Serena de Souza

Nothing worse than a spoiler

2006-03-28 12:01

One night, a group of friends and I fell to discussing Anna Karenina. Our conversation grew more animated as more alcohol was imbibed, and eventually my boyfriend clutched his heart and bemoaned her tragic suicide under a train.

One of our friends, possibly the one who started the original discussion, covered his ears in horror and shouted, "You idiot. Don't tell me that. I haven't finished the book yet!"

We all looked at him in surprise. For the rest of us, the end of Anna Karenina is something you just know, like the end of Romeo and Juliet. Even if you've never waded through the actual words, you know the story.

Since our friend had never cottoned on to the inevitability of the whole frikkin' novel, I didn't feel very bad that we had ruined the horrible surprise for him.

Just keep quiet

On the whole, however, I deplore people who ruin the endings of things for me. At a business lunch recently, I mentioned that I had started watching Lost on DVD and was completely addicted.

Those people with me, who had watched it on television were immediately enthusiastic about relating their favourite characters and events. I put my hands up and asked them to stop, lest they reveal something I didn't want to know.

"Ag, it doesn't matter anyway," said one of the luncheon guests, and then proceeded to tell me exactly what it was that I wouldn't know by the end of the season. Gah!

What is it with people? They act as if somehow they've done something incredibly clever by seeing a show before you, and that by telling you how it's going to end, they've saved you the bother of having to watch it yourself.

It's as if they feel that they're guiding you through all the horrible twists and turns that you might buckle under the pressure of having to experience first hand.

Keeping Mum

My mother is very different from me. She needs to know what happens in movies so that she can cope. For her, the suspense is unbearable, and the only way she can watch a movie is if she knows when she must cover her eyes because the lovable alcoholic who has just managed to vanquish his drinking demons is now going to sacrifice his life for the good of the world.

I often have to see movies twice, and take her along the second time, so that she can whisper questions in my ear whenever she's finding herself particularly worried about what might happen to her favourite characters next.

However, the world isn't full of people like my mother. She's a rare gem. Most people have done their best to avoid filling in the few blanks left by trailers, reviews and article headlines, in the hopes that perhaps this movie will prove to be the one unpredictable storyline to have made its way out of Hollywood.

So please, people, if you've seen something before someone else has, refrain from telling them about it, even if you think you're only telling them what they won't know.

  • Serena de Souza feels quite passionate about not having her few surprises ruined, and expects others to respect that.

  • Send your comments to Serena.

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