SPOILER ALERT: New Portlandia preview clip is called "Spoiler Alert"

(Video link) If you've caught any of the commercials for Portlandia's upcoming third season premiere (this Friday, January 4 at 10:00 PM EST on IFC), then SPOILER ALERT: you may have already seen parts of this new preview clip, entitled "Spoiler Alert," which means you've already been spoiled. SPOILER ALERT: It contains spoilers. (via IFC)


  1. THere was some study in the last year that showed that people didn’t rate stories as less enjoyable if they knew elements of the plot beforehand.

    I think everyone is obsessed with spoilers because we like to create this perception that we are smart enough to play Sherlock and figure out the who done its and what will happens as we watch.   When we actually watch, almost everybody just zones out and enjoys.  So spoilers are mostly irrelevant.

    1. I think that study was flawed. They ought to have chosen media the subject was actively interested in. Rather than an arbitrary short story the subject had no interest in reading before being part of the study. The response changes when you’re invested in a serialized narrative.

      That study can’t tell me that my viewing/reading experiences aren’t damaged after having been “spoiled.” I’ve been spoiled before. It’s annoying. I like to be surprised.

      1. I don’t know. I won’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve never really gotten the spoiler thing. If the show is so boring that the only reason to watch it is to get surprised (hopefully because there’s always the chance it is then so boring that you basically are just waiting for the punchline) then I usually wouldn’t watch it. Then again, the things I tend to like couldn’t really be ruined by a spoiler. 

        I mean, for instance, if I’ve read the book a film was adapted from it always annoys me when people say “don’t spoil it” because it is basically trumpeting that they don’t even know a whole body of people were familiar with the story before.

        I guess it’s just that a show is either interesting enough that you care about HOW things happen in the narrative or it isn’t. Then again I like a lot of really odd stuff. It’s hard to imagine some one “spoiling” things that are just kind of surreal to begin with. “Like, OMG don’t tell me, there’s a 10 minute sequence with a cow head! Ugh… you’ve ruined it. The movie will totally make too much sense now.”

        1. Fair enough! All I’m saying is, that study doesn’t speak for everyone. And it perhaps doesn’t even speak for the study’s participants. It certainly doesn’t speak for me.

      2. The process of a good plot is far more interesting.  Might as well not watch any WWII documentaries either since you know how they turn out.

        1.  Luckily, I can have it both ways. I am capable of watching both documentaries and biopics as well as Breaking Bad. When it comes to show like Breaking Bad, I like not knowing what’s going to happen next. What’s the matter with that?

    2. There are times when I’ve said, and even thought, that my enjoyment of something came from being surprised, but ultimately I don’t know that it’s provable one way or another. There are a few movies I go back and re-watch every few years, and a handful of books I’ve re-read. I’m sure part of the reason I enjoyed them the first time around was that they surprised me, but I still enjoy them.

      On the other hand there is a real pleasure in being surprised. Once in a film class we were watching Psycho, which I’d already seen. When Norman carries his mother down the stairs a girl in the class said, “What the hell is going on?” And I envied her ignorance.

      So, yeah, maybe spoilers are mostly irrelevant, but if I’m telling someone about a film or television show or movie or book they might be interested in I try to tell them enough to make them interested without giving away any major surprises.

    3. Great, I haven’t read that study yet, but I was really looking forward to it.  Why bother, now that I know how it turns out? Thanks a lot.

    4. Except we know from experience that that’s completely ridiculous.

      I remember reading in a movie review for Aliens3 that {spoiler} Ripley was gestating not just an alien but an alien queen in her body.  In the first paragraph. All I’m doing for three quarters of the movie is wondering: when are they going to get to Ripley/Alien Queen plot twist. It destroyed the movie for me. (As you can tell, I’m still bitter and angry about this.)

      Spoilers like these (which actually spoil one’s initial viewing of the work) are vastly different from, say, foreknowledge the fate of Macbeth, Lear, and Julius Caesar when we go to watch their respective Shakespearean plays.

      1. I’m pretty sure that Alien wouldn’t have scared the shit out of me so much if I hadn’t thought that it was going to be like a Star Trek movie. Or that Thelma and Louise was a light-hearted road trip romp. Those experiences have taught me to avoid spoilers.

  2. The only spoiler I am concerned about these days is keeping Luke’s father’s identity a secret from my kids.

  3. My greatest spoiled movie was due to the movie’s makers.*

    It’s clear from the first 15 minutes of Terminator 2: Judgment Day that we are meant to believe that Robert Patrick is the hero and Arnold Schwarzenegger the bad guy. (There are multiple cues to this effect.) This would have resulted in a fantastic “what the…?!” moment. Instead, the moment was ruined by an advertising campaign that stressed: “This time he’s back… FOR GOOD!”.

    *(I’d blame the marketing department, but DVD bonus features indicate that James Cameron was in agreement with the trailers.)  

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