On Spoilers, Social Media, and the Demise of the Denouement

March 17, 2014--

So, last night when I went to bed an hour early, I didn't really think there would be any ramifications other than feeling more rested than usual. I opted for Cosmos before bed (space dreams!) instead of The Walking Dead (Survival/horror nightmares!) and this choice actually had an effect on my life.

This morning, when I began to review the usual feeds-- facebook, Twitter, etc-- I was stunned by the amount of OH MY GOD #THEWALKINGDEAD I saw. There were sad faces, the term "gross" came up a lot, and it was overall pretty negative stuff.

Then I got hit with anxiety.

Now, this makes me sound like I have no life. I became anxious, actually, because I watch the show with my husband, and he's away all week so we need to wait until next Tuesday to watch both last week's and this week's episodes. Still, no reason for alarm. Just tarry on and it doesn't matter.

But, to be perfectly honest, I want to stay away from social media.

I don't want spoilers.

What has happened to TV watchers since the social media revolution? It's more than just a water cooler mindset; watching TV has become a group experience in ways that were much more immediate than just a few years ago.

Back when Battlestar Galactica was ending, a co-worker of mine created a "Final Five" chart that we kept on the wall in our office, joking weekly and updating our picks. It was fun. It was a great way to come back to work after a weekend. I feel like that would be the extent of my "social" side of entertainment consumption.

Now, if you don't watch a show when it's on, chances are you're screwed. I've had Downton Abbey spoiled for me so many times that I don't even watch it anymore. If anyone would have spoiled L O S T for me I would have choked a bitch.

But is all this necessary? It's silly that I want to avoid the internet for a week, but have we become so addicted to plot twists and turns that if things like this don't happen, we get upset? Take True Detective, for example, something I'd call one of the best shows I've ever seen. Last week's finale drew ire because it didn't have any kind of reveal about the Yellow King or Cthulu or Marty's daughter Audrey. People were disappointed by denouement.

The series was 8 episodes long. Now, are we demanding plot twists in the final 8th of a book? Or the final scenes in a movie? No, it's where things wrap up. Denouement is ok. So why are we accepting of it with literature but not with television?

Personally, I think it's the "discussion" factor. I think we need to talk about it, and talk about it immediately.  And slap a hashtag on it.

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