Spoilers. The bane of the Fanboy Pop Culture existence.
The biggest joys I’ve had with pop culture experiences is when something I wasn’t expecting to happen happens, and I am able to revel in the feeling of surprise and awe. Yet somehow, some people out there feel that it is their duty to ruin those types of experience at every opportunity they get. With the boom of the internet, spoiler culture has gotten out of control. And I hate it so much.
For me, spoiler culture goes all the way back to 1996. I was watching the Oscars with my cousins and when Kevin Spacey won the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “The Usual Suspects” my cousin said, “He did such a great job in that movie. Who would’ve thought that the whole time he was Keyser Soze?” At the time, I didn’t take that comment in to too much consideration. Until I finally saw the movie. The whole plot of the movie was trying to solve who Keyser Soze is and my cousin, with one comment, ruined that whole shock ending for me. This would be a running theme for me for just a few of the shock moments in pop culture. A friend of mine on opening weekend of the Sixth Sense told me, “It’s so crazy that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time.” Really. One of the biggest plot twists in movie history in a movie that opened one night ago, and it’s already ruined.
And those were spoilers even before the internet was pretty much my whole life. Who would’ve thunk that in a space that provides you with unlimited unfiltered commentary that it would be difficult to not have things ruined?
I learned my lesson about internet spoilers during the lead up to the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. For a movie and sci-fi fan, this was the most anticipated for a movie release I had ever been. I had done nothing but do my best to avoid reviews, rants and comments regarding the movie. And then, I decided to check my Instagram feed a few days before the movie released. Nothing too harmful. If I saw anything that even remotely looked like a spoiler, I would scroll quickly past it. But then, just as I was looking at an Instagram models post, there it was. A featured comment right at the top where I had no chance to avoid it: Kylo Ren murders Han Solo. One of the most beloved characters of all time, in the movie we’ve been waiting decades to see, and he is murdered by a new character. I was hoping it was a joke. I was hoping it was a prank someone was playing. So that comment was in the back of my mind the whole time I was watching the movie. And then, the scene came up. A scene that had I not known what was about to happen would have produced a different emotion in me. Instead the emotion I ended up with was one of “Damnit. They weren’t lying”. I was robbed of that real moment. All because I didn’t think anyone would post a spoiler on a hot girl’s picture.
From then on I learned my lesson. If I wanted to experience pop culture events spoiler free, I would have to practice extreme safety precautions:
1. No watching interviews with the cast (Tom Holland and Mark Ruffalo I’m looking at you two)
2. No spoiler-free reviews (there’s no such thing. We do podcasts. We know)
3. No reading any comments of any kind on any internet posts leading to an event release. This includes Facebook, YouTube and especially Twitter and Instagram.
4. Blocking certain words, phrases and hashtags on Twitter.
Now, there have been a few screw ups by major companies regarding spoilers, and some of them have been frustrating, and others, kind of hilarious. There have been movies and shows ruined by toys depicting certain scenes and characters you didn’t know existed. There have been posts by companies that showed scenes shown on the east coast feed or international feed that have not been seen on the west coast (way to go Walking Dead).
Here’s some links to some examples:
And yes, Cracked.com does an amazing job at discovering these.
And then, there was this big nerd weekend that just passed. Two big events with huge fanbases who have been anticipating events for years. And literally, anyone who had seen anything was just about ready to ruin it for everyone else who hadn’t seen it as soon as they had any inclinations. “Avengers: Endgame” was the culmination of 10 years of story telling wrapped up into a 3 hour journey, with moments that had anyone had any idea would go on, they would destroy that narrative. A man in China was beaten after yelling out spoilers to an audience before their screening started. It always reminds me of that episode of the Simpsons where Homer and Marge walk out of “The Empire Strikes Back” and Homer muses loudly, “Who would’ve thought Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s Father?” Literally, right before we went to watch “Avengers: Endgame” there was a commercial that played that ruined a key moment in the movie. Luckily for me, I was not looking at the screen when it showed. Unluckily for Fanboy Dennis, he was. And he was pissed. But seriously, who okays that commercial to play at all, let alone right before the movie it ruins?
Then you had the biggest episode of “Game of Thrones” ever produced, and even though I’m not a fan, I was curious enough to check it out because of the hype surrounding it. And seriously, not even a minute after that episode was over on the East Coast feed, people were spoiling the hell out of it. I mean, come on man. Show some common courtesy for people who can’t watch something live. Where’s the social contract? I was telling people, if I were a “GoT” fan and I just happened to be on Twitter before the show started on the West Coast, I would’ve been so pissed off. It just goes to show that people are so willing to talk so fast about something so they can deem themselves relevant.
Speaking of which, check out our newest podcast episode coming soon where we will spoil the hell out of “The Avengers: Endgame.” The Russo brothers themselves stated spoilers are ok starting May 6th, and wouldn’t you know, that’s when our episode will be posted.
At least when we do it, we give you a chance to skip out on an episode or review by letting you know that spoilers will abound. The reason this doesn’t work so well on articles is cause when you type out the words “SPOILER ALERT” you are tapping in to humankind’s natural tendencies to be curious about subjects, and some people are willing to spoil events just to cause their own outrage, even if they had been warned beforehand. That’s why I hate reading reviews for movies before they come out. Let people judge the movie after they’ve seen it and then you can give your opinion. With reviews, you’re basically making people see the movie through your eyes before they see them with their own.
As a side note, my favorite Spoiler moment of all time was when Fanboy Luis’ son told Fanboy Dennis that everyone in Rogue One dies. And then Luis and I had to pretend that he was lying.
So as you can tell, I really dislike spoilers, and the people who post or announce them are some of my least favorite people in the world. Do yourself and everyone else a favor: understand that there’s a timeframe to discuss movies, shows and what not. Not everyone can watch things opening night, opening weekend, or for shows right at the first showing. I usually say for movies, give it two weeks. For shows, give it a few days. Show some common decency and give everyone else out there a chance to enjoy something the way you were able to. And even if something was spoiled for you, show some empathy for those people who haven’t gotten to experience anything yet and don’t take out your frustrations on them.
Avoid Turmoil. Don’t Spoil.