Recently, I have been amused by what the kids call a “viral clip” of actress Jennifer Lawrence flipping out on an interviewer who (seemingly intentionally) spoilers her favorite television show, going so far as to call the mic-jockey “a monster” and evincing what seems like real disappointment and sadness at having a twist ruined for her.  Working for Major Spoilers over the last half-decade, I’ve had to develop a sixth sense (pun fully intended) about what plot points might affect others’ enjoyment of the things we discuss and review, but even with that awareness, I’ve been in the shoes of that clueless interviewer more than once.  For my part, knowledge of spoilers is a normal, everyday thing thanks to the 60-day lead on comic solicits and the endless series of coy (and not-so-coy) teasers and trailers from movie producers, but that easy access to moments that should have been surprising begs a particular query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) reminds you that ‘Rosebud’ is a cookbook, and Sammy Jankis was actually Luke’s father, asking: Does knowing ‘spoiler’ material beforehand affect your enjoyment of your pop culture?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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15 Comments

  1. January 22, 2014 at 11:28 am — Reply

    Nah. Someone said it like this, and I think it stuck… “I’ve got a news flash for you, you’re going to die at the end of your life. SPOILER ALERT! It’s what happens between point A and point B that’s interesting.”

    I really don’t care either way. If something is spoiled, you should still be able to enjoy it if it’s worth a damn.

  2. January 22, 2014 at 11:45 am — Reply

    For me, it mostly depends on what sort of media is involved.
    Spoil a tv show or comic book…whatever…spoil a movie or the end of a book-you suck! :)
    I wouldn’t be heartbroken or call the offending spoiler names or anything…but I’d just be disappointed I didn’t get to experience what was spoiled myself.
    I guess for me it comes down to how much time I have to invest in whatever media as to whether spoiling it becomes a problem.

  3. Ingrid
    January 22, 2014 at 11:56 am — Reply

    Not much. For a mystery story I would prefer not to know the ending first, but even when I do, I can still enjoy the story and seeing how well they laid out the plot. Besides I’m so rarely reading/watching/otherwise consuming things as soon as they come out that some spoilers are inevitable. They don’t seem to have that great an impact on my enjoyment.

  4. January 22, 2014 at 11:58 am — Reply

    Not really. I’ve gone back and read several books after their respective movies or tv shows were out. I got just as much enjoyment from them as things that I knew nothing about. Instead of focusing on trying to figure out a twist or guess what will happen next, I can just enjoy the story unfolding. I get different things out of both experiences.

  5. January 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm — Reply

    For the most part it doesn’t really ruin it. I often check Wikipedia and other sources to find out about a movie or book before I get it, so I tend to know part of the story going in because of it. However, even knowing certain plot twists and surprises beforehand doesn’t really take away from the overall enjoyment of the story.

    Sometimes it is a bit frustrating for a surprise to be ruined, though. I’m actually quite glad I knew almost nothing about the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special before I saw it, but I think knowing the surprises beforehand would have only changed my response (the continual “OHMYGOD” screams) slightly.

  6. Frank
    January 22, 2014 at 1:02 pm — Reply

    The movies I have enjoyed the most are the ones I knew nothing about. I knew next to nothing about Gravity and really enjoyed it, because it was surprise after surprise.

    On the other hand, I saw ET after everyone told me about it. While it was good, I would have enjoyed it more without being told all the plot points.

  7. Jared
    January 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm — Reply

    my friends tend to watch movies or shows before I get a chance to see it they talk about it without realizing it. I tend to tell them that spoilers don’t matter since I’ll probably forget what they told me by the time I actually watch/read the material anyway.

  8. Doctor Dinosaur
    January 22, 2014 at 8:41 pm — Reply

    Yes, utterly and completely. I enjoy the thoughts that pop into my head when I don’t know what is coming next and some times surprise or chock improves upon what the work is trying to communicate. I’ve heard studies about spoilers supposedly coming to the conclusion that enjoyment is not affect and while I cannot speak to the general public’s enjoyment my own personal enjoyment is definitely affected… But in the end it’s no great tragedy just an unwarranted perspective change.

  9. Kirby
    January 22, 2014 at 8:54 pm — Reply

    Nope, it’s the journey getting there, knowing how Cold Days ended for example, didn’t lessen the impact of it when it did happen.

  10. Ella
    January 22, 2014 at 9:17 pm — Reply

    It only bothers me when someone spoils the ending of a book for me, especially books of a series. Of course, I prefer not to have anything get spoiled, but I can deal with comics, movies, etc. getting spoiled.

  11. Hirimno
    January 22, 2014 at 10:04 pm — Reply

    I dont really mind. I can forget things if I want to. Give me a couple weeks without hearing about it again and I can forget just about anything.

  12. comicfan1974
    January 22, 2014 at 10:26 pm — Reply

    Absolutely not. Knowing twists, turns and endings in advance has never made an impact on my enjoyment of anything. If anything, it often makes me reflect on them in ways I find personally more interesting once the “shock” factor or surprise is taken out.

  13. Oldcomicfan
    January 23, 2014 at 7:42 am — Reply

    It really depends on the thing – I’ll go to movies that have been spoiled for me – same thing with television shows – and sometimes I will go see a movie because it has been spoiled and the plot twist interests me. With the exception of Citizen Kane – a Peanuts comic strip spoiled that more me long before I ever saw the movie (in the days before cable, VHS and DVD you were at the mercy of the three networks were watching old movies were concerned – didn’t get to see Gone With The Wind until the late 70s because they never showed it…) which ruined the movie for me. On the other hand, then there are a few good movies where the movie itself spoils the ending but the whole is the journey to get there – for example American Beauty the narrator says in the first scene that he was murdered and you spend the whole movie wondering which of the people who he has annoyed during the course of the movie was the one who pulled the trigger. The ending left me shouting “Holy Crap! I didn’t see that coming!”

    There have been many comic books which I have picked up years after dropping them because of an interesting storyline which some folks at this pop culture review site I know of let slip. On the other hand, I hate it when somebody spoils the ending of a novel I am reading. Relating to that, I also hate it when I figure out the ending of a book before I finish it – I have a shelf full of books where I got part way through and thought “I can see where this is going” and the story and characters aren’t engaging enough to hold my attention so I quit reading the book.

  14. Rome
    January 23, 2014 at 10:08 am — Reply

    Despite my constant checking of this website, I HATE spoilers.

    TV and comic spoilers are my biggest pet peeves, due to their nature as periodic media that lean heavily on cliffhanger endings and resolving dangling plot lines. When a new Doctor Who episode airs I stay away from the intardwebs for days just to avoid any potential spoilers (because i’ve had more than my share of major plot surprises ruined)

    I actually don’t mind with movies or books so much because they are consumed whole and for some reason it doesn’t ruffle my feathers the same way. Go figure.

  15. January 23, 2014 at 1:22 pm — Reply

    I despise spoilers. I didn’t use to mind them much, but what companies and people are willing to show or give away has gotten out of hand. It’s the reason I refuse to read solicitations and only watch the first released trailer for a movie. Seeing the best action scenes in a movie takes away the awe and excitement while watching. Knowing the end of something, especially a mystery is horrible. Would the end of Usual Suspects been as powerful had you known it? Probably not.

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