Fans of hit franchises and movies with twists hate ’em. And in the internet-connected age in which we live, avoiding them—whether we’re talking about a hit movie like Avengers: Endgame or a hit TV show like HBO’s Game of Thrones—is harder than ever. (Though, that said, The Verge has offered this handy guide to avoiding those ruinous surprises without logging off the web completely.)
Yet spoiled endings aren’t just a 21st-century problem. Or even one that began as movies proliferated in the 20th century. No, if you’re interested in the origins of this cultural concern, you’ve got to go back to at least 1860, when controversy swirled about whether or not critics should divulge the ending of the plot-heavy novel The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.
Still, one imagines that beatings and threats weren’t involved with spoiler controversies back then, unlike today. A man was allegedly beaten up in Hong Kong after shouting out spoilers to fans still waiting in line to see Endgame. Back on this side of the pond, in Friendswood, Texas, one Domino’s Pizza employee reportedly attacked another for leaking details of the film.
Then we have the case of Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy, who posted some spoilery stuff to Twitter. The response there? Frustrated fans unloaded on the NFL star as only Twitter users can, in all-cap, multiple exclamation-point rage: ” I WANT EVERY DEFENSIVE PLAYER IN THE NFL TO DESTROY LESEAN MCCOY EVERY GAME NEXT SEASON!!! I EXPECT NOTHING LESS!!!” wrote user For The Love of.
And in the wake of Avengers: Endgame’s record-breaking opening (and it was even larger than we first reported), fans dissected and analyzed virtually every aspect of the story. They included a Harvard philosopher unpacking the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe’s moral philosophy lessons, to conversations about how the movie deals with the subject of grief, to what one important actor in the film thought about its ending, to whether said ending was emotionally satisfying or a ruinous travesty.
Almost as buzzworthy as that film this week were various conversations about Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, which focused on the Battle of Winterfell. One prevailing sentiment: The scene was dark. As in, too dark for fans to see what was going on, criticism that actually prompted the show’s cinematographer, Fabