I watched Fear the Walking Dead last night. Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about what happened. You can refuse to pick up after your dog, post disturbingly intimate information on Facebook but heaven forbid you talk about what you’ve seen on tv or read in a book because you might spoil it for somebody who isn’t keeping up.
I get there is just too much content. I get that we are time-shifting stuff. I get that we are using our DVRs as content parking lots, waiting to see if the buzz on a new show is good before diving in.
I am careful, mostly. I usually test the waters to see if anyone is watching or intends to watch the show in question. I say I saw the show and pause for the hands-over-ears-universal motion for Spoiler Alert. If it doesn’t come, I feel okay going ahead. But that doesn’t always work because some people have ‘time delay ‘brains and it takes a while before they realize you could be issuing a spoiler and by the time they’ve said “NOOOOOOOOOO!” in slow motion, the damage has been done.
I learned my lesson a few years ago with The Game of Thrones. The day after the !Spoiler Alert! Red Wedding Massacre I talked about how cool the show was and how George RR Martin was willing to kill off anyone in service to the story. My co-worker was furious because I spoiled the show for him. My problem? By the time the series aired, the books had been out for years, decades even. I argued it was like issuing a spoiler alert for Titanic about the ship going down. (If that’s news for you, leave this blog immediately and never come back.)
Listen, it used to be tough enough in the olden days of VCRs to avoid spoilers. Now, with the internet, with Twitter, with Instagram, with Facebook friends, with tv shows even urging fans to live f***ing tweet during a show, it’s impossible to avoid spoilers, although some people go to great lengths to try.
I’ve about given up. I tell myself that knowing the plot means nothing because there are only about a dozen plots in all of literature. I tell myself it’s the telling of the tale, the quality of the writing/directing/acting/special effects/cinematography that’s really matters. I tell myself that I can enjoy the show or book regardless of knowing what happens next.
But I warn you–there are a couple of twists coming up in my future novels and if you tell anyone about them !Spoiler Alert! I will sew salt in the earth on which you stand.
By the way, Netflix has helpfully compiled a bunch of spoilers in a trailer so you can have all your pop culture ruined in a single sitting. Don’t thank me. Thank Netflix.