Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / The Truman Show

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    Why convince Truman to stay? 
  • 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 Christof'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 Christof's mind, the world of Seahaven being fake didn't matter, what mattered was that it was good.
    • And convincing Truman to stay, even if it doesn't save the show's ratings, would at least have vindicated his belief that Truman is happier in Seahaven than he'd ever be outside. Even after committing attempted murder on live global television, Christof still wants to be in the right in that respect.
    • Since this was the only world Truman knows, he could have returned to his life as he knew it and continued living the same way. Realizing something is an "illusion" doesn't matter if that's the only thing you know. Couple it with the fear of the unknown and a healthy dose of denial and suppression, and he might just be happy where he is. Additionally, his relationships might have a new level of authenticity now that he "knows" which could also make things more comfortable for him. Also this is an extended metaphor not to be taken literally.
    • Basically, Christof has lost sight of the forest for the trees. His project initially started off just as chronicling a human life, but he's clearly become increasingly Drunk with Power and steadily the focus has slipped from just chronicling that life to controlling it. He's not thinking in terms of just how it will affect the show will run anymore, he's thinking in terms of continuing to exert his control over Truman. I kind of get the feeling that Christof is reaching the stage where he couldn't care less if the show ends because the illusion is broken (I mean, he's perfectly happy to drown Truman rather than let him escape, that's not exactly good for the show's future either) and would happily give all of that up as long as he could continue to play real-life Sims with Truman in his little dome. Irrational, perhaps, but it's fair to say that Christof is also reaching the point where he's not exactly the poster boy for human rationality either.

    The unexplored islands of Fiji 
  • 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 Christof 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.
      • I can actually see educators in the real world of the movie ignoring the larger issues of human trafficking/bondage and manufactured psychological trauma (e.g., "killing" Truman's dad right in front of him, in an effort to instill terror of the ocean) but nonetheless putting their energy into demanding more rigorous in-show academic standards.
    • I imagined that Truman was given the best education (within Christof's controlling limits) and parents paid to have their kids join classes with him for a few terms to make school life more realistic. A kind of live-action educational program crossed with a boarding school. I dare say fun things were engineered every day to make it fun to watch, and Aesops were always being learned. Not all that realistic, but more interesting to watch. And of course, Truman's 'friends' were always being swapped out every few terms so that they didn't get too close.
    • Well, if you are like me, you probably learned that there are unexplored islands in Fiji from watching this movie. If you are like Truman, you read that in one line of an encyclopedia, but the effect is the same - Who cares that there are unexplored islands in Fiji? Do you feel an urge to go there and explore them, just from that? Are you going to invest your life savings on it? I don't think so. The only real reason Truman wanted to go to Fiji was because he had been told many years ago that Lauren was there.
    • They want to control Truman as much as possible, but even for producers of The Truman Show there are limits. They are probably unable to exert such Stalinist power and domination over every single piece of information that enters Truman's sphere of experience to prevent him from ever encountering a single fact that might make him curious about life outside of Seahaven — such as the fact that there are unexplored islands around Fiji.
    • Also, we're ignoring the wood for focussing on the trees here; the fact that there are unexplored islands around Fiji is, frankly, completely irrelevant. The point is what it represents — Truman's fundamental wanderlust, his eagerness to explore the world, his frustrations with the confines of the life he's found himself trapped in, and his desire to break free from it. Okay, as a thought exercise, ban any mention of Fiji in the dome. No one's allowed to even hint that there exists a country called Fiji. What's gonna happen? Truman's just gonna fixate on somewhere else. Go even further, ban any mention of any other nation or city or place outside of Seahaven, pretend that the island is the only place in the world ever... and Truman is still going to look at that horizon and wonder what's on the other side of it. Because the point isn't that Truman really really likes Fiji. The point is that deep down Truman wants to leave Seahaven. And Christof ain't never going to change that, no matter how zealously he controls the information that Truman has access to.
      • All very true, but you're speaking with the benefit of knowing what's really going on in Truman's mind. From the producers' standpoint, however, it might still make sense to somewhat limit Truman's exposure to such info.
      • But that's the point: the producers both can't limit every piece of information he ever learns and don't know what specific information they have to limit, because they don't know going to trigger such an response in Truman and what isn't, because for all their control over him they ultimately don't know what's going on in his head. They can control all the information they want, but there's no way they can possible predict what Truman is going to respond to and what it isn't. As said: they can control every piece of information about Fiji he ever learns, but that won't stop him from latching on to something else. They can pretend there's no outside world, but that won't stop him from feeling restless. They can edit every book with the ruthless efficiency of Stalin's censors, and yet there's still something going to slip past them because they thought it was irrelevant that Truman is going to be inspired by.
    • Also, as noted above, there's only so much information they can realistically prevent Truman from having access to while still maintaining the illusion that they are documenting an average human life. As soon as you start outright fictionalising the existence or lack thereof of entire countries like Fiji, you lose any claim that you might have to be documenting an actual human life that exists in the actual world.
    • It should also be noted that they did give it the good college try: "You're too late! There's really nothing left to explore!"

