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Philosophical Monday: The Politics of Spoiling

I don’t want to be insensitive, but is there really anyone who expected to watch LOST at their own leisure without spoilers? I watched it in real time yesterday, which felt surreal, since we’re one of those nerd families who will pause a show for 30 minutes and do something else just so we don’t have to watch it our favorite programs real time — but we watched LOST commercials and all, just so we wouldn’t get spoilers. We also had to give up the internet for a whole two hours, b/c it had already aired on the East Coast and twitter and Facebook was abuzzin. Just saying that if you didn’t watch the LOST finale as it happened, you were setting yourself up for spoilers.

This along with the season finale of GREY’S ANATOMY has me wondering about rights vs. privilege, when it comes to spoilers. Back in the 90s, I was in college when Seinfeld went off the air, but I’m fairly sure that people who had office jobs were all talking about it around their retro, non-Keurig coffee pots the next day. There surely weren’t any fellow workers getting pissy and saying, “NO SPOILERS PLEASE!”

But since the advent of DVR, it’s actually made it harder to talk about TV shows in real life. And somehow the onus of spoiling has fallen on the people who have watched TV shows within a reasonable time period. Over the past few days, I’ve begun conversations with a tentative, “Have you seen the season finale of Grey’s?” If the person says no, then I say, “Oh, I was hoping you watched it, b/c I really wanted to talk to someone about it.” And they’ll say something like, “No spoilers! No spoilers!” If the person did watch it, and we’re at a party, then we have to keep our voices down, so as not to sully the viewings of those who kept the Grey’s finale waiting on their DVR, while they do less important things like eating dinner at an actual table, working 9-to-5’s, and attending parties.

I think we should make some rules for spoiling, establish periods of time that people have to watch TV shows. Then after that period of time has passed, we can let the spoilers rip without warning on Facebook and Twitter. Here are my proposals:

24 Hours for Series Finale

72 Hours for Season Finales

7 Days for a regular TV Show

What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments. And check out few thoughts on LOST after the jump.

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERTWhat did it all mean? I’ve heard theories that everyone died in the plane crash and this was a series of tests in purgatory. I’ve also heard the theory that everyone dies at different times in their lives and this parallel universe is where they meet up. Either way, I found Christian Shepard’s explanation of what was going on maddeningly vague and new agey.

Where the frick was Walt and Michael? SO angry about this. Many of us loved the Harold Perrineau character and I saw no reason to leave him out of the finale. I understand that the kid is too old to bring back, but why bother to introduce Michael if you weren’t going handle him in the finale? Messy, messy, messy.

Obviously I love romance, but I felt this episode had too much of it. Everybody re fell-in love in the same way and it didn’t feel particularly well-executed. It was like watching a schmaltzy Hallmark Card for two hours.

SIX FEET UNDER handled death better. Let’s just put this on the table. Jack isn’t my favorite LOST character. I neither love nor despise him. If he had gotten killed off the show at any point, I wouldn’t have cared. So no, I wasn’t crying as he laid in the jungle dying — not like I was full-on sobbing when they showed how each of the main characters in SIX FEET UNDER died, during their season finale.

Really it was about specifics. I felt that LOST had the chance to say something really big and really specific about life and death and instead they mumbled their way through a crowded episode that barely held my interest. I went to bed mad.

I think the GREY’S ANATOMY season finale was better than the LOST series finale. I was on the edge of my seat that entire episode. I felt unprepared for what I was seeing and the horror of that episode haunted my dreams that night. Some of my fellow bloggers are decrying it as “too much.” But I would argue that the season-ender of GA re-sensitized us. It showed us the real horror of gun-shot wounds, which we’ve become used to seeing and shrugging off on TV. It also made us care about the deaths of characters that we didn’t particularly like or dislike without being schmaltzy. The acting and writing were just superb in this episode, I was both scared and fascinated, and my tears flowed freely for the deaths of characters that I never really bothered to know. Now THAT’S good TV, and the series finale of LOST felt lazy in comparison.