The Truth About Spoiler Alerts

Published 7 months ago by , Updated April 2nd, 2014 at 9:12 am,

Spoiler Alert Discussion The Truth About Spoiler Alerts

[The following article represents the views of Kofi Outlaw. Not Screen Rant, its other writers, editors, owners or subsidiaries. All angry responses may be directed @ppnkof. Thank You - "Management"]

Today we live in a world where our options for consuming TV and Movies are as extensive as ever. We can do it the traditional way (catching things on live broadcast or when they first premiere in theaters) or we can save that experience for later – either in the near or not so near future – via DVRs, streaming services, digital downloads, and everything in between.

As is always the case, though, advancement in technology brings with it new challenges to our culture. With the advent of more personalized and customizable systems of media consumption, came a new and uncertain terrain of proper cultural etiquette, when it comes to the discourse about the TV shows and movies that capture widespread attention. No bigger evidence of that brave new cultural world exists than the term “SPOILERS.” Born of the digital era, the word exists for no other purpose besides regulating our discourse on TV and movies, in a world where one can never be sure what the next person has seen or not seen.

Memento Ending SPOILER The Truth About Spoiler Alerts

2000 SPOILER: He IS Sammy Jenkins!

However, like so many cultural practices of the new technological era, the issue of SPOILERS has veered somewhat off course, which is why I am here with some friendly course-correction: I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, ladies and gents, but not dropping SPOILERS – in public conversation, on the Internet, WHEREVER – is a courtesy that a person (or Website) chooses to give; it is not one of your unalienable rights or entitlements.

I’m honest enough to admit that I was once guilty of the exact thing I’m about to criticize: I thought that I was entitled to an existence in which the movies and TV shows I had not watched yet were never ruined by those who discussed plot details and twists without discretion. My hardline stance on the subject wasn’t just ideological: back in high school, I suffered the great trauma of having David Fincher’s Se7en – which has one of the biggest surprise twists in ’90s movies – SPOILED for me by a fellow JV soccer player with a chip on his shoulder. I know about the crushing disappointment of having something spoiled for you, and for years and years I called “SPOILERS!” on anyone in earshot who was about to (or just had) ruined something I wanted to watch for myself. And I didn’t feel bad for doing so.

The Sixth Sense SPOILERS Bruce Willis Dead The Truth About Spoiler Alerts

1999 SPOILER: Bruce Willis is dead the whole time!

The turning point came when, this past summer, I was confronted with a situation I could not justify. I was out in public, when a group of young men nearby began a conversation about Sons of Anarchy, which was about to return to the airwaves. The show was about to hit season 6, however seasons 4 & 5 were still sitting in my Netflix que, awaiting my attention. So there I was, ready to tell these young men – excited about the potential developments in the new season of their favorite show – that they couldn’t discuss said show because I had not caught up with it yet.

….And in that moment, as I was about to cry foul, it hit me: I was on the wrong side of this SPOILERS thing. I had no right to do anything but shut up and suffer my penance for not keeping up, or simply remove myself from earshot. The burden of censorship rested on me, the lazy viewer – not them, the dedicated viewers. I was using the word SPOILERS as a coercive tool – and so many others are doing the same, these days.

The closest comparison I can make is cell phones. If you can believe this, kids, there used to be a time when phone calls tended to be held in private – in a particular room or booth that was designated as space for the purpose of phone conversations. Then came the advent of mobile phones (cordless, then cellular, now “smart”) and suddenly it was as if technology had magically granted people new social entitlement: to talk as loud as they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. These days, with bluetooth headsets and such, they can actually talk as loud as they want, wherever they want, whenever they want, looking as crazy as they want  - and woe be to anyone who would try to object. If you’ve been to a movie theater in the last half decade, you’ve surely dealt with this issue.

Terminator SPOILERS Kyle Reese Sarah Connor The Truth About Spoiler Alerts

1984 SPOILER: The Savior was fathered by the same guy he sent back in time!

…Which brings us back to SPOILERS. Like cellphones, the new, singularly-occupied bubble technology now allots to each individual has fostered a belief in some (okay, many…) that life should move at the pace set within their personal bubble. This specious notion has progressed to a ridiculous point: You can’t talk in public without some random screaming “SPOILERS!” like you just spit in his/her face; want to discuss a big TV/movie event on your own personal social media page, with other interested parties? See how many complaints show up on YOUR PAGE from others chastising you for a SPOILER violation. Happen to write for a website or blog? If your headline about a major event in TV/Movies is anything but a vague and bland head-nod to the subject at hand, you might as well make your own effigy for the mob to burn. Nowadays, people treat their respective bubble-worlds like they are holy shrines to be worshipped, and TV shows/Movies don’t actually exist until they finally shine their divine light of attention upon them.

