Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Numb nuts are ruining everything

From the proof-I'm-not-always-the-one-ruining-everything department:

There's an article in the latest EW about spoilers appearing on fan website that reveal key upcoming plot points on TV shows and movies. It discusses the lengths to which some go to be able to be the one to break the news (including stealing scripts) and how much certain producers do to try to combat it (shooting alternate endings, etc.). It also mentioned how some people are bothered when a reviewer reveals a plot twist and they haven't gotten to watching the DVR'ed episode yet.

However, as I read the piece I kept thinking, So what? That's not the problem.

If the info is available on some fan site and one chooses to go to that site, one clearly is not worried about spoiling any surprise the project may have in store. If one expects the rest of the world to stay mum about a show that has already aired because one has not watched it yet, one is expecting too much.

I do think that everyone should be alerted to a spoiler if one is included, giving them time to stop reading before getting to it. Every viewer should have the right to be surprised when something is airing for the first time.

The trouble, as I see it, is that most mainstream websites—not fan sites, but general ones like the home pages for Yahoo seem to consider when something has finished airing on the East Coast to be sufficient to post a revealing headline, even though in many cases for the people in the Pacific time zone it hasn't even started yet.

Recently I made the mistake of logging on to Yahoo while watching the live ABC broadcast of the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals. It aired in prime time in both time zones, meaning it was tape delayed for the West. Yet before the winner was announced "live" in the West Coast broadcast his picture was already up as the featured story on Yahoo.

Well, there was no need to finish watching the Bee then. (Well, okay, to be fair: There's little point in watching the Bee now that ABC has taken to showing the words on screen before the speller either gets it right or wrong; it's up there almost immediately after it's read, so there's no playing along at home. Eh, but that's a rant for another time.) It wasn't like one had to click on a link to find out; boom, there it was, whether one wanted to see it or not.

It's a lucky thing I didn't give a crap about the American Idol finale, but with that one they at least had the sense to merely post a teaser on the home page; discovering the winner required a click.

So, really, what they're saying is that not ruining some glorified karaoke contest is more important than not ruining an actual display of intelligence merely, only because the former is more popular.

I'm not saying I didn't already know that. Frankly, someone spoiled that for me long ago. However, it would be nice for something not to be ruined every once in a while.


And before someone in the East gives a glib little comment about how if the folks in the West don't like it they should move, I say this: Don't say that unless you're willing to let us all crash on your couch.

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