    Truman's Proscenium detection skills 
  • 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 slipups 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 random police officer addressing Truman by 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.
    • There's also the storm when it rained only in that one spot.
    • Because the Truman show is set in the real world. It's not on an alien planet or some Post-Apocalyptic bunker, which they technically could have done if they wanted. Although the world Truman lives in is artificial, it still abides by the same parameters of the real world, more or less. The sky is blue, birds fly, and you have to pay taxes. Truman was essentially raised with good understanding of what the normal human world as it is, even if he never left his hometown. And it's not like the outside world is going to be that much different than what he has already experienced.
      • The only thing which still looks a bit unrealistic here is his detection of unnatural Product Placement because he could only have learnt about the product placement concept in the first place by watching TV shows and commercials and it's implied that his TV routine is controlled by Cristof.
      • That's not really that unrealistic; his "detection of unnatural product placement" was because his wife suddenly started shilling him dishwasher detergent while they were having a fight about whether she actually loved him or not and there was no one else around. You don't need to have any idea of the concept of "product placement" whatsoever to find that more than a little bit off. Most of the other Product Placement he was surrounded actually more or less washed off him.
      • The other cases of product placement had also occurred with nobody else around, yet it didn't attract Truman's attention. I agree that it's insufficient for Truman to just lack the concept of product placement to never suspect anything: to lack the concept of product placement and to have only ever lived in the world with the omnipresent blatant product placement, however, should do the trick. For all Truman knows, he might legitimately think that it's what people just generally do, to alleviate their stress as well. It's not like he had a lot of really close interactions with other people - and we see that Marlon engages in it, too.
      • You're kind of missing or ignoring a pretty important point there, which is that the other examples didn't happen when Truman and his wife were having a massive argument about whether she loved him or not. Even for The Truman Show there is still an appropriate time and place for product placement to be brought up, and that is quite nakedly not an appropriate time or place; if you were having a massive potentially-relationship-ending argument with your significant other and they suddenly started cheerfully babbling on to you about how you should buy Brand X dishwasher detergent, no matter how many adverts or product placement you were surrounded by you'd find it incredibly inappropriate and suspicious for the simple reason that human beings don't do that. Seriously. Not one. Under such circumstances actual human beings shout, or cry, or throw things, or storm out of the room, but not one single sane human being has ever tried to "alleviate stress" or stop an argument by pitching household goods that they already own to her husband. It does not happen — not even on television, because no viewer would accept it. The Truman Show is artificial, yes, but it is still approximating a real human life, and no real human life has ever had someone suddenly and awkwardly start turn into a 1950s advertisement housewife and start shilling household goods to her husband when he's accusing her of never being in love with him unless she was either (a) mentally unstable or (b) acting. For comparison, another product placement example occurs when Meryl has implicitly just returned home from grocery shopping and is showing him something she bought. Yes, there's also no one else there and she's obviously shilling it to the audience as well, but if you were going to be inserting product placement into a conversation with someone that's a far more natural time to bring it up than when you're having an intense discussion about your deteriorating marriage. Truman ignores one because it occurs under perfectly plausible circumstances, but notices the other one because it occurs under circumstances that no one, no matter how controlled and media-dominated their life is, would ever accept as natural or plausible.
      • You're also completely missing the point that this is all coming when Truman is seriously doubting the nature of the reality he lives in in the first place. Even if we were to be generous and grant your suggestion that Truman has been raised in an environment where people actually interrupting arguments to sell products is something that would seem realistic and plausible (even though, frankly, that would utterly demolish any pretence that this show would have to claim that it was documenting a real human life and undermine the entire premise of the show), Truman is by this point seriously noting and questioning all the odd and unlikely things that surround him and that suggest that his life is artificial. So even if the previous 99% times Truman might willingly accept Meryl suddenly selling him household products while they were arguing, this is the one time that he is now primed to think "Hang on a second, Meryl doing that is actually really really weird, isn't it?"

