To Spoil or Not to Spoil?
Well we have all heard it before, whether it be from a close friend, someone in a bar, or a coworker setting up their fantasy football league instead of doing any actual work. “Shhhh! SPOILERS!”
Last night Game of Thrones had a massive online backlash from the fan community. People were angrily tweeting, posting, blogging their extreme unhappiness over something that happened in the show. Now I won’t say what it is, because frankly, it is not a show in my wheelhouse. (I know I should be watching it, and I will probably do a massive marathon of it one day). However I have seen everything from sad emojis to digital table flips online. It raises the question, should there be a common courtesy of not talking about something for an defined amount of time publicly to allow for everyone to see it?
Here is the thing about rabid fan communities, they take their shows SERIOUSLY. They don’t even want to know when a title sequence has been changed, because it might tip them off about a character or event. This day and age we have shows being recorded and saved so that we can watch them whenever we want, or simply view them again. That is the great thing about living in this day and age. Technology has made it so that we never have to go without seeing the adventures of our favorite characters without missing what might be happening on another channel or heaven forbid….the real world.
I fondly remember when Daredevil’s second season was getting ready to start, and the hype was everywhere. People began setting up posts like the apocalypse was going to happen. “If you spoil Daredevil I will unfriend you.” People were that legitimately ready to go to a bunker with 3 gallons of water and a 10 pound bag of tortilla chips for a day just so they could watch the show without anyone telling them any of the plot points. It would simply be a half a day to 3 days later when the hatch would open and fresh air rushed in. A stretch and yawn later and thumbs would be sharing a post on Facebook.
“That was amazing, you have to watch it!!!”
I think Marvel films have actually had the best track record for people not spoiling it, I could be wrong though. Of course there is always “that guy” that thinks it is hilarious to post fake spoilers about things. (Special Announcement: It’s not) On the other side of that coin you will get a large group of people that feel they can do whatever they like and talk about it openly without backlash. The thought process is that you have every chance to watch something when it comes on, so they shouldn’t have to hold anything back. This also creates controversy among fans. Some people have jobs, family obligations, or they can’t because they have to wait until they visit a friend and bring the 10 pound bag of tortilla chips since they have a Netflix account, and you don’t.
Sometimes though, it is not always the fans that spoil the show. Previously a major character was spoiled on The Walking Dead, not by fans, but by AMC themselves. They updated their website with a graphic without thinking about the fans on the West Coast, and people went bananas. There was talk of getting someone fired, people raged with all caps on facebook. It seemed like 140 characters wasn’t even to display their animosity. The network did in fact apologize, and have worked very carefully to make sure they never do that again. Even on The Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick, he gives a brief countdown at the beginning of the show for everyone to be sure they can change the channel or start their DVR from the beginning. (Thanks for that Chris!)
So what are we to do? How do we handle this series of events? What is proper etiquette for such a digital age where we can order a pizza with an emoji on twitter. Years ago before there was such a thing as DVR we had a VCR. Remember those kids? Those are big boxes that you put a little box in and could set a timer to record something. You just had to leave it on that channel and if someone changed the channel while you were out, they were banished from the family. Still that would last only so long before you had to go to school or work, and some waste of space would start blabbing about your show before you could see it. If you look hard enough you can find things about the classic show “I Love Lucy”. I Love Lucy was so popular that stores would close early for a couple of reasons. The employees wanted to be able to go home and watch the show, and they didn’t want to compete with empty stores because the crowd was also rushing home to watch it. The show was that popular and amazing. (Side note: You should definitely watch this classic piece of TV).
That was the thing about TV before VCR’s and DVR’s and downloading an episode. You HAD to be there. It was a time to set aside, make sure dinner was done early or bring out those TV trays that we all know and love today. Whole families would crowd around a small box in a living room and share laughter and meatloaf with a nice cold pop. Those times may be gone, but we can certainly extend a little courtesy to our friends and family. Spoilers are going to be there, it is an unavoidable plague. How we deal with them is up to us. Maybe we can wait until the next day to post about our shows. Maybe we need to avoid social media for the night. If we did that though, how will I send my pizza emoji so I can enjoy a slice while watching my favorite show?