Spoiler alert! This is a story all about TV-show spoilers, so naturally, it will contain some spoilers. Please proceed with caution. I feel the need to warn you, reader, because this article is all about the people out there who don't properly warn us before they reveal major moments from TV shows. As the fall 2016 TV season approaches (a time of year I personally put on the same level as football season), I feel the need to plead with anyone who may read these words to just consider — just for one teeny, tiny second — that not everyone is always able to watch shows live. And for those poor souls, perhaps you could take some pity on them, and avoid posting the juiciest, most cliffhanger-y plot twist from your favourite show on Instagram, or Snapchat, or Facebook. Maybe just for 24 hours, at least? Listen, I'm not a crazy person. I accepted long ago that during and immediately after my favourite TV show, if I haven't watched, I need to stay away from Twitter. It's universally accepted as a place for live conversation about shows, which I often participate in myself, so I know by now that this is the one social media avenue with a huge, permanent DO NOT ENTER sign if you're spoiler-averse like me. (And no, I'm not referring to old shows that you're binge-watching on Netflix. I agree with this infographic we did a couple years ago; there is indeed a statute of limitations on spoilers.) But friends, I have to ask: When did it become socially acceptable to completely ruin the TV experience on Instagram? And Facebook? And Snapchat? I am a major television watcher, and some of TV's biggest moments have been ruined for me within just hours — sometimes minutes! — of an episode going off the air. Thanks to the Internet, I didn't even have 10 minutes to press play on my DVR before I learned of [Warning: major spoilers coming in the next few sentences! See, it's not so hard, is it?!]: Rick and Michonne's kiss on The Walking Dead, Holly's death on Power, and the identity of A on Pretty Little Liars (STILL not over that one). And Jon Snow's revival on Game of Thrones, perhaps one of the biggest TV moments in history? Ruined. Instantly, by a huge Instagram meme reading "He's alive!!!!" My icy, Westeros-lovin' heart was broken into a million pieces.
When I cry to friends or send despondent tweets, I'm often met with responses something along the line of "Girl, you should know better than to get on the internet at all after a show you haven't watched!" My friend Joseph even craves spoilers, and when I haven't seen a show live, he'll impatiently text me with threats of spoilers until I do. But I know I can't be alone in thinking that there should be a small shred of etiquette and empathy when talking about TV's most shocking plot twists, so I reached out to my fellow R29ers to get their thoughts. Surely they'd be on my side, I thought, sharing my fiery, impassioned opinion that social media spoilers are the downfall of modern day television. I was wrong. Of the 50 or so co-workers that I spoke to, only a handful agreed that people should keep their mouths shut on social media. The rest were in Beauty Editor Maria Del Russo's camp: "If you can't take the heat, get off the internet. Or get home in time to watch your show live." Well, damn. Cold world. Since it turned out my colleagues didn't have my back (thanks for nothing, you guys), I reached out to a few big names working in the actual world of television. Surely they would be on my side, right?! Wrong. Again. Miriam Shor, star of TV Land's hit Younger, said, "This is why I'm not on Twitter. Or Instagram. Or Snapchat. Or Facebook. I'm a dinosaur. Because...spoilers." So you mean to tell me that if I want to enjoy a television series in its purest form, I basically have to move to a social media-free planet?
Pretty much, says Jennifer Flanz, executive producer at The Daily Show With Trevor Noah. In her opinion, we all just need to accept that it's virtually impossible to not have your favorite show spoiled. "Almost every moment of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and the very short-lived Bachelor Pad has been spoiled for me," Flanz says. "At this point there is no way to stop that train, so I embrace it. I really think most good/bad/fun TV is still good/bad/fun, regardless of whether or not you know how it's going to end." While I respectfully disagree with Flanz — I stand by my right to have the same gasp-inducing moments as the rest of the world, even if I have to watch a show an hour late! — I do think she has a point. I mean, I still got goosebumps during Jon Snow's magical revival scene, even knowing that it was coming. And yes, I continue to tune in to Pretty Little Liars weekly, despite the fact that the identity of the multiple iterations of A is often ruined for me by Instagram. Still, here is my plea for the world for Fall 2016 television: Can we try our best to keep major spoilers to Twitter? Or make them a little more vague on Instagram and Snapchat? I know that it's far too late to stage a protest for a completely spoiler-free world, but a little consideration for your fellow viewer would be greatly appreciated. And at the very, very least people, I would like to remind you: A little SPOILER ALERT! never hurt nobody.