Avoiding TV spoilers: It’s a thorny old game

How on earth are we supposed to avoid big plot twists when everyone keeps tweeting them? Argh!

In season three of The Simpsons there’s a flashback scene where Homer and Marge emerge from the cinema having just watched The Empire Strikes Back. “Who’d have known that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father?” Homer gasps, unaware of a nearby queue of  people waiting to get into the next screening. They’re furious.

Viewers of The Simpsons, however, weren’t so aggrieved by Homer’s spoiler; after all, 11 years had elapsed between the release of The Empire Strikes Back and the airing of that Simpsons episode. By then it wasn’t even a spoiler. Just cultural knowledge. But how long does it take for one to become the other? As we reach the climax of the third season of Game of Thrones, it’s a question that’s exercising the rapidly swirling minds of folk on Twitter.  Digitally splurging our thoughts on social media has become a mental reflex and if our favourite show suddenly twists its plot through 180 degrees, it’s desperately hard to exercise  self-control.

Game of Thrones is particularly susceptible to spoilers, with each new episode airing in the United States at 9pm on Sundays, UK subscribers to Sky Atlantic getting it at 9pm on Mondays and the rest of the show’s fans grabbing it by fair means or foul over the next few days.

It’s almost impossible not to absorb some information relating to the plot before you’ve sat down to watch it. Today I casually tweeted that my girlfriend had let out a wail of anguish during episode nine and even  that was enough to provoke an expletive-ridden reply from one soon-to-be-viewer.

Ideally, people would think before  they tweet.

But they don’t, so working out ways to avoid spoilers is probably better for your blood pressure than becoming a permanently indignant internet policeman.

Unfollow repeat offenders – although there’s always the chance that mischief makers  might pop up in your timeline, like Frankie Boyle did on Monday, wreaking Game Of Thrones-related havoc.

Avoiding social media entirely should be a copper-bottomed solution, but once stuff causes a buzz on Twitter it just gets reported elsewhere (see today’s Metro for those Game of Thrones spoilers in full).

And there are Google Chrome apps – such as Silencer – that can strip out tweets featuring certain keywords, but that’s not infallible either; you only need someone to ham-fistedly type a spoiler about “Game Of Throns” and the entirety of season three will be ruined.

Really ruined, though? I have not seen The Empire Strikes Back, but Homer Simpson revealing Luke Skywalker’s parentage probably won’t compromise my enjoyment too much (if I ever get around to watching it).

As Frankie Boyle said after his Game of Thrones tweets: “I’ve not ruined it, I’ve differented it. It’ll be different to watch.”

And while I wouldn’t blame you for disagreeing with him, we need to accept that spoilers are the inevitable offspring of mass communication and timeshift TV.

If you adore Game of Thrones that much, sling Murdoch some cash, clear your diary  and make sure you watch season four when it actually airs. But maybe don’t tweet about it.

Arts and Entertainment

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade

radio
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?