while.

  • How is Truman actually able to tell most of the things that clue him in are weird? He has been in the show his entire life, he has no reference for normality.
    • One would assume all the facts he's been told are true. Would make it easier for the actors not to screw up if they don't have to remember a list of fake facts along with the real-world ones they grew up learning.
      • That's not quite accurate. They've faked reality quite well, to the point that Truman knows how reality is supposed to be. The only reason he got clued into it was because of his obsession over Sylvia and two or three major screw-ups by his handlers.
    • He accepted things because he never examined them closely. The illusion only holds up in a passing glance, it fails when one puts it under any form of scrutiny, which Truman never did until he saw his dead father.
    Roger Ebert: You accept the world you're given, the filmmakers suggest; more thoughtful viewers will get the buried message, which is that we accept almost everything in our lives without examining it very closely. When was the last time you reflected on how really odd a tree looks?"
    • I'd like to point out that the cop knowing his name was a major tip off. After the cop calls him Truman, he tries to run away but is brought back. He then pretends to go along for the rest of the film until his escape. Also they show in the movie that the tv that Truman watches is staged. He doesn't get actual television, he gets the TV he needs at the right time. That golden oldies show was made specifically for him. He's probably never seen or heard of a soap opera and product placement but even if he had you're missing the point. The director was making fun of people who used amnesia as a way to solve problems and inconsistencies on their shows.
    • And at least some of the world in which Truman lives has to conform with a reasonable approximation of the real world, for the simple reason of Willing Suspension of Disbelief; the show is idealized, but it's still on some level supposed to be a 'real' life, and that's where most of it's audience comes from. This means that there's only so far they can stretch things not just for Truman but for their own audience. It's quite telling that that things within Truman's universe start getting a bit soap-operatic throughout the movie as the producers clearly start getting a bit more desperate to cover up after themselves, such as Truman's 'father' returning after a dose of 'amnesia'.
    • It all really started with a studio light marked with the name of a star falling from the frickin' sky. If that isn't unmistakably weird to even the most conditioned-from-infancy person in the world, I don't know what could ever be.

  • Why is Sylvia's "small but vocal minority" the only ones calling for his release, and not, say, the ACLU? Even if he was somehow adopted by Christof's corporation, why weren't consent laws invoked, when he turned 18, if not earlier?
    • Said "small and vocal minority" line was said by an extremely sycophantic television interviewer; it's quite possible that very large protest groups were put together. The interviewer might just be heavily downplaying them.
    • Legally, their hands are tied. He was their kid, and they raised him in their home, as far as I know, there's no laws that state everybody you meet can't be actors. And once he turned 18, well nobody is holding him against his will. Technically he could've left any time he wanted to, it's just nobody told him about it which is, again, something they're not legally obligated to do. Christof freaked out and tried to kill him, which would be illegal, but that was after the interview.
      • They explained in interview the way the whole thing evolved. Basically, it started with Cristof filming a documentary chronicling someone from foetus to baby, but then when that brought him so much success and money he figured why not go a step further and show his childhood? So they built a small set in which to do that. And he got even more success and money for that, and set his sights progressively higher ever after, culminating eventually with the construction of a huge dome with a virtual world inside in which to chronicle the man's whole life. Christof was already rich and powerful around the start, or connected to people who were, since Truman was the first child legally adopted by a corporation.
      • Exactly. It started so small and legally, then, step by step got bigger. When he was born, his mom didn't want him so Christof bought the baby and put the baby into nurseries with other, normal babies and concentrated on his reactions. Payoffs to the right people would take care of any small legal problems there. By the time he's old enough to start noticing (3 or 4 years old) and the show's pushing some serious legal issues, not only would it have enough money to pay people off to build a small village, but viewers would hardly be bothered by it. By school age, Truman is effectively Christof's adopted son, and the show's making the revenue of a small country. By that point, it's a simple case of Screw the Rules, I Have Money!. Too many people don't care (a lot of viewers for a start), the Truman Show itself has bloody good lawyers to find a lot of legal loopholes (after all, it's not until the very end where Christof goes a bit nuts that they try to hurt him), and finally most of the people with the power to do something could be bought off. What's left over is the 'small minority' Christof talks of.
      • Except this theory requires pretty much everyone (which is a lot given the show's popularity) to be a complete sociopath for enjoying constantly stalking on this guy and not complaining, it wouldn't just require a few bribes given its popularity, it would require large swaths of the government and human's rights organizations to ALL be on the take. ALSO, consent doesn't work like that, you have to inform the person.
      • Regardless of how consent works, didn't it occur to anyone that they intentionally caused Truman to suffer a psychological trauma by staging the 'death' of his 'father' solely to make him stay at island? ''While he was what, eleven? Didn't anyone bait an eyelash on this blatant example of child abuse?

  • The other pressing question is: would anyone actually watch the show? I mean, people watch TV because normal lives are, well, boring. Fiction gets us out of our uninteresting lives—how is anyone else's uninteresting life any better?
    • The film actually shows the audience on numerous occasions; the same sort of people who watch reality TV in our current time. It's quite eerie how much this film predicted.
      • Thng is, Reality TV shows have some sort of gimmick, like "normal people stranded on an island" or "normal people trying to be high class chefs while a psycho yells at them". The Truman Show was about a normal guy being... a normal guy. I agree, it's a bit odd that show managed to stay so wildly popular during three decades. I guess Cristof is a really, REALLY good director.
    • Maybe this is just me, but I can sort of see how it would happen. The point is that Truman is really, really likable to the audience; they want to see him do well and they feel like they know him intimately. I mean, I think Big Brother is horrendously dull, but it seems to have somehow found a large audience.
    • In addition, the movie showed that the first few years would be like a test run. After that it's easy to see how people could get hooked on someone who they've watched grow up from the start, to the point where they just leave the show on constantly for comfort.
    • This isn't a syndicated show, remember. It's a constant live broadcast on 24 hours a day. If it was edited into a 60-minute show on weekdays, the appeal likely wouldn't be there. Even if you don't watch it constantly, it would be nice to know that somewhere out there, Truman is living his life in "real-time" just like you. Don't like what's going on in your day? Tune in and watch Truman for a while.
    • The runaway success of The Sims suggest that there is a market for watching the banal parts of other people's lives.
    • The Comfort Food aspect of the show is key to understanding its success. Many people have trouble getting household tasks done if they can't find a trusty, likeable TV show to have on in the background. It's part of the reason why networks still play the same reruns of Friends, Seinfeld, etc hundreds of times a day and people watch them. The Truman Show would be the ultimate reliable Comfort Food Show(that should really be at least a Troper Tales page, shouldn't it?). Likeable, relatable leads in an idyllic American town that you can tune in on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without ever having to search for it. And Truman's really experiencing it all, adding to the joy. This troper can easily see its appeal, including leaving it on the bedroom TV all night just so your friend Truman's still around.
    • Of course people would watch the show. They watched people have breakdowns and run out in shows like Big Brother. The Truman Show takes shows like Big Brother and brings them that one step closer.
    • Your answer is in how obsessed society is with reality TV and celebrities. There are numerous shows that exist to do nothing but chronicle every time someone famous farts sideways. Truman is a celebrity since he's on TV (he's famous because he's famous, not an unknown phenomenon), so people are fascinated by everything he does. It's as much a commentary on how we don't respect the privacy of the famous as anything, and as such is an exaggeration.

