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Spoiler Alert

by Jason Benoit, Esq.

It used to be when you didn’t want someone to spoil something for you that you took your phone off the hook.

Nowadays, you have to stay off-line, plug your eyes, turn off your phone, avoid television, read no blogs, talk to no one. I’ve had shows ruined for me that haven’t even aired an hour ago just by driving home and listening to the radio. Google constantly sends unsolicited alerts to my phone about teams I consistently read about.

Honestly, it’s more work to avoid spoilers nowadays than it is to actually just watch the show in real-time. And believe me, watching anything live except for sports is terrifyingly difficult these days.

I know I’m sounding entitled here. And I apologize. But let’s face it, we live in a world of instant gratification. And because we live in a hyper-speed world of communication, information and opinions fly as fast as our chubby fingers can smack our keyboards.

And I hate it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that whenever I need to do research on a topic that I can hop online and within seconds have an entire database of information on pretty much any topic my heart desires. And, sure, maybe I am asking too much here with my next request but I’d really love it if we could instill a few spoiler rules moving forward into 2015.

For instance, if you work in social media (and even for a studio, production company, or a network) maybe we don’t tweet out spoilers or memes that’ll ruin a show. I thought this one was just an obvious guideline but apparently a few bad apples gotta pee in the punch for everyone.

Look, it’s no secret that the vast majority of people don’t watch content live anymore. They record it, they stream it, they even illegally download it — so it’s not unfair to assume that maybe we wait a solid 48 hours before blowing up our social media accounts with who died on what show.

Sports are exempt from this. Honestly, I don’t know how you can (or would) ask people to not comment live on the National Championship game while it’s happening. Even if it did start at 5:30pm on the west coast and I was still looking at a solid two hours of work ahead of me before even thinking about punching the clock.

I’ve been practicing – rather poorly – trying to avoid spoilers for years now. That’s what happens when you live on the west coast and every major sporting event begins at 4:00pm Pacific Standard Time. Monday Night Football and the Dallas Cowboys are on, I record that so I can watch the entirety of the game uninterrupted when I get home. That means no ESPN, no Facebook, no talking to colleagues, no Twitter, no answering or responding to my phone for like six hours straight. And let’s not forget the guy who just loves to email me his thoughts to talk shit because he knows I’m a Cowboys fan. Thank you for that.

All of this should be an easy task to accomplish but let’s face it, it’s not anymore.

We rely on technology to do our jobs. To function daily. And maybe that’s a crux, but it’s also the reality we live in.

This is what I want someone to invent in 2015.

I want technology that allows me to enter a series of keywords into Facebook (or Twitter, or whatever) and my newsfeed for a predetermined amount of time (of my own choosing) that will filter and block anything that pops up in relation to those keywords.

So if I want to avoid Walking Dead spoilers for twelve hours because I had a work function last night and had to get up early to come into the office and thus couldn’t watch last night’s episode, with a few keywords I can hopefully effectively eradicate a large portion of oblivious people out there who are foaming at the mouth to tell everyone what they thought of such a groundbreaking episode.

I swear, sometimes it’s as if there’s cake being dangled in front of people’s faces and they’re Pavlov’s dog foaming at the mouth with an absolute negative amount of will power that would make even a nun crack.

They’ll say it’s my fault for not watching the show live. Or that I didn’t start watching Breaking Bad when the show first started airing. Or that it’s my fault I choose to live in Los Angeles and football starts in the middle of the afternoon.

And they are right… but that doesn’t make their spoilers any less irritating.

Find me someone who can effectively implement my idea and I’ll show you someone who is going to make themselves a boatload of money. Plus, can you imagine in one fell swoop being able to block out every mention of “high school friend posting pictures of their baby”?

The fact this technology hasn’t already been invented is mind blowing.

In the meantime, if I post asking you not to say anything to me about the Dallas Cowboys game because I’m waiting to watch it when I get home and am not distracted by the burdens of work… or, you know, the Golden Globes because I’m still watching the end of a nail biting playoff game that’s taking place at the exact same time and I really want to watch both without the results being ruined, just know that you’re not cool by live tweeting what’s happening to me. It doesn’t make you clever, it just makes you a jerk.

Jason Benoit, Esq.

About Jason Benoit, Esq.

Jason Benoit is a young screenwriter based in Los Angeles, California. He has developed projects in both film and television with producers around town. He was reared on Cheetos and nightly doses of Tylenol PM and is adamant about attaching the suffix Esquire to his name. We've agreed to humor his request. Follow him on Twitter @jbenoitfilm

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