The reality of matter is that cinema (and even more so TV) were created to be communal experiences. Whether in a movie house, or via broadcasts airing simultaneously in millions of homes, we were meant to watch these stories unfold together (a practice now reserved solely for sporting events and awards shows, its seems). Subsequently, the various lanes of discourse that these screen stories engender were meant to be discussed together, often in specifically allotted frames of time. While people are indeed using the new options technology offers them to break from the traditional communal viewership pattern, it still currently remains the trend (by and large) that the discourse about what is viewed takes place in a more traditional, communal (and timely) fashion.

Soylent Green SPOILERS ending The Truth About Spoiler Alerts

1973 SPOILER: It’s Made of People!

In other words: when a movie is finally out, or a show finally airs, many people want to discuss what they saw immediately following the experience; they don’t want to wait a week until everyone on planet earth is caught up (a month, a year, depending on the viewer’s habits). There has been no “on demand” option created for the pop-culture zeitgeist; it moves when and how it moves, and if you follow your trending topics on social media, you know by now the pattern of just how quickly it does move – wholly independent of the habits, preferences and whims of a single individual. That fact alone makes any claim of anti-SPOILER rights not only invalid, but utterly delusional. Live in your bubble, watch things in your own time, fine, but the world outside of your world still moves according to its own rhythm and pace, and claiming that you have some kind of right or entitlement to be shielded from that reality is simply incorrect.

The worst part is that there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to SPOILER qualifications anymore; doesn’t matter if 10 million people are discussing Breaking Bad the morning after it ended – someone is crying SPOILER as if 10 million other people should whisper around them. Doesn’t matter if I’m discussing a movie that’s a couple months, a year, several years, or even several decades old – some nut is crying SPOILERS if I happen to mention what Dil (Jaye Davidson) is concealing under that bath robe in The Crying GameCatching up on The Wire or Lost a decade late? Whoops! Nobody better SPOIL them for you! Ten years let is never too late! You’re entitled! Except that…. you’re not. At all. Nobody owes you any secrets at this point.

Planet of the Apes Ending SPOILER The Truth About Spoiler Alerts

1968 SPOILER: It was Earth All Along!

Yet, everyday people censor themselves in conversation (verbal or web-based) about the pantheon of TV and movies – and some websites (like screenrant.com) even risk traffic and revenue to keep big SPOILERS safely hidden away from the casual observer – lest he/she opt to look for themselves. But let us all be clear: This practice is not done because of what is owed or what is required when it comes to the listener, the reader; it is done as a simple courtesy, because one person (or website team) is empathetic enough to know how bad it can be when the developments or surprises of a good show or film are SPOILED, and we want to preserve that experience for others, as hopefully it was preserved for us. It is a choice kindness – not a hardline duty.

This needs to be remembered, going forward, as we continue to revise our culture to suit the needs of a new era – and it’s only going to get messier, before it gets better. As more big movies open overseas before they do domestically (see: Marvel); as streaming and subscription services offer more alternatives to traditional broadcast television; as social media continues to help the cultural zeitgeist (and all the discourse that comes with it) develop and spread at a rapid pace, the issue of who knows what, when, and how much about a given show or movie is only going to get harder to separate.

Jack LOST series finale The Truth About Spoiler Alerts

2010 SPOILER: Oh, too soon?

….But before you’re so quick to call “SPOILERS!” from now on, maybe take a second for self-reflection, or maybe just fire up that Netflix que and catch up to the rest of us. I’m sure you’ll be happy when your two cents can finally be added to the discussion at hand.

[REMINDER: The following article represents the views of Kofi Outlaw. Not Screen Rant, its other writers, editors, owners or subsidiaries. All angry responses may be directed @ppnkof. Thank You - "Management"]

TAGS: lost, planet of the apes, terminator salvation

135 Comments

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  1. @Kofi Outlaw,
    When dealing with older movies and shows, the ability to avoid spoilers is near impossible. IMDB practically spells out whole plot details. lol…

    Second, virtually every plot twist, device, and outcome has been done a million times over. Its very hard to surprise audiences.