  • They "bring his father back" then just gloss over it. What actually happened there requires a LOT of explanation. Why would they risk bringing back an actor who had, several times, tried to bring down the masquerade? How did they convince him to go along with the story? Why was Truman not seen with his father once more after that? You'd think he'd care and wanna spend some time with him.. or was he just convinced by now that it was all fake? At the very least he doesn't seem distracted and the movie never addresses it.
    • The interviewer asks Christof that very question. Basically everything was falling apart, and Truman was examining his world with a critical eye. Christof needed him to calm down and be happy again, and the situation is getting steadily worse. Since the first incident that really started Truman thinking (instead of just daydreaming over Sylvia) was when he saw his father's actor, Christof arrived at the hopeful conclusion that having his father back would make Truman happy. It was a last ditch effort from a guy who's becoming increasingly frantic. Truman didn't buy it, it just reinforced his idea that there was something fundamentally wrong with the world, and that's why he didn't spend any time with his father after that.
    • As far as why they trusted the father, he knew that he'd just be taken away from him again if he tried to tell Truman the truth, and being with him was more important. I'm sure a lot of the people close to him on the show (not Meryl, but probably Marlon) were the same way, feeling bad about lying to him but thinking that trying to tell him would be futile.
    • You seem to be confused, or else greatly misremembering the film. The actor who played Truman's father had been back onto the set only once (at least, as far as we know), and he had not said anything to Truman, having had quite a long moment in which to do it. He wasn't interested in warning Truman about anything: he just wanted back on, even if just as a stowaway extra, because he was sore about his character being killed off. (Probably during the interim of years he had been trying to get work in other roles unrelated to the show and failing harder and harder, running out of money, and maybe trying unsuccessfully to sneak back into the dome an unknown number of times before succeeding at last.) Thus, bringing him back to the show, and in his old role, appeased him just as it presumably would satisfy Truman.
    • Watching it again, bringing Truman's 'father' back very nearly worked to calm him down. It's just not quite enough to make him forget all the other weird things that happened so recently - a falling 'star', rain only where he is, guys who were in wheelchairs jogging, his wife screaming to nobody for help, strangers knowing his name, going to a travel agent and seeing posters trying to dicourage travel... he has about 24 hours to compare that with the additional weirdness of his father coming home and claiming amnesia. It's a case of too little too late.

  • Something struck me when I watched the movie the second time. Meryl mentions that she and Truman have been trying to have a baby for a while, and shortly thereafter, tries to get Truman to 'come to bed' - a well known euphemism for 'have sex'. Even though Truman is very sheltered, I doubt he would have reached the age of 30 without ever finding out about sex. Also, a pair of guards complain about how the camera always cuts away as they get down to the dirty stuff. So it seems that part of the job description of Meryl, or the fictional actress who plays her, is to have sex with Truman on occasion. She's going to be getting some money for this. Doesn't that make her a prostitute?
    • Thats one of the points of the film. The other characters bury their true feelings and give to Truman, not erotic love, but love from a parent, friend or collegue for money. SO EVERYONE falls for a prostitute, albeit emotional one (phone sex anyone?)
    • There are hardcore porno films where people really fuck, and the people who do those films for a living are not arrested for prostitution, so there are legal loopholes involved with these kinds of things. I don't know the details. If Christof's corporation is powerful enough to influence the law so that they can become the first corporation to legally adopt a child, they could certainly get something like that done, especially if they leave no live filmic evidence of it.
    • She's not a prostitute, she's an actress. It's as simple as that.
    • According to supplementary material and Word of God, Meryl's actress did indeed apparently negotiate pay-rises ($10 000 a pop) and privileges every time she slept with Truman. Although it's not actually stated out loud, the implication's there.
    • They hadn't been trying to have a baby, but were (according to Meryl) going to start trying for a baby. Yes, what she was doing was basically prostitution, but they found a get-out for it legally, and it's really not much worse than what Marlon or Truman's mum did to his emotions.
    • A better analogy than a prostitute might be a mail-order bride.
    • Indeed. Generally, the distinction between pornography and acting is more one of intent and focus. While it is true that the vast majority of film/TV sex scenes are simulated, there have been films in which the sex is unsimulated (as this would have to be). While there may be legal issues depending on where it is filmed, the general rationale for simulated sex VS unsimulated sex is more one of taste and "artistic integrity" and the simple fact that simulated sex is more than sufficient for what the director is trying to get across. So no, it is not prostitution and no, it is not unheard of.
    • In california at least, being paid to have sex for the purpose of making a movie or artistic work is explicitly 100% legal due to one of the most spectacular epic courtroom fails ever, A religious organization was upset when they heard pornography was being made in their nice san fernando valley. At the time, pornography and the making of was a legal grey area everywhere. So the organization was able to get them charged with prostitution with the full expectation that it would shut them down. What actually ended up happening was the court ruled that being paid for pornography was legal and california became the only place that had laws specifically protecting pornographers so they all moved in from the entire country to make porn with legal immunity. Turning the san fernando vally into a porn mecca as it were.

