"We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead, and yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of a new life, the sunrise of a new world..."
A world where no one gives a damn about common courtesy or keeping secrets for the benefit of others enjoyment.
A world where information is readily available at the push of a button, whether we like it or not.
A world where not even 24 hours is enough time to see what you need to see before someone tells you what you should have already seen.
A world without spoilers......because no one cares anymore. No one.
Let me be VERY clear here: This isn't just the complaint of someone who is so behind on all of his TV shows that it will take a full summer of binging across several different networks and VOD platforms just to get caught up before the new Fall season. No, this is also an observation of where we are as a people today.
To do this effectively, I have to call myself out on how far behind I am on my TV shows. Seriously, there is just too much good television on right now and it's hard to keep up, and this has now made that task.....much, much more difficult. Now, to begin:
I am very behind on Game of Thrones. Like, a full season behind. So I have to binge last season and whatever episodes have aired this season. Well, in the middle of last season a big spoiler surrounding a certain character happened that consumed almost the entire planet in impatient curiosity and was enough to get the actor playing that certain character out of a speeding ticket if he told the officer what the real truth of the spoiler was.
I know this not because I've seen the episodes in question, but because I saw the actor on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon telling the story, as if the entire planet that cared about Game of Thrones had already seen it. Now, to be fair Fallon DID preface the conversation with a spoiler alert and told people watching that weren't caught up yet to turn their volume down so they would not hear the spoiler-filled conversation they were about to have on national television and he would signal when they were finished. Valiant effort Jimmy, but you already scheduled the actor in question on the show and he wouldn't be there unless he had questions to answer about the spoiler, which in this particular case, pretty much gives the spoiler away.
This was after I went grocery shopping and saw said spoiler on the cover of Entertainment Weekly in the magazine aisle, shortly after the episode had aired:
Oh don't worry HBO, I'm still going to watch the damn show and I'm going to get caught up on everything I missed. It'll just be a "recap" for me instead of a fresh, unaltered viewing. Thank you for that, Planet Earth.
Oh, and thank you for "Hold the Door." Really, that was just awesome seeing everyone on my news feed and on Twitter and several show pages, blogs and magazines just blurt that one out the very next day after it aired. No need for me to be shocked by that one anymore, right? Egads.
Look, those of you that are caught up on Game of Thrones are just going to consider this whining and while there's a degree of truth to that, it's still a crap situation because not everyone can be at home with nothing to do at 9pm every Sunday night. I thought this was what HBO Go and HBO Now was supposed to take care of? If you can't watch the episode live, you can watch it later if you pay $14.99 a month or have an HBO subscription. Well, what the hell is the point if the entire planet tells me what happened the very next day?
Game of Thrones is the worst offender of this, but definitely not the only one:
I work late most of the time and can't get home until around 9pm, right after The Flash ends every Tuesday. Not a problem because I have Hulu and the new episodes are available to stream the very next day. So even though I don't get to see it live, I can still watch it in less than 24 hours after it originally aired.
Except that within minutes of The Flash airing, several social media pages that follow the show start posting about the episode and since you follow those pages, they're going to show up in your news feed as soon as they go live. The worst case of this was when DC on Comicbook.com actually did a Facebook Live video right after The Flash's Season 2 finale to talk to fans about what happened in the episode. The notification came up on my phone and fortunately I was quick enough not to click the video and ignore it, but it didn't matter because EVERYONE was talking about that episode right after it aired.
So you don't even get 24 hours anymore. Hell, you can't even get an hour. If you didn't see it live, you're basically playing with fire unless you disconnect from social media and the Internet altogether like a hermit as so many smart asses would suggest to you.
I won't go into Twitter because that's just a minefield of suck. Live tweeting of the episode, emotional reactions, questions about specific plot points and a complete breakdown of the ending are just always going to be there, whether we like it or not. It can't be stopped and you can't disconnect from it because guess what, there are other reasons that you follow these people and pages and you can't just disconnect from them all unless you want to stop watching TV and doing anything social media related anymore.
I remember when I first saw The Usual Suspects. I didn't see it until a few years after it was out and several people that had already seen it told me the following: "The ending is so good that I refuse to tell you anything because I don't want to ruin it for you." What happened to THAT society? Where did that go down the drain? Is it just because there wasn't social media in the 90's and now we all just say whatever we want without worrying about others? Maybe, I don't know.
Maybe we have become too impatient to wait anymore. I mean, we are binge watchers now, right? As much as we have to wait for a new episode of some of these shows each week and deal with a myriad of seasonal breaks in between, don't we all wish that everything was like Netflix and you could just watch the whole season in one lazy weekend and be done with it? Maybe it's because we HAVE to talk to someone about what we just saw after we watch the show so even if they haven't seen it, we've got to tell them what happens and rob them of their own enjoyment of the process just so that we can satisfy our need to wax poetically about it?
I don't know what the ultimate answer is, but I do know that the world of entertainment has changed because of it. The words "spoiler alert" are like a dead Jedi now: "all but extinct," and we are all going to have to get used to that.
Rest in Peace, Spoiler Alert. We hardly knew you and clearly didn't want to know you anymore.