  2. I think there’s certain situations where I can agree with this article, others I can’t. If you’re listening to a conversation someone’s having, you’re not entitled to tell them to not discuss the spoilers. You just have to leave the area. However, situations like when people have leaked information and tell everyone about it before almost anyone has a chance to watch, that’s not cool. Like sometimes Dexter spoilers were leaked long before an episode even aired, and people kept spreading the spoilers.

    Then there’s also situations where I feel like you could argue either way. For example, I recently just started watching The Walking Dead. I’m only on season 2 right now. So, two nights ago I got really frustrated when I was just scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, only to see statuses outright spoiling what happened in the season 4 midseason finale. While it was obviously frustrating to me since I’m not there, on one hand I can’t get mad at people for talking about a show that they’re caught up on and I’m not. I’ll agree on that. However, on the other hand, I don’t think it’s cool to post about the biggest spoiler of the episode immediately after the episode airs on a social media site for everyone to see. Some people simply can’t tune in every week at the scheduled air time, whether it be because they have work or some kind of life circumstance that prevented them from watching it at that time. So, it kinda sucks to have that ruined for you.

    But again, I also get that people don’t want to wait to be able to talk about a show, you do want to discuss it right away. So, for my example with The Walking Dead being spoiled by all of my friends on Facebook, it’s something I’ll just need to accept that I shouldn’t go on Facebook at all Sunday nights until I’m caught up. It sucks that I won’t be able to go on Facebook without being spoiled, but that’s life.

  3. Just please don’t put spoilers in the headline of an article, that is the worst. For the most part – if I see an article for something I have not seen I assume reading it will spoil it for me.

  4. I prefer to have the spoilers discussions and the reviews of the film separate.

    But for the morons who keep spoiling movies that are not in the spoilers discussions. That’s real cheap guys. CHEAP!

    But I come here because most of the reviews coincide with my opinions about 70% of the time. Which is more than most! However if SR gets rid of the Spoilers discussions and the warning label prior to the actual spoilers. I’ll probably stop visiting as I have most other sites.

    As for most older films, well, it’s hard not to spoil it. I mean, just about everyone knows about Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader by now, everyone knows Kyle Reese is John Connors father, everyone knows about Planet of the Apes. Those are hard to miss, and that’s what makes them classics.

  5. Once again Kofi Outlaw thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room, & once again he is wrong. Thank you Kofi, for “schooling” & “correcting” us, the loyal readers of this website; you know the ones that pay your salary. What a jerk.

    Same old ignorant, arrogant, ill-informed, over-sensitive, butt-hurt KofI…..grow up pal. Wake up & learn that YOU DON’T make all the rules, and that you’re very tiny in the real world of journalism.

    Kofi Outlaw, often wrong, but never in doubt.

    • Since when did we pay the Screen Rant staff?

      • @ Dazz

        Every hit this site gets allows them to show their advertisers how much traffic SR has which encourages them to advertise more. We, the readers and visitors to this site, then infact help them draw advertisers. With out us, there is no SR. This site just doesn’t run for free. The more hits, the more they can charge for advertising.

        • @Brad

          So who are you and who do you represent? I noticed you didn’t include a link in your name. Inquiring minds want to know.

    • While I dont always agree with Kofi could you please take the time to explain how he is wrong?

      What is incorrect about Spoiler warnings are a courtesy not a rule?

  6. Bumping into someone and saying excuse me is a courtesy too. That doesn’t mean its not expected of you. Nobody cares if you write spoilers online. People just want to be warned. Its like telling someone there food is really hot before eating it. Of course you dont have to, but why not?

    When you read a article on a website like ScreenRant, they should try to make there readers happy if they want them returning to there site and increase traffic for there page (nobody likes a movie or Tv show to be spoiled for them). So in that case its there job to make us happy not some courtesy.

    I dont feel like its owed to me, not to be spoiled. I expect it. If ScreenRant or PPnkof wants to keep me/someone as a reader don’t make me/them mad. Because nobody likes anything SPOILED for them.

    • Totally agree. If sites decide to post spoilers without warnings, we readers can choose to visit other sites instead.

      SR was very good regarding MOS, it was shown 2 weeks late in NZ and I requested them to put spoiler signs, and they were pretty good.

  7. My issue here is the same one I had with the Family Guy article. The episode was less than a week old (and I’ve heard hadn’t even aired in a lot of countries, but I haven’t verified that), and immediately right in the TITLE of the article was the name of the character who died very clearly saying it was that one that died. It’s courtesy when talking with friends or otherwise in a public forum. When you’re writing an article for a website, it’s called being professional, especially in the title.

