An age-old question came up the other day among a few of my friends, and as I mulled it over I realized the need for some definitive rules about when it is OK to openly talk about movie and TV spoilers. With the series-ending episode of LOST coming tomorrow night, with 24 counting down the last few seconds this season, with The Office screaming real-life comparisons to the co-workers in your office – how can you not talk about these things? Never fear geek gurus and TV jockeys, I’m here to rescue you from the swirling vortex of friendship-ending faux pas when it comes to the moving pictures:
TV and MOVIE SPOILERS
In the age of Tivo, DVR, Hulu (2 years ago we cut the cable and use our Sony VAIO hooked up to the big screen) and mobile TV you almost have to cut people some slack. No one watches shows when they air on TV anymore: real-time has been brushed aside in favor of on-demand. At the very least people watch a show a few hours later, and I would venture that many/most aren’t seeing it until the next day. This delay can be frustrating, but there’s nothing more embarrassing than wearing your GLEEK shirt and talking about a Sue Sylvester line that no one has heard yet, only to be greeted by winces and people running away from you while covering their ears. Be proud that you are a better geek (and all-around friend) than they are but keep it to yourself for a day – then geek out.
What about midnight showings?
When a movie debuts at midnight, only .01% of the population of your office went to see it. Iron Man 2 at 2am might sound like fun to you, but with the exception of your cubicle cronies, it sounds lame to the rest of the crew at your workplace. If you see a midnight showing of a blockbuster movie, talk excitedly about how great the movie was in somewhat hushed tones with the dudes. If the movie was lame, it is totally appropriate to steal some of the joy form your coworkers by practicing a frustrated face that will let them know your epic late night sacrifice came up more than a little short.
What about my close circles of geek friends?
When you’re with fellow geeks, feel free to talk openly about spoilers the minute the show is over. In fact, why wait for the credits to roll at all? They are your friends only because of your superior knowledge of six degrees of separation and connecting obscure plot points. Impress them and guide them along by openly discussing plot points and openly speculating about what is next.
What about people in later timezones?
The Time Zone Effect, as I like to call it, penalizes people on the West Coast more than any other people group. We air the shows live for you to watch during prime time – which means they were recorded just down the street from us in Hollywood while we were still at the office. Then the show gets tape delayed hours later for us to finally enjoy. Lame. But hey, you have winter, so I guess that makes up for us basking in the sunshine at 77 degrees in January.
How do I handle social media?
Simply put, you need to go dark to truly enjoy your favorite show. It might be best to not make eye contact with coworkers you think may have seen the episode or movie before you did. Even on lunch break, know the table right behind you could switch from a discussion of sushimi to Glee in milliseconds. Have a pair of Walkman ear buds at the ready, with soothing sounds of tranquil streams to quell your disturbed state.
Do reality shows have different rules?
Absolutely. First, American Idol can be talked about freely, this is America, dog gone it. Second, Survivor has been on since I was in middle school, so talk about that tired formula all you want. No one watches Celebrity Apprentice so no problem there. Someone told me the other day that Amazing Race is still on (had no idea) and that Biggest Loser would be great motivation for me (which I didn’t understand). Add all of this up and since no one cares about reality shows, you don’t have to either.
What about series or season finales?
Soon 24 will end forever. This weekend, we’ll continue to all be lost but LOST will be over for good. There are no rules to series finales. Throw everything out the door when you’re watching the last episode of a sitcom or evening drama. In fact, embrace social media and invite the geeks over for a finale costume party to celebrate the passing of this old digital friend. Say farewell in style to
It has been 3 years since the movie came out, is it fair game?
The Statute of Limitations on any TV show is 48 hours – anyone who hasn’t seen it within a couple of days deserves to have it spoiled. You are a teacher, your office culture is your classroom. Teach them a difficult lesson – they’ll thank you later for it no doubt. The Statute of Limitations on a movie extends through opening weekend – if you didn’t see it at midnight, we’ll show you some grace, but if you haven’t seen it by Monday brace yourself because I’m going to spoil it for you. The only exception to this statute would be sold-out shows, which wouldn’t allow everyone to see the film at the desired time. Each sold out showing extends the statute one whole day.
I hope this guide has been helpful, my geek friends. May the Force be with you and leave your FAQ in the comments and I’ll answer them there.
Sony provided me with a free Sony Ericsson X10 phone and a PSPgo and FIFA Soccer 10 game in connection with my participation in the Sony Ericsson/Sony Style X10 Blogger Contest, which requires me to blog about Sony and/or Sony Ericsson Products.