Channel Guide: Spoiler Free

There’s been a lot of talk the last few days regarding how critics (mostly on the TV side) should handle spoilers in an age where most people don’t keep up with their programming on a week to week basis, but rather save all their episodes for large clumps of viewing material at a time.

The basics of both sides have been made clear, and for the most part, everyone pretty much agrees on the following:

  • If you’re reading a review for a TV episode don’t bitch if there’s spoilers.
  • If you’re reading a preview for a TV season, all past details are fair game.
  • Journalists should do the best they can to not give away spoilers in things like tweets and headlines (I’m iffy on the tweets part of that statement, but I understand the point).
  • If you’re following a show so intensely that you want to avoid all plot details then don’t read ANYTHING about it, at all.

I’m not here to hound folks like Brian Moylan, David Chen and others for their take on the idea of spoilers. Both sides are right within their respective arguments. But there’s another side to this story, a side that no one has brought up, and it’s one that’s arguably more volatile than that of potential spoilers from the likes of critics. It’s the side pertaining to the regular viewer.

Nothing pisses me off more than when I’m having a conversation with someone else about an episode of a show that aired the day before – a conversation between the two of us and no one else – and someone else will have the nerve to do something to the extent of “will you guys stop talking about that. I haven’t seen it yet.” Sometimes it happens with people I know, but often it’s coming from complete strangers.

So wait, back up, it’s okay for you to sit around my friend and I while we talk about *SPOILER*how Damien was paralyzed from the neck down on the Rescue Me season finale*SPOILER*, just so long as you don’t have hear it? Well I got news for you, the world doesn’t work that way.

No one should be forced to hinder their discussion of a program because they might run the risk of spoiling it for someone else in the general vicinity. Telling someone else to stop having a passionate discussion about a program with another like minded individual, is like telling someone to… you know, there is no comparison to that because this is probably the only time something like this ever comes up in every day life.

You wouldn’t stop someone from talking about the style of a new restaurant because you haven’t eaten there yet. You wouldn’t stop someone from talking about the new roller coaster at Six Flags because you haven’t ridden it yet. And you wouldn’t stop someone from talking about the new album that just came out from your favorite band because you haven’t listened to it yet.

If you’re that worried about being spoiled by someone else’s conversation while out and about then you have exactly three options.

  1. You never leave your home and live in a dark and lonely world of spoiler free bliss.
  2. You can walk out of your house and leave your headphones on the whole time and ignore all sense of human interaction.
  3. Or you can simply be an adult, pick your self important ass up and move SOMEWHERE ELSE where you are out of audio range of the conversation you so desperately want to avoid overhearing.

I am so sick and tired of this annoying need to remain spoiler free for anything and everything. Do journalists in their written pieces have a responsibility to the reader to watch their tongues? Sure, I won’t fight you on that. But to say that everyone, everywhere should keep their mouths shut because YOU haven’t stayed up to date is simply wrong and a little bit sad.

Want to read more Channel Guide? Of course you do.

To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.

From a young age, TV guru Merrill Barr has been obsessed with the small screen. And one day he decided to put that obsession to good use.

Read More from Merrill Barr
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