Monday, May 11, 2009

Media Blackout

Last night was the season finale of my very favorite show, The Amazing Race.  I won't be able to watch it until tonight, though, since Ryan and I watch it together and he has this pesky thing called "work" that occasionally takes up some of his day.  As such, I have entered a state called Media Blackout.  Let me explain.

I believe there is a special place in h-e-double-hockey-sticks for people who spoil endings, whether intentionally or not.  It's going to be extra toasty for them, and they will spend eternity being told the ending just when the movie/book/tv show is getting good.  Every joke they start will have some butthead interrupt and say, "Yeah, yeah I've heard that one - "Your grandma's stuck on the roof!"  Every movie they start watching will have some jerk walk by and say, "What's that, "Sixth Sense"?  Have you figured out that the guy is dead yet?"  

Needless to say, I hate, hate, HATE having the ending of anything ruined.  I've spent all this time and effort getting to the end of a movie/book/tv show and to have someone spoil it is literally anti-climactic.  A total let-down.  The worst is when a hugely popular book is released - a Harry Potter or a Twilight book - and I have to avoid the public in general until I've finished it.  I have a physical reaction to hearing someone talk about a book I haven't finished yet - my stomach clenches, I try to think other things really loudly so as to drown them out, I convince myself that whatever things slipped through my mental filter were actually taken out of context, and so they didn't just spoil anything.  The worst was when the 5th or 6th Harry Potter came out, and it was my kids (who hadn't read them and didn't grasp the import of the knowledge they held) were told by their friends about the death at the end, and my kids told my mom before she had read it.  My mom is a real grown-up, though, and shook it off, but I would have been seething.  I still AM seething, and they didn't ruin it for me!  It's the principle of ruination, the fact that book-spoiling-people exist, that raises my hackles.

So to prevent me from accidentally having to hate someone, when a tv show is ending I voluntarily go into a Media Blackout.  I watch no tv, I leave the newspaper on the driveway, I above all avoid the internet like the spoiling plague that it is.  The internet just LOVES to ruin things.  It's one more sign that the Internet is a tool for good as well as evil, as this is clearly evil.  When I answer the phone to someone who watches the same show, I'm likely to answer like this, "Hi, I haven't watched "The Amazing Race" yet, so don't tell me who won."  I'm not trying to be rude, I'm really just protecting YOU, that's all.

For a time I thought the newspaper would be safe to read during my Media Blackouts, but sadly, no.  If a Utahn participated in the show, it's likely to be on the front page of the paper the next morning, as I found out the year a man from Pleasant Grove won Survivor.  I still watched the finale, seething as is my way, but there's so little tension when you know the outcome.  

Even when people don't come right out and say who won, the hints they drop, trying to be obscure to those who haven't watched it yet still can ruin it.  I had a Facebook friend who ruined the finale of Top Chef by saying that the winner was a relief.  Which makes perfect sense if you knew that the competition was down to one nice guy and one European jerk.  No one roots for a jerk.  

Ryan, of course, thinks I'm ridiculous.  Why do I take this so seriously?  After all, it's just a tv show!  Well, I know that it's slightly over-the-top to avoid all media for 24 hours just to avoid news of a tv show whose participants I will have forgotten by the end of the week.  But if there was some real suspense around something more worthy of my emotional investment, say the Nobel prize announcements, you can be sure I'd watch it.  Sadly, the Nobel people are grown-ups - they don't get all worked up over things, they don't realize that their ratings would shoot up if they had all the potential Nobel winners living in a house full of cameras, discussing their economic theories or how they would stave off the AIDS epidemic in Africa while in a hot tub.  And then you've got Al Gore in the confessional complaining about how Desmond Tutu is really such a wanna-be.  Of course, most of the house would be physicists and economists and other boring/ugly people, so the producers would have to come up with a twist to make sure there are lots of attractive women in bikinis, you know, for the hot tub.  Wait, I've got it!!  We make it a combination Nobel and Miss Universe Competition!  Or add a Nobel category for Beauty.  It would be an uber-"Beauty and the Geek," with competitors from around the world and a demographic that would span from teens all the way to old geezers.  If they could get Simon Cowell to judge and Barack Obama to host, I think every person in the entire world might watch that show.  

What a brilliant show idea!  Someone should get Nigel Lythgoe on the phone right now and get him to produce it.  I can't do it myself until the Media Blackout has been lifted, and by then someone might have stolen my fantastic tv show idea.  Maybe they could make a new category for me, Nobel Prize for Inventing a Media Blackout Worthy TV Show.  Of course someone would be bound to ruin the ending of a show that popular.  And then I would have to hate them, which I'm trying so hard to avoid.  Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can't win.


Ranisa said...

You are so funny....I have to know! If I have DVRed something....I will occassionally watch the end, and then go back and see the rest....

Cash_Killa said...