I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Spoiler-Alert Police

This is how I felt when I saw a score I didn't want to see
(Photo: Casey Fleser)
Mary McNamara, a Los Angeles Times television critic, wrote a column recently about spoiler alerts. In it, she says endings are just as important as beginnings and as such are fair game for commentary and opinion without the critic being slapped around by the spoiler-alert police. I found myself agreeing and disagreeing with her throughout the column.

Here's an example:
The Internet has created a new genre of re-cap commentary, in which every episode of a show is parsed for later-that-night consumption and season finales are regularly reviewed while the end credits are still rolling. Twitter is even more insidious — people don't even have to take the time to think of a catchy lead or transitional phrase before they blast off crucial "Can you believe???" information. Meanwhile, the DVR, Netflix and other forms of delayed content delivery gave birth to a generation people who are not about to schedule their lives around some TV show. Not even a Really Important episode that they don't want spoiled. 
The irony is, many of these do-it-yourself programmers are also heavy Internet and Twitter users who don't appreciate having to forgo their high-speed pleasures to preserve the mysteries of their TV dawdling.
I'm one of those people who are not about to schedule my life around a TV show so I use my DVR and Netflix to catch up on programs I want to see, when I want to see them. But I'm also a "heavy Internet and Twitter" user and that definitely creates problems. But I know when to go dark and when not to so I can usually avoid spoilers.

But this past weekend, I watched a NASCAR race at a friend's house and then we engaged in a little one-on-one NCAA 2012 football battle on PS3. The game uses ESPN's brand, complete with the scrolling scoreboard at the bottom – and the scores are real-time. You know what happened next, the video game scrolled the score of one of the sporting events I recorded. I'm not a fan of the scrolling scoreboard on my TV. I'm even less of a fan of it on a video game.

I guess I'm advocating for even more personal control. If I want to hide a scrolling scoreboard, I should be able to. If I want to hide someone I follow on Twitter for a few hours, I should be able to.
Anyway, I understand her point, but I think it's possible, or at least it should be possible, to both determine my own TV watching schedule while also being engaged on social media.

Back to the column …
One critic of my acquaintance (OK, it's me) was recently chided on two occasions for, among many other things, writing about season finales that had aired several days and, in one case, several weeks previously. 

I wouldn't complain about either instance. Several days is ample time. But I really take issue with this statement: 
Or, more recently, over the hectic response to the "Lost" finale? No, they did not. Because the people who cared about the shows watched the shows in real time, and the ones who didn't were too embarrassed to admit it.
Saying a person who cares about a show watches it in real time (implying a person who chooses to record a program and watch it later doesn't really care) is a bizarre statement to make. It implies that I will forgo meeting a friend at a coffee shop on a Monday night because "Men of a Certain Age" is on TV. Is she really saying, "If you really care about 'Men of a Certain Age' you will forget about your real life friends so you can watch a TV show about friendship?" 

And if her statement is true, why would anybody have a DVR box? Why would Netflix carry TV series? Why are TV series even offered on DVD?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...