Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spoiler alert

On a recent Extra Hot Great episode, they solicited another set of "I am not a crackpot" submissions (where listeners offer their pop culture rants).

One suggested that there's no such thing as a "spoiler" when discussing narrative works, and thus no need for issuing "spoiler alerts" by those who talk about those works. Anything that relies on a twist to hold any value to make it worth seeing/reading does not actually have any value to make it worth seeing/reading. Good shows/movies/books won't be ruined by knowing major plot points ahead of time.

The crew noted an exception for reality competition shows, but obviously there the only point of watching is to see who wins (or doesn't get eliminated). They also identified that there are instances where not knowing an unexpected turn in the plot ahead of time can make for a better initial experience as an audience member, but anything worthwhile will hold up despite that.

In this era it is increasingly difficult to avoid having something revealed if one follows pop culture even slightly, so they conclude it's best to come to grips with the fact that if you wait on something you're likely to encounter some sort of "spoiler". Such is life.

But it does seem like one discussing such things before most people may have had a chance to see something should at least issue a heads-up to others. It's only considerate.


An example from my life:

I knew before seeing The Empire Strikes Back the first time (which I did see in the theater during its 1981 release) that Darth Vader was revealed as [spoiler alert] Luke's father, because I got the comic book adaptation beforehand. Did that ruin Empire for me? Heck no.

Finding out two years later in Jedi that Leia was Luke's sister, however, did make part of Empire a little weird. It also made it odd that back in A New Hope Vader's mastery of The Force didn't grant him a clue when interrogating the captured Leia that she was his daughter.

Further, it made it later seem like a poor decision by Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru when raising young Luke not to have changed his surname. Surely Vader didn't completely forget that his name used to be "Skywalker" and a kid with the same last name might raise some flags with the Sith lord. Kind of seems like leaving a kid named "Hitler" after the end of WWII.

But anyway, while in the movie theater I just thought the movie was cool, irrespective of having that relation revealed ahead of time.


  1. Just goes to show that Lucas should have stopped with "Episode 4" and left it at that. "Luke, I am your father" ruined it for me. "Sister" made it even weirder. And those damned Ewoks made me homicidal. By the time Lucas pooped out Jar Jar Binks from his fevered imagination, I was frothing at the mouths with indignation. Lucas clearly thinks moviegoers are morons. Anyone who stuck it out all the way to Episode 3 (the last) might indeed be.

  2. Perhaps someone should have spoiled the whole thing for you, Marvin, so you could have avoided all that emotional turmoil.

    This pretty much just proves that retreading hackneyed Star Wars complaints can never be spoiled.


So, what do you think?