There are only two things I love in this world: everybody and television. Wait, no, that’s Kenneth from 30 Rock. I actually hate everybody. Kidding! Just most people. Anyway, back to TV. I love TV! TV is awesome. In my opinion, great TV is all about surprise. Whether it’s a shocking plot twist or an unexpected joke, all of my favorite small screen moments contain some element of the unexpected. Therefore, I hate knowing even the slightest bit of information about an episode before I watch and live in constant fear of spoilers.
Here are the reasons why TV Spoilers make me nervous. Don’t worry, it’s spoiler-free, because I’m considerate like that.
I love social networks almost as much as I love TV, but when I haven’t seen the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars, social networks are like minefields. I usually know enough to stay off Twitter and Facebook, but one time I made the poor choice of checking Instagram during an episode of Downton Abbey and stumbled across a screenshotted text conversation containing a huge spoiler. Et tu, Instagram?
2. Time Zones Are Confusing
I grew up and went to college on the East Coast. I now live on the West Coast. While I love my friends and family very much, many of them still struggle with the concept of time zones. So, even if I stay off social networks, I still run the risk of my sister texting me, “I can’t believe he shot her in the face!” three hours before he shoots her in the face on the West Coast. Luckily, for my sake, my sister has mostly bad taste in TV.
3. “Have You Gotten To The Part Where They Kiss?”
No, actually I haven’t gotten to the part where they kiss. Thanks for ruining it for me, though! I used to have a roommate who did this all the time. She would walk into the living room, see you were watching a show, casually drop a massive plot bomb and then disappear. What? Why would you do that? Think before you rain spoilers all over my parade. Now get back here so I can pin you down and ruin the ending of LOST.
4. Entertainment Websites
I work in TV. Therefore, I read a lot of entertainment websites. While I make a valiant effort to avoid spoiler-themed articles, I still end up stumbling upon them in the most innocent of places. For instance, one time I was reading an article about the casting of a Fox pilot in which the author explained that an actor was available to play the lead because his character on a current series would soon be killed off. Why do you hate me, Nikki Finke? I TODJA I hated spoilers!
5. Chatty Strangers
Most of my friends respect my fear of spoilers. I, likewise, respect their need to debrief the latest happenings on Homeland during brunch. So, if we’re out and they wish to discuss something I haven’t seen, I will casually shove my fingers in my ears and hum loudly until the coast is clear. However, when chatty strangers in Starbucks are discussing Abu Nazir’s latest shenanigans, it becomes a bit harder to stop the flow of information to my brain. While I’m not above shoving fingers in my ears and humming alone in a public place, I would prefer not to be escorted out of a coffee house. I need the caffeine.
Most of the time I really enjoy promos. They get you excited for the upcoming episode, build suspense, etc. Sometimes, though, promos are too much. One time, a show I loved ran promos stating one of its main characters would die during the season finale. The strategy was simple: Get people to tune in to find out who dies. My problem was that the character spent half the episode dying. I sat there, waiting for the twist. Certainly someone else is going to die at the last second and it’s going to be awesome. But it wasn’t. It was just that one character dying for half an hour. It could have been a big moment, but it wasn’t because we all already knew someone was going to die!
7. Opening Credits
I spend a lot of time on IMDB and pride myself on knowing which actors play which parts in my favorite shows. During the opening credits of most shows, the names of series regulars and guest stars appear on screen. I get it. It’s nice to give people credit for their work. However, when you show me the name of an actor whose character died last season, I know that character is going to be in the episode. Thus, eliminating my shock when the character shows up, having returned from the dead. I’m looking at you 24.
8. Previously On…
I totally understand the logic behind “Previously On” segments, especially for super serialized shows. However, some “Previously On” segments are constructed in such a way that I can pretty much write the episode after seeing them. If you show me a clip of a character promising he will never cheat on his wife followed by a clip of his hot new receptionist, I can tell you that character is about to sleep with that receptionist. We live in a world with DVR, Hulu and Netflix. Just assume we know what happened previously, okay? And, speaking of DVRs…
9. My DVR Cut Off The Last Two Minutes
I set my recordings for a few minutes after a show ends, but sometimes there’s an overlap and my trusty DVR has no choice but to cut out early. This makes me nervous because I usually don’t realize it’s happened until it’s too late. A show ends. I think it’s over and call a friend to discuss. She brings up the shocking twist in the last two minutes and I realize, crap, I didn’t see the last two minutes! What happened to those “stay tuned for more Switched At Birth after these messages” ads? Those were helpful!
10. Actors Oversharing On Talk Shows
Sometimes actors get on talk shows and I don’t know if it’s nerves or adrenaline, but they get a little too comfortable and start spewing secrets from upcoming episodes. It is for this reason that I don’t really watch talk shows anymore. As much as I love funny anecdotes, it’s simply not worth the risk.
Now, I probably don’t have to say this because you’re wise intelligent people, but please be cautious in the comments section! If you’re going to include a story about how someone spoiled something for you, be vague. Be very, very vague! Some of us are still on Season One of Breaking Bad.
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