Earlier this year Sage wrote a post about Spoilers on Facebook. Well now *I* have a bone to pick regarding spoilers, and that bone is with promo departments. I have done my due diligence when it comes to spoilers. I don’t get on twitter or tumblr when I don’t want to be spoiled on something. I avoid Entertainment Websites. I do everything possible to avoid spoiling myself on certain shows…only to have all that hard work go straight to hell when I am innocently watching TV live (LIKE THEY WANT US TO. My kingdom for a Nielsen box!) and promos for my shows come on and then BOOM! My hard work has gone straight to hell.
Since I am nicer than most promo departments, I’m putting the rest of this post under a cut…just in case you live under a rock or something!
My case and point:
This week on New Girl Nick and Jess finally (FINALLY) consummated their relationship. This was something I had been waiting for since the pilot (yes, I shipped them THAT quickly) and normally I would have been jumping up and down and screaming like the perfectly normal fan girl that I am when Nick strode into the elevator with that look of intent on his face and PICKED HER UP and carried her off bed (which let’s face it…that kind of move is every woman’s fantasy).
EXCEPT that the entire scene…down to the song playing in the background…had been used in the promos for the episode. So instead of flailing all over the place, my reactions was “Oh. I knew that scene was happening.” It felt like all my joy had been stolen from me.
And before you say “But Kim! You could have easily avoided the promos!” let me say this: I TRIED TO. I tried my DAMNDEST. But when you are sitting watching American Idol or the season finale of Bones live (again…LIKE THEY WANT US TO) you can’t avoid commercials. And no quick scramble for the remote and/or the mute button can save you when a 30 second commercial starts airing.
Look. I understand that it is May Sweeps and networks need to promote their shows. But there has GOT to be a line between teasing what is going to happen in the episode and outright spoiling it. A perfect example of this is New Girl‘s “Cooler”, which aired earlier this season. All the promos said the gang was playing True American again and that Nick and Jess would possibly have to kiss within the context of the game. They conveniently left out the fact that THIS was going to happen:
Cue the entire fandom having a meltdown from FEELS and me having to change my list of Top 5 TV kisses of all time, cause this is certainly one of them. And wasn’t it SO MUCH BETTER not knowing it was coming??
I can’t imagine that Liz Meriwether was pleased with the end of the episode being spoiled. I know that showrunners have NO say in what the network cobbles together for promos and spoiler clips. Shonda Rhimes tweets that she has no control over promos all the time. Dan Harmon famously had a temper tantrum on Twitter on discovering that NBC had essentially released half of Community‘s “Regional Holiday Music” on nbc.com last year (though some of the clips were taken down after that by that point it was too late. Gifs and YouTube videos were already made). And Dan had a valid point. When you have 22 minutes of episode and 3 or 4 clips of said episode are released, essentially a third of the episode is out there before it even airs, and it ruins the continuity of an episode when so much is released out of context. It takes away all the fun and surprise of seeing something for the first time. I know we are living in an instant gratification driven and spoiler filled TV landscape, but at some point the spoilers have got to stop. I mean…why watch an episode live when you’ve already seen most of it before it airs? Another example is there are currently EIGHT clips released for Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who. That’s right. EIGHT. For a 45 minute episode. It’s getting to be ridiculous. And the social network pages for all the shows are JUST as bad about spoiler clips and giving away plot points. It destroys the water cooler aspect of a show because by the time an episode airs, clips for the NEXT episode are already being aired and promotional pictures are already being released.
I’m not saying every show needs to go the Mad Men route (Mad Men‘s promos are famously just filled with unrelated dialogue that reveals absolutely NOTHING about the upcoming episode). I’m just saying that at some point the networks need to start trusting that their core audience will be tuning into the shows no matter what. I’m always tuned into Fox Tuesdays at 9:00 for New Girl. I’m always tuned into NBC Thursdays at 8 for Community. No matter what. You don’t need to beg me, okay? I’m gonna be there whether or not Nick and Jess sleep together or Jeff and Annie finally admit they are madly in love (#pathological). So STOP RUINING MY VIEWING EXPERIENCE.