Thursday, April 09, 2009

Avoiding Spoilers

Noticed I haven't been around lately? It's because I've been sent to Nebraska for a week for work. Lucky for you, my work-load is light today so I thought I would pop-by and have a little rant...

Something big happened on House on Monday. I won't tell you what, in case you haven't seen it yet, which is kind of my point. Since I'm on central time this week, House aired early for me and I was still at dinner and missed it. Actually, I wasn't making much of an effort to see it since I was trusting in my DVR.

Come Tuesday morning, I'd settled down to my hotel breakfast and was perusing the Life section when there's an article about Kal Penn. Thinking, "oh, I like Kal Penn!" I started reading. And guess what? The very first sentence of the article contains a big huge honking spoiler for House the previous night. I was so mad I slammed down the paper and started bitching to my travel companion that I had read a spoiler.

But here's the thing. Is it really a spoiler? I mean, the show had aired. But with the prevalence of DVRs and online viewing, is it fair to post something so huge the very morning after a show has aired? It seems we have moved into a "if the show has aired it's fair game" attitude, but is that right? It's certainly easier...but I can't be the only person who has experienced something like this.

So when is a spoiler a spoiler? For my money, I've pretty much developed an ask first policy. If I'm going to talk about something on a show, I make sure the person has seen it first. Same with my blog posts, lots of warning go up for those even is an episode has already aired. But is that overkill?

The world may never know.


Dori said...

I too was spoiled for that House episode. I still haven't actually watched it, though.

Bec said...

This exact same thing happened to me on Tuesday, only it was via NPR's All Things Considered. I was apparently not the only one, as the following day they reported that they had gotten a lot of complaints about it, and did a segment on your very question of, in the age of DVRs, when is a spoiler a spoiler? (They actually got a little high and mighty about it, as in "if you know you're behind on the show, just avoid things that will spoil it for you", but my counter argument to that is, hello, All Things Considered does not USUALLY talk about my television shows and I had no idea they were going to potentially spoil a show for me and therefore how would I know to avoid it?) Anyway, link, for the curious:

Monkey Sri said...

I think a lot of things came together to create this situation... the "perfect storm" of spoil, if you will.

1. The fact that the real-life reason for the plot twist was actually pretty newsworthy. So TV/radio shows that usually don't care about House, M.D. (and therefore are not used to warning for spoilers) gave it a lot of coverage.
2. The show doesn't go online until eight days after original airing - some of us STILL haven't seen it!
3. A video clip full of spoiler-y goodness was posted on the show's website almost immediately after airing. WTF, Fox?

In conclusion, I can see how this happened and how it may not be interpreted as a "spoiler." But I'm still pissed.