    The activists calling for Truman's release 
  • 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 the interview the way the whole thing evolved. Basically, it started with Christof filming a documentary chronicling someone from fetus 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 with the deep pockets 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?
    • This is really a lot more simple than this page is making it sound. The Truman Show is not set in our world; it's a work of speculative fiction set in a kind of dystopia. Why would we assume there's an ACLU? Specifically, it's stated that Truman was "the first child legally adopted by a corporation," and that's supposed to tip us off, if we didn't already assume, that laws and attitudes are completely different in this world. It doesn't matter that this would be illegal in a hundred different ways in real life. This is a story where it's been legal for companies to more-or-less purchase children for commercial purposes for 30 years or more. Most people don't find this disturbing because they're not used to the concept of human rights as we think of them; the "accept the world with which they're presented", as the movie says.
      • A lot of this is pure speculation. Other than the show itself (and, granted, the line of dialogue mentioned above), nothing suggests that this world isn't supposed to otherwise be almost exactly like the world the reader occupies, complete with an ACLU, a concept of human rights, and so on. If Peter Weir had wanted the audience to know for certain that the world The Truman Show was set in was radically different to ours to the degree suggested here, he would have made it a lot clearer in the film than these rather subtle hints would suggest. As it is, the viewer is clearly supposed to believe that the world of the movie is more or less exactly the same as the world they live in, barring a few minor differences required to facilitate the story.
    • Look at it this way: you're watching a nature documentary. A lion stalks, attacks, rips apart and eats a gazelle. Had the documentary makers intervened, they could have chased the lion off, but they didn't. There's arguably an ethical dilemma there; does our right to enjoy nature programming and the demands of 'realism' and 'accuracy' mean the documentary makers should just stand by as a living creature is brutally slaughtered? But other than maybe spending a few troubled moments at the refrigerator contemplating this ethical dilemma, does the viewer get so worked up about it that they launch campaigns to get the National Geographic Channel closed down? Some people maybe, but for most people, probably not. And not just because they're heartless sociopaths incapable of empathy, like some people in this thread are suggesting; they might otherwise love animals and hate the thought of them being hurt. More likely, it's because to them, it's just a bit of entertainment and they're kind of removed from it. Similarly with Truman, the viewers aren't necessarily utter sociopaths or living in a world where the concept of human rights doesn't exist; they're just removed from Truman's plight to the point where they don't really think about it. To them, Truman's some guy on the TV whose life they enjoy following, he's not "real" in the same way that, say, their loved ones and friends and co-workers and the people they ride the bus to work with are.
    • We seem to be overlooking two particularly important points a bit here:
      • Firstly, that on the surface, Truman has an amazing life. An enviable one, in fact. And even though it's obviously more problematic than it seems on the surface, on the surface it's not exactly the kind of life that most people would be moved to protest him being forced to live. I mean, to illustrate; imagine storming the offices of the ACLU and yelling "Drop everything! Stop your efforts to [for example] prevent underprivileged minorities below the poverty line from being unfairly denied safe housing due to corrupt landlords forcing them to live in dangerous slum tenements and bribing the government to facilitate this! We need to focus on something far more important; the famous white guy on television who everyone loves that's being trapped in a life of blissful luxury in an amazing house in a perfect town with a beautiful wife, loads of friends and a great job!" They'd think you were a complete fucking idiot. I mean, obviously the situation is more complicated than that, but seriously, you think those two schlubby security guards are outraged that Truman is trapped in a world that makes him go home to a beautiful wife every night? That the lonely guy in the bath is furious at the injustice of trapping Truman in a perfect town where everyone loves him? That the barflies are driven to anger at the oppression that is Truman's well-paying job and perfect house? Would you be? Obviously people on this page are, but that brings us to...
      • Secondly, the viewer of the show is not privy to the same information and perspectives that the viewer of the movie is. It's easy for the viewer of the movie to come away outraged at Truman's predicament — but that's because we're given Truman's viewpoint on his predicament, and we see the viewpoint of those behind-the-scenes forcing him to go through it. We feel Truman's confusion, anger, fear and frustration at what's happening to him. We see him suffer, but more importantly, we feel his viewpoint on that situation. We also see the cynicism, apathy, manipulation and Control Freakery of the people behind the scenes forcing him to dance to their tune for their own greed, lust for power, and self-serving ends. In short, the viewer of the film is given plenty of reason to understand that this is an awful and unfair situation for Truman that they should be indignant about. The viewer of the show within the film, however, sees none of this. They only see what Christof shows them, and Christof shows them a utopia. Which brings us back to point one; would you protest a man who, for all that you saw, was living in a utopia?

    The Truman Show target audience 
  • 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 Christof is a really, REALLY good director.
      • The gimmick is that it never shuts off. It shows you everything. Apparently the closest there is to editing is tilting the camera away and playing music while Truman has sex. Most reality shows only show you snippets of the filmed's lives and are heavily edited. The gimmick here is the actual reality... even if it's not actually all that real.
    • 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. 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.
    • Some of this also has to just be accepted as being part of the Anthropic Principle. The movie's setting up a "Hey, what if this was a thing?" scenario to explore it within a fictional narrative, it's not necessarily arguing that an actual Truman Show genuinely would be the biggest thing ever. The Truman Show is the biggest show ever within the world of the film simply because the filmmakers need it to be so in order to tell the story they want to tell, at some point Willing Suspension of Disbelief either kicks in or it doesn't.
    • The premise that some people would watch everything a person does during the day and even night doesn't strike me as unrealistic. What does, however, is suggestion that they would do it from the person's birth. What exactly is there to show for the first months and even years of the human life? People like to see an acting subject, not a baby lying and crying around (at least not for long). And that is precisely in the time when the show would need to establish its high ratings not to get cancelled after a month or two. And by the time the things begin to get interesting and Truman grows up the novelty effect should have worn off quite a bit. Even less believable is the fact that the show is still thst popular after almost 30 years. But then there are a couple of mentions about the ratings being higher than usual so we might assume that there was a decline (maybe even much more severe than Christof would like to admit) in the show's popularity.
    • It's perhaps worth noting that a lot of the "biggest show ever" stuff is basically presented in-universe as advertising hype and promotional fluff which perhaps shouldn't be taken too literally. However, much of this still ultimately falls under Anthropic Principle; in order to set up the conceit of a man's entire life being filmed and broadcast 24/7 without him realising it, the filmmakers have essentially constructed a world wherein this baby apparently was just so adorable and fascinating and the novelty of watching him grow up 24/7 was so exciting that billions of people would want to watch him grow up throughout his entire life. True, it probably wouldn't happen in the real world (hence why, despite the preponderance of adorable babies, there's no real Truman Show), but as with most stories which involve at least one thing that probably wouldn't happen in the real world, the filmmakers are basically creating an unspoken contract with the viewer that they'll just agree to go along with it for the purposes of seeing what happens in the story. They know that people like babies, they know that people enjoy documentaries and reality programming, they know that there are examples of documentaries and reality programming that actually have followed people's seemingly mundane lives (albeit not to this extent), they know that TV and media production can often be blown up to extreme proportions and they know that sometimes unlikely things become incredibly popular, so ultimately it's not that huge a leap for the viewer to go "Okay, I guess in this world people loved Baby Truman so much that The Truman Show could be a massive success."

    Why write Truman's father back in? 
  • 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, to the point that they had to terminate his contract? 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.

