In the middle of 2022, and for years now, there is a term whose simple reading or listening can cause cold sweats, dizziness and an instant loss of sanity in the purest HP Lovecraft style to the poor person who crosses his path. A creepy word much more feared than words like “inflation”, “war” or “pandemic”. That is none other than “spoiler”.
The Royal Spanish Academy defines “spoiler” as “An anglicism used in the sense of ‘revealing details of the plot of a work of fiction'”, and suggests using the voice “destripe” and the Spanish adaptation “spóiler”. A very normative vision that many would prefer to replace with something like, plain and simple, “the horror”.
The last case that has turned our beloved internet upside down has had to do with the Disney+ series ‘She-Hulk: Lawyer Hulka’, in whose fourth episode a secondary character reveals another two great dramatic turns of the essential ‘The Sopranos’ —a production that finished broadcasting 15 years ago—.
Beyond the sterile controversy of the day, this case, which we could label as “Sopranosgate”, opens the door to a very interesting debate on the nature of this first world evil and an analysis of the factors that fuel the panic of spoiling —not to mention that we ignore the RAE— in this hyperconnected world.
The spoiler, that great unknown
Although, while it is true that spoilers have always been there, bothering the staff about series and movies of all shapes, colors and genres, the idiosyncrasies of our times have proliferated to the point of becoming an element as undesirable as it is irritatingly habitual. But, deep down, the main culprits for this are still the viewers themselves.
Some of them —#NotAllEspectadores—, perhaps more than they should, feel the need to pick up their mobile and tweet the second they have finished the last chapter of their favorite series and not only what they thought, but how much they liked it. amazed with X scene or how disappointed they have been with Y script decision; all with the aspiration of begging for a handful of likes and getting noticed in the increasingly abhorrent sphere of Film Twitter Although that’s another story.
To these behaviors we must add an essential factor to understand why we are living the worst time to want to arrive virgins to a viewing: the blessed FOMO. Living in constant fear of missing something and not being the first to be there —in part, to be able to shout a posteriori that we have done it— has drastically reduced the time of courtesy towards the rest of mortals who either do not want to, or cannot opt for immediacy to avoid displeasure in the form of unwanted details.
To make the situation more complicated, the boom in streaming platforms and the gigantic dimensions of their catalogs and wardrobes allow us enjoy series and feature films from decades ago at the click of a button and of whose plot ins and outs, a priori, we should not know too much; which opens another big question: What do we do with the damn spoilers?
And now that?
Thinking of a solution to the evil of spoilers —with hey tilde— and to the potential ulcers that can be generated by swallowing one without eating or drinking it, involves doing an analysis of the way of receiving themand today, like almost everything, this is reduced to a common denominator: the happy social networks.
Years ago it was much more complicated to get busted —or you get busted by accident— a plot twist. The few options were limited to some loudmouth leaving the cinema while you queued for the next session, or the typical undesirable from video store wanting to be noticed; a specimen that has ended up evolving into the boring tweeter with a huge number of ballots to end up blocked.
Now, the little we have left is to pull the option to silence words in the net of the blue bird and pray so that we don’t gobble up between chest and back some poisoned meme that appears out of the blue on Instagram, TikTok or some Reddit subforum. Not at all effective alternatives.
Nor can we ignore the controversial “time factor”. How many days, months or years must pass to stop considering something as a “spoiler”? Is it a capital crime in 2022 to say publicly and without a warning light that Bruce Willis is dead in ‘The Sixth Sense’, that Darth Vader is the father of Luke Skywalker or that Norman Bates’s mother is himself with a wig and a nightgown?
In the absence of consensus, we would only have to put ourselves in the hands of the scientific community so that it develops a mathematical formula that dictates the expiration date of a plot twist. If we add to this a decree law that regulates the use of spoilers and prevents future disturbances – I am afraid of reaching the last season of ‘The house of the dragon’ -, peace may end up reigning. Until then, the only thing left to fear is patience and leave the mobile parked preventively the days following the start of shift.