Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SPOILER ALERT: A post about spoiler alerts

Mary McNamara wrote a great article yesterday in the LA Times on SPOILER ALERTS. In this age of Twitter and instant communication it’s more difficult to keep endings secret.

As a blogger I try to be sensitive to this issue (I’m also a screenwriter and would hate to have my surprise ending revealed before I have your money or Neilson has recorded that you’ve watched my show), but at some point you have to say, come on, I’m not leaking atomic secrets here!

At what point is it reasonably fair to discuss a movie or show’s plot points? Emily Post’s etiquette guide has no guidelines for internet and social network traffic. What good is she?!

Ms. McNamara contends that once a show airs on NATIONAL TELEVISION it should be fair game. I agree. As a producer, my beef with networks was always giving away surprises in the promos before the episode even aired. Same with movie trailers. But once a project is out there for public consumption, then all bets are off.

You want to wait until the end of a season, rent the DVD, and watch a whole year of THE GOOD WIFE at one time? Fine. Then avoid any blogs, articles, Twitter mentions, and any of the 20,000,000 people who have already seen the show.

I get angry readers all the time who complain that I have spoiler alerts. Even if I hold off a couple of days. One guy from England was really pissed because I discussed an episode of 24 and they were a season behind over there. I’m supposed to wait a year after a show airs in America before I can post about it?  Is it okay yet to reveal who shot J.R.?

It’s almost impossible to write a review without giving away something. Otherwise, what are you writing?

BRIDESMAIDS is a very funny comedy about… some women who have something in common all tied to a certain event. If you plan on attending such an event you really should see this movie.

I never read reviews of movies I’m looking forward to seeing. And if I know it’s one everybody is going to be talking about I see it as soon as possible. If there’s a TV show I DVR, the onus is on me to see it before the cast is on INSIDE THE ACTOR’S STUDIO.

If you’re in a restaurant and you overhear some loudmouth at the next table give away the ending to THE CRYING GAME there’s nothing you can do (unless you just want to never leave your place – and avoiding spoiler alerts is a really poor reason for becoming an agoraphobic), but you don’t have to always be on Twitter, or Facebook, or ESPN (if you don’t want hear a certain score).

Spoilers are annoying but to me the trade off is that we now get information so much faster – almost instantaneously. Isn’t it better in general to know too much instead of not enough?

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