“We’re together. That makes this the perfect timeline.”
Two years ago my friend Tevy changed my life when he handed me the DVD of the first season of Community and said “Kim, I don’t know why you aren’t watching this show but you should be.” Now, some people (though I doubt anyone who reads this blog) may think it is silly of me to say that a television show changed my life. But it’s true. Community unleashed the fangirl in me that had clearly been dying to get out, and I don’t regret letting her out for a SECOND. She’s a big reason this blog even EXISTS.
I have loved a lot of shows in my lifetime. The X-Files. Friends. Lost. How I Met Your Mother. Grey’s Anatomy. But little did I know what kind of love affair would launch when I started Community. I devoured practically two seasons in a weekend (the first episode I ever watched live was Season Two’s “Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts”). I found things in each member of the Greendale Seven that I loved and related to. Annie’s driven nature and competitiveness. Britta’s needless defiance and desire to do the right thing, even if she is the worst at it. Shirley’s desire to reinvent herself. Troy’s innocence and joy in everything he does. The way Abed sees everything through a pop culture lens because that’s how he relates to the world. Jeff’s struggle between being the man he thinks he wants to be and the man he actually IS. And even Pierce. Pierce just wants to belong and feel relevant. In fact, that is the common thread between all the members of the study group. Community is at its heart a show about finding where you belong and finding people who love you, no matter how weird or damaged you are. Isn’t that the very thing that all of us as Human Beings want? To know that we are not alone in this world?
I may have been late to the Community party, but once I was there, I was all in. I didn’t shut up about the show. I wanted EVERYONE to know what I had discovered: that something about this strange little study group at the world’s wackiest Community college was incredibly special. Sure, the show was hysterical, but underneath the metaness and movie parodies there beat a giant heart. I will never understand why some people don’t SEE THAT when they watch the show.
We may not have many rules here in the wiki-wiki-wild-wild west of the Internet, but isn’t this one we can all agree on?
This Sunday’s Downton Abbey featured probably the biggest WTF moment of the entire series – one from which all fans are still reeling. (I saw the episode months ago through, um, channels, and I’m not even close to being over it.) One of our dearest readers was flabbergasted at a Facebook friend’s blatantly spoilery status update (THE MORNING AFTER) and her lack of remorse when her friends rightfully called her out on her poor netiquette. According to the culprit, her status wasn’t a spoiler because the episode HAD ALREADY AIRED. So, let me get this straight…she thinks that the definition of “spoiler” is just whatever a person can find out about an upcoming episode of Breaking Bad after breaking into Vince Gilligan’s office under the dark cloak of night and making off with his hard drive?
Can we just not do this to each other? They’re called “spoilers” because they RUIN the viewing experience for anyone who comes across them. Posting a spoiler on Facebook is like walking up to somebody who’s eating their lunch, licking your palm, and then pressing it down on their sandwich while maintaining constant eye contact. It’s cyber bullying for nerds.
And why?! WHY, for the love of Pete, are people compelled to do these things? We GET it. You, like THE REST OF THE WORLD, are like, SUPER into Downton. Congratulations on having your finger on the pulse of something that’s completely mainstream. If you need to talk it about right away, let me introduce you to my friends at Tumblr, who had gif-setted that scene with weepy song lyrics about 30 seconds after it aired in the UK. Or you could, I don’t know, have a PRIVATE conversation about it with a friend. Call your mom. Call your therapist. Whatever you need, man. Just KEEP IT OFF FACEBOOK.
By now, we all know better than to surf Twitter or Tumblr when we’re trying to avoid being spoiled. They are fandom central and just can’t help themselves. But Facebook is where you go to see pictures of your nephews and RSVP to birthday parties. I COULD swear off Facebook for the next six months until I finally watch Homeland. But how about I just hope that none of the family members, friends, acquaintances, or nemeses on my timeline decide to swap out the usual baby bump picture update for a major plot point reveal status? Let’s make Facebook a safe zone, ya’ll. Otherwise, we have no choice than to Clockwork Orange ourselves and watch everything immediately as it airs in real time or retreat from society all together.
The existence of boxed sets, onDemand, and Netflix Instant have all extended the statute of limitations on spoilers. Unless it’s a part of public consciousness or internationally known catchphrase, keep the big reveal (character death, goody turned baddy, a ship that happened or didn’t, etc…) to yourself or to the fandom (trust me, they are out there and ready for you). At any given moment, anyone can decide to embark on a full completed series and I, for one, believe in your right to enjoy it just as much as any original fan ever did. I put an entire post about a show that ended seven years ago under a cut, for crying out loud. At this day in age, it’s only right.
There are ways to brag on Facebook about how culturally relevant you are without inspiring murderous feelings in anyone who wasn’t watching PBS on Sunday night. So, just…don’t be that guy. Spoiler alert: everybody hates that guy.