    Honestly what really put me off was the unprofessional way you responded. I have a very finite list of sites I go to for movie and video game news, and because I enjoy them and find them reliable, I make sure to tell my adblocker to not block ads on those sites. That type of response only encouraged me to remove that for Screenrant.

    • “My issue here is the same one I had with the Family Guy article. The episode was less than a week old (and I’ve heard hadn’t even aired in a lot of countries, but I haven’t verified that), and immediately right in the TITLE of the article was the name of the character who died very clearly saying it was that one that died.”

      Yeah, UK only just had the season with Ricky Gervais voicing a dolphin.

      We’re also about midway through season 8 of The Office with Andy Bernard as the new manager but SR posted an article tat mentioned Michael Scott’s brief return in the season 9 finale earlier this year.

      It’s tough to know what to write about and what to spoil though if your site’s based in one country and you get readers from all over the world who may not have had that show/those episodes air yet.

      • Ah, well if the airdate differences are years, then things could get a little more fluid unfortunately. Also, to reference the rant directly: Yes there is a huge and clear difference when making that judgement between the episode airing internationally within a couple weeks, and entire years.

    • Indeed. That pissed me off.

    • I checked (I don’t watch Family Guy religiously enough to care) and the way the article was put out was so asinine, just a big title containing the spoiler and then “WARNING SPOILERS” what’s the point? If you spoiled the episode before you’re readers have finished the headline?

  8. Seems alot easier to just not drop spoilers in the titles of your articles than write this massive rant.

    • +1

      • +2

        • +3

    • +1 hop off the soapbox and adapt to the preferences of your audience.

    • To be fair you are on a site called Screen Rant

  9. A good portion of what Kofi talks about here lends credence to my thoughts that we are now living in the “iGeneration”…
    It’s always a spin on the same convo and it starts with “I haven’t” or “I have”.
    Maybe it’s because I’m a bit older than the average pop culture or media obsessive but what started with Nextel and the fact that I had to listen to both ends of some idiots conversation has evolved into a full on assault of the senses and a sense of entitlement that seems to be growing out of control.
    I’m as sensitive as anyone about spoilers but at a certain point I have to take the responsibility to stay away. Not everyone else.
    So if I haven’t seen the latest episode of The Walking Dead or Homeland it’s up to me to not click on a article about the show or read a recap.
    Sadly though that doesn’t seem to be the approach a lot of people take and frankly it blows my mind.
    Like I said before I don’t want to be spoiled about certain things. There are many examples of movies and TV shows that I would have been bummed out if I knew certain things ahead of time but once a certain amount of time passes I realize that there’s only so much I can do and it’s ridiculous to expect others to not talk about something because “I” haven’t seen it or”I” might watch it at some point.
    Take responsibility for your own actions folks.
    You’ll be a better person for it.

    • None of us are talking about that, we’re talking about articles that have obvious spoilers in them and that articles and podcasts should come with spoiler warnings so you know to avoid them. Things like recaps are kind of obvious, I personally don’t see the point since if you haven’t seen the episode/movie yet then you don’t want to know what happened and if you have then you taking time to be told about something you already know but other people like them so it’s really not my place to judge.

      Basically. It’s hard to avoid spoilers when they are presented with no warning.

  10. Wow, alotta pissed off people here.

    Kofi, don’t stop what you’re doing. You’re a great journalist on honestly you’re the main guy on here that does comic stuff which is good because you know what you’re talking about. Ignore all the pissed off, butt hurt readers.

    As for spoilers, I agree with you BUT to some extent. I agree with some other readers here, an article should not contain a spoiler in the title.

    And while it is often common courtesy and not a privilege or rule to say/write ***SPOILER***, when a tv show, book, game, movie, etc etc has just been released I personally (as well as a few others here) believe that if a person should not spoil it.

    Doesn’t matter that everyone isn’t on the same schedule, it’s actually rather rude to say that if someone isn’t caught up oh well, too bad. It’s understandable if it’s been while but when the tv show/movie/game etc etc has just been released you shouldn’t spoil it, and of you are then don’t spoil it in the title. Just leave a large warning at the top of your article. Plain and simple as that.

    With all that being said however, this is in no way shape or form an angry rant or whatever. I’m just simply stating my opinions and why I believe you are ring slightly stubborn.

    -AF15

  11. I completely agree with you Kofi. Its apparent the internet is the wrong place to go if you are not looking for spoilers. You dont want to know about a certain show, or movie and you go to the WORLD WIDE WEB.