    Does Truman actually have sex with the actors playing his love interests? 
  • 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?
    • That's 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 colleague 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.
      • In some jurisdictions technically what the actors are being paid for is being filmed, with the sex being (officially) their own choice. Given that the sex isn't even actually filmed in The Truman Show (since it pans away), so long as specific instances of having sex isn't in the script and any extra money Meryl's actress negotiates for having sex isn't acknowledged on the record as being for having sex, they'd be fine in that regard.
    • 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-raises ($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 it 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 Valley into a porn Mecca, as it were.

    Doctors on set 
  • 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.
    • The 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."
    • With a cast that huge and a wide range of potentially-dangerous equipment in use behind the scenes, it's likely that they do have some real health-care personnel working there, the same as many large corporate or academic facilities have a staff nurse or EMT. Employees do get hurt on the job sometimes, after all, and they can't risk letting outside ambulances come on-set when Truman's around: their medical staff wouldn't just be there for Truman.

    The "surgery" 
  • 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 
  • 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.

    The Truman-Sylvia story could've been used 
  • 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 Christof. 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 if something goes wrong with Truman's health? 
  • 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 Christof 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.
      • While it's true in general that you can't just eradicate crime by changing environment, this is a very rare situation when the risk for Truman to become a perpetrator or a victim of a crime actually is close to zero. Because he's under 24/7 surveillance and everyone interacting with him is perfectly aware of that. So the chance of committing a crime against Truman and getting off scot free are infinitesimally small. That's not to say that there couldn't have been any robberies, rapes or even murderies by and against other cast and crew members, but that's another story. I would agree, however, that the audience would probably be alienated from the show if Truman turned out to have major criminal inclinations, but from a purely statistical standpoint that's a rather unlikely and thus negligible risk even without the benefit of thoroughly controlling the environment.
      • 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.
    • Didn't Christof say that they selected Truman from one of several babies? With this in mind, couldn't they have selected the one with the least chance of cancer developing? (I.E. Go through his biological family's medical history or something) I know that cancer could still be caused by outside factors, but considering the amount they probably spent on the biodome and actors, It seems odd that they wouldn't consider this.

    Why did the studio fall apart? 
  • 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.
      • For "it never occurred to them", read "they're only human". Even (especially) for an operation like The Truman Show, there is no conceivable way that they can be on top of every loose screw, every rusty bolt, every load-bearing beam that's had just a little too much weight on it for a little too long, and so forth.
    • 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.
      • 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.

    Never finding the father's body? 
  • 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.
    • Also, there's a bit of Reality Is Unrealistic going on here. The old "If You Never Found the Body They're Not Really Dead" trope is a reasonable governing principle of fiction, not real life. In real life, countless people have been, are and will be lost at sea with their remains never being recovered, and they're accepted as dead because, well, we're not living in a story governed by fictional principles and most of the time they almost certainly are dead. Never Found the Body happens all the time in fiction, but there's a reason that if someone is discovered to have pulled the same thing in real life it makes the national news — because it almost never actually happens. The Truman Show is working on the principle that This Is Reality. Truman would have had no reason to suspect that his father wasn't dead if he hadn't literally walked up to him.
    • And also , by "never found the body" , they can even more ensure Truman's fear of water by give him the idea of "if you disappear in the sea , you're gone forever. All lonely , without anyone you cares around/visit you."

    Searchlight Moon 
  • 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 or urban explorers who'd broken in, at least while Truman's asleep or somewhere with no outside view.
    • By that point, even Christof probably has to acknowledge that the ship has well and truly sailed on the "keeping Truman in the dark" issue. They're not seriously trying to conceal things from him at that point, they're just frantically trying to find him to prevent him from completely tanking what has become a multi-billion dollar entertainment franchise and one man's all-consuming obsession.

  • 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.
    • Here's the thing; on the surface at least, Truman has a pretty awesome life. I mean, yes, if you think about it for a few minutes there's all sorts of potential legal and ethical issues going on under the surface, and yes he is evidently unhappy and frustrated, but overall if you don't look too closely he has things pretty good. He lives in a nice house, is in a seemingly perfect marriage, is well-liked, has a decent job, and overall seems to be pretty happy. Most of the people watching him probably wish they could be subject to such "cruelty". The viewer of the film knows the truth of Truman's situation because they are shown all angles of it; they get to see the world from Truman's perspective and understand his confusion, frustration and fear, they get to see the cynicism of the people producing the show and inflicting misery and oppression on him so they can profit from it or to control him, and overall they get enough information to see that it is an exercise in cruelty. The viewer of the show in the film, however, is not privy to the same information; all they get shown is a seemingly blissful man leading a seemingly blissful life. Would you protest that?

    The Omnicam location 
  • 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).

    Child actors on the set 
  • 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 staff). 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.
      • I always figured that was Marlon getting a break. He's around Truman (and thus, "working") much longer and more often than the average actor on the show, along with Meryl, so they probably get long breaks spaced out over several months, as opposed to a few hours a day and weekends off.
      • According to a old TV special to promote the movie (An IRL version episode of the in movie "Trutalk") , Marlon is always played by this same actor (Louis Coltrane) from child to adult. His mom was one of the recruit producer back in the day , and according to him , basically , one day , out of blue , his mom told him "from now on , you are called Marlon , and you go to this school , and be nice to that boy called Truman."(sort of this kind of lines) And so he did......and he just steal away Truman's fire engine...and they became friends...and as so , Louis' fate is set (forced to became Truman's "best" friend).(He(Louis) only learned the truth some years later. And he is indeed have a bonding with Truman.)

