The Nature of Spoilers
Since I’ve gotten my iPhone, with the miracles of streaming Netflix and HBO Go, I have been stripping entire TV series before I go to bed instead of reading myself to sleep. I have gotten to see some pretty cool programs, stuff like “Oz,” “Avatar the Last Airbender,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Big Love” and “Deadwood.” Great stuff, just amazing television. And also through apps like Miso and GetGlue, I’m able to let folks know what I’m watching.
My most recent project has been “Six Feet Under,” and a friend of mine saw I was watching it and offered his opinion that the first season was great (of which I’m only almost done), the second was only okay and that the third and fourth seasons jumped the shark. Now I know that “Six Feet Under” is more than a handful of years old, but it got me thinking about spoilers, and when is it safe to talk about something after it happens without spoiling it?
I would think that news and sports would have the absolute shortest shelf life. News travels at the speed of light nowadays with Twitter. Sports would be only as long as you can keep a secret I suppose. I have a friend, seriously not into sports, who used to make it a game to see how long he could go without knowing who was playing in the Super Bowl each year. He used to do quite well, but this was back in the days before the Super Bowl was about more than football. Now it’s more about middle-aged women exposing themselves or which ancient rocker was going to break a hip in stage this year.
In my tiny world of comic books, where the new titles come out on Wednesdays and most folks don’t buy them until Friday, mid-weekend seems to be safe harbor to talk without spoilers. For TV, even in the age of DVRs and OnDemand, it seems a good idea to avoid the water cooler and not speak until at least the next episode airs.
Movies are a little different and I think fall into my “Six Feet Under” problem. Everyone knows Rosebud is a sled, but how many folks know the calls are coming from inside the house, Deckard might be a replicant, and that Bruce Willis is really dead – or do they?
Should it just come down to a matter of courtesy? If you know someone hasn’t seen something, just be cool and don’t spoil it, or should there be a statute of limitations on entertainment? What are the rules for spoilers?