All the reasons I read spoilers before I watch anything
I have lots of respect for people who can leisurely sit down to watch a movie, or read a book, or stream a few episode of their favorite show and absorb the plot as it’s presented to them. I picture these people as super-chill, drinking tea or lemonade or something equally soothing. They are relaxed as they watch, probably sitting under a blanket and laughing at the appropriate places, tearing up when something poignant happens, or jumping and screaming at the scary parts.
I am not one of those people.
I’m someone who likes—okay, loves—spoilers. Wikipedia plot summaries, Amazon reviews with full reveals, and Twitter users live-tweeting series finales on East Coast time are my best friends. I regularly find myself searching to find summaries of TV show seasons that have already aired, and my husband knows I won’t commit to movie night until I’ve properly vetted the film and determined that it has a satisfying ending.
All that said, the term “spoiler” suggests that something is getting ruined. But I think they actually make things better. Here’s why:
Like a lot of people, I have a really, really low tolerance when it comes to anything bloody or creepy, and I actively try to avoid anything that could set it off (or least be ready to hide my eyes!). But, I share a home and a TV with someone who likes all genres including horror and suspense, the kind of stuff that makes me lose sleep. So what’s a girl to do? Obviously, I had to find out when the bad guys were going to jump out so I could leave the room. But I quickly learned that, even when I’m not watching something tense or scary, there are still many perks to knowing what’s going to happen.
Adulting takes a lot of time, you guys. We only have so many hours in a day, so if we’re going to invest some of them in a movie, or a book, or TV, why not make sure ahead of time that those hours are well-spent? Why watch four or five episodes of a show that you’re going to discontinue after one night, when you could start a new series and love it the entire way through? Why read an entire novel to find out that it ends on a cliffhanger? And yes, while there are many reasons to like or dislike a something that don’t have to do with every plot turn, knowing the spoilers is like having a piece of the puzzle that I never knew was missing.
Another confession – I also am slightly excitable. Okay, really excitable. I like going all-in when it comes to media. I really want to LOVE IT, in a binge-watching, pre-ordering, midnight movie screening kind of way. So, when I find myself super-jazzed on a show or series, sometimes I simply just can’t wait to find out what happens next. While it can take days, or weeks, or even months to plow through multiple seasons of my new favorite obsession, if I’ve read ahead, knowing the end takes the edge off and makes the wait that much more bearable.
Enjoying the Ride
It’s not just about avoiding the bad – it can be about appreciating the good, too. When you’re really into a show, it’s super-satisfying to pick up on the clues and Easter eggs dropped by the showrunners as they point toward pending conclusion (I’m not ashamed to admit that my love for Battlestar Galactica, Revenge, and The Comeback manifested itself in this way). You know that sense of satisfaction you get from reading a book the second time, or from watching your favorite movie over and over again? Or even when your favorite book is made into a movie? It kind of feels like that, all the time. And on a personal note, I like writing fiction, so I enjoy having a sense of the story beforehand, to appreciate how it’s getting told.
However, even for the most enthusiastic fans of spoilers, this is not a one-size-fits-all suggestion for every piece of media, ever. There are exceptions to the rule because, yes, sometimes the journey is more important than the outcome (I’m looking at you, How I Met Your Mother). Or sometimes there is something just so awesomely good that it’s not worth it to spoil the end before enjoying it (Oh hey there, Parks & Rec). But for the most part, the ending and the feeling it leaves behind matter to us as consumers. Why not help that feeling start a little bit earlier?
While I know it’s not for everyone (I don’t recommend shouting spoilers at people who don’t want to hear them), if you’ve never given in and peeked at a spoiler, you might just want to give it a shot. Spoiler alert: you might like it.