  • Partway through the film, it's revealed that the hospital where Meryl 'works' is just a set, and all the doctors and nurses are actors who don't actually know how to treat sickies. What would happen if somebody actually got sick?
    • The vast majority of the cast and crew would go to an off-site hospital. The only people that would require on-set care would be people that Truman would take time to visit. Since that's pretty much restricted to close friends and family, it would be unnecessary to have an entire full-time hospital staff hanging around.
    • Which is similar to my question: Instead of hiring a bunch of actors, why don't you just create a semi-isolated city with real people working and living in it, but things are just set up so one guy can be followed?
    • Because the actors are trained and being paid to keep it a secret. If you have people going around not in on the plot, one of them could end up telling Truman the truth. The show runs better when the staff has total control.
    • Truman Show may be Reality TV taken to an extreme, but it still has a plot. They need actors to steer the plot where they want it to go to keep it interesting to viewers. With a real isolated city, it's just chaos. The chaos of Real Life is boring to viewers. Also, as stated, it'd be impossible to keep the Masquerade if you're not paying people to do so.
    • The dome is not as large as it looks. Ocean panoramas have a way of playing tricks with perspectives. Although there is one shot that gives you a pretty clear and accurate view of the whole dome, more or less, if you're looking carefully, the extras for the old video release (or maybe the new DVD one, I'm not sure) still spell it out for you that the whole thing is just two or three miles across in any direction. It would not take more than a couple of minutes to rush someone out of the dome, and if you had to get paramedics in there (who, if you think about it, would not move any slower in a phony land or sea area than a real one) then they could always be said to have come in from the local hospital or, at worst, one very near the town. Truman's never been out there, he doesn't know what buildings there may be.
    • It's also possible that the Seahaven hospital does contain some doctors and equipment for the cast and crew. The operation Truman observed was a staged amputation that they a) had to throw together at the last minute when he followed Meryl there, and b) couldn't actually go through with. It would have to be fake either way.
      • That's right, Truman was rushing to get to the hospital, and you can't just find an amputee and a surgeon in that time. It's likely that the show did have a few real doctors around, payed to do their job and keep quiet at the same time, but they were never a part of Truman's life so they weren't on set much so they didn't need to be great actors.
    • What if Truman himself got sick, and the only way to help him would be an operation in an off-site hospital?
      • They might just cover up his eyes, whisk him there, fix up, then cover his eyes again and whisk him back. Kinda like what they did when he visited "Mount Rushmore", by waiting until he fell asleep. If they're really clever, they'd ensure the hospital room he's in looks like one at the Seahaven hospital.
      • I reckon they'd hire the best doctors in the world to get in the dome and cure him specifically for the occasion. It's not like the show doesn't have the budget.
    • Or a simpler solution: Helicopter. It is safe to assume the dome probably has a way to load in heavy equipment via an airlift. So put Truman on the helicopter at night (or with the doors closed), fly him to the big hospital (making a big deal out of it for ratings), minimize his interaction with other people (private room with no TV, nurses who sign releases), and then fly him back out (he won't understand that is weird) or just drug him and say "Oh, poor baby, you must be tired from your recovery."

  • One thing that doesn't make much sense, When Truman sneaks out to follow his wife to work, he spies on her doing a "surgery" where she acts like she's gonna cut the guy open, then pulls back and gasses the guy. 1:WTF 2: why are they still doing that when they think they're alone?
    • They weren't doing it when they thought they were alone. They knew Truman was coming (since that's the whole premise of the movie) and quickly—and sloppily—put together a surgery scene so that they wouldn't just be standing around doing nothing when he showed up.

  • Truman's fear of water goes so far as he doesn't want to even cross a bridge over water. But where does he hang out with his buddy, drinking beer and hitting golf balls into the ocean? A PIER!
    • Psychologically and symbolically, I find it fitting: Truman is not afraid of the water per se, but what it means to him on a deeper level - the fear of the unknown, the uncontrollable.
    • It could also be used to show that Truman trusts his friend so much that he forgets his fears when they're hanging out together
    • All good points, but the most logical one is this: We only see Truman's fear of water manifest when he has to cross it. Sitting on the pier with his friend is a different story(as is living on an island with frequently visible ocean, overall). Also note that instead of hitting golf balls into the water, they hit them back toward land.
    • He's also comfortable sitting on the beach (recollecting about his father's demise). But, of course, on the beach there's no chance of "falling" into the water.
    • And of course, the water around the pier would be shallow enough that there would be basically zero chance of drowning. That knowledge might have been enough for Truman to tolerate it.
    • Well, look at the prop they installed - a sunken boat. Just another twinge of fear.
    • I thought perhaps they set that scene there to unsettle Truman and make him more vulnerable to persuasion.

  • Why didn't the studio just go along with Truman's story with Sylvia? This could have been an interesting twist for the show and it would have allowed them to keep her in check, avoiding a big breaking the fourth wall moment.
    • It's a character moment for Kristoff. It goes to show how much of a mad, mean control freak he is. It doesn't matter how good something is for the show or how good it is for Truman or how happy it will make Truman or the viewers: if it doesn't go according to plan, it's out, out, out. He's an artiste, dammit! He knows what's best! There may also be contractual issues going on with Meryl that make the matter sticky.
    • Because she genuinely cared about him, and that would likely have led to her trying to tell him the truth. Also, yes, because Christof is convinced that he knows what's best for Truman.
      • Exactly. Furthermore, a real relationship could have conflicts, bad arguments, perhaps even abandonment or divorce, all things Christof wanted to shelter Truman from, in this case, by engineering an idyllic '50s wife with contractual patience and writers keeping things mellow and TV-comfortable.
    • It also seems implied that at this point she already had sympathies towards the "Anti-Truman Show" campaigners. I see this as the meaning behind the "How's it going to end?" badge she wears. Even if she was still undecided on the issue, or if the badge has no significance, it would still be a pretty big risk to take to have an unknown, unvetted person forming a significant relationship with the sole source of revenue of a country-sized economy. The "wisdom" of this is proven when, surprise surprise, she tries to tell him what's really going on.
    • Simple. They already had the actress for Meryl's contract negotiated and they already had everything planned. They had Sylvia on contract as an extra, basically. It would be too risky to let Truman fall for her without a contract, and would have given Sylvia WAY too much negotiating power. This is ignoring the whole problem of her really falling for Truman and wanting to tell him the secret.

