Monday, September 29, 2008

Spoilers are the devil's work!

Preface: Here’s the thing you should know before reading this – I have the kind of cold that has rendered my brain incapable of all but the simplest functions. I share this with you because below is a post on a subject I’m starting to think I may have written about once already but if I did I can’t seem to find any evidence of it. So this is my preemptory attempt to apologize for redundancy. Or you could just think of the earlier post – if it does indeed exist – as a spoiler for this one. In any case, my apologies in advance if I have in fact redundancied (new word alert!) myself…

Let’s face it, being as generally awesome as we are, nerdy women have very few vices. Our indulgences veer toward the literary – perhaps we have purchased too many books and can no longer sleep laying down in our apartments? Or toward that of a passionate collector except instead of a $300 pair of shoes, we just bought the Ultimate Superior Never to Be Improved Upon Until Next Year’s Holiday Season Box Set of “The West Wing.” Or maybe, just maybe, this is the year we realize we’ve purchased too much yarn. Whatever the specifics, our vices, in general, are fairly innocuous.

Except for one – a vice so hideous, so malevolent and self-destructive that it is only discussed with vertical ellipses and helpful black bars covering the text. Yes, I’m speaking of course about spoilers.

I am a recovering spoiler whore. I spent most of the late 1990s trolling the Buffy Cross and Stake message boards in search of spoiler nuggets, large or small. After discovering the AOL message boards in the early 1990s, I pretty much knew the content of every X-Files episode weeks before it aired. Same goes for “The West Wing.” As much as this advanced knowledge pretty much ruined every single surprise ever concocted for any of these series, I kept at it. Why? Because of summer and the soul-sucking abyss known as “no new episodes.” I was weak, and any news, or even fake news, helped tide me over, like finding a cactus in a four-month long desert named Hiatus.

There was one show for which I remained religiously anti-spoiler: “Lost.” I have never, ever peaked at a “Lost” spoiler because the strength of that show is based almost exclusively on its ability to shock the hell out of you. Plus, it’s a show that I like a lot but am not obsessively passionate about. So basically, it was like not eating an entire key lime pie when your favorite kind of pie is really pumpkin: gluttony is easily avoided in those instances.

But now it’s been six months since the last new episode of “Battlestar” aired and there’s still three more to go. I have tried very, very hard to remain spoiler-free. Last year, when it was revealed who four of the final five were, all I could think was, “Wow, I’m so glad I didn’t know that ahead of time.” And now, RIGHT NOW, there are new posts in the Television Without Pity spoiler folder for BSG and I am like a fox in a hen house filled with hens who are all like, “C’mon, it’s fine. Just eat us.” And I don’t even like chicken!

I got spoiled for the big revelation at the end of BSG’s last season by accident and it totally ruined it for me. And yet…would it really be so bad if I just picked up one little nugget of information about this year? Half my brain says, “YES, YOU COMPLETE AND UTTER IDIOT,” but the other half is pushing a calendar under my nose saying, “You’re getting nothing for 90 more days. You’re never going to make it. Just look now and maybe you’ll forget it by January.” And this is how I accidentally find out that Boxey is the fifth cylon. (Not a real spoiler.)

I’m holding on for right now. One day at a time, as my sponsor tells me. I try to avoid TWOP and it’s tempting, beautiful, information-filled spoiler folder. I don’t know if I’ll last but damn it, I’m going to put up a good fight.

Unless someone has news about Roslin. Then I’m as done as Daniel Baldwin in a roomful of boxed wine.

But enough about me. How do you feel about spoilers?


Tara said...

The only show I read spoilers for is The Office and to be honest, nothing really gets spoiled because that place is locked down tighter than friggin' Ft. Knox. For example, the season premiere was filmed in July and was shown in late September and NOTHING was leaked about the big surprise ending. NOTHING! So, I don't worry about anything getting ruined, I read on.

DropEdge said...