    Stop looping, you're looking suspicious! 
  • Why were the bicycle lady, the flower guy, and the 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 yelling "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 loopers 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 police officer 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.
      • Plus, even if Christof yells "Abort!" the split second he realises what Truman's up to, it would still take time for that message to reach the people it needed to reach, and for those people to act as necessary to implement the order, and by the time it did it would still be too late for at least some of them. The man has a lot of power within the dome, but he's not literally God.

    These actors must have personal lives, right? 
  • 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. For the actress who plays Meryl, this is a few weeks of paid vacation. 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.
  • When does it end for the actors? His best friend and wife have been on the show for over a decade. Are they expected to grow old with him, or will his friend mysteriously move away one day and his wife divorce him/die and leave him as a single parent? As an actor why would sticking with this one role for decades be considered a good career move or use of your life? It seems like they're as stuck as Truman is.
    • Unfortunately, this is only explained in a deleted scene (one that would have been fairly crucial to shaping Truman's world, if included). Christof mentions that one actress has decided to not renew her contract, and she will be written out. Presumably, all the actors work on renewable contracts and, at some point, are choosing whether or not to go forward with the work. It's not too different from a regular television acting job, except that the time commitment is a lot more intense. One is also to assume that despite the lack of commercials, The Truman Show's ad revenue (based on the size of its global audience) is enough to provide these actors with a VERY solid salary, since it has to reflect the sacrifice these actors are making (or, alternatively, The Truman Show isn't a particularly well-paying gig, but most of these actors aren't exactly at the top of their game and would have a hard enough time getting work, but in the deleted scene one new actor was mentioned to be a respected theatre actor). Regardless, the actors definitely work on contracts, so someone like Louis could probably someday choose to not renew his contract and the show could write his conclusion.

    Line feeding 
  • 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 Christof wanted.
    • One of the problems the show faces when things start to go wrong is that Christof doesn't just control Truman; he likes to control everybody in the town. Most of the actors are extras passing in and out - why would a lady on a bike need to be a great actress? In the end, he doesn't really need actors who are good at improv if they follow the script to the smallest letter. Too much improv is probably discouraged and it's a skill that will deteriorate if you always follow the script.
    • Improv isn't a fundamental part of acting at all - it's a skill in itself that proves useful in acting, among other things. Not everybody can improvise in an unexpected situation. Actors are always given a script to follow, and extras especially wouldn't be hired because they can improvise when their main job is to help Truman cross the road. When you're an A-List actor, you can get away with going off script. When you're not, you stick to the script, or you get fired.
    • If you're talking about Marlon's touching speech, that's another sign of how controlling Christof is - controlling his actors as well as Truman. Besides, being a writer and being an actor - improvisation or not - are different skills too.
    • Why would the actors need to be fed lines? Well, watch what happens whenever the actor DOES stray off-script!

    The actors could've just used their real identities, right? 
  • 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?
      • For an extra like Sylvia, yes, 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.
    • This fake-name/real name thing adds another layer of emotional distance between Truman and the actors, so they're more likely to remain distanced from him. They don't care as much for him instinctively since they're reminded every day that it's all fake, so nobody starts feeling guilty. It's like a soap opera where two characters can be friends, but in real life they're just working together. Marlon/Louis was an amazing friend to break through that barrier.

  • 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 I 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 and tenure, assuming they don't screw up a lecture on the air.

    Truman's degree 
  • 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 Christof 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.
    • He might have been taught how to drive by a certified instructor, but for his license to be legit outside the dome the state in which he lived would have to issue it. Wasn't the dome in CA, but the show set in FL? And his home address on the license would be fake unless Christof somehow got the state of CA to acknowledge the dome as an actual city.
    • Even if the degree/license wasn't "legit" enough(which is not likely , as the production corp. have enough money and power to set a real school that can give out legit degree) , There is nothing(in his case) a GED equipment(or something) and a simple Driver's ED can't cover....It's not like he didn't have the required knowledge or skill to pass those.

    Product Plugs 
  • 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 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.
    • Who has he been selling insurance to? After a couple years he should have cold called every house in the dome, unless massive home owner turnover is part of the masquerade.
    • The show acknowledges that there's a world outside just Seahaven, it just doesn't want Truman to go there. The insurance company that Truman works at is presumably "based" in Seahaven, or at least has an office there, but it's almost certainly part of a regional company at very least, so Truman will cold call "customers" (almost certainly specially-arranged extras and perhaps even the occasional celebrity guest-voice al la Frasier) who live outside Seahaven.

    Truman's basement escape 
  • 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.

    If Truman was ugly 
  • 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 Christof 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.
      • If he was gay, it's likely they'd have just made that part of the drama. Maybe even bring in a gay actor eventually.
    • 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.

    Stop the wind! 
  • 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 the boss trying to drown Truman is that Christof is a 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.
      • Truman is shown to be a somewhat experienced sailor and could easily have sailed upwind under normal conditions. Presumably, Christof called for the storm because it is more violent, dramatic and exciting, and did not even realize that stopping the wind entirely would have been much more effective. While this would be even less subtle, this seems to be the least of Christof's concerns during this scene.
    • If the actors hired to play the ferry crew are clueless about how boats work, why would the producer or his technicians be any more familiar with them?