  • What would have happened if something had gone horribly wrong? Truman could have been somehow killed. He could have gotten cancer. He could have grown up to be a murderer or a rapist. He could have fallen into depression and commited suicide. What would Kristoff have done?
    • Just rolled with it, I guess. Christof's whole scheme was manifestly crazy anyway.
    • All of those things are caused by one's environment. Murderers, rapists, and suicides are caused by negative environments. Cancer, is too. Remember, They control everything. While minor sickness, like a cold, is unpreventable, (Though he probably gave him some of his sicknesses as a plot point), many cancers are caused by exposure to dangerous radiation or chemicals. They can prevent that. If, by chance, he got some dangerous disease, it'd become a plot point as they rushed in the biggest medical experts known to man. Based on what they've got going, they probably had a plan for that. If he died, they'd get a new baby and start over with a pre-built set. And more moolah.
      • I have to disagree that the murder/rapist thing is only caused by someone's environment. Some people are just screwed up and will do those things even if they're given the most idyllic upbringing.
      • Same with the cancer. Some are caused by the environment, sure, but most are either genetic or are just a result of your body running down and not being able to repair itself so well (that's why most people who get cancer are older). The environment might make many cancers worse, but it in no way causes them all.
      • In most of those cases, though, the symptoms or tendencies tend to emerge when young and tend to be recognisable (for example, torturing small animals as a child or such). For someone who's literally under 24 / 7 observation his whole life it would probably be easier to identify and intervene in such cases.
    • Again, it's all part of the realism of the show. They obviously would do what they could to keep Truman as healthy and normal as possible, but threats like that were part of the risks of - and cause for fascination with - the show and Truman's life. I mean, one of the taglines is "HOW'S IT GOING TO END?". That pretty much answers your question.
    • The show would have been screwed, obviously. Same as if the starring actor of any other show had suddenly died or committed a serious crime. Could you imagine Buffy the Vampire Slayer continuing if Sarah Michelle Gellar had been unexpectedly flattened by a cement truck while crossing the street? With Truman the problem would have been ten times worse since the show is literally ALL about him. Without him there is no Truman Show.
    • Well, with something like injuries, the answer's simple. They have a faux hospital already. If he gets really sick, all they have to do is turn it into a real hospital and bring in some real doctors. They'd have to do it quickly, sure, but on the whole they'd probably just roll with it and make Truman's sickness another part of the show, like when actresses for soaps get pregnant, and they often throw in a pregnancy storyline. Mental illnesses could be quietly ignored or placated by bringing in a real therapist and paying him a lot of money to make Truman 'normal'.
    • The show would have been screwed long-term by him getting terminal cancer, but it would have had astounding ratings while he was dying. The others aren't all that likely; cars, for example, avoid him, and the one time we saw him get violent, there was instantly an intervention by Marlon.
    • Even Terminal Cancer isn't a fast death. With care you can string it out for years - during which the show would have had phenomenal ratings, and the creators could have come up with a replacement baby just as they'd planned before. Plus, they could easily set up a cancer center of some kind in their hospital set complete with faux patients, and considering how Truman would be spending more and more time there, paid off some real doctors to act.

  • Why did the studio fall apart?
    • It's 30ish years old. It's aging. Old stuff falls apart.
      • So it never occurred to them that they should replace the parts as they go older?
      • Weathering. Random acts of Nature. Stuff happens.
      • There is no possible way for them to easily do work on the inside of the dome without breaking the Masquerade. After give or take thirty years, things start to fail you never even counted on.
    • While the studio is meant to simulate a fake world, it is still located within the real world, more specifically near Hollywood, and is vulnerable to real-world natural disasters. It's possible that the "Sirius" light was known to be loose and was due to be repaired soon, when a moderate earthquake jostled it out of its hold.
    • Another possibility is sabotage; one of the people who infiltrated the show is shown to have a 'Truman you are living a lie' banner or some such, so it's not unreasonable to suppose that another protestor might have gotten a maintenance job and engaged in a bit of tinkering in order to try and reveal things to Truman.
      • Is this actually an IJBM? Accidents can happen on any soundstage or filming location, regardless of age or sabotage. The new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory lost a half-million-dollar camera when it fell in a vat of chocolate. Waterworld had to deal with entire sets sinking. Virtually every show has a light come unscrewed or something at some point.
    • Studios fall apart all the time, not via negligence, it's simple accident. This is very much truth in television. Everything on a set is built and rebuilt constantly and effectively a one-off involving heavy things suspended precariously, random normal looking objects that may or may not support your weight or have hidden explosives in them. Movie sets are actually fairly dangerous workplace environments. This troper ended up with several dozen stitches in his foot simply because a real glass bottle got mixed in with the break away ones. Studio lights falling is a particularly well known and dangerous failure mode.

  • Why would they tell Truman that his father's body was never found, which isn't a good way to kill somebody off once and for all? (as it later showed) He was just a kid at the time of his "death", so it would be easy for his fake mother to just tell him she identified the body at the morgue, and later they could tell him at the funeral that the coffin has to be closed because the body was in water for too long to be seen.
    • Because "his body was never found" is easier on a kid than, "We found daddy, but he's all bloated and disgusting looking now." They're not entirely heartless, and they want the kid to remember the dad as he was, not as some half-eaten, bloated corpse that's too disgusting for him to even look at. Same reason parents say, "We left Rover with a nice farm family" instead of, "We had him shot and buried in an unmarked grave." Plus, I imagine "we never found the body" is pretty likely for bodies lost at sea like that.
    • I like to think it was also a deliberate part of the "story" of the show, in case they ever decided to bring him back as an incredibly plot twist.
    • They thought it would be more dramatic if Truman still clung to false hope.
    • And it would stop Truman from ever really having closure, which would possibly make his unease around water even worse.
    • Not to mention the actor who plays Truman's father probably wouldn't have cooperated with such a scheme. He didn't part company with the program on amicable terms, and could well have refused to allow the program's F/X crew to make a mold of his features so they could craft a dummy "corpse" for a funeral scene.

