Why Spoilers Are So Terrible

Picture credit: Swantje Hess and Jannis Pohlmann.

This post is a response to something a friend of mine wrote recently.

I’m one of the people he talks about who gets incredibly irritated by spoilers. Now is a good time to talk about why that bothers me so much as well as what I do to people who gleefully reveal every single plot twist 0.25 seconds after the credits roll on the latest episode of That Very Cool Show.

Here’s the thing: I get extremely excited about what’s happening in certain series. A few times I’ve had dreams about certain characters that I was really emotionally invested in. What happens to them matters to me a lot. Sometimes the anticipation is actually more fun than the big reveal due to the months I’ve spent waiting for the latest season and wondering  what the writers will think of next.

So learning in advance that so-and-so is going to die (or have a baby, or move to Connecticut) is like having someone throw a bucket of ice cold water on me. There are far more uncomfortable things in life, of course, but it’s still a letdown.

It’s like telling a relative that you’re expecting only for them to launch into a horrifying monologue about all of the ways pregnancy can kill or permanently disable you. Or excitedly jiggling a mysteriously large Christmas present only to have the giver blurt out that they rushed through three different malls to find that iPad.

The pleasure that comes with wondering what might happen next drains away instantaneously.

Not cool.

I’m not saying that no one should ever talk about their favourite show, but at least drop hints that you’re going to discuss something brand new first. My timelines and feeds are filled with people from many different time zones. Some of the people I follow would still see the same show hours ahead of me even if I had cable. Unless you have an extremely restricted social circle, this is an unavoidable part of life now.

The only thing that aggravates me more than being spoiled is having absolutely no warning about it ahead of time. At least if I knew ahead of time I’d have the option of muting that person or otherwise ignoring their updates until I’ve seen the show. A little common courtesy goes a long way.

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One Response to Why Spoilers Are So Terrible

  1. Pingback: How Social Media Is Changing the Rules About Spoilers | Lydia Schoch

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