    Money making 
  • 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.
    • Don't forget the product placement they do with the chocolate Truman drinks, the product placement and the scenes they use of him drinking it as an ad is enough brand presence where they paid to be announced.
    • They did said in the movie , that EVERYTHING on the show was for sell (aka product placement , from clothing to house(most likely the building plan) , everything you see can be ordered from the catalog.)

    The bus stop to nowhere 
  • 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.

    Sylvia's freedom 
  • How did Sylvia 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. Hey, if Meryl really didn't work out by the time her initial contract ended, maybe this actress would be offered a big role? Then it turned out she wasn't acting, and she started blabbing. Time to step in.
    • If you pay attention, they did absolutely everything they could to try and steer Truman towards Meryl. But Truman wasn't interested in her; he wanted to chat up this other cute girl. In the end, they had to physically drag her out to make it happen between Truman and Meryl.

    Take Truman to Fiji 
  • 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.
    • Reading between the lines, this looks like what they were eventually planning for. Meryl eventually tells Truman to "save up his money for a few years" (giving them time to build a set, similar to what they apparently did for Truman's Mt. Rushmore vacation) and go. Presumably, once they realised Truman was not going to be denied on visiting Fiji, they decided to just roll with it and were trying to stall for time.
    • One of the final drafts of the script and a "Behind the Scenes" special (available on YouTube) said the studio *was* trying to duplicate Fiji for Truman.
    • Was Mount Rushmore recreated on a special studio set or not? WMG posited that it's entirely possible that the show staff created a trip to Mount Rushmore plotline, chartered a small plane with a vetted crew of attendants and pilot, and talked the Parks Service into clearing a section of the park for a day, or even a whole weekend (during the off-season, the Parks service would likely agree when Christof convinced them that the publicity boost would make up for the inconvenience of a weekend's lost revenue). It's a small trip, but a rewarding one, with Truman sedated for the transitions into and out of Seahaven, and Truman never encounters anyone who doesn't already have clearance. What's to say that that wouldn't also work for a trip to Fiji?
    • Well, for one the real Mount Rushmore doesn't look like it does in the film's photo. From where they're standing the mountain wouldn't be visible; there'd be a lot of woods or hills blocking the view. There's also no sight of the road to the mountain or the big visitor center area in front. Truman also notes that it looks rather small. It's obviously a studio mockup made when Truman was too young to realize the mountain was fake.
    • Did Truman ever actually go to a Rushmore set? I always assumed the photograph was edited, and that in reality he never left Seahaven at all, and was simply led to assume it's some episode of his childhood that he couldn't remember.
    • Step 1: Buy a holiday resort on Fiji. Fill it with cameras. Step 2: Fill it with actors. Step 3: A script that will control everything that happens while on Fiji. Try and keep him relaxing on the beach all the time or do something horrible like food poisoning (unpleasant, but hardly deadly) to keep him in the hotel as much as possible, and use it as an opportunity to make sure he doesn't want to leave Seahaven ever again. Step 4: Holiday episode!
    • Pardon the bluntness, but you are missing the point. The show would gain nothing from getting Truman to Fiji (or a fake), and Truman wouldn't be content with visiting a resort in Fiji (or a fake resort). Why? Because Truman was only interested in going to Fiji in the first place because he thought that Lauren was there. So he would try to find her while in there, and the show would have to deal with that.

    Potty breaks 
  • 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.
      • This is actually addressed in the "interview" special that aired on Nick at Nite. Christof outright says they don't have cameras in the bathrooms or the showers, as even though Truman is on TV, they still value his privacy.
    • 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.
    • Perhaps they just don't have a camera pointed directly at the toilet.

    Days counters 
  • Why does the days counter have room for a sixth digit? Even assuming they would be able to continue the show with a new subject after Truman died as well as finding a director obsessed and fastidious enough to be Christof's eventual successor, (and assuming the egocentric Christof would even condone the idea that anybody but his genius could run this show) the idea that the show could run over 267 years is stretching it.
    • Christof is just THAT much of a Control Freak that he thinks he can control Truman's life to the point where he's essentially immortal.
    • Hubris. Christof believes that the Truman Show, and whatever follows it, will essentially last forever.
    • Given they were planning to have Truman get a child, it's likely Christof and whoever his primed successor be would continue with Truman's child and onto his grand-children.

    Residency on Seahaven 
  • Do the actors live in Seahaven they way Truman does, they just know the truth? The little girl on the bus who asks her mother, "Mommy, isn't that..." Is Seahaven somewhat functional as an island city, and most of the extras are surprised to see Truman when he goes "off track?" When I first saw the movie, I thought the extras lived in Seahaven just as Truman did, they were just in on it and could leave whenever they wanted.
    • They sell designs for houses based on the ones in the show, so clearly they can be lived in, so presumably people can occupy them. They provide temporary residence for extras, they provide a more permanent residence for long-term crew and maintainance, family, and the co-workers Truman meets daily. Christof mentions that it takes the population of a small city to keep the show going. And that's where they live. Thanks to the script, they never run into Truman. In fact that's probably how a few people bust into Truman's life - by getting a job among the crew.

