When is a spoiler not a spoiler?

By Erin Clarke

I am not a spoiler. I do spoil things for myself out of pure curiosity but I take the utmost care when speaking to others not to spoil things for them. I always ask, “have you seen this?” or “what part are you at?” when discussing TV and movies. As I have been writing this column for the past year I have been very keen not to spoil things or take too many liberties with thinking everyone has the ability to delve as far into pop culture as I do. I mean let’s be honest, the rest of the world has a life outside reading about and watching TV, but a question has popped into my head more times than I can count in that time, and that is “What’s the buffer time for a spoiler? when is a spoiler just not a spoiler anymore?”

I was listening to my favourite XM radio station the other day and it was a TV editor’s hour and they were discussing the great reveals of television in the run up to the finale of American Horror Story when the new Supreme will be named. A contributor to the conversation said (Spoiler Alert) that the reveal of the sled as ‘Rosebud’ at the end of Citizen Kane was historically known as a big deal, especially since Citizen Kane is continuously listed as the #1 movie on AFI (American Film Institute) Top 100 movies. Days later as I was listening again, the contributor said that he received a very irate email saying that the movie had been ruined for the listener because of this conversation. The movie was released in 1941! I don’t know what that person was waiting for or how they went their whole adult life without hearing about Rosebud but I am a little shocked that they would call someone out on a 73 year old movie ending.

So with high drama shows that kill off characters with such regularity now and comedic hook ups that are much shorter than they were in the “Who’s the Boss” days, how do we stay clear of spoilers or is everything bound to be spoiled in this PVR / iTunes world of watching TV at our leisure and binge watching? The answer is, you can’t. You didn’t watch Breaking Bad in real time, well you are behind and unless someone intentionally ruins it for you I think you just have to take your chances, maybe don’t like the show page on Facebook or follow something BB orientated on Twitter, but outside of that the dodge of the spoilers is a dance you must perform. I actually created my own spoiler hell when I was watching the second season of Sons of Anarchy, thinking one of the actors looked very familiar and wondering what else he had been in I googled his character name, which then in the drop down ideas popped up “so&so DEAD”, I was devastated and then watched the subsequent next 3 episodes waiting for a bullet to crash through his skull. Every time he was on screen I felt a pain in the pit of my stomach, but eventually the character was killed off and it wasn’t a huge surprise obviousl,y but I still enjoyed the episode. I totally spoiled the Red Wedding episode for myself as well just because I was so nosy. So, what do you think of spoilers, have you spoiled something for yourself or someone else? Do you care if you know something is going to happen on a show? Tweet me at erinl_clarke and let’s talk TV