  • If you're trying to get Truman back and convince him that everything's normal, some things are bad ideas. For example, USING THE MOON AS A SEARCHLIGHT.
    • By that point, Truman's disappeared, he's been a hop skip and a jump from figuring out the truth for a good while now, and they're more than a bit desperate at this point.
      • They probably didn't think this over, which just adds more Fridge Horror to the scene. Heck, here's another rich case of Fridge Horror - what did they intend to do when they found/captured him? He could be fooled no more, but apparently they wanted to get him back at all cost, presumably to keep the show running. So, how would they "convince" him that everything he saw was perfectly normal? I have a few ideas, and none of them sound very... nice.
      • The actors had no idea what would happen if they did get him back and didn't care. They were just following the instructions of super-control freak Christof. As for what Christof thought would happen, I doubt he was thinking all that rationally by that point.
    • And for that matter, why would they equip the "moon" with such a function in the first place? It's not like it would make any use in the show that is supposed to fake the real world for Truman, unless they actually put it there just in case situation like this ever happened.
      • They may have just taken a regular searchlight that could shine as brightly as it did and kept it relatively dim when it was serving as the "moon." To properly mimic the real moon's capabilities, or to have it do at least as much as they taught Truman it could do, this searchlight may very well have already been equipped with dimmer capabilities.
      • It could have been useful as a searchlight to find protesters who'd broken in, at least while Truman's asleep or somewhere with no outside view.

  • Even if you are supposed to believe that the majority of people in the film's world are anti-social enough to see this show as anything other than the exercise in cruelty that it was,why wouldn't there have been more protests from the few people that would be outraged by this show's premise? Also,is there no government in this universe that wouldn't intervene in myriad civil rights violations portrayed in this film?
    • Of course, we only really see the inside of the dome and all we really hear about the outside is from a rather sycophantic interviewer commenting on 'a few' malcontents. It's possible — probable, in fact — that the outside of the dome was surrounded by a permanent protest about Truman. As for why the government doesn't get involved, my guess is why numerous real-life corporations can get away with pulling a lot of real-world crap with either no punishment or a slap on the wrist — very good lobbyists.
    • You'd be surprised how easy it is to convince people to support something morally repugnant if they think the person or persons involved will be better off for it. More than a few American slave owners tried to justify slavery by saying Africans lived better lives as slaves than they ever would have in the "savage" land of Africa, with its man-eating lions, ferocious tigers, deadly poisonous snakes, bloodthirsty rival tribes, and so on. Truman lives in a highly idealized environment where his every need is provided and he will basically never want for anything. A lot of (shortsighted) viewers probably thought they'd love to be in Truman's shoes.
    • Even then, this is a legal mess. He's being denied basic civil rights: freedom of movement, freedom of information, access to actual police, an actual job, etc. Everything around him is fake, including his documents, his house is legally owned by the corporation, and so on and so forth. Even if the US government is incredibly corrupt in TTS-verse, the international shitstorm would be disastrous.
    • Think about all the power Disney has with their positive army of lawyers. And other global corporations have lawyers too. And the money the show makes, which could pay off a lot of people. And no offence but don't think of yourselves as so morally superior - terrible things go on in the public eye all the time and I'm sorry to say that a lot of people overlook them. Besides, the show just started out as a documentary about the first year of a child's life - plenty of loopholes there - and gradually escalated. Truman has always been given the sort of easy, happy life many people would love to have.
    • I imagine a lot of people would see it as a violation, but remember its just one guy. Plenty of people would say the Truman Show is wrong if asked, but they wouldn't do anything about it because there are bigger things that affect more people, that they would see as more pressing issues.

  • They said a few times that The Truman Show was in or near Hollywood, right? I mean, Sylvia calls the interviewer from Hollywood, California, and it shows the dome near the Hollywood sign, correct? So how come when they're zooming out to show how the dome can be seen from space, the dome is clearly on the East Coast, near Florida?
    • I'll need to take another look, but chock that one up to a simple goof if true.
      • It's true. It appears to be somewhere between Tennessee and North/South Carolina, and about a hundred miles across. So it's definitely a goof.
    • I always thought it looked like the Palos Verdes Peninsula, in California (they're just not showing 'north' at the top of the screen, as one would expect).
    • Actually the Omnicam Ecosphere (the studio dome) is in Los Angeles, California. The town, including the artificial coast, is Seahaven, Florida. (Seaside, Florida but with a slightly different name).
  • Didn't the writers think it was a bit risky to bring in actors at a very young age and have them grow up with Truman without ever getting true feelings for him? I mean, his friend says that they've been best friends since they were 7 years old, so at the very least, they introduced the friend onto the set at age 7. They weren't afraid that a 7 year old might accidentally let something slip, or that after becoming so close to him, he'd reveal the lie? I mean, he didn't actually do either of those, he kept the secret and played his part, but it was still extremely risky.
    • That's a very good point, and it's something that I've considered myself. I can only say that while it was extremely risky, they had pretty much no other choice. Yes, they could, in theory, have just made some excuse to Truman to get around it, but 1) it would've destroyed the realism and 2) it would've ruined the "ideal" life Truman was supposed to have. To Christof, this isn't just an artistic venture, it's the product of an obsession with making Truman live in Christof's vision of a utopia. He probably would've been willing to take that risk. He's not the most mentally balanced person, really.
    • Using any amount of child actors was definitely a risk since kids are (I would assume) much more likely to forget lines, give obviously fake performances, or otherwise mess up the scene which could easily have brought the masquerade crashing down in an instant. However, once they get over the hurdle of finding a group of professional and competent child actors it would actually be surprisingly easy for the producers to give Truman a childhood friend. For instance, have Truman meet and make friends with a kid at age 7. Keep him on the show for a few years, then (say at age 10 or 11) have his character "move away" or "transfer to another school". While said friend is "away" have Truman correspond with him regularly by mail to keep their friendship strong (naturally the letters Truman receives would be written by the producers). Then after a few more years (say, when Truman is in his mid-teens), have the character "move back" but replace the original child actor with an older actor who resembles the first well enough to pass as an older version of the character. Have everyone around Truman remark about how much his old friend has "changed" in the intervening years. Then when Truman and his show!friend get to their senior year of high school have the friend "go away to college" for 4-6 more years, again corresponding regularly with Truman to sustain the friendship. After that, they're golden. They can just hire a third actor who could pass as an older version of the second (again having people remark at how much Truman's friend has "changed" since they saw him last) and have him play the childhood friend for the remainder of the show. Not a foolproof plan, I admit, but definitely possible.
    • My explanation? Young kids aren't all that observant. It could be passed off as imagination or exaggeration or Truman might not even notice at all.
    • This might explain why Marlon was the only friend Truman seems to have had for most of his life. The other kids were likely allowed to talk and play games or join in with Truman sometimes, but not actually connect with him the way Marlon did. And even Marlon, according to his actor, feels guilty over having to keep lying to someone he knew since childhood.
    • It's a necessary evil. They want to show Truman having an idyllic life, including childhood. For most people, part of an idyllic life would include having friends, especially in childhood. Keeping Truman apart from other children and not enabling him to make any kind of friendships or connections would also probably warp him as a person, which wasn't the point of the show.
    • Recently in a British soap opera, they had a child actor sent to Juvie Hall for six months, and he ordered his parents to stop visiting him. When he came back to the show he was a different actor. There's about a million ways they could have taken a person out for a few months - temporary work in another city, parents working in another city, school, sickness, basic travel, etc - and bring them back as another actor and just say, "People change". And people DO change, so Truman would accept it.
    • Who says the very young children who participated in the school scenes necessarily knew it was a show, any more than Truman did? "Wake up, honey, time to go to school. Here we are at the tunnel that goes under the big white wall, we're nearly there! Okay, we're here; enjoy your class, sweetheart, and don't forget your backpack... oh, and say 'Hi' to that nice Truman boy at recess, will you? Bye!"
    • Didn't Marlon say something about how he'd been very sick once as a child, and Truman didn't seem him for a long period of time? I thought they were implying that's where the switched the child actor for the long-term one.