    Sylvia's attempt to fourth wall break 
  • When Lauren starts to blab, why does she do it in the vaguest way possible? "They're coming. They're here. They're watching you. Everyone's watching you all the time. None of this is real, do you understand? None of this is real. It's all for you." When her "father" comes in, he tells Truman she's schizophrenic and having a delusional episode, and, yeah, that's basically what it sounds like. All she actually had to do was say one specific thing: "You're on TV 24/7. Your life is a TV show." You can't even say she's trying to ease him into it. "None of this is real" isn't exactly less alarming. It's just less helpful.
    • To be fair to her, Truman's immediate likely reaction to that one specific thing is (also) going to be "What? What are you talking about? That's crazy." She's basically got ten-fifteen seconds to convince him of the situation once she realises the jig is up, she's probably not exactly working at her best to begin with (she has to be aware that millions of people are watching her impromptu date with Truman and it's not like she was expecting or planning for this situation, that's a pretty intimidating situation to be in) and she's a fifteen-year-old at this point. We can probably cut her some slack for not delivering the most immediately eloquent or instantly convincing summary of the situation under the circumstances.
      • They're in college, the name is visible during the trumpet scene. They would be about 18-20 years old.
      • Okay, fine, she'd be two or three years older (I don't care what the banner says, they're clearly not in their early twenties in that scene). The above point still applies that she's a young woman unexpectedly thrust into an awkward situation she wasn't prepared for knowing that millions of people are watching her every move trying to explain a complex series of events and reality to a very sheltered young man in like ten seconds before she gets detained and dragged away. No matter how old you are, those are not circumstances particularly conducive to eloquent persuasive oratory.
    • She had made her decision over the day, and they were finally alone with nobody to interrupt. But she knows she's got minutes, maybe seconds before the cameras catch on and the crew rush in and drag her away properly. She has to be fast. And it doesn't seem to work; sure, he's met the girl he wants to be with for the rest of her life, and something very odd is going on... but for whatever reason he continues with the script. Is she crazy? He doesn't know. All he knows is that he wants to see her again - even if that means going all the way to Fiji.
    • She genuinely cares about Truman. She wants to tell him the truth, but she doesn't want to say it so bluntly that he'll lose all trust in her along with everyone else who's been lying to him for his entire life. Unfortunately, her attempt to ease up to the subject takes too long.
    • She does actually say 'it's a set, it's a show' as she's been taken away.

    Travel Agency 
  • If you really don't want Truman to ever want to leave the island, then instead of a travel agency full of scary posters of planes being hit by lightning and staffed by a dream-crusher, how about... no travel agency? It's not like every small town has one.
    • Perhaps it's a fob to Truman's natural curiosity and yearning to get away? Even despite the discouragements that he's been conditioned to accept Truman is still naturally curious and make frequent longings to get away, and the producers have to work around that; better to have a staged travel agent close by where they can use it to further his preconditioned fears about travel rather than have him look for one further afield for one and risk blowing the whole thing wide open.
    • Also, that travel agency didn't exactly look like a top-of-the-line place. It's likely it was thrown together fairly quickly once Truman's wanderlust started manifesting itself. Similar to the "surgery", it probably wasn't there all along, they just put one in to try and catch Truman and prevent him from looking further afield.

  • Presumably, Seahaven's only television programs, music broadcasts, movies and so forth would have to be ones that the network airing "The Truman Show" owns the rights to. So what happens if Truman starts griping about how (or worse, why) he doesn't like one of them? It'd be an involuntary Take That Me on the network's part, with their flagship character dissing their own productions!
    • Judging by what we briefly see of it, Seahaven programming seems to be composed mainly of old movies and fifties reruns like I Love Lucy, where this presumably wouldn't be much of an issue; who cares what Truman thinks about a show that hasn't been on air since the 1950s?
    • Combining this with the Fridge Brilliance entry above, they would also have to exclude any show that portrays cell phones and the Internet. Granted, that might not have been so hard in 1998, when such things were only starting to become ubiquitous, but even a small slip might get Truman wondering why people on a non-Science Fiction television show are using non-existent technology. Perhaps they only showed old reruns.
      • Actually, there is a lot of technology that they could show. When a cell-phone was the size of a handbag and you needed some sort of portable charger because of all the juice it sucked up... When the Internet was small and slow and sluggish and expensive... well, it's not impossible that Truman knows that cell-phones and the Internet exist. What he would have to be kept from knowing is how cheap and advanced they were becoming, so he wouldn't wonder why he didn't have one, which would actually be much easier in 1998. They'd only need to back up that sort of technology to the 70s. What they DID do with the television programs, was only show the ones with aesops about how great home life and family were, to try to discourage Truman's adventurous nature.
    • It's specifically mentioned that the show has a budget that rivals the national budget of most small countries. With resources like that, it would be very easy to have movies and TV shows custom made for the Truman universe.
    • I thought it was possible that The Truman Show was basically so large that it formed its own network by the events of the movie, in which case, since this was the only thing running it wouldn't matter so much. In any case, while it might be something they want to avoid if possible, the show and Truman are so big by this point that even if this situation did show up, there's not really a lot anyone can do about it. To take one parallel, The Simpsons is constantly doing Biting-the-Hand Humor towards the Fox Network and what the producers of the show think are the crappier shows that are running on it — however, it's also one of Fox's big cash-cows, so they can get away with it. And popularity, ratings and revenue-wise Truman is apparently that on the order of several million, so even if the network executives or the producers of the other show are a bit butt-hurt by Truman slagging their show off, for them it's a case of 'tough luck, this rakes in more cash for us than you ever will, suck it up and deal with it'. It could even be reworked into some kind of 'so bad it's good', 'no publicity is bad publicity' kind of thing (see the controversial new show that Truman himself hated!). Alternatively, as mentioned above they could just buy the rights to a lot of reruns, old movies and cancelled shows, and show them, since no one's going to care if Truman hates something that's no longer in production.
      • Alternatively, maybe Truman just doesn't watch as much TV as we do.
      • Perhaps the producers deliberately engineered Truman's upbringing, so that he'd grow up in a family and an entire community where watching TV was discouraged?
    • Restricting Truman's viewing habits to moderate quality public domain movies and television shows programmes keeps that aspect of his life inexpensive, discourages him from spending inordinate amounts of time watching television, gives him a relatable knowledge of the real world, and deludes him into believing television isn't a powerful enough medium that something like The Truman Show would actually happen. There's also the possibility that he might compare his own life to the lives of fictional characters on TV in a positive way, thus deluding the audience into believing Truman is happy with his make-believe life.
    • Think of how often Reality Is Unrealistic in television. Truman on the other hand is being presented with a television world that is very much like his own. It's pleasant, it encourages family life, and yes, he doesn't spend all day watching television. How many times do you think, "I wish my life could be more like that TV life"? Truman finds that his life IS just like that happy life, and having spent all his life in a kind of paradise, who is he to argue with it being unrealistic any more than he is to argue with the size of the moon?