    The fact that others would have to hold their tongue due to you not being knowledgeable is insane. Its a choice I have chosen to not spoil, not a rule or policy

    • Yup not like it’s 2013 or anything and people need to use the internet for anything else but movie and t.v news.

      Stay off the internet? How about just keep spoilers out of article titles if you consider yourself a professional.

      • No you dont need the internet. You choose to use it for various things. Most of those things (if not all of them) can be done without the internet.

        As for the titles thing…. What if you didnt want to know who one a major sports championship? What if you recoreded it and wanted to watch it in two days?

        How bout if we just make article tiles such as Movie, TV, Sports that way nothing at all is ever spoiled. Wait but then you will know the article is about Sports…. would that spoil it also?

        Maybe just title all articles Articles.

        On the other side I do agree spoilers PRIOR to any release should be kept out of titles. However after the event has aired…. buyers beware.

        • Aknot in what circumstance would a sports FAN go any length of time (2 days tops) without knowing how his team is doing and also not wanting to be updated, yet still be interested.

          I’m open to hearing any reasons but I think there is a huge difference between scripted shows/movies and sporting events, as I am a huge fan of both.

          • Actually a lot of people that work shifts. Not to mention people in the military.

            I say that based on when I was in and there was a game I didn’t want to know about until I got to see it which was almost 2 days after it aired.

  12. my comment was deleted. it had nothing improper. what the heck man.

    • There were spoilers in it.

  13. Technically, we can never really know if Lenny was Sammy Jenkins or not ;)

  14. today I was listening to howard stern and he was commenting on how great the last walking dead episode was and before his co-host started to comment about it he stopped her and told her that he didn’t want to spoil it for anybody, because he understands that not all of his listeners are able to catch up to their favorite shows or movies on time, and screen rant should understand that not all of its readers are able to catch up to everything on time either, but they still want to read other articles and listen to the podcast and turn it off in the spoiler alert section, which i’ve done many times, so in my humble opinion I find this spoiler-rant article as annoying and whiny as the people who(most of the time on their own fault) cry about being spoiled about something because of the title of an article or the podcast, introspection has to be done on both sides so a middle ground is found

  15. All I want is for SR to not SPOIL AOS CHAPTERs in the note´s title….
    Here in my country, AoS airs on Wednesdays. thanks :)

  16. The irony of thinking that the Oldboy spoiler wasn’t going to be THAT bad and listening to the podcast only to wish I never knew about it…

  17. No. I will grant you, it is not a right or hard rule that if I haven’t seen something that you shouldn’t talk about it.

    But here on a website you can surely put a tag or warning or something to ward us off of something that you know gives away the ending. I always pay attention to those who might be interested and also might want to save the surprise for others.

    It is called being kind.

  18. I’ve been following SR for a couple years and one of the things i liked was the extra “Spoiler Discussions” thread for every movie…

    Not everyone gets to work in the films/tv business and simply don’t have the time to watch everything or anything at all you guys review…

    SR is not only about Reviews, its also for movie/tv news…you should respect those who can’t afford to be “dedicated viewers” but also want to catch up on other news.

  19. I hope they never post spoiler warnings again. If you do not want to read a spoiler about something then you do not go on the internet and read articles related to that movie or show. If you do you are asking for it and you will get what you deserve for your lack of foresight.

    • So when I’m looking for an article on the SR:GEEKPICKS and I just happen to glance over “Brian Griffiths killed by crazy nutjob in car” that is posted above it, it’s my fault because I should have known, before even coming on to the website, that that article was there?

  20. You see, on the Wikis I contribute too, we tend to use a three month rule for a spoiler alert. (That is, three months after the product releases in the final release area, the warning is removed.) That seems to work, because anything longer than three months is unfairly hindering to those who have seen the “spoiler” already.

    Yes, I was disappointed when I learned that Bruce Willis was a ghost in The Sixth Sense before having seen it, but I didn’t watch it until 2011. Twelve years is far too long for anybody to cry spoiler.

    It is, in my opinion, a common courtesy to post a spoiler alert for a reasonable amount of time (say, three months) after the material has been released. In certain situations where the material is released spread across a year, in different areas of the globe, that can get a bit prickly, but just one day after Family Guy airs!? That’s just inexcusable.

  21. I can’t believe how many people are affected by spoilers. It’s not like you certain stories aren’t plastered all over the net anyways. Besides, the way I see it, if the movie or show you going to watch is any good then you will enjoy the experience regardless of whether or not you know some details in advance.