I have my own set of spoiler rules. I tend to actively seek them out for reality shows like TAR and Survivor near the end of the season because I don't want to puke my guts up during the actual airing if a team/contestant I loathe ultimately wins.

I came to BtVS late -- like, "Potential" late -- but still managed to spoil myself for the finale. And I did the same thing throughout the following year with Angel. But since all I had seen of BtVS was the last half of the final season, I reveled in watching the entire series from beginning to end without knowing all the little things along the way. ("I'd like to test that theory." I SCREAMED at the TV!) Plus, I got to watch it all in about six weeks!

Which brings me to my next spoiler point. I am told by every nerd girl I admire that if I loved BtVS, then I will love BSG because of its richly drawn characters and well-written stories. I am therefore determined to watch the whole thing from beginning to end without having to wait. If I end up loving BSG the way you do, I think I would die if I had to wait a week for a new ep. And 90 days or a six-month hiatus would suck my soul and I would succumb to spoilers. So my plan is to wait until the series is over and available on DVD so I can watch it all in one fell swoop.

That said, have you any idea how hard it is to avoid "spoilers" that are four years old for BSG? Damn near impossible, I tell you!

agent57 said...

I'm weird about spoilers... I don't like them when I run into them accidentally, but I am okay if it's something I seek out. I guess I like the control. Before, I was really anti-spoiler... but I've loosened up about it. Once you learn one big thing, you might as well learn it all.

Of course, I'm a Doctor Who fan, and the BBC spoils itself at least once a season... usually when they're only a few episodes in. (Seriously, guys, can you not post on your news page who's leaving this year?) I guess after enough of that, you kind of get used to it.

Kathe said...

Hello, My name is Kathe, I'm a spoiler whore....

I blame my mother (natch!). She hates not knowing what is going on in a show and to the point that if I'd seen a show before her she would badger me throughout the show to tell her until it became impossible to watch the show! So...then I discovered the interwebs...heaven help me.

In my defense I will say that knowing the outcome, or even just snippets of a spoiler still doesn't ruin the experience for me. Reading it and seeing it (to me) are very different and I still get all the joy and fun out of the show I'm watching. Good luck Liz! I've not read ANYTHING about BSG for next season (other than to know it's still on in January). At least the holidays will distract you somewhat!

Bakerloo said...

I do not like surprises and would much rather know what is coming. That is why I've already seen all of the collections (actual finalists AND decoys) for Project Runway. I'm happy to spoil just about anything...with one exception.

I actually was able to make it through the years of Harry Potter anticipation without spoiling anything. I was very proud of myself and glad I had waited. Especially because I love nothing more than yelling "I KNEW IT!" at a book.

elimare said...

oh Liz, I share your pain. Some idiot-used-to-be-a-friend-of-mine spoiled the end of last season BSG for me. It kinda put a dampener on the whole thing.

I have to admit though that there were times in the past when I actively sought out spoilers. I was not a spoiler whore, I was an ADDICT.

I don't do it anymore, i get too much of a kick out of watching what is gonna happen next. Lost is one of those shows where anything could happen so it sort of cured me of the whole 'Must Know What Happens Next' thing.

Now I actively AVOID trailers, spoilers, gossip etc. I refused to watch the Dark Knight trailer, I don't want to hear anything more about Watchmen, and Lost, BSG and all the other shows? Well, I'll just have to wait till they come back and till then dream of them like some long lost lover- er, ye know what I mean.

Nightfall said...

I share your pain in the sickness dept, Liz. Stupid head cold!!

As far as spoilers, I don't mind them for shows I'm only meh about, but I avoid them like the plague for shows I love, like BSG. As much as I need a BSG fix right now, I know it would spoil the whole second half of the final season like eating a too much pudding before a fantastic Thanksgiving day meal. The pudding is tasty, but you diminish the greatness of that once a year smorgesbord o' home cooking.

Liz said...