  • Why were bicycle lady, flower guy, and dented VW bug on a loop in the first place? That's clearly unnatural and suspicious and even if they were sure that Truman would never notice, why would they bother having that in the first place? If they wanted to add atmosphere, there's no reason why the couldn't just tell the actors to just do whatever they wanted and live their lives, except just to make sure that whenever they go somewhere, they take the route past Truman's house. What, did they specifically say "now hiring: actress who will ride her bicycle around the block every day for your entire life"?
    • The show probably has elements of both. They allow for degrees of freedom, but want to use various people, vehicles, etc at certain times to help paint the picture they want at any given time. There's also no reason to think any of these routines are the same every day or even go on for more than a few hours at a time.
    • Another point to make is, they all have ear buds, so why didn't Christof start screaming "Abort!" to the loopers when Truman was verbally noting the patterns to his wife?
      • This one's easy. He (probably) did! It's just, he didn't realise that Truman was noticing something until Truman mentioned it to somebody else within the show. Presumably, he didn't really understand what Truman was getting at until it was too late (when Truman was able to point out the patterns). As I recall, the loops didn't keep repeating long after Truman mentioned and described them, did they (and it probably took a while to change things, so the loops couldn't be stopped instantly)? Truman outsmarted everyone on the set, which is part of what makes him so awesome in the second half of the film. This is not particularly unbelievable, either - after several decades of fooling him, they may have gone a bit sloppy, assuming he'd never figure things out anyway. Alternatively, the actors who did the loops didn't know what else to do and, panicked, tried to go about their business until specifically told by the director what to do. He's a control freak, so there might well be rules such as "don't decide things on your own outside of the framework I set for you". Note how everyone in the film panics when things go wrong. The policeman who knows Truman's name? He was not smart enough to just say "oh, I remember you from school, all those years back. I'm Al, remember?" or something like that. So maybe he'd get fired for pulling stunts like that.
      • To add to the above, the loop probably only exists in the first place to give Truman some verisimilitude as he's going about his daily routine — in this case, driving to work. They probably weren't ever anticipating him just sitting there observing closely so just kept it going until they realized what he was up to.

  • Okay, so most characters on Truman Show were there only part-time, including his friends and so on. Not so different from a normal actor's job. But what about, say, his wife? He'd see her for much (most?) of the day and much of the night. During the day, she could "go visit the neighbours", during the night she could sneak off. But in neither case could she go far away from the set, because if she was needed, she had to be brought back to the set, fast. And she was obviously an actress who didn't "become the mask". So how could the actress playing Truman's wife have, oh I don't know, her own, REAL life? This seems difficult to pull off.
    • In point of fact, Truman's wife does have a specifically defined dayjob: She's a nurse at the local hospital, and Truman drops in on her at work at one point during the movie.
      • In that case I vote for the "on-set community" thing. Her co-workers on the Truman Show are her friends. When Truman isn't at the hospital she and the other faux hospital workers just hang out and do whatever they want. The actors are probably trained to rush to their metaphorical battle stations and start playing some pre-determined scene if Truman unexpectedly decides to visit the hospital, and since he is filmed 24 hours a day the studio can warn them well in advance.
    • Many couples also take separate vacations, go to see relatives or friends who've moved away, etc. In-universe, Meryl tells Truman she's going to go see an old friend who's moved away for a few weeks; out in the real world, Meryl gets a few weeks off work. It probably wouldn't be too hard to negotiate or work around it. Plus, it's fairly clear from watching her that Meryl has at the very least become something of a Stepford Smiler, probably as a result of her role.
    • Nurse was a good choice of job - it meant that she could occasionally work night shifts and have a social life or stay over at a real boyfriend's.

