How do you avoid spoilers?
Of course, the subtitle of my title should probably be "Do you avoid spoilers?", because a lot of TV fans actually like them.
There was a time when there were no spoilers for TV shows. None at all. In the 60s and 70s and 80s and early 90s, there was no internet to speak of, and the gossip magazines and gossip TV shows really didn't go to any great lengths to find out what was going to happen on a season finale or a particular episode. Of course, it's a chicken or egg thing now. The shows are doing cliffhangers all the time (even sitcoms) and actually like to cultivate spoilers to hype the show (there was a time when a TV show's season just ended with a regular episode, nothing shocking or cliffhanger-ish). Cliffhangers really took off with the famous "Who Shot J.R." episode of Dallas.*
It's as true for movies as it is for TV shows. Everyone talks about the big twists in The Sixth Sense** and The Crying Game,*** but I remember walking into Raiders of the Lost Ark and having no idea what the film was or what was going to happen. You can't do that nowadays. Previews - the endless previews - for TV shows and movies give away too much. And if you happen to avoid them, you still have to avoid the web, magazines, newspapers, Entertainment Tonight, and office talk.
I have a love/hate relationship with spoilers. While it's my job to find out info about the TV shows we cover, I actually long for those days when TV shows just came on and you experienced them. A viewer would experience a TV show a lot differently than a viewer does today. If we had the internet and this much interest years ago as we do now, everyone would have known what happened in the last episode of Newhart.**** Though I have to admit I looked at the spoiler for Lost last season and found out what was going to happen in the season finale.
Anyway, Brian Lowry at Variety has a piece about how hard it is for a TV fan to avoid spoilers nowadays. Do you avoid them or actually seek them out?
* It was Kristin.
** Bruce Willis is actually dead.
*** Chick is a dude.
**** The show was a dream and he woke up in a bed with Suzanne Pleshette.