    Lauren/Sylvia reoccurring 
  • They drag Sylvia away at least twice because Truman is too interested in her. Then she appears a third time right next to him studying. Despite the producers not wanting to them to talk. Why still let her on set at all?
    • She didn't appear next to him the third time, and doesn't directly approach him any time IIRC — each time he found her. "Hey, you're fired because the star keeps looking at you when we don't want him to" isn't exactly a fireable offence, and could land them in legal trouble if they canned her just for that. They probably thought just shunting her away somewhere else where (as far as they thought) Truman wasn't going to find her would do the trick.
    • They may even have decided to keep her around just to see where Truman was going with it; the show was, after all, at least nominally still an experiment in monitoring a human life. Christof might have just been intrigued to see what would happen.

    Product placement problem 
  • So the show has to integrate the product placement directly into it because there are no commercials. But what if Truman bashed one of the products because he genuinely doesn’t like it? Surely the execs would've had to find a workaround if that happened since that's advertising dollars down the drain.
    • The Truman Show is the biggest thing ever, has its own self-functioning network, and a massive global audience. It also appears to have a budget that many small nations would look enviously upon even before the advertising dollars come in. It literally sells houses. Frankly, it seems like this can simply be explained by the fact that the individual advertisers need The Truman Show far more than The Truman Show needs any single one of them; if one company withdraws its product in a huff because Truman said something negative about it, the almost inevitable result would be that there would be at least three competitors rushing in to replace them before they'd even let the door hit their ass.
    • To try and minimize these kinds of embarrassing situations, however, it's likely that the producers would not blindly sign a sponsorship deal only to find themselves with buyer's remorse before the contract is up.note  Instead, they'll more likely "blind taste-test" Truman to see what he's going to dislike and, thus, what's not worth putting on the show to advertise. Say, Bloggs' Tomato Soup wants to advertise with the show. One night, Truman comes home after a long day's work to find that Meryl has made dinner early; "Hi sweetie, I got home early so I thought we'd have dinner early! To start, there's tomato soup." Truman tries it, screws his face up; the producers know that he's not going to like it so decide not to finalize the Bloggs contract, and no one watching is any the wiser that it was Blogg's Tomato Soup in particular that Truman doesn't like, so they have no room to get upset that their brand has been slated. But, if Truman likes it: "Oh, that's Blogg's Tomato Soup! 100% tomatoes, 100% flavor and 0% preservatives. I'll start getting it more regularly."

    Why tell Truman about the outside world at all? 
  • Couldn't Christof have prevented Truman's wanderlust by making it seem like Seahaven (and perhaps a few surrounding islands) is the only landmass in the world, and the rest of the planet was just open ocean?
    • Theoretically perhaps, but like at least 90% of all "couldn't Christof have [done X] to keep Truman in the dark forever and ever and ever?", headscratchers, it overlooks a few key things:
      • The first is that the show is supposed to be documenting an otherwise ordinary American human life. If you make Truman one of the few human beings on a Waterworld style planet, then he by definition ceases to be living an ordinary life, and thus a key selling point of the show is gone. Furthermore, even if you try to model Seahaven on an ordinary American town anyway, it becomes a lot harder to both explain where people go once they leave Truman's life (i.e. leave the show) and where about 90% of the things that an ordinary American town needs to function comes from, and thus creates more potential threads to Truman to unravel.
      • The second is that ultimately, for all the potential odd things which Seahaven has that Truman can latch on to in order to question the nature of his reality, ultimately the real problem that leads Truman to discover what's going on isn't with Seahaven at all; it's with Truman himself. You can't really "prevent" someone developing a sense of wanderlust as if it's a switch you flick on and off. Truman is fundamentally restless and eager to explore the world around him on a deeply ingrained personal level, and that isn't going away no matter how many obstacles you put in his path. Tell him there's nothing left in the world to explore? He wants to travel around and see for himself anyway. Convince him that his father drowned at sea to try and implant a fear of the ocean in him? He gradually finds a way to overcome it. Built a wall around him? He'll find a way to climb over it or tunnel under it. Dump him on an island and convince him he's the only human being on the only patch of land in the world? He'll probably end up building a raft in order to see for himself anyway. The problem ultimately isn't that Seahaven isn't convincing enough; the problem is that no matter how convincing or perfect it is, Truman is fundamentally unsettled there and wants to leave it.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: