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Truception
April 23, 2014 10:28 AM   Subscribe

The Truman Show, a critically (yt) acclaimed movie from 1998, is set to become a TV series. [h/t to mwhybark, ahere.]
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering (52 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Look, Ed, you put *anybody* on television sixteen hours a day, and sooner or later they're going to fall off a table and land on a cat."
posted by Fizz at 10:31 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


I cannot envision that as anything but immensely irritating. The whole point of the movie was Truman's dawning understanding and escape. Turning that into yet another irritating Gilligan's Island type show where no progress can be made because "we haven't been cancelled yet" will be meta in the most annoying possible way.
posted by tavella at 10:37 AM on April 23 [20 favorites]


How meta.
posted by dabitch at 10:38 AM on April 23


Deadline described the reboot as “a re-imagination,” which of course means this could also be a dollar-chasing recycling experiment gone awry

The use of "could" here is charity of the highest order.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:38 AM on April 23 [9 favorites]


Television is Sturgeon's Law, 24/7.
posted by Sassenach at 10:40 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


I can't even process what a weird meta decision this is. I hope that the TV show is startling and new - not just a re-tread of a great movie. I mean, there was two hours worth of content in the movie. A re-tread is going to be flat and disappointing at best.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:44 AM on April 23


I don't see how it will necessarily be bad. The idea of a man escaping from a constructed reality has several satisfying plot arcs in it, even after he escapes.

Of course, that depends on who gets it and who runs it.

People also talked down Fargo and apparently it's pretty good, and has even less business being adapted into a season-long arc.
posted by codacorolla at 10:48 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


No thank you, and in case I don't see it: good afternoon, good evening and goodnight.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:54 AM on April 23 [18 favorites]


I think those satisfying arcs would be startling and new. I would love to see a show about how you come to grips with finding out that your entire life is a lie and you're a totally famous celebrity.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:54 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


The best and worst movie-inspired shows. Ferris Bueller with Jennifer Aniston… I had no idea.
posted by Kabanos at 10:56 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


it's incepted reality shows all the way down
posted by mwhybark at 10:59 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


As the Grantland article mentions, the spiritual successor to the Truman Show has always seemed to be reality TV (that one's not even subtle). Selfies and internet culture, too, but reality TV for sure. Given that, it's sort of interesting to speculate how a show about a man whose life was a reality TV show engages with the current reality TV landscape.

There could be some fantastic story lines examining reality TV more critically than is usually managed (Truman meets the DashaKardians, a family whose entire lives are televised; Truman watches USA Idol to see if his favorite singer Lay Baikens wins all; Truman hits middle age metabolism and the producers film him secretly applying to The Weight Loser Show) but it will be very tricky to pull off, to say the least.
posted by librarylis at 11:00 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


I can imagine, especially in a miniseries format, how a tv series of The Truman Show could work. I do not imagine that the tv series will work out like that. It sounds like self-parody.
posted by jeather at 11:10 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


The idea of a man escaping from a constructed reality has several satisfying plot arcs in it, even after he escapes.

I think Prison Break failed at the same attempt, right? Until they threw him into another prison?
posted by yeti at 11:11 AM on April 23


I have had it with these motherfucking Trumans on my motherfucking TV!
posted by Debaser626 at 11:16 AM on April 23


There could be some fantastic story lines examining reality TV more critically than is usually managed (Truman meets the DashaKardians, a family whose entire lives are televised; Truman watches USA Idol to see if his favorite singer Lay Baikens wins all; Truman hits middle age metabolism and the producers film him secretly applying to The Weight Loser Show) but it will be very tricky to pull off, to say the least.

Truman, in a fit of rage, murders his neighbor. Nobody but the cameras see him do it. He cleans up and disposes of the body expertly. The producers are faced with a dilemma - do they air that segment? Do they call the cops and end the show? They say nothing and don't air the segment. Truman kills again. It's getting harder and harder to keep a lid on this thing. Some of the actors know something is up and are having a harder and harder time populating the world around the increasingly murderous Truman.

At the end, the Producer has to confront Truman. He reveals that this has all be fake, false. Truman nods, eyes wild, "I know none of this is real," he says through bloody lips, "That's why I'm doing this." He attacks.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:19 AM on April 23 [84 favorites]


The idea of a man escaping from a constructed reality

It was pretty good at least once before.
posted by JanetLand at 11:25 AM on April 23 [6 favorites]


I think Prison Break failed at the same attempt, right? Until they threw him into another prison?

Protip: the vast majority of TV series actually need to be a miniseries. Otherwise, you get "Prison Break: How many fucking times do I have to break out of prison?" and "Heroes: Mutant carnies, the most dangerous adversary."
posted by Behemoth at 11:25 AM on April 23 [9 favorites]


I'm only interested if it stars Patrick McGoohan.

"I am not a reality TV star,I am a human being!"
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:27 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]


It's possible that JanetLand is an impostor pretending to be me or vice versa.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:29 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


The only way to make The Truman Show any more irritating is to actually make The Truman Show. Which I suppose made it another inevitable exhibit of half-clever regurgitate in our sad and lazy Kunstkammer of a popular media landscape.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:30 AM on April 23


This is the most bizarre used of an established IP since the Napoleon Dynamite animated series from a couple years ago.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:34 AM on April 23


People also talked down Fargo and apparently it's pretty good, and has even less business being adapted into a season-long arc.

The thing about Fargo is that it's mostly about the setting and the characters, and the plot mostly just exists to showcase those characters in that setting. You can take the same formula and just add more plot without screwing anything up.

The same is not true of the Truman Show, in which the characters and setting are very much there in service of the plot. Just think about it: how many episodes in before he figures out he's in a TV show? How annoying are the episodes before that point? What do you do with however many episodes after that point? It just boggles my mind that someone expects that you can take a plot with such an obvious and major pivot point and stretch it out into a TV show length.

But then, I hear they made From Dusk Til Dawn into a TV show, too. It almost feels like Hollywood is actively proud of how few new IPs they are willing to try these days.
posted by mstokes650 at 11:49 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


What they should do is just actually follow Jim Carrey (the actual Jim Carrey) around with cameras and chronicle his descent into total nutball territory.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:54 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]


What reality tv has taught us about The Truman Show: nobody actually wants to see real life & TV producers are crappy at faking drama. If they tried to make the Truman Show now it would be canceled for being super boring and the main character being not a horrible person.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:12 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Go meta and make it a "the Prisoner" remake where Number 6 is actually on a TV set and his periodic escape attempts are being broadcast to an adoring public.

Wait, unless that was what was happening in The Prisoner, which I guess who knows.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:45 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Protip: the vast majority of TV series actually need to be a miniseries. Otherwise, you get "Prison Break: How many fucking times do I have to break out of prison?" and "Heroes: Mutant carnies, the most dangerous adversary."

"Under The Dome: Still Under This Dome".

The interesting place for TV to pick up from The Truman Show might be at the end of the movie. What happens to Truman after he steps through that door and leaves the set? Has he simply moved from one form of manufactured celebrity to another? Does he struggle to adapt to and integrate into the real world -- a world which may well be harsher than the pastel simulacrum of the set? Do Truman and Sylvia get together? How does that relationship work out now that Sylvia can see Truman's real personality, rather than the edited version of it that Christof presented?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:45 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


How about: they have some kind of memory-wiping Men In Black device and he actually discovers that he's in a TV show during every single episode.
posted by XMLicious at 12:51 PM on April 23 [6 favorites]


How about: they have some kind of memory-wiping Men In Black device and he actually discovers that he's in a TV show during every single episode.

Or there's a memory wipe device and he's really going through the same, hellish, punishment of an episode over, and over, and over, and over slowly finding things to be a little off and getting closer and closer each episode (de novo, of course given the wipe) to making that final leap of logic that lets him escape.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:02 PM on April 23


So ... Having finished Plato's Cave in the movie, I assume they're just going to film the rest of The Republic?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:05 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


I don't think it's going to be very interesting.
The first years is just gonna be a baby shitting his diapers, and then it's going to be many more years before he reaches adolescence and anything vaguely interesting might happen, as anyone with kids can tell you.

And besides, where are they going to find a baby? Is this even legal?
posted by sour cream at 1:11 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


Groundhog's Day: The TV Show: Every episode is a near-duplicate of the previous one, except for the protagonist's slowly dawning awareness of it.
posted by ardgedee at 1:23 PM on April 23 [9 favorites]


The first years is just gonna be a baby shitting his diapers,

*Holds envelope up to head and says, "something that is as good, or better than the Jersey Shore"*
posted by codacorolla at 1:26 PM on April 23 [11 favorites]


I'm amazed it took them THIS LONG to get around to doing this. Shoulda been done by the year 2000 at the very earliest, come on.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:40 PM on April 23


"The interesting place for TV to pick up from The Truman Show might be at the end of the movie. What happens to Truman after he steps through that door and leaves the set? Has he simply moved from one form of manufactured celebrity to another? Does he struggle to adapt to and integrate into the real world -- a world which may well be harsher than the pastel simulacrum of the set?"

It would be hugely difficult for him to come to terms with his rage at society. Everything he knows and everything he became as he grew up, every loving relationship and every conflict, was created for somebody else's entertainment. All those special Christmases and Valentine's Days were sappy morality tales designed to make other people feel better about themselves. He'd literally have no idea what reality even is.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:43 PM on April 23


Groundhog's Day: The TV Show: Every episode is a near-duplicate of the previous one, except for the protagonist's slowly dawning awareness of it.

I'd watch that if Bill Murray was on board. If you like this theory of the Groundhog day timeline you could air it for as many seasons as you like.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:44 PM on April 23


And the product placement! He'd think it was normal for people to constantly tell him about the brand name products they were using.

"That floor looks good, Mom."

"Thanks, Truman! I couldn't have done it without Mop and Glo, in the convenient four liter size."
posted by Kevin Street at 1:48 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


An Inception show would be legitimately entertaining and probably less overwrought than Nolan's movie. And as far as this genre goes, I'd sooner see a revival of The Matrix franchise.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:37 PM on April 23


I guess I'm in the minority here. If done well, a TV version of Truman Show could be utterly amazing. The movie was so prophetic and ahead of its time. Even beyond predicting Reality TV, it was also postmodern, meta, self-aware, philosophical comedy drama a year before Charlie Kaufman and Being John Malkovich got there. The ideas it explored deserve to be stretched out. And now we know so much more about this subject matter and why it fascinates us. The TV series could also be pointed criticism of its target audience in a way that no show in recent memory has done. I'm all for it.
posted by naju at 2:38 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


If it was a UK TV series, it would be 6 episodes long and would totally work. As a USA TV series, it will be 22 episodes long and full of meandering sub-plots.
posted by memebake at 2:45 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


They should play it like "The Fugitive," with Truman chasing down the Christo character, who, when you get right down to it, is one of the more intrinsically evil characters in contemporary cinema.
posted by rhizome at 2:51 PM on April 23


I'm disturbed by the fact that this is now old enough that we have to be informed that it was a critically-acclaimed movie from 1998. Not that I disagree about this, my brain is just--that was practically last week! No, brain, no, it was not. Unlike Spider-Man getting a remake only five years after the last of the Maguire movies, well, it's been more than fifteen years and a whole lot of people consuming media today didn't see it when it came out, and the world's changed and I guess it might be interesting to see how that impacts the plot.

But I'll be sad if it's not filmed in Seaside.
posted by Sequence at 2:55 PM on April 23


I didn't want to editorialize, but I would watch the hell out of this if they write out the whole story, and limit the number of seasons.

And don't tell the audience what it is. Have the audience discover, slowly, along with the main character what is actually going on.

It could be a fascinating deconstruction of reality TV and celebrity culture. Maybe if Netflix did it. (Not HBO because they're contractually obligated to boobies for some reason and seriously, enough guys.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:12 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


uh I meant wrote out the whole story before filming, to avoid disappearance-up-fundament syndrome a la Lost.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:14 PM on April 23


He gets out of his fake world, into our larger world.
Suspicious, now, of anyone who tells him anything is real, he keeps looking for a way out, into a still-larger, realer world.
Around the midpoint of season two, he finds it.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:41 PM on April 23 [8 favorites]


Kabanos: "The best and worst movie-inspired shows. Ferris Bueller with Jennifer Aniston… I had no idea."

Oh yeah, Parker Lewis was fucking AWESOME!
posted by symbioid at 4:23 PM on April 23


Groundhog's Day: The TV Show: Every episode is a near-duplicate of the previous one, except for the protagonist's slowly dawning awareness of it.

Now that would be TV worth watching. Imagine starting with a shitty format like Two and a Half Men, and slowly let the protagonist explore the limits of that script and world. Oh it could be quite something.
posted by odinsdream at 6:33 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


If they ever make an Inception tv show, its star should be forced to sing Matt Braunger's "Dream Inside a Dream Inside a Dream (We Must Go Deeper) (Theme to Inception)."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:40 PM on April 23


I haven't watched it, but apparently the forth season finale of "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" has the main character Will move to Philadelphia, then in the fifth season premiere he's abducted by network executives and forced to return to the show. But it's more of a desperation move (or an expression of the writer's contempt for their own series) than an attempt to forge out in a new artistic direction.
posted by Kevin Street at 7:31 PM on April 23


Psychological torture makes for good TV: Japan’s demented real-life ‘Truman Show’
posted by homunculus at 9:15 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Truman Show was part of a zeitgeist of what I would call 'gnostic' speculative fiction in the late 90s, centered around the idea that the world was somehow a construction or prison and our lives are being manipulated by mysterious outside entities.

Cube, Dark City, the 13th Floor, Truman Show, the Moriarty cycle on ST:TNG, and of course the apotheosis of the theme in The Matrix.

It's interesting that it took place just prior to 9-11 and as the JFK conspiracy stuff was becoming passe. There was stuff like Waco and Ruby Ridge, but that was relatively confined to the fevered imaginations of the far right. It's as if lacking some kind of national tragedy to focus popular paranoia on, we invented worlds to be paranoid in.

Paranoia is always a search for meaning and is primarily an answer to the question of "Why are we here?" If it's not god, maybe it's computer programmers, or AI, or aliens -- or TV directors. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do they die? Why do people fall in love? What's the point of all of this? Matrix's answer was for 'energy'. Truman Show's answer was 'ratings'. The fact that so many people seem to be asking the questions makes me think that the traditional answers are no longer satisfying.
posted by empath at 9:22 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


If they ever make an Inception tv show, its star should be forced to sing Matt Braunger's "Dream Inside a Dream Inside a Dream (We Must Go Deeper) (Theme to Inception)."

And he should be accompanied by this dog.
posted by homunculus at 3:31 PM on April 26


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