In a new weekly column answering crucial cultural questions, we explore the etiquette around pesky TV and film spoilers
Spoilers used to be so easy. First you watched something, then you discussed it with your friends, who were almost certainly watching at the same time, and then that was it. Now, though, it’s a minefield. Nobody watches anything at the same time, and everyone blurts their opinions on social media as soon as they’ve seen anything. It’s a free-for-all, and it’s untenable. This can only mean one thing: it is time to definitively locate the point when spoiling a film or TV show is OK.
Clearly, that isn’t before the thing has actually come out. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped an entire spoiler cottage industry from springing up in recent years. Some nefarious movie insider will post spoilers – sometimes the entire plot – of a film to Reddit, and these secrets are then disseminated online and into newspapers. Before you know it, everyone knows what happens in Infinity War and nobody has any fun watching it, all thanks to a mouthy berk on the internet.