Photo Source: HBO Game of Thrones
We’ve all been there. There is this show that you watch semi-religiously, but every once in a while, a work or social event prevents you from sitting down to watch the show when it airs. So you thump along just hoping that you are able to see the show before some clown ruins it for you by telling you what happens. Sometimes you are successful, and other times… disaster.
As much as I have been in this position, as someone who does not subscribe to cable and who has a social life that frequently causes me to be out of the house on Thursday-Sunday nights, I am here to tell you that you need to get over it.
I understand your anger and frustration. I have had all the big shows ruined for me at some point. Lost. Scandal. Breaking Bad, and most recently, Game of Thrones (my fault for being only part way through the third book). When someone reveals a tidbit of information about your favorite show, the one that you look forward to all week, perhaps even all year, it is enough to make you want to go all dracarys on their faces. For those of you who are not Game of Thrones nerds, dracarys is High Valyrian for fire.
Daenarys Targaryan being a boss bitch.
Here’s the thing: a “spoiler” is only truly a spoiler if it is released before the show airs, based on inside information. It is known.* A spoiler would be if I sat down and had a conversation with Shonda Rhimes about the next season of Scandal, and said “Hey guys, can you believe that they are going to kill off Olivia Pope?!” or if I said “Hey, people who watch Game of Thrones, don’t get so attached to Khaleesi, I got an advance copy of book six, and she turns into a white walker.” A spoiler is not watching a show at its normal, widely known air time, and then discussing what happens.
Once a show airs, it is seen by millions and millions of people. It becomes more than just a show, it becomes a part of current events: a newsworthy item that people want to talk about. And you? If you were not there to see it, then you are left behind, just as you may be left behind if you did not get a chance to watch the news and keep up with other current events (spoiler alert: I know that you didn’t get a chance to see the election coverage, but Obama wins at the end).
Sure, your friends could be a little more considerate about their blatantly plot-revealing posts, but do you honestly think that every person in the universe should censor their speech (their social media posts) because you were not able to catch the show? Is that not the height of self-importance? “Guys, I know that you, collectively, are super excited about what you just saw, and you want to discuss it realtime with your Facebook friends, thousands of whom are also watching right now. But I’m out sucking toes tonight, and uh… we be all night. Long story short, I’m gonna miss the show. So therefore, I am going to try to pause everyone else in time until I finally get around to watching the show, at which point, everyone is free to un-pause themselves, and I will engage in the same behavior that I have just condemned.”
And for how long, exactly, are people supposed to avoid all mention of these shows that they may or may not know that you may or may not want to watch. A day? A week? Five years? I know people who are still trying to get around to watching the end of Lost. Does that mean that nobody is allowed to talk about the show until the day that they see the finale?
And is it by force that you go on social media? If someone is texting you about the show, tagging you in posts, or otherwise intruding on your cone of silence, then by all means, get angry. But if it is a Thursday night. And it is 10:00pm on a Thursday night. And you like Scandal. And your friends like Scandal. Why in the world would you think that you can get on social media without hearing a mention of what is happening on Scandal? Antoine Dodson said it best.
Photo Source: quickmeme.com
You’re probably thinking, “Why do I have to avoid social media just because my idiot friends can’t be more considerate about their posts?” The answer is, you don’t. You are free to consume social media to your heart’s content, but the reality of the situation is that you cannot control what other people do or say any more than I can force you to take my advice and stop bitching about “spoilers.” You can only control your own actions and decide which people you allow in your space (a lesson that reaches far beyond silly television show spoilers). If social media is annoying you on any given day, keep your ass off of social media. If there are specific people that are constantly posting things that you do not enjoy seeing (for any reason), either remove them as your friend, or change your account settings so that their posts do not end up in your feed. If television shows are really that important to you, consider purchasing a cable subscription with DVR so that you are able to watch the shows as soon as you have the chance. If your wife is pregnant, schedule a cesarian section instead of waiting for her to go into labor on Sunday night when you KNOW your shows are going to come on. An ounce of common sense will serve you well in preventing television related heartache.
*Yes, that was a Dothraki reference.