While browsing the web and keeping myself up-to-date on the latest news stories within the entertainment industry, I came across Screenrant’s article revealing episode titles and plot summaries for Netflix’s upcoming Jessica Jones series. The article’s appearance left me thinking about spoilers, a topic vehemently despised by the majority of consumers despite it being a large focal point of the 24/7 entertainment news environment we live in today.
How people view and entertain spoilers is entirely subjective, but at the same time they’ve become so ingrained in our culture that many people wishing to avoid spoilers feel like they have to camp out in the wilderness in order to keep their favorite shows, movies, books, video games, etc from being spoiled.
Is this sort of self-imposed isolation really fair? The internet has become an integral part in today’s world. To many people, being cut off from the internet is the same as being cut off from civilization itself. Without it, they’re unable to speak with loved ones or access vital personal information like their email or bank accounts.
“Just don’t go to spoiler sites or get on social media.”
It’s often not so simple. What if Mary Sue communicates with her parents through Facebook and is trying to coordinate Thanksgiving or Christmas festivities? She’s been so busy she hasn’t had to time to catch up on the latest episode of The Flash, but the second she logs on she sees a post by her friend Johnny saying “OMG! I can’t believe Barry died!” Comment sections for online content can be especially surprising, with people talking about and referencing popular items what have nothing to do with the content above.
Should people really have to shun themselves from society to avoid spoilers?
I don’t think so.
To be honest, I don’t think the problem is so bad right now. I don’t think people have to take extreme measures to avoid spoilers. But it’s an issue that’s continually getting worse as we continue to further rely on internet-based technology with each passing year.
I wrote an article a couple weeks ago where I talked about the latest episode of You’re The Worst. In the article I brought up how the show broached the topic of clinical depression and was actually pushing the conversation forward, which it has continued to do tastefully without becoming preachy or losing its comedic edge. That article is my least viewed by a land slide, and I can’t help it’s because of the spoiler alert I placed at the beginning.
I don’t like when stories are spoiled, so of course I wanted to avoid doing the same to others, thinking people who adhered to the warning would come back after watching the episode. Apparently I thought wrong.
Maybe the topic wasn’t interesting to people. Maybe most people don’t care for You’re the Worst, although it’s a great show and anyone falling into said category should really give it a chance. There are a thousand other reasons why so many people decided to ignore it, but I can’t help but feel the problem was the spoiler warning.
This leads to one of two conclusions:
1. I risk angering people by not leaving spoiler warnings in future articles.
2. I avoid writing spoiler content ever again.
It may seem like the obvious choice is the latter, and in fact it’s the one I’ll lean towards because I’d rather not be “THAT guy”, but it also means I have to relinquish sparking discussion about important topics because I can’t give them the proper context. And that doesn’t feel right either.
One of the great aspects of entertainment media is its ability to spark important conversations, like mental illness. That conversation being muted because of spoiler fears is ridiculous, and the issue is only going to get worse as time moves on. I just hope we’re able to address the issue of spoilers properly before people are forced to either watch when something airs or live with hearing about plot twists through second-hand sources.