ESSAY 5, 05/10/09
The audience was under the illusion that Seahaven is an authentic world. Seahaven may be depicted as a reality in itself, but the fact is that it is still a simulated reality and the only genuine character is Truman himself .However, the audience in the show does not realize this fact. Thus, Christop and his fellow executives of “The Truman Show” availed themselves of that opportunity by painting a perfect life in Seahaven to manipulate and appeal to the emotions of the audience. A specific scene in which this depiction of a perfect life is illustrated in the beginning of the show where Truman walks out of his home to the perfect community with friendly people and neatly arranged houses. All this evoke a feeling in the audience that would make them wish they were there, only they don't know they cannot, even if it is really phony and simulated reality. This is the exact feeling that Christof wished to evoke within the audience. This is all the more clear when he says, “Seahaven is the way the world should be”. The desired effect that is deliberately generated throughout most of the show whether for the benefit of the elderly couple watching the at home, the waitress watching from the diner, or even the security guards working their daily shift. Accordingly, they accepted the phony reality of the world that is presented to them.
Similarly, the audience in “The Truman Show” is addicted to their program as a way to entertain them and based their lives around it; the viewers turned to it for their comfort. The show has captured the interest of people from all walks of life around the clock. They stop everything to watch these series as often as possible. One viewer went far as to place a television set in the bathroom. The entire show is financed by “product placement” and this constant advertisement was woven into the series to the extent that it has become part of the illusion of reality. Truman is manipulated so that he stands in front of advertising bill-boards, and his friends tell him about new products they bought. In other words, the audience is manipulated and looks to Truman as a guide for buying the products placed for sale. They are drawn to him through a sick obsession with reality TV. They sleep with him on at night, sleeping with them; they peek in on him during his most intimate moments and while he is in the bathroom. When the show was over, two men who have been addicted to the program put down their pizza and turned to one another and say “what else is on, where is the TV guide?” .Hence, the addiction to the show and the purchase of the products by the audience, which is labeled as “perfect life” by the makers of the show reinforces Christof's statement that the viewers in fact accept a reality of the world they are presented with; a world which is full of phony realities and the only people that can see through this falsehood is the creator of the show.
In the same vein, the audience submits to the reality of the fake world they are presented with in “The Truman Show” in the sense that they allow the show to control their emotions and even the way they behave or do their jobs. This is shown by how the audience reacted when watching “The Truman Show”. For example, two elderly women were observed to cry and hug one another. This shows that with the simple progression of the plot we are even able to be removed to tears. Or in the case the security guards turning down a customer in need just to follow the plot of the show. Accordingly, the TV has such a huge influence on the audience because of the vanity of the human being; TV is more than just a platform for audience to escape the reality, it is a stage of comparison for human beings. The viewers sometimes want to compare their own quality of life to that of those on TV shows. For instance, in “The Truman Show” Christof creates a show scenario which allows the audience to sympathize with Truman and take pride in their own lives. So, the viewers within the movie who are watching the Truman's life on TV are just as taken in by the media propaganda as Truman is deceived about his life. Today, the viewers who accept what is presented to them by the media, the government, and their environment are in the same position as Truman. As Christof points out, we all accept the reality which we are presented with.
All in all, the audience in “The Truman Show” accepts the reality of the artificial world with which they are presented .They were addicted to the show and believed that it was a reality TV and that the world in Seahaven is authentic. The show affected their emotions, attitudes and even the way they performed their jobs. “The Truman Show” is a metaphor for our own situation at large, and it parallels Plato's “Allegory of the Cave”, once Truman escaped and the show was over, the viewers instantaneously found something else to watch. It is safe to say that as people in a media obsessed society we are like prisoners in the Plato's cave; we watch television as they watch their shadows on the wall and base our lives accordingly.