I am a complete spoiler Mary...except for Doctor Who.

It's the weirdest thing. I avoid spoilers like the plague for all of my shows, regardless of how important the spoilers might be, or how plotty the show is. I never want to know anything. But I'm in S3 of DW, and do I know how S4 ends? I do. In painstaking detail. I couldn't NOT be spoiled for that.

Conversely, do you guys ever watch a show unspoiled and then think, "Hmmm. I wish I'd known about that ahead of time"? (I do, occasionally.)

Camera Obscura said...

Hello, my name is Camera, and I'm also a spoiler whore...

I look at them when someone posts them in my regular stomping grounds, but I don't go haunting strange places and Googling the obscure to find them. And I sure as hell don't flame folks if I stumble across one that hasn't been announced as such, not that many are so unsavvy as to do so any more.

I DO have to say that if I hadn't been spoiled for both the BSG and Doctor Who finales this year, I'd have been plenty peeved when the shows aired. I would have tossed the computer across the room. Because seriously, two Tens? One of them's human, and goes with Rose? Getouttahere. Really. I mean it. That's worse than Tinkerbell-Jesus-Ten, ferthaluvvamud.

Oh, but I'm also one of those people that hates surprises of any sort, and therefore refuses to go to haunted houses. Knowledge is power, yo.

crone51 said...

I confess. I have been trolling for BSG spoilers like a madwoman. Ok, I do everything like a madwoman because I am a madwoman but this show is killing me. I was a bit late to the BSG party - I watched the entire series in one lost week right before the start of season 4 - and now I feel so deprived even though I spent most of the summer watching it over again- one or two episodes a night . I want it. I want it back and I want it now. This waiting till January thing stinks. I want my BSG. So I search. TVWOP is such a lovely vice. Aaron Douglas has a big mouth. And that's all I am going to say. Oh, and to the person who has avoided the Watchmen trailer ( or did you say that you were just not reading anything else about it?) I thought it was gorgeous. I can't wait. I am catching up on Dr. Who in bits and pieces ( not even in order!) so I am basically spoiled for endings even before I have seen beginnings. It's a very Tardis like experience.

Shanna Swendson said...

I vary a lot on spoilers. For the most part, if I care at all, I want to be totally surprised -- up to a point. I like the little TV Guide type tidbits or the "coming next week" promos, as long as they weren't put together by idiots who put the biggest shock of the episode in the promo. The Sci Fi Channel is bad about that, with the promo saying "You won't believe what happens in the last five minutes!" and then putting the big reveal in the promo.

If I'm "meh" on a show or care more about the journey than the destination -- like if it's just watching the characters and not so much being in suspense that I enjoy for a show -- I may look for spoilers and spoiler discussion because sometimes the fan meltdowns about the spoilers are more entertaining than the show itself. It's fun to watch people shrieking in agony and rending their garments over a tiny little tidbit in a leaked script page used for guest character auditions.

Anonymous said...

I'm funny about spoilers. I don't usually mind them for shows I'm more or less indifferent to. E.g., I'm glad I was unspoiled for season three Buffy, because that was for the most part a great season, and I would've hated to know certain plot developments in advance. But I was spoiled for most of the show's last 2-3 seasons, and frankly, it didn't ruin much. It's hard to be spoiled for something that's going to suck rancid monkey ass anyway.

I try to avoid them for Dr. Who, but they're close to unavoidable. I watched the first two seasons in one fell swoop, knowing almost nothing about the new series, so nothing was spoiled there. I watched season three in "real time," and only knew a couple of things--some of which had been broadcast for months in advance because they'd been revealed in other media, such as the Face of Boe's final message. It didn't take a degree in rocket science to figure out who Boe was referring to, either, only a very rudimentary knowledge of the original series. In fact, that's my one big peeve about the third season: that RTD tried to be SO DAMN COY about the identity of the Big Bad, and seriously, Rusty? I don't know of one viewer, personally or on-line, who hadn't figured it out long before "Smith and Jones" hit the airwaves/ internet.

