Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey) is the Ed in EDtv. A video store clerk with no ambition, he happens to be in the right bar at the right time where auditions are taking place for a new television show. The premise of this new show is to put an ordinary man in front of a camera 24 hours a day. Yes, it's very similar to the recent Truman Show, with even the fictitious TV network's name being "True". (Are there any new ideas in Hollywood?)
Unlike The Truman Show, Ed is fully aware of what's going on. He, his family, and his girlfriend, sign contracts giving True TV perpetual rights to their lives until the public doesn't want any more. The only break for Ed is in the bathroom, where he can make calls to the program director Cynthia (Ellen DeGeneres) to touch base with network headquarters. But what Ed hadn't counted on was the overwhelming infatuation the public has with seeing into a person's most intimate moments--especially those involving sex. And the creators of EDtv have provided us with plenty of these opportunities.
A movie which analyzes media, as this film does, presents a complex paradox. The fictitious producers of the television show quickly learn that nudity, sexual innuendo, and simulated sexual acts are a quick and easy way to secure a captive audience. But as a critical commentary on our society, this movie still captures its audience through these same tactics. Although Ed is a willing participant in this fishbowl experience, by the end of the film, we, the movie's audience, are expected to feel sorry for his exploitation.
It seems someone has forgotten that without public awareness, there is no fame--and no money. According to EDtv, a celebrity's life is miserable, and we, the audience, are responsible for what these poor people must endure. Isn't that a slap in the face after having ponied up your hard earned cash to see a flic chock full of "famous" faces that have made their living out of your wallet.