For most of America by April 28, 2019 at 10:30pm, they will have either watched Avengers: Endgame or Game of Thrones or both. If you hadn’t you will have logged on social media and been spoiled by memes and reactions from either. Or you been under a rock. It’s hard to avoid spoilers when we carry around “the water cooler” in our pockets every day. I’m in the middle when it comes to spoilers; I hate being spoiled and try not to spoil things for others but there’s also a sense of entitlement in “don’t talk about this huge pop culture thing because I plan on getting around to it eventually, and I can’t just log off for an extended period of time.” I’d make an exception for movies or if someone explicitly asks not to spoil it, or they’re literally in the middle of indulging. When it comes to live TV it’s different; it’d be like not discussing the Super Bowl until Tuesday so everyone can have a chance to watch. But we live in a self important social media age and so everyone likes to believe the world revolves around their schedule. (Okay, maybe I’m not so in the middle).
Narratively speaking, good storytelling is about the journey not the destination. If the only thing that’s interesting about the story IS the twist then that is just poor writing (Yes Sixth Sense, I’m looking at you.) If you only read a book or watched a movie to just know what happened, you’d read the last chapter, watch the last 10 minutes, and never revisit anything. I watched Game of Thrones a little late, I know there was a jaw dropping Red Wedding episode and people really was excited when Joffrey died. I knew they was coming, I didn’t know when and when they did I was just as surprised as I would’ve been otherwise. Oh, spoiler alert. (Also, I feel like announcing the spoiler alert is almost daring the person to be spoiled, anyway). While I can appreciate suspense and surpises, it’s not wholly necessary for my enjoyment. I actually had Endgame spoiled for me, I didn’t realize I was spoiled until it actually happened in the movie at which point I made a note to block that person. On principle. But it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the film.
But that’s just me. For the masses, I would say most people don’t want to be spoiled (even if studies show that being spoiled has no affect on the overall experience but hey) and so there’s the spoiler commandments:
- Always lead with “did you see/watch _________” before just blurting a reaction or posting a meme in the groupchat.
- The theater bathroom is not the place to discuss the movie; piss, wash your hands and go
- It’s only a spoiler if you believe it.
- No one cares, California. Just log off. Eastern Standard Time, ho
- If they tell you where they are, or you’re rewatching with someone who hasn’t seen it yet, don’t “oooh oooh this part coming up tho”, shut up
- Talking about what happened in the source material is still spoiling
- Use hashtags and spell them correctly for people who want to mute
- It’s not a spoiler if you’re like a season behind
- Reality shows and biopics don’t count
- If it’s a leak…don’t you fucking dare.
- Don’t be a dick about it.