Discover more from 23 and WTF?!?
funny, but triggering AF
It was a good series. Took a few episodes to get into it, but overall I started to really enjoy it. Kinda LOL at times like The Office (particularly the American version.)
Until I realized the inevitable—
Space for a spoiler alert moment, if you’ve not seen it and want to. Although the premise is part of the series description, so it’s kind of hard to spoil it.
Stop reading if you don’t want to know more about the show!
Okay, back to it. Jury Duty! On Prime Video!
The inevitable was that at some point he would find out the truth. And it would not make sense all at once. Everyone knew but him. Not just the cast (his fellow jurors, the court employees, everyone connected to them), but every person in every scene.
When I saw his face, I felt awful for him. I am likely projecting. The guy answered a casting call on Craigslist. Unless he was truly naive, he knew all sorts of things can happen in the industry. Think of Jackass. Or go way back, Candid Camera (I’m that old.)
But I saw confusion, incredulity, a tumble of “wait, but what about….” thoughts.
Like—” when we were at that bar, was the server an actor? What about the bus driver?“ I remember when he asked the bailiff, he seemed a little sad. Like “wait…. even you?” (“Et tu, bailiff?”)
I imagined him having all the delayed reactions and realizations and questions that I had—still have, a year and a half later. The calculations, speculations.
And then the production crew. There was a huge room, a whole team. There were people making decisions about which camera to use, how to handle close calls (when someone gets called by their real name), what to say to the people with ear wires. All the coordination and high-fives and held breath.
At some point he would realize he’d been watched by everyone, and that he was the only person not in on it. I am guessing he’s fine with it now—maybe never had any struggles at all—but was he at least unsettled? I can’t imagine he wasn’t. He obviously signed a jillion contracts before filming which covered every possible outcome, and he knew this was entertainment. That’s something.
Onto the Truman Show, which I’ve brought up a few times. Early on in my discovery I thought of the Truman Show. Once I understood exactly who knew about my paternity, I found myself imagining them in a room, occasionally consulting one another about my well-being. High-fiving on a job well done, or reminding themselves that it was in my best interest to never know.
I thought of the Truman Show, about how the production team would change their strategy and redo the sets and redirect the actors depending on Truman’s behavior and how they interpreted his actions, their assessment of him. He was constantly watched and things around him moved based on this audience.
Everyone knew everything except him.
Maybe it’s in part a fantasy, that there’s this group of wise and kindly adults who regularly checked in on me, their collective beloved baby. It sounds soothing, the grownups sharing concerns in hushed tones, deciding as a group what’s best for their dear child.
Of course that’s not what was happening, but I can see the allure.
There were initially at least five people who knew about me—more likely six—and later, seven. At times some of them talked about it (it being me) across the groups involved—there were four—my parents who raised me, the donor and his wife, later my dad and stepmom, the doctor (and possibly his wife—she is the “more likely six” from early on—since we were family friends, I don’t think my conception remained—or was ever—a secret.) I imagine that within these four groups, it/me was discussed more often.
I find the whole thing creepy. I don’t know that there’s another way it could have been. It would be less creepy if the doctor wasn’t a family friend who always knew about it/me, whose kids I grew up knowing. Less creepy if my parents had stayed married and there was no stepmom who knew. She and I did not do well together much of the time, and she knew this thing about me that I didn’t. It makes me feel like I’m going to throw up sometimes. Less creepy if my parents had stayed married and told me at some point, or I’d found out and we all talked about it.
But it’s deeply unsettling to find out that I had been living in a made-up world controlled by others.