‘Some secrets are too good to keep,’ says Netflix. The king of streaming has just released a survey claiming that 76 per cent of us now think TV and film spoilers are just a way of life, while 94 per cent will carry on watching even after we’ve had a major plot point revealed – and to celebrate they’ve even created spoilers.netflix.com, a microsite dedicated to spoiling, er, spoilers. Find out ‘Which spoiler are you?’, cast your vote in the public domain of spoilers and flick through some of entertainment’s biggest twists in their masochistic spoiler roulette.
But is all this wishful thinking on Netflix’s part, or are we really living in an era where no spoiler is sacred? Two Shiny Shiny writers with very different ideas go head to head… to spoil, or not to spoil? That is the question:
**WARNING: may contain spoilers**
Hayley Minn wants stronger punishments for spoilsports…
Spoilers are definitely still rife and should be made illegal. It’s not even just Twitter and Facebook that are the culprits here, and it’s not just big US dramas like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones you need to shield yourself from anymore.
A few weeks ago, when #BakedAlaskaGate occurred on Great British Bake Off, I was unable to watch it when it was live on TV that night, due to the whole having plans on an evening for once thing. The next day, I quickly discovered that the only way I would’ve managed to watch the show on catch-up without knowing who Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood kicked out, was if I locked myself in my bedroom, deactivated Facebook and Twitter, and made sure there was no newspaper anywhere near me. Spoilers as front page news is just not acceptable. Think of those who have lives!
It wasn’t just newspapers either. It was people on the tube, people on the street, people at work. It seemed everyone except me had a night in front of the TV the night before, and I’m not sure it’s socially acceptable or practical to sit with your fingers shoved in your ears all day.
While you may argue there’s a bit of a difference between ruining the ending to an incredibly well-written story, like Orange is the New Black, and ruining who got evicted from the Big Brother house, both have the added excitement factor taken away if you’re watching already knowing what happens. The long pause Dermot O’Leary takes before announcing the winner of The X Factor ends up sounding more like an awkward silence you’d see on Made in Chelsea than a pause for tension.
If you want to talk about a programme online, my advice to you would be to talk in code forever. This should be a rule for newspapers too, but if you’re in conversation in reality, just politely make sure everyone’s in the same boat, or you’ll be at risk of some mean side-eye from me.
Lauren Bravo, on the other hand, thinks spoilers spoil nothing…
I don’t care about spoilers. Sorry, I probably should have saved that big reveal for the end of this column… but there you go. It’s an odd but ultimately useful impulse to be missing, along with caring whether food is hot or cold (hiya, raw baked beans) and wanting to go backpacking, ever. I could try to care, but I’d only be faking it.
All my life, I’ve liked to know what’s going to happen. I skip straight to the last pages of books, just to check it’s definitely worth bothering with the rest of them. I answer phone calls with ‘WHAT? What is it?’ just to cut out all the suspense. And I don’t mind spoilers, at all. In fact sometimes I actively prefer them.
Christmas Day 2012, for example, was almost ruined by the genuine shock of Cousin Matthew’s demise in Downton Abbey. One minute, happiness and trifle, the next minute, death and weeping. If I’d been prepared I could have steeled myself against the shock and looked ahead to brighter times (such as Dan Stevens going to Hollywood and getting even hotter).
Spoilers are also harder and harder to avoid, being as we’re no longer living in an age of synchronised viewing. If someone had popped up in 1980 and told our parents who shot JR before the moment of truth then yes, they might have had cause to feel a bit peeved – but if I choose not to watch The Good Wife until three years after everyone has told me how great it is, I do so knowing full well there’s a risk that someone might let slip what happens. And if they do, I’ll watch it anyway. I’ll probably watch it all the more eagerly.
There is one problem with being so blissfully spoiler-immune, and that’s other people. Other people who generally don’t feel the same way, and sometimes shout and throw things at you. To this day I think the most I have ever hurt my boyfriend was when I casually mentioned, halfway through his reading the whole Harry Potter series from start to finish, that Dumbledore dies.
‘HOW could you not know that? HOW? Were you ALIVE with EARS in 2005?’
‘Maybe I DID know, but I had REPRESSED it so I could FULLY ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE.’
‘Well REPRESS IT AGAIN, THEN.’
Until we reach such a time as obliviate memory spells are a real thing, it might save everyone a whole lot of anguish to just give up and learn to live with spoilers.
If you’re planning it though, do let me know in advance.
Main image: spoilers.netflix.com