Judge John Hodgman Episode 64: A Quashed Plot Never Spoils


Note: Are you spoiler sensitive? Judge Hodgman discusses key plot points for several shows and movies, including season one of Game of Thrones. Be warned, and be ready to turn down your volume.

Adam brings this case against his friend and roommate Andrew. Andrew finally convinced Adam to start watching a favorite show – Breaking Bad. However, Adam feels an off-handed comment made by Andrew spoiled part of his viewing experience. How soon is too soon for spoilers? And what detail is significant enough to be considered a spoiler? Only one man can decide. SPOILER ALERT – it’s Judge John Hodgman.



Star Wars Spoiler Solutions?

Anyone enjoyed the Machete Order or airing the Star Wars saga? There are some impressively thoughtful essays on the matter that ultimately swayed me...I thought it to be a nice way of incorporating more cannon-material while avoiding episode 1.

Similar Problem with Catching Up

I faced a similar problem with Heroes as Adam did with Breaking Bad. In 2008, I tried "catching up" with Heroes by renting Season One on DVD. I was a couple seasons behind at that point. I enjoyed the show, but most of the suspense was spoiled because ABC's promos for current episodes revealed that the cheerleader, and many other characters, were still alive & kicking in seasons 3 and 4.
It's not cool for Andrew to reveal that key characters will survive for years in advance, but unless you do all your "catching up" over a long weekend, and you live in a cave, you are at risk for discovering the current cast of a TV show.

GHA! "Spoiler Alert" much?!

Yeah, been listening to JJH for a while now, but I gotta say - it would have been suh-weet for the producers to think about the fact that some of us get this podcast through other sources like podcast software and not the site. Didn't see any warning - who knew the Hodge would rip us a new one with a slew of random spoilers?

Yeah, I get it: many of the references he fires off are a little dated, but several are not!
Try extending the common courtesy of beginning the show with a mention of which shows/movies get randomly 'spoiled' in this episode.
Love this show, but c'mon...

And the fact that the judge goes on that spoiler tear at all sure seems to speak to his partiality on the subject - it sounds like Andrew and the Hodge both enjoy quashin' some plots. Bias? In this court? :/

I have to say, I'm not sure

I have to say, I'm not sure the argument about the length of time something has been out really worked here. For example, the Citizen Kane question. Sure, if you make a comment in a normal situation about the sled Rosebud, no-one should complain that you should have known better than to spoil the movie. But the more appropriate analogy here would be if you had a friend who had never seen Citizen Kane, you convinced them to finally watch it, and, just as they sat down and started the DVD, you said "by the way, Rosebud is a sled". That's more akin to what the guy in this case did (if a little less subtle).

Spoiling mid-watch

Yes, I agree with "Someone," although I think the judge still made the right decision in this case. If you're in the middle of watching or about to watch (within a few hours or days) a movie or TV show, that is when spoilers really matter.

If I have not thought about watching a show yet, then it's much harder to spoil it and the possible spoiler should get a lot more leeway. If you run around saying "rosebud is the sled" to everyone around you, anyone who hasn't seen the movie will just be confused and unlikely to remember what you said at all. That is fine.

Also, some spoilers have become so ingrained in the culture that you can no longer really count them. If anyone has not heard "Luke, I am your farther" in a Vader voice hundreds of times per year, they are probably living ina cave. Come movies, like Star Wars and the 6th Sense are just forever spoiled, because the spoiler is part of pop culture.


Spoiling Mid-Watch

As someone who does not watch many movies, the "spoiler" is almost always wasted on me. As stated earlier, I will not remember the spoiler when uttered at random times, however, if clearly stated - including context then the speaker deserves whatever happens next.

I do not live in a cave, but I do not go to movies. I just find them and television to be a poor substitute for my own imagination and a really good book or storyteller. Centuries of word of mouth history leads to the expected deviation from actual events. So, you get a round table instead of an octagon and the "Lady of the Lake" instead of a fisherman's wife. Horror stories around a camp fire have got to be the best.

Using celluloid freezes the image in the brain but should leave the viewer with furure and past possibilities. It is the mark of the best story tellers.