I think it’s safe to assume that, by now, you know I’m a pretty avid TV watcher. I’ve honed a lot of TV watching skills; like how to manipulate my DVR to get the maximum amount of shows to record, how to tell if a show is going to get canceled or not and how to dodge spoilers from the thousands of outlets I’m surrounded by. I’ve managed to dodge spoilers really well for a while now… until I opened Twitter and read an Entertainment Weekly tweet yesterday. Its been five days since the Breaking Bad finale and everyone, from friends to online sources, have been good about not leaking any spoilers or alerting you when a spoiler is about to be posted. That is until Albuquerque decided to release an “official” obituary for the death of one of the characters on Breaking Bad. Now the fault isn’t Albuquerque’s (even though that’s so stupid of an idea!) it’s actually Entertainment Weekly’s fault for releasing a tweet without a spoiler tag and ruining Breaking Bad for me when I was least expecting it! This brings me to today’s topic, how long do you have before a show being spoiled is no longer the spoilers fault? If you’re behind on a show, how long do you have to watch it before it becomes YOUR fault for being behind? What is the statute of limitations for a spoiler?
In today’s technologically advanced world, our TV viewing options are limitless and plentiful. With Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime a world of shows, new and old, are at our finger tips at any given moment. So, when you start a show, from let’s say 2001, is it ok to shush people who happen to start talking about it because you’re not caught up? I recently started marathoning Six Feet Under (which aired from 2001-2005) and I figured who the hell would spoil that for me? No one is talking about it online, and when I asked around, only 4 people had watched it and they were very good at not saying a word except “Watch it!”. Just my luck, I opened an issue of Entertainment Weekly a couple of weeks after starting the show and they had an article on the “Best Series Finales of All Time” and Six Feet Under was the first on the list and a picture was plastered on the page of a pivotal scene. I was pissed and texted my best friend to vent only forgetting that she didn’t finish the final season and I ended up ruining it for her too! Amazingly enough, eight years after its finale, the show STILL managed to get ruined for me AND my friend! Who’s fault is it? Mine for waiting this long to watch the show? Or Entertainment Weekly for innocently writing an article that managed to ensue all this chaos in my world?
I can’t seem to figure out what amount of time is fair before talking about a show is safe? With binge watching being the norm for most people now, how long do we have to wait? The rules have to be adjusted I think. Before DVR and all the viewing luxuries, the very next day was fair game to talk about a show and it was water cooler talk to discuss the shows of the night before. Now, people are running from conversations or covering their ears screaming “la la la la” like a crazy person because they’re not caught up or threatening bodily harm on someone if “they don’t stop talking now” because they’re behind. Ok, so what? A month? A year? Eight years?! What’s the statute of limitations here? I really think we need to take a minute to think this out and put it into effect immediately. Rules and regulations are needed!
Here’s what I propose, for currently airing shows, before you start talking about them, ask if the people you are conversing with are caught up. If they aren’t, you have every right to ask them to leave the room, to continue the conversation, or you can very easily change the subject, if you’d like, until they’re caught up. You have up until a week after the season is over to follow that rule, only because DVRs exist and marathoning is the way of viewing today. That’s only for shows currently airing though. If it’s a show, like Six Feet Under or LOST, I think its safe to say that if they haven’t watched it and you slipped and said something to ruin it, you are not at fault. For older shows I would give them a year after the series finale just to be cautious, after that it’s fair game. The only time the older show law is null and void, is if you are fully aware that someone is marathoning a specific show and you ruin a plot line anyway, in that case, you’re just an asshole!
Having said that, I think tweeters and Facebook-ers should have a different set of rules, and I suggest you take notes Entertainment Weekly! Facebook friends, especially those in a different time zone, please take caution in what you post. Odds are, you are not as slick as you think you’re being with your status updates! Yes, it’s my responsibility to steer clear of social networking during finale nights to prevent spoilers, but it’s also your social responsibility to not be an asshole and ruin plot lines. Don’t forget, most of your Facebook followers are your friends! As for Twitter, spoiler alerts are a necessity! Don’t just post a spoiler without giving us fair warning to scroll faster or not click the link. Most of your followers on Twitter are NOT your friends, and you’re on there to gain followers not lose them. In that case, post smartly as to NOT lose followers because you decided Albuquerque’s newspaper fake obituary on Breaking Bad is awesome and needs to be seen! *Spoiler: If you want to see the Breaking Bad obituary that was tweeted, I will post it below, at the very end!* See how easy that was Entertainment Weekly?!
Having said my piece and given my proposal for the statute of limitations on spoilers, I make you this pledge. If you promise to post smartly, then I promise to either catch up on my shows quicker or surf the internet more carefully! Times are changing so how about we change with it? I know its just television to most, but to me it’s an investment of my time and it’s a joyous past time for me to watch shows, so please don’t ruin it! Let’s work together to make it pleasurable for all!
What are your thoughts on spoilers? Is it hard to talk about shows today? Share your thoughts with me on either Twitter where you can find me @Saudiprincess13 or you can post in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts on this very serious topic… at least to me it is! Until next week…