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The Truman Show

Essay by   •  December 22, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,187 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,489 Views

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The Truman Show is the story of a thirty-year old man whose entire life has been broadcast to a global audience as a television show. As Truman catches on to the made-for-television nature of his entire world, the film focuses on the negative effects of living during a television culture. This film can be read for symbolism and social meaning of the current television culture that we live in today, not just entertainment. The story of The Truman Show allows the audience to grasp that even "real" broadcasts, such as news programs and reality television shows are produced and controlled for the viewer's consumption.

The Truman Show is a non-stop live broadcast that generates revenues through product-placement advertisement, such as Meryl's promotion of kitchen items or Marlon's constant beer drinking. In fact, the show has become its own product, marketing video collections of the greatest episodes, pillows, and even everything seen on the show. Even Truman is seen as a product, being forced into an unrealistic reality in order to keep Christof's spectacle going (McGregor, 112). Advertising is constant in the world that we live in today. We see advertisements at all points of our day, just as in the world of Sea Haven. Sea Haven could be considered the epitomy of a society dedicated to consumption, which is not far from the society that we live in presently. We are compelled to ask ourselves what is actually being advertised to us on television, is it products or ways of life and is this type of advertisement ethical or effective. Television programs that are watched all the time advertise more than just clothes for us to wear, they advertise the way our society should live, just as The Truman Show. For example, the type of family that is acceptable in our society is advertised to us on television. Years ago, a television show would only portray a family with both heterosexual parents raising the children. As our society has evolved, television programs and commercials let our society know that it is acceptable to be a single or homosexual parent. And if you have a problem raising your child because of the type of situation you are in, just go on Super Nanny or buy a product that will make your child feel better. We barely recognize the ways we participate in advertising. Every time a television or radio is turned on or the Internet is used our society is attempting to be consumed. Think about a course of a television show, there are hundreds of attempts to advertise products to the audience that the audience does not even know about. Truman can be seen as a metaphor for us watching television. Until he began to pay close attention, he had no idea that everything in his life was an advertisement.

It can be said that things are not the way they appear to be in the production of television. All images are constructed for a particular purpose and for a specific audience (Galagher, 111). Every image will produce different responses in different viewers, depending on their culture, past experiences, age, and beliefs (Galagher, 111). But viewers are not entirely free to decide their own interpretation of any image. All filmmakers use techniques that the audience responds to automatically. The angle of each shot, the choice of music and lighting and film editing, are all techniques that produce certain responses in viewers. Techniques are also used to make characters look heroic or on the other hand passive. For example, during The Truman Show, when Truman is reunited with his fictitious

father, the creators of this sitcom use techniques, such as particular music and fog, in order to create an experience as emotional as possible for the audience. An emotional response from the audience allows the show to continue its' popularity, enabling the consumed society of Sea Haven to make money. The extreme manipulation used by the creators and actors of The Truman Show in order to keep Truman in Sea Haven is similar to the manipulation used by current television producers. Many

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