    Nobody get pissy when their buddies tell about the awesome roller coaster that they have yet to personally experience. Or better yet, is a great movie, show or book ruined the 10th time you experience because you already know it by heart? Not usually.

    Enjoy the content for the content and artistry behinf and lay off the people whose job it is to bring is the details about what’s happening in entertainment.

  22. Spoilers are pretty easy. Is it an official article/posting/website or is it general discussion.

    Referring to Kofi’s article, a conversation in the street, on the phone, on your social media preference you can and should talk about what the hell you like, is personal directed to people you know or “follow” you (yeah whatever, me don’t get twitter… hey I’m old).

    If your not a friend on their facebook, if your not a follower on twitter (dunno if you can still view the post if that’s the case???), if your not on the other end of the phone call, if your not in the group having a chat….. then it’s got nothing to do with you so don’t listen in….. weird stalker person.

    If however you’re “officially” discussing TV/Movies, so your a TV/Movies website or on your personal webpage you have “John’s Film Review” page where you specifically discussing TV & Movies, especially if you know you’ve got worldwide readers/browsers (yeah whatever we’re called…. jeez) which have different release schedules then I think there is an expectation and responsibility that you take on due to your position as an “official” commentator.

    So discussing major plot points in a show/movie that was shown in the US yesterday without warning in the article banner where it could be potentially ready by non-US is a little irresponsible and crappy journalism….. for the sake of ONE WORD (plus !!!!!) in the header, not exactly a taxing effort.

    Timescale also plays a part, so I’ve noticed that there are Arrow reviews Wed/Thurs for the episode that’s released here in the UK the following Monday and the reviews here on ScreenRant always contain a spoiler warning, once THAT episode has aired globally then it’s fair game without any warnings. Obviously if there are significant discrepancies in the release schedule then you can only cater for the majority of your readers.

    On a specific example I think, personally, ScreenRant does an excellent job of telegraphing spoilers, I like that the reviews are fairly vague on plot points and there’s a specific spoiler zone for those that have seen the show/movie can freely discuss.

    No it is not your right not too be spoiled especially if your lagging behind the running of a show or a film has finished it’s theatrical release and you’ve missed the boat…… TOUGH!

    However if it is discussion of a current episode, insider knowledge of future plot points, release day movie reviews etc. then those of us/you who contribute to an dedicated resource have a duty to your readership to warn of spoilers allowing the reader to make a choice instead of having the choice made for them.

    • Indeed. Generally, ScreenRant does an amazing job when it comes to spoilers. The now infamous Brian Griffin post notwithstanding.

  23. Spoiler: you’re being a dink Kofi. You guys post new stories on upcoming shows as well as reviews. If you’re saying I should come to your site until I’m caught up on every on going show then I’d never be able to use SR. I don’t care if you slip up but don’t try to cover up the situation with an over the top butt hurt rant. Stick to movies and shows.

    • Hehe, yeah. Saying “You guys are right, we dropped the ball on that one. Sorry.” seems to be so much easier than writing a 2.000 word editorial about being entitled to unprofessional discourtesy.

  24. wondering if anyone can create a app for spoilers, like people need an app to find their car in a parking lot

  25. So what is a spoiler? Is it possible that I would think one thing is a spoiler and someone else does not?

    Would it have been ‘spoilerish’ to let someone know the day after Titanic came out that the boat sank?

    What I am getting at is something that may spoil you may not spoil the movie for me and vice versa.

    Are we talking about plot devices? Major deaths? (really a cartoon animal dying is major that is like thinking Iron Man was going to die at the end of The Avengers….) The twist? Who stars in it? If it will be a trilogy (no self contained story in one movie I now must watch 3!) etc.

    What is a spoiler but something that spoils something based on that persons perception of being spoiled.

    If I told you every game you would ever play you would win would that spoil playing? Be it sports, video games, etc….

    So how can a movie (TV or book) be spoiled by one piece of information about said movie? The expierence IS the payout of the movie. Not the plot twist, death or big reveal.

    What was more lasting during your expierence of Brians death? The actual death scene, the families response, the replacement, etc… Or do you just go meh I know he is dead there is no reason for me to expierence the other 20 mins of the TV show.

    You will still expierence the death of the character.

    Do you people ever watch a movie more then once? Why would you do that if you are ‘spoiled’ over it?

    We should ban reruns, DVDs and syndication. If you watch VOD you should only be permitted to watch it once.

    I do feel for people that are unable to view something til a later date based on their geographic location. I remember when I was in the military and catching up with sports… but I dealt with it as I had more important things going on to know if the Dolphins kept Chicago from going undefeated until I had a chance to watch the tape.

