Movies & TV

Please Shut Up: Don't Be A Series/Movie Spoiler

Even a so-called fake spoiler can spoil a viewer’s sense of suspense because it preempts expectations about what will or will not happen in a plot.
IMAGE Marvel/HBO
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A TV or movie spoiler is information about the plot of a film or TV show that can spoil the viewer’s sense of surprise or suspense. It can be any reference to a plot or anything implying such reference, such as a quote, a phrase, a photo (not necessarily a still from a film or show), a meme, an artwork, an audio clip, or even music.

Even a so-called fake spoiler can spoil a viewer’s sense of suspense because it preempts expectations about what will or will not happen in a plot. 

We must let you know we are now more careful with our Esquire headlines after we were accused of allegedly publishing spoilers too early on, even if some of our editors truly believe they weren't spoilers in the first place. 

When is it acceptable to post spoilers?

This is a highly debatable issue that has forged many enemies and ruined many friendships. Spoilers are also a fine reason for weeding out idiots on your social media feeds. Those who are hell-bent on being jerks post spoilers before the end of the film’s first weekend run. (I deleted two friends who posted spoilers during the first week of Endgame’s screening!).

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If you ask the Russo brothers who directed Avengers: Endgame, the right time to post spoilers is after two weekends at the box office – which is a reasonable amount of time for everyone intent on watching a movie to be able to watch it.

But let’s be realistic. People really start talking and sharing movie plots on social media after the first weekend at the box office. To avoid getting spoiled, some people abstain from social media until they are able to watch the movie.

For movies, it is acceptable to post spoilers AFTER the first weekend at the box office. 

For television shows like Game of Thrones, if you feel you must talk about the show online, you should wait till AFTER the 10 P.M. encore telecast every Monday, which is the ideal time when most Filipinos get to view the new episodes on HBO. Those who miss that airing have to wait for the Saturday rerun, which means they are not that heavily invested in the show.

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Revenge Spoilers are a Thing

People who post TV or movie spoilers early are devoid of empathy, and sometimes, the only way for them to have any semblance of the virtue is by repaying them in kind. For purposes of this discussion, a revenge spoiler is the act of spoiling a movie for a person who spoiled a movie to you in the past.

A Reddit user shared how a stranger had spoiled Infinity War by telling him all the characters who got “dusted” in the movie. The Reddit user then befriended the guy for a year, just so he could spoil Endgame for him as revenge.

The revenge spoiler was savage:

“I saw Endgame, and while I was in the theater, I took PLENTY of pictures. I took pictures of Thanos' death #1, Captain Marvel, Ronin, Black Widow’s death, Smart Hulk, Fat Thor, 2 Captain America’s, 2 Nebulas, Stan Lee’s cameo, all the snapped coming back, Iron Man’s death, and several other plot points.”

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“I don’t like to spoil movies, I think it’s lame, but I reassured myself that this guy deserves it. So I texted him that I saw it, he asked how it was and I told him it was great, he told me not to spoil it, and I said ‘Oh, like how you spoiled Infinity War.’ Then he switched moods, he was all like ‘Hey man, that was a long time ago, we’re friends now,’ Stuff like that. Then, in one glorious action, I sent all the pictures as fast as I could, messaging plot points along with the pictures. It was all over in like 30 seconds, but he definitely saw it all… I haven’t talked to him since.”

Wow. Talk about asymmetrical warfare. While we don’t encourage revenge spoilers (nor do we discourage it!), we have to admit that the preparation and determination to exact such revenge is unparalleled. All we can say is, “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want them to do unto you.”

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Spoilers that You Didn’t Think Were Spoilers

Before Endgame debuted on its first weekend, I already had an inkling of what was going to happen, thanks to some people who couldn’t contain their excitement and felt the need to share cryptic posts about the movie on social media.

When the nth friend posted a photo of Ironman on Facebook, I just had to flag it.

“This is a spoiler. Stop posting,” I told him.

“It’s just a picture of Ironman! It’s definitely not a spoiler,” he quipped.

“It’s a spoiler because you’re not the only one ‘randomly’ posting Ironman’s photos. You guys are obviously implying and hinting at some instrumental thing he did in Endgame.”

My friend continued to proclaim his innocence and said he had always been a superfan of Ironman.

When I finally watched Endgame on the first opening weekend, I proved my suspicions correct: Ironman was instrumental in Endgame.

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Many people think that cryptic posts, such as random photos related to a movie or television show franchise, random quotes (which they all coincidentally post together), and memes, are not spoilers. They are.

People are intelligent – they can connect the dots and deduce these things are intimately related and may imply something important about a film or show. The timing of these posts is also suspicious.

When you’re overexcited and need an outlet to let these emotions out, the obvious solution is to look for friends who have watched the movie or show, and engage them in talk about the movie in private. Make sure you don't do it in a public place because there are ears all around you. Don't talk about it in a restaurant, in an elevator, or on the phone while there are other people around you. We hear you.

Don’t post any movie spoilers on social media. Doing so makes you lose friends, gains enemies, and makes you seem like a person with a depraved indifference to humanity.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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