Marc’s GChat Status Expanded

The rules of discussing television

Ok folks, it’s time for a frank discussion.

Yesterday morning I was shocked by something. Absolutely shocked. The number of people who absolutely ruined the Top Chef finale for anyone who didn’t catch it live the previous night was astounding.

Top Chef Spoiler Alert

Top Chef Spoiler Alert

Top Chef Spoiler Alert

I was one of the fortunate ones, I was able to watch it live, but at least three times this season I was forced to watch the show during one of Bravo’s 1.6 million weekly reruns. If this past Wednesday had been one of those unfortunate weeks, and I had decided to go on Facebook and check out the statuses of the people I know, then a) I would have known that Carla didn’t perform well due to all of the “poor Carla” statuses, and b) I would have known that Hosea won because of the “fuck Hosea” and “I can’t believe Hosea won” status messages.

This, is just absolutely nonsense.

Now I bet the people who were so quick to announce to the world the results of Wednesday night would argue that one is supposed to watch it live, and if they don’t its up to them to make sure they don’t have it ruined by others.*


This does not apply when the only reasons one would add the results of Top Chef (or any other show for that matter) to their statuses is because they want to appear to be more in the know than others, and because they assume that others care even the slightest bit that they are more in the know than others.

No, like so many other things in life, there should be, and is, a common courtesy to this. First off, find a way to express your happiness or displeasure with the results of a television show in a way that doesn’t give away the results (if its a competition-based show) or the major plot lines (if its a series). ESPECIALLY if it’s within 24 hours of the shows original airing.

Write things like, “ugh, I hate Top Chef” or “wow, what a great episode of Bromance that was.” If you can’t find a way to adequately express yourself on the show of choice, don’t say anything at all.

Second, if you’re wondering when it is OK to actually discuss openly or in a public forum the results or plot lines of a show, I would argue that it’s a three day rule. Given the fact that nearly every show is put online in full for free the day after it airs and the advent of Tivo and DVR, 72 hours from the original air date is more than enough time for people to catch the missed show. If they can’t do it in 72 hours, they deserve to have it ruined.

Finally, you are going to write something about the show, like I did with the blog yesterday, two very simple and small words can prevent a lot of grief and anger. Just write “spoiler alert” it lets people know what you’re about to talk about, and instantly makes people avert their eyes if they see it. Crisis averted.

If you are really resisting following these guidelines, put yourself in their shoes. Would you want to accidentally stumble upon something that ruins your favorite TV show? Is it really work putting something in your Facebook feed that will almost certainly ruin more peoples days than it will benefit? Can we all just work together? I promise people will have just as much fun discussing how much Hosea sucks on Sunday as they would on Thursday.

* This does not apply to sporting events. Sorry. Watch the game live. There is no rational basis for assuming you should be able to be insulated from the results of the World Series, or the score of the Super Bowl for more than 15 minutes following the end of the game.


February 27, 2009 - Posted by | Television | , ,

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