How to Avoid Spoiling Shows: A Guide
When you have to keep the finale to yourself, the last thing you want to do is try to keep the finale to yourself.
By Michelle Criqui, James Madison University
The season of tan lines, swimming pools, barbeques—and most of your favorite shows going on hiatus until the fall. With the season finale having just aired, you find yourself suddenly buzzing with cliffhanger-induced excitement. If you don’t talk to somebody soon about how gnarly it was that Favorite Character #1 stabbed Least Favorite Character #3 in the jugular with a butter knife just before the credits rolled, you might explode.
Too bad none of your so-called friends are caught up on the show yet—something about being too busy with “work” and “school” and a “social life,” whatever those things are. Meanwhile, you’re laying wide awake in your bed at 3:30 a.m., pondering over whether Favorite Character #1 is really as good as you thought, or if maybe this butter knife stabbing incident is leading him/her down a dark path.
Whatever it is, you know that this show is consuming your thoughts. But with most of your friends a season behind and begging you not to reveal any spoilers, you’re caught in a pretty precarious predicament. Thankfully, you have this handy guide to help you avoid being That Guy/Girl who gives everything away.
1. Speak in Code
You know the situation: You’re with a group of friends, and only one of them is caught up on your show. You’re excited to have a heated debate all about that crazy ending, but doing so within earshot of your friends who actually have lives can prove to be risky business.
So what else do you do but quickly invent a secret code that only the two of you understand? This way, you can openly discuss your hatred for “Voldemort” and how “Luke Skywalker” should’ve just punched him in the face already. And how come my OTP “Winnie the Pooh” and “Spongebob Squarepants” haven’t shacked up yet?! They’re destined for each other!
The only con in this situation is that you and your friend will sound like complete maniacs. But let’s be real, you’re probably used to getting that reaction at this point.
2. Avoid Your Friends
Yep, you read that right. If your friends aren’t game to binge-watch and discuss your favorite show at excessive length with you, then what kind of friends are they, anyway? With all of those juicy finale secrets bottled up inside of you, you’re better off just steering clear of your spoiler-sensitive friends for the time being.
Otherwise, you might get a little too comfortable and accidentally let it slip that Favorite Character #2 cheats on his/her spouse with Least Favorite Character #6, and gets slapped in the face so hard that he/she loses his/her vision.
Despite your apologies and numerous attempts to smooth it over, the damage will be done, and you’ll probably lose a friend for it.
So in the long run, it might just be for the best to pretend to be off on vacay until your friends finally wise up and catch up.
3. Carry Earplugs at All Times
First of all, you’d be smart to carry a pair of these on your person at all times anyway. Life can get pretty noisy and complicated, and sometimes it helps to just tune it all out. Plus, they’re great for airplane rides, especially when you get seated in between the Crying Baby™ and the Life-Story Lady™.
Anyway, earplugs are also handy when it comes to keeping others from being spoiled. Hanging out with your best friend who isn’t caught up and want to gush about the show? No problem! Just hand him/her a fresh pair of earplugs, and rant away as your best friend simply smiles and nods supportively. It’ll give you a chance to get your opinions out of your system for a while without giving anything away, and allow you to keep your best friend.
4. Storm Social Media
Another foolproof way to get your spoilery opinions off of your chest is to head over to Twitter, Tumblr or any social media outlet of your choice and let your emotions fly. You can talk to other fans from around the globe, make up creative hashtags about your post-finale depression and plague the showrunners for days about why you have to wait four months for answers to your burning questions.
It might be best, however, to make an entirely new account for this, just in case you have friends or family who follow you and a) Don’t want to be spoiled, and/or b) Would be completely appalled at your borderline-psychotic ramblings about your OTP.
Also, just a word to the wise: Don’t rant about your favorite show on Facebook. Just don’t. Think of the children. And the poor souls who get on to see how their family is doing, just see their timeline spammed with some weirdo wailing over the death of Favorite Character #4. Let’s keep it classy, guys.
5. Abuse Your Power
The fun part about being ahead of your friends in your favorite show is that you know crucial information that others don’t. Keeping the secrets can feel a bit like being a secret agent, tucking and rolling through laser beams and explosions to ensure that the top-secret intelligence you have received remains classified.
But it also doesn’t hurt to have a little fun with that power. The great thing about most shows these days is that they’re all pretty unpredictable. This means that you could literally make up any kind of ridiculous scenario within the universe of the show, and with the right amount of conviction, sell it to your friends as having actually happened. Because you have the intel, and why would you lie about this? Cue the maniacal laughter.
Yep, Favorite Character #1 actually got tied to the railroad tracks and killed as Least Favorite Character #1 revealed his grand evil plan in monologue format to the world! Nope, “Winnie the Pooh” doesn’t actually end up with “Spongebob”—he proposed, but got completely roasted and rejected in front of a whole stadium of onlookers!
No matter how hard you get punched afterwards, selling these crazy fake spoilers to friends and family will totally be worth it to see the bewildered look on their faces. Plus, you’ll realize that while Kanye was right about having too much power, it’s just a wasted opportunity not to abuse it at least once.
6. Distract Yourself
At some point in your quest to avoid spilling spoilers, you’ll probably come to the harrowing realization that it’s actually YOU that needs containing. As you attempt to keep your blabbermouth shut, it’ll be best to distract yourself in any way possible.
You could try to keep yourself busy with something productive, like starting that new workout routine or binge-watching another show you’ve been meaning to start. That way, you can move forward in your life without feeling weighed down by the intense emotions and copious amount of spoilers that come along with finishing a season of an amazing show.
7. Plan a Catch-Up Marathon Party
When all else fails, round up your spoiler-free friends and family for a marathon screening, complete with popcorn and alcohol. You’ll have a great time, and catch everyone up in the process. Just make sure you know your limits—otherwise, you could find yourself giving an obnoxious voice-over commentary during the key moments and giving everything away before they’re due to be revealed.
In second thought, it might be for the best to just throw the party for your friends and un-invite yourself. The minefield of spoilers is one that must be navigated with the utmost of skill and precision, and is not for the weak of heart.
So until your friends finally catch up, maybe you’d be best suited to sitting at home on the internet, like every other productive member of society. And next time, just make sure your friends don’t get behind.