WRT season four Who, I'd been hearing pervasive rumors for months, but the final episodes were still for the most part highly enjoyable. The concept might've been a little suspect but things were supported by generally solid set-up and good execution. I would've liked a different ending for Donna, but honestly, I was more bothered by the eleventh-hour "let's turn the Daleks into one big joke!," which leeched away all the dramatic tension that had been building up over the preceeding 3-4 episodes--and for that, I was completely unspoiled. The fates of the various companions bothered me a lot less than Daleks spinning like tops and being pushed all over the place, while Davros and the Big Red Dalek just sat there doing nothing about it.

So I'm not a spoiler whore, but I'm not a complete spoiler phobe, either. It depends on my degree of emotional investment with the material. I was unspoiled for all the Harry Potter books, and for the most part was glad I'd "saved myself," so to speak. ; )

Liz said...

As always, you guys make me feel better about things. I was able to go another day without opening that TWOP folder and am glad for it. And it's interesting to see what people's standards are for spoilers and how it relates to their passion level for a certain show.

Crone51, you are totally right about Aaron Douglas and his gabbery is what I'm trying very hard to stay away from right now. Naughty Aaron!

And Shanna, I'm totally with you on watching entire message boards melt down because of spoilers. I was totally spoiled for The X-Files movie because, well, it just seemed like habit after all my previous years of X-Files spoileriness...and it was kind of hilarious watching people freak out and lambaste Chris Carter months ahead of time. Admittedly, the lambasting was well-deserved but still amusing.

agent57 said...

Actually, I think the kind of spoilers that bother me the most are partial spoilers... someone will say something that hints at a character dying or bad things happening, but nothing specific will be said... and I end up spending the entire time watching it going "Oh no what's going to happen who's it gonna be?"

That happened to me before I saw Serenity, and I was in dread for days. And yet... the shocking bit STILL shocked the hell out of me. Tricky Joss...

As for Watchmen, I guess I've already been completely spoiled. I read the graphic novel. It'll re interesting to see how it compares. (I do love comparing adaptations to their originals.)

Cat5 said...

I am a very strict spoiler-phobe. I used to read everything I could get my hands on… until the 4th season of Angel. Then I preemptively hated everything. I mean (spoiler!) Cordy and Conner sleep together?! That is crazy. And stupid on paper. But, when I watched my DVDs straight through it wasn’t (quite as) stupid.

Anyway, I learned my lesson and have found MUCH more enjoyment from all shows now that I avoid knowing what is going to happen before it does. Some shows are harder than others, though. I love Supernatural but Eric Kripke gives away practically everything in every interview he gives. So, I have stopped even reading interviews for that show. It really has increased the enjoyment. (Hint: potential boyfriend of the month quotient is high. Also! I just remembered Mitch Pileggi is guest staring this Thursday. And, yes, I accidentally read that, but am glad I did).

So to conclude my ramblings, I guess I wouldn’t necessarily recommend being as extreme as I am… but I am definitely going to encourage you to stay strong. BSG is AWESOME and will continue to be, whether you get news right now or not. You will really hate yourself if you ruin something wonderful for a quick fix. Maybe re-watch your DVDs? Watch Razor again? Heck, watch White Noise 2. It has Katie and Nathan (hot) and will definitely distract you.

Marie said...

I'm a complete spoiler whore. I knew every twist and turn of the last two season finales of Lost before they aired, and I've already started trolling for the next season's spoilers. During the first season of 24, I was totally hooked on the message boards looking for spoilers. I just can't stand the suspense sometimes! :-)

elimare said...

hey crone51 - I've watched the trailer for Watchmen and yes it is indeed gorgeous (Although am I the only one thinks Night Owl is too young?) - but I want to avoid all the 'preview \ review' stuff that I know will be all over the place the closer it gets to release date. :)