  • Why do the actors need to be fed lines? Improv, for those who don't know, is a fundamental part of acting. They just needed an idea of what Chrisoff wanted.
    • Christof is a total control freak. He would've wanted them to say exactly what he wanted, not "an idea" of what he wanted.
    • Yeah, part of what clued Truman in was the way everything was so controlled. If Christof had actually allowed more improvisation with many of the actors, it would have actually been more believable, even for the socially conditioned Truman. But he hires actors who aren't so good with improvisation, so that he can control them as well.
    • Improv is also a skill like any other; some actors are better than others. Plus, Christof clearly had a plot he wanted everyone to follow, otherwise the whole thing would have been pointless. We also only really see lines being fed when Marlon is trying to convince Truman that the world he lives in is real, which is a major moment (both dramatically and in terms of keeping the whole show from going down the crapper) Christof doesn't want the actor to cock up — for most of the time, things might have been a bit more flexible.
    • Marlon did change the lines as Christoff was giving them to him. They weren't fed lines in the other scenes, only this pivotal, planned one.

  • What seems strange to me is the way the main actors didn't use their real names. You see that in the interview Marlon wasn't really called Marlon, that was apparently his acting name. Wouldn't it have been simpler for them to just work with Truman with their real names?
    • Maybe to help them keep their personae on the show separate from their real identities?
      • That makes sense with an extra like Sylvia, but not Marlon. Marlon's practically lived on the island his whole life (since he was 7, at least, since he states that he and Truman have been best friends since then). Marlon doesn't really HAVE a real identity apart from the one on the show, it's as real to him as it is to Truman (well, apart from the fact that he knows it's all a big lie, but it's still his life, he has no other identity to go back to, really).
      • It may have been originally planned that Marlon may choose to drop out eventually, when he grew up and would legally be able to decide, in that case, he could start a life as his actual self and not be stricken with an inescapable case of "Child Star Syndrome".
      • For what it's worth, supplementary material and Word Of Actor suggests that Marlon has been in and out of rehab due to drug problems, presumably connected to both the ethical and identity issues working on the show produced.

  • How did college work on the show? Unless they actually had a real college with many professors in multiple departments, which is unlikely, they probably only had classes that Truman was taking. So when Truman decided on what classes to take, did they rush to find an expert in whatever class he chose? What if he decided to sit in a friend's class for one day? Or what if he wanted to swap classes in the middle of the semester?
    • 1: They would have been able to find out as soon as he filled out the form, which may be enough time. 2: Likely, they would have set up an incident (for example, a fire), and forced them to leave. 3: Could have strict policies (some places do) on taking alternate classes.
    • When this troper was in college my advisor gave me a list of what classes I needed to take, complete with what the department decided was the ideal order for me to take them. And the only thing that stopped me from signing up for exactly those classes in exactly that order was the fact that not all of them were available when I wanted to take them. They could have done the same thing for Truman, only made sure all the classes would be available in the order presented on the list and at times that were convenient for his schedule.
    • Two words: distance education. He may have taken an externally offered or correspondence course or something similar; as long as it was arranged by an accredited institution, he could theoretically get a degree without ever setting foot on a university campus (except maybe for exams and graduation).
    • Plenty of colleges use adjunct professors (i.e. part-timers) to teach many of their introductory or mid-level courses, paying by the credit-hour. No reason why the show couldn't hire some of those to teach classes that just happen to be made up of actors-plus-Truman; most adjuncts I've worked with teach at multiple colleges, not just one exclusively, and being seen teaching on TV would probably improve their prospects for landing additional work, assuming they don't screw up a lecture on the air.

  • And the above leads me to another question; how legit is Truman's degree? Now that he's in the real world, will he be qualified for the job he used to have, or does his degree not really count? While on the topic, what about his driver's license? Would that be usable in the real world as well?
    • If they were performed by qualified educators/instructors which, what with the apparent budget and realism likely would have been, they likely would be, there doesn't seem to be any problems.
    • There's a scene in the film where Marlon and Truman are talking about their friendship, and Marlon says (somewhat jokingly) that the only reason they got through school was because they cheated off each other's papers. That could be taken any number of ways. Perhaps it was simply for the show, "oh, Truman is cheating on a test, will he be caught?! Tune in tomorrow when Mrs. Krabappel gives him his grade!" Or they could have spoon-fed Truman everything he needed to pass his subjects and be set along the career path Christoff set for him.
    • While there may have been a bit of nudging to get the desired effect, since the purpose of the show is to approximate a human life it's probably — even likely — that Truman's schooling and education was as close-to-accurate as possible, which means it's probably more or less legitimate; it just happened to be filmed. There's nothing stopping them from getting a trained driving instructor or teacher onto the show and arranging the courses according to an accredited curriculum.
    • It's irrelevant. He's Truman; he doesn't need a degree - he's the world's most famous star, and would find any job anywhere.
    • While the world is set up for Truman's benefit, he's not the only one there. There are other kids in that classroom. They might be actors, but they have to be taught as well. So they probably killed two birds with one stone and educated those kids at the same time.

  • If they needed people on the show to go on about various products made by the show's sponsors, why didn't they maneuver Truman to go into advertising. That would have made shilling for the sponsors Truman's job, and he wouldn't have noticed all the blatant plugging because he and his coworkers were supposed to be doing things like that.
    • He didn't notice until it got really, really blatant. Giving him that job would have led him to notice it more. Hell, just look at TV Tropes. We notice tropes more because we make more of an effort. Now imagine that we're not supposed to notice them, and you see the problem with making him an advertiser.
    • The problem wasn't just people making pitches — it was also people making pitches when it was nakedly inappropriate for them to do so. Even a man who worked in advertising would start to wonder what was up if his wife suddenly started shilling dishwasher detergent to him during a completely unrelated familial argument.
    • What makes you think they didn't? Truman (supposedly) works for an insurance company, so there's a block of about eight hours in the middle of the day where he spends most of his time telling people about his company's awesome new insurance deals. Since insurance ads are a major staple of daytime TV advertising, I'm guessing that the company he works for really exists in-universe, and landed an incredibly lucrative product placement deal whereby they pay Christof a shitload of money, and in exchange Christof has Truman shill their product (insurance) to anyone who happens to be watching in the late morning or the afternoon.
    • It is shown that the producers have sought it fitting to maneuver Truman towards certain life choices (i.e. his wife) but they might have assumed that insurance was a safe enough choice. I imagine they gave him some free will.

  • Near the end, Truman sneaks out of his basement and out a hole in the roof of his closet, hidden from view of the cameras by carefully placed objects. ...Except, how does he know where the cameras are, which he would have to in order to place those objects to shield himself from view?
    • Well, assuming they're all those big black circles like the one on the side of Truman's neighbor's garbage can, once he's got one or two sorted out it shouldn't be hard to find the rest. Plus, he was almost definitely actively looking for them when rearranging the stuff in his garage.

  • What if Truman grew up to be ugly? Some people just don't win the genetic lottery. What would happen if the star of their show ended up to be ugly as sin to watch? Could they keep on the air? Related to the cancer dicussion up above, hat if Truman was gay, what would happen then? Both of these things are something that the environment can't control, so what would they have done about it?
    • Ideally, the audience will become attached enough to Truman that something like that wouldn't matter. They'd watch him anyway. And the jury is still out on exactly how much our genetics dictate things like personal appearance and sexuality. Unless Truman happened to get really unlucky and inherited a crippling genetic deformity that turned him into the Elephant Man, environmental pressures (specifically diet, exercise, etc.) would play a big part in his adult appearance. And as for the sexuality question, if Truman turned out to be gay I doubt Cristoff would've had any problem casting a gay man to be Truman's show!husband instead of a straight woman to be his show!wife.
      • Or playing his sexuality for drama; I bet a 'he's married but secretly gay!' storyline would probably bring in the ratings.
    • Also, if they decided they really couldn't live with his looks, they could probably arrange for him to have plastic surgery. His doctor and dentist are being paid off too, so could spuriously diagnose him with an ailment that demanded some work on his ugly nose or jaw or whatever.

  • Why on earth did they not just kill the wind so that he can't continue? For that matter, as he gets closer, why not just be completely obvious about it and shift the wind perfectly so that he's always facing it unless he returns to the island? It's a sailboat. Unless the guy starts paddling, which a strong enough headwind would make useless, he's basically stuck. Yes, such heavy handed weather might give him another clue, but at that point, isn't it better than attempting to drown your star on live television?
    • Given as the crew was panicking, they probably didn't think about that kind of tactic all that well. It's quite a Sheathe Your Sword kind of thing, so it wouldn't naturally occur to them during panic.
    • Plus, the whole point of Kristoff trying to drown Truman is that Kristoff is a humongous Control Freak who is not reacting well to the fact that Truman is defying him. He's undergoing a Villainous Breakdown and is not thinking clearly. Besides which, Truman's clearly not playing the game any more; they thwart this escape attempt with this less-than-subtle method, he's just going to try and break out again, and it's becoming clear that their preexisting conditioning (i.e. his fear of water) isn't working anymore. They're basically giving up and coming clean.
    • Plus it had a "starter" button, so it most likely was some sort of hybrid sail/motor boat. Many sailboats have motors as well to avoided the passengers being stranded is something like happens like for instance, breaking the mast.
    • It's worth noting that it IS in fact possible to sail upwind. It just takes longer. So no matter what direction they made the wind come from Truman could still get around it.

  • How did they make money on this? Live 24 hours means no time for commercial breaks, and all that equipment is expensive.
    • Commercials in the style of old radio programs, where the commercial is integrated into the program. AKA, Product Placement, only made really, really blatant Make sure Truman uses products from their sponsor (and NEVER competitor products), and then when he's using it zoom in on the logo and have the people around Truman start spouting off about the virtues of the product; since he's been raised with Product Placement interludes, he probably doesn't see anything strange about them.

  • Why is there a bus station in the town. That would have definitely solved Truman's fear of water, hence it was dangerous to containing him. For all Truman knows, there's no such thing as public transportation.
    • Because — as has been said repeatedly on this page — the point of the show is to simulate a real life in a real small town. Real small towns generally have some kind of links to the outside world, in the form of transportation. They could completely deprive Truman of any knowledge of the outside world whatsoever and make him believe that he lives a completely isolated life in the only place in the world ever — but then it would cease to be a 'real life', so the whole selling point of the show would disappear. It's a necessary evil to make the place look realistic. They would also probably need to ferry people (extras, crew, etc) around the town for whatever purpose they might need (such as maintenance) so they use a bus to do so and make it part of the set dressing to make it look convincing.

  • How did Laura get away with as much as she did on the set? Didn't anyone stop them from getting to the beach in the first place?
    • They probably were interested to see where it was going. It was fairly early on in the show's history, they may have been a bit less controlling, thought it might be good drama for Truman to have this little off-script moment and see where it went. Then, when Lauren started blabbing, they decided it had gone on too long and shut it down.

  • Why didn't they just have Truman go to "Fiji"? They could have just recreated another set and maybe give him a sedative when he got there
    • Because going to Fiji by itself wouldn't cure his fundamental sense of frustration and wanderlust. Lauren and Fiji are by and large just symptoms of his fundamental discontent with his life and his urge to explore the world outside of Seahaven. Even if they can convincingly fake up a sound stage to represent Fiji (and it's worth remembering that Truman's trip to "Mount Rushmore" occurred when he was a child, and thus a lot more impressionable and easily fooled; creating a city on a sound stage is one thing, replicating an entire country on one is another), chances are he'd just latch onto something else.

  • So, Truman is being filmed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the show is a live showing of that. What about when he has to go to the bathroom? What about when he's sleeping? What do they do then?
    • When he's sleeping they presumably show him sleeping (it might be boring, but he's asleep less than he's awake, and to a fair bit of the audience Truman's sleeping period would have a fair bit of overlap when they are sleeping). Going to the bathroom probably works like when he has sex — the 24 hours a day thing is a slight exaggeration, there are times when the cameras don't actually show him for reasons of discretion/working with the censors.
    • They cut to 'wafting curtains' whenever Truman and Meryl have sex, so presumably when Truman goes to the bathroom they cut to the bathroom door or something until he's finished. As for when he's sleeping, my guess is that they show filler-stuff like behind-the-scenes interviews, infomercials for stuff you can buy from the show, etc. but keep a live feed of Truman asleep in the corner of the screen until he wakes up.

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