by Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)
Spoiler alert: I hate having to write “spoiler alert” before show recaps.
By its very definition, a recap is a shortened retelling of something that has happened, namely, a TV show. In today’s world of social media, spoilers are everywhere. It should be the readers’ responsibility to avoid them, not a writer’s responsibility to pussyfoot around a reader’s feelings. Don’t click on something you know will have a spoiler like, say, a recap. Don’t go on Twitter if you know someone will be discussing it there. And for god’s sake, don’t search the tag on Tumblr! A writer must write a recap as soon as possible so fans can discuss what happened on the show while it’s still fresh on their minds and consequently, should not be criticized for doing their job.
I personally never put spoilers in the first few sentences of my recaps or before anything behind a cut. By doing so, it gives the reader the chance to decide whether they want to read it or not. If they choose to click further, they are now accountable for anything they read. It should be a pre-determined understanding that “Hey, if I click this recap, I may encounter spoilers and I’m willing to take that risk.”
The avoidance of spoilers begs the question – what is the shelf life of a spoiler? Is there a cultural understanding of spoilers you do and don’t talk about? What if I told you Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father? Would you get mad? What about if I said Rick Castle proposed to Kate Beckett on Monday’s Castle season finale? What is the determining factor of when something is no longer considered a spoiler?