Sunday, October 4, 2009


Don't worry, neither this post nor this blog will go into any spoilers with the sole exception of announcing things like an actor is guesting on a future show or becoming a full time cast member. I'll try to remember to announce that minor spoilers are being posted. But otherwise, I don't seek out what will happen next on my shows, other than the teasers at the end of the show and what Comcast's show descriptions say. Most of the shows I watch and love are meant to be experienced, and part of the experience is the surprise, the not knowing, the guessing. Spoilers ruin that real-time experience. Can you imagine what a different movie The Sixth Sense would have been had we known in advance that Bruce Willis was dead?

I have looked at spoilers in the past. Once, I read that an episode of Angel ended with Angel and Cordelia sharing an intimate moment, resulting in Angel losing his soul again (you really have to know the show to understand that last sentence). However, the spoiler revealed that it wasn't real, just a dream of Angel's. I forgot about what I read until I watched the episode, and I noticed that the entire impact of Angel's transformation was lost on me. From that point on, I tried to avoid reading spoilers.

But I've also noticed that this can be hard to do when preparing for my Lost blog. In researching each episode for a recap, I've found more information than I had expected. Plus, magazines such as TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly will often give what I would call minor spoilers such as, "The producers of Lost talk about the death of Daniel Faraday." Or, "the young Ben will return in the next three episodes." These don't bother me. I had figured that Daniel was dead (otherwise, Eloise Hawking's sacrifice was nothing), and I had no problem knowing beforehand that we were somehow returning to the DHARMA Initiative.

But some of my readers and my friends do care. When I perkily announced to my friend Brian (hi Brian!) that Daniel was dead, to me it was justification that my prior belief Daniel died was right (I dare people to doubt me!). But to Brian, it ruined the week's anticipation of whether Daniel was truly gone, or would somehow be saved by the Island's mojo. He almost immediately forgave me, but I didn't deserve it. I knew better.

The last bit of spoilery that happened, even after my transgression with Brian, involved House. I know that everyone now knows that Kal Penn quit House to become a staff member at the White House. Now, prior to the episode airing, I had heard that a character was dying, and I remember hoping that it was Thirteen. But the "spoiler" was not specific. I didn't get to watch that episode the night it aired, but planned to watch it after one of my co-workers who had seen it asked me what I thought. She respected my need to experience the episode and kept mum. That night, as I turned the TV on, I also turned on my internet. Only to see Penn's picture on Yahoo! I didn't need to read the article to know who died.

I took it all in good humor, because I had waited nearly 24 hours before watching the episode. But not many did. Zap2It, which recaps House, titled its episode recap something that gave away the plot point. People were pissed! The comments left for the recapper were brutal and unforgiving. But I wasn't sympathetic to the spoiled. You take your chances when you look at these web sites a day after the show airs. When it's something that turns out to be of semi-national importance (Penn didn't get that good of a White House job), well, its bound to happen.

And that's my philosophy on spoilers. If you don't see an episode the night it airs, be careful what sites you look at, including mine, because a picture or a title just may give it all away.


  1. This is a great articulation of spoiler ethics.

    The Faraday slip was no big deal -- especially coming from someone who has greatly enriched my understanding of and appreciation for Lost.

  2. I should have known better. I was so intent on being right (believing Daniel to be dead) that I forgot myself.

    Other than Lost, do we have any show in common?