The Truman Show and Reality TV

Truman Show pinback button

The Truman Show was released by Paramount Pictures in 1998. It centers around Truman Burbank, a man whose whole life from birth has been a show, unbeknownst to him, for the enjoyment of others. What if you were Truman? Or one of the characters or viewers of his show? Would you support freeing Truman? Is there a reality outside the ‘set’ for Truman? Paramount created a special website and released special materials such as this button surrounding the release of the film almost as if to blur the reality between real life and the story in the film. Seemingly with the aim of stirring up viewer sentiment to sympathize with Truman.

Last year during the anniversary of the film’s release there was some discussion with the actors and actresses. Twenty years ago they thought the theme of recording one’s life as entertainment was preposterous. However, now it seems like it may have predicted a trend. Since “The Truman Show’s” release Reality TV has become a part of everyday life. Whether it be in the form of shows like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, your neighbor’s Youtube channel, or your best friend's Instagram (or Snapchat)  broadcasting and sharing our lives with those around us is the new normal. It does beg the question though, what is real when everything is a video made for the enjoyment of others?    


Miller, Julie. (2018, June 5). Twenty years later, everything is the truman show. [Vanity Fair article]. Retrieved from…

Milvy, E. (1998, June 25). Paramount shows creative use of the web with site to free truman [News article]. Retrieved from


Research and text by Bekah Leidenfrost

Submitted by Bekah Leidenfrost on Mon, 03/25/2019 - 23:45