    • A spoiler is everything that ruins a surprise, because a surpise can heighten your enjoyment of a movie show. When someone spoils it for you, you are being robbed of that heightened enjoyment.

      Do you people ever watch a movie more then once? Why would you do that if you are ‘spoiled’ over it?

      Yes, of course we do, because there is more to a movie than just surprises. You can enjoy a movie for the cinematography or excellence in acting alone, for example.

      BUT: you have only one chance to watch every movie or show for the very first time. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is always very different from any subsequent viewings. That’s why spoilers suck so much and that’s why I consider slapping a spoiler in one’s face without fair warning a dick move.

      • But the experience differs with every viewer. You hearing about something (IMO) and watching it are two different things.

        Brian Dies in itself you say is a spoiler. But just knowing he dies does not spoil (again IMO) the experience itself. You do not experience watching the death until you watch it. Hearing about it does not spoil the heightened enjoyment.

        Now if it was spelled out word for word (within reason):
        *
        *
        *
        * POSSIBLE SPOILERS

        Stewie and Brian go outside after destroying the time machine to play. It is at this point when setting up some sporting equipment in the street that Brian gets run over by a car. When we next see Brian he is in the hospital but dies from his injuries.

        *
        *
        *

        THAT is a spoiler. You can visually experience in your mind what is going to happen. That would ruin the heightened enjoyment.

        To reveal a death, killer etc if anything would heighten awareness of everything going on within the show trying to figure out where/when this was relevant.

        You are still watching it for the first time. Me telling you that Lukes Father is Darth Vader does not ruin you watching it for the first time. Unless of course I was sitting next to you saying oo oo here comes the part that etc etc. or it was spelled out descriptively.

        This of course is my opinion and it does not bother me to know spoilers as long as it is not spelled out as I did above.

        • To reveal a death, killer etc if anything would heighten awareness of everything going on within the show trying to figure out where/when this was relevant.

          But that’s part of the problem. When you already know what’s going to happen all the attempts of the screen writer to purposefully mislead you in order to make the eventual reveal more impactful are rendered obsolete by that knowledge. Sure, you can put yourself into some sort of pretend-mindest, imagining that you don’t know what’s going on, even though you do, as you would on the second, third etc. viewing, but it’s not quite the same, because you in fact do know what’s going to happen. The result can be that a movie feels as if the characters are just going through the motions until the inevitable happens, a sensation that you wouldn’t have on the first viewing, if you didn’t know the spoiler information.

          • meh I can see that view however think of it this way. Instead of having to go back and try to remember when it was apparent “x” happened if you know “x” happens you can more easily relate to the story and if the story was done well.

            Meaning there has been many of movie where I looked at it and said wait there is no way such and such could have done that. if I know before hand I can get into the vision (hopefully) of the movie and see it the way the director/writer wrote it. I dont mind being misled as long as it is logically done. With spoilers I can still know I was being misled and be satisfied it was pulled off. IF they do it in a believable manner.

            I dont imagine I dont know a spoiler. I just try to make the spoiler enhance the movie/story experience. Me knowing something does not necessarily mean I know how it is portrayed or conveyed on the screen.

            I know a ton of stuff about comic book movies, the characters, etc. Theoretically you could say I am spoiled for almost any (major) outcome. Batman being killed? Never. Gwen Stacey being killed probably. etc. However I still go to these movies as I like to see how they are portrayed/envisioned by the various people that do them.

            The same could be said about Brians death. I knew going in (DVR) he was dying. I did not want to know how or when mind you. It was still powerful and I still enjoyed the show regardless.

            Funny thing is I dont know how to test out if I would enjoy a movie more with or without a spoiler…..

  26. I agree completely. Especially with so much content out, it’s impossible for everyone to be caught up on everything. I’ve started realizing I will likely never see certain shows/movies due to other priorities, so I’ll spoil myself reading the wikipedia, just to keep up with the zeitgeist (I can always tell it was written by Kofi if he references the “zeitgeist” in the article somewhere)

  27. I agree with everything Kofi said here (ask Kofi, that doesn’t happen all the time :D). The only REAL spoilers are giving away an ending or major plot point BEFORE the movie opens or the TV show airs. I had Family Guy spoiled for me by listening to sports radio the next day – SPORTS RADIO! It happens and there’s nothing you can do about it. Hell, Roger Ebert (RIP) spoiled the end of a movie because he didn’t like it – now THAT was a jerk move.

    Paul

  28. Wow, tough crowd! Tough article!

    I have a few comments.

    Whenever I get online and ‘something’ has happened – I have to assume social media, news outlets etc will be reporting on it. Should the title include ‘SPOILERS’ if possible? Sure. But it is MY responsibility to watch out for them, not the people posting to look out for me.

    I remember when I watched the finale of Breaking Bad. I took a picture of the last scene and posted it on Instagram. I said goodbye to the show and the main characters. I didn’t SAY anything about what happened.

    I immediately get bitched at by a West Coast friend and some locals who are DVRing or whatevering it.

    I told all of them that they should have KNOWN to stay away from social media if they didn’t want to be spoiled. Sure I felt bad – but it was also mixed with a bit of anger.

    Why should I have to wait at least 3 hours – when the thrill had died down – to post? Why should the West-Coasters get dibs on posting ‘OMGTHISJUSTHAPPENEND!’ excitement?

    Why should I be punished for watching live? That said, I DO try to warn folks first but sometimes dammit, I’m just way to caught up in the exhileration.

    Now, movies are a different matter. Not everyone has the opportunity to watch them at the exact same time so a bit more courtesy should be involved.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Why should I have to wait at least 3 hours – when the thrill had died down – to post?

      Because it would be the decent thing to do. You know? Decency? The virtue that is on the verge of extinction these days?

      Is there a rule that I have to thank the mechanic who fixed my car? I mean, why should I? They get paid for their work, don’t they? But I do thank them anyway, because it’s the decent thing to do.

      Is there a rule that I have to clear a seat for an elderly person on the bus? Nope. I paid for my ticket so I have the right to remain seated. But I clear my seat anyway, because it’s the decent thing to do.

      Is there a rule that I have to hold the door of the elevator when I see someone running towards it? Nope. I need to be somewhere and holding the door costs me time. But I do it anyway, because it’s the decent thing to do.

      I could go on forever like that. Long story short: no one can force you to do the decent thing, to be a social person and not to ruin the fun for others. That’s completely up to you. Just don’t be surprised if somewhere down the line people start seeing you for what you are and treat you accordingly. If you wanna be a selfish ass no one can stop you. We just ask you to think for a second what kind of person you wanna be.

      • See you obviously assume I’m a selfish ass. Way to go!

        Normally I do put in SPOILERS or speak vaguely about a subject. But come on – Breaking Bad? And I didn’t say anything about the ending. And everyone had assumed Jesse had DIED from my post lol. When I was simply saying goodbye to the show and it’s main characters.

        My point is that it is YOUR responsibility to look out for spoilers. And I believe that is Kofi’s point too.

        • “My point is that it is YOUR responsibility to look out for spoilers.”

          But that defeats the point of attempting to avoid said spoilers. Why would I be looking for them, in order to avoid them?

  29. “My point is that it is YOUR responsibility to look out for spoilers.”

    I do. I avoid what I don’t wanna read, I don’t watch trailers that I don’t wanna see, and I don’t read reviews when I haven’t seen the episode yet. But when I skim the headlines on a movie site for stories that interest me I shouldn’t be able to absorb a spoiler with once glance. I’m a fast reader and that’s why I take in whole sentences before I even realize that it could be a spoiler (because there was no warning). For a good journalist who is not working for the Yellow Press it should be possible to write headlines that don’t give anything away and that still can trigger enough interest in the actual article than can spoil to its heart content (after a warning!). I mean, ScreenRant is doing that with other stories every single day and it works fine. So why wasn’t it possible with the story that kicked off this whole discussion (the Family Guy article)?

    • Well that was unfortunate about the Family Guy article. Is it ok to add that I had not seen the show myself and my son walked in the living room to announce the death immediately? So I had been spoiled before SR even posted the article.

      I agree the site should have made sure there was a SPOILER attached. I wonder if they have a copy editor? I have seen many many misspellings and grammar errors in the articles. Even saw where someone had spelled Michael Ealy’s last name ‘Elle’.

      I know this isn’t like when I worked at my college paper and things went out at one time so it’s harder to edit items… but maybe make sure someone else eyeballs it prior?

      My apologies to SR if that is already happening.

      • Yeah, I think most us are on the same page here, there just seems to be misunderstanding in this whole discussion.

        No one is asking that other people should stop discussing spoilers or to stop writing about spoilers in their articles. All we ask is that they give people a fighting chance to avoid those spoilers if they like to do so. That really shouldn’t be too much to ask in my opinion. ;)

        • Agreed :)

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