I love my job, but today I have tears in my eyes and steam coming out of my ears. It has to do with Breaking Bad, and last night’s season finale. I thought it was close to perfect. And I will miss my little meth cooking, Nazi killing buddies like no other, but I have to tell you that this spoiler alert business is driving me to drink.
Back in the dark, early days of television, we didn’t have no PVR’s or TV on demand. Everybody watched the same shows at the same time, and the next day we gathered round the village well and discussed what we had seen. Whether it was who shot J.R., or Gary’s death on Thirtysomething, or Johnny Carson’s final farewell, we watched and talked collectively. Nowadays (and who says “nowadays” except old farts?) individual people watch TV shows on various platforms and devices, be it on demand on your big screen, or on DVD on your laptop. Except for those big, truly unique moments, like sporting events or moon landings. And I would argue – no, I WILL argue – that the final episode of Breaking Bad counts as a big moment. I sent dinner party guests home early last night to watch, and they were happy to go. I turned off the phone, I put out the cat, and I engaged. For the full, violent, weepy, deeply satisfying 75 minutes. And today, I want to talk about it.
But no. “I haven’t seen it yet!” wail my colleagues. “I’m going to watch it tonight!” Well, some of them anyway. There are some who HAVE seen it, but don’t want to ruin it for others. And yes, there are a few who just don’t care. And then there are the brave souls who have seen it and believe that it is our job as broadcasters and media mavens to TALK ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE. Imagine that. All you have to do is warn your listeners that they may learn something they don’t want to know by alerting them to the possibility of a spoiler.
Ah, but that’s the problem. A spoiler alert is an invitation to tune out, and we are not supposed to do that. You understand the dilemma? Hence the steam and the tears. So I’m spending the morning talking AROUND the subject of Breaking Bad: about the music, and what DIDN’T happen, and creator Vince Gilligan’s future projects.
But tomorrow? All bets are off, bitches. I am the one who blogs.