I love being surprised. I love watching a drama or movie with no inkling of what is coming up or who is appearing next.
Take my current crack drama, The Princess’s Man. When the villain of the story first appeared in Episode 1, he seemed vaguely familiar but I just could not remember where I had seen him. (Maybe years ago, I thought.) It took six episodes before it suddenly clicked. Good grief, this was Kim Young-chul, the same actor who played the sweetest father ever in Life is Beautiful – a drama I had watched at the beginning of this year. That realization bemused me to no end; even now I still grin when I recall that moment when the light bulb in my head switched itself on.
I don’t know how it started, but even as a child I somehow knew to avoid spoilers. Every time I read a new book, I would savor it line by line, page by page; I never skipped ahead. If I had to stop reading for whatever bothersome reason (school, sleep, homework), I marked where I stopped with scraps of paper or simply folded a small corner of the page. It was terribly important that I return to the exact spot later (and I could not wait to return!). God forbid that I should open the book wrongly at page 20 if I last stopped at page 12.
As I grew older, my distaste for spoilers grew more entrenched. If my family was watching a movie adaptation of a book that I was in the middle of reading or planned on reading but hadn’t yet started, I would shut myself in my room and cover my ears. I wasn’t the least bit curious about what they were watching and no amount of teasing or baiting would get me to relent. After all, when the time was right I would find out the story for myself. In the meantime, shush. Don’t tell me anything!
Recently, however, I read an article that astonished me. Titled Spoilers Don’t Spoil Anything, the author (who reads books from the back and not the beginning) cites the results of a study suggesting that spoilers actually enhance one’s enjoyment rather than ruin it. Imagine that!
No, I can’t. My imagination (and I happen to possess a rather unruly one) cannot begin to comprehend how spoilers can be beneficial. How can I laugh with abandon when I know a joke in advance? How can my heart break when I’ve been forewarned that it’s going to break? How can I gasp with delight when I see my hero kissing his sweetheart for the first time, having known for a whole week that he’s going to be doing it because the preview gives that fact away?
But maybe I’m fighting a losing battle. In the New York Times article Spoiler Alert: Whodunit? Wikipedia Will Tell You, author Noam Cohen says: “In an age of information overload, it is getting harder and harder to preserve mystery and surprise in entertainment.”
Maybe I shouldn’t even fight so hard. Because just this week a spoiler of sorts gave me immense pleasure, how embarrassing.
You see, normally I avoid previews of upcoming episodes, like I avoid stills and teasers of upcoming dramas and movies. But so lost was I in my thoughts after finishing Episode 22 of The Princess’s Man, I forgot to stop after the credits had rolled. And so that was how I spied for the first time Chun Jung-myung all decked out as a baseball player for his new drama. Oh my goodness.
(Yes, there was smiling and squealing aplenty, need you ask?)
So I guess I should be more open toward spoilers, eh? Or maybe I shouldn’t decide until I hear from you first.
Just a simple poll to get us thinking and talking about spoilers. Are you a hardcore spoilerphobe (like me) or do you actively seek out spoilers and even share them? Do you agree with the first article that spoilers don’t spoil a thing and that the human mind actually prefers the predictable to the surprising? Or do you agree with the second article that the giving away of spoilers is “vandalism of another person’s potential pleasure”?
Speaking of that “potential pleasure,” increasingly I wonder if I’m pursuing personal pleasure at the expense of community bonding. Like I said at the beginning, surprises are huge for me and I derive much thrill from the unexpected. I love the suspense of not knowing ahead.
At the same time, though, I realize I am depriving myself of a lot. There’s nothing like camping out on Soompi or Cadence the night that a final episode airs. Oh, the excitement! Give us spoilers, please!
I guess you can see that I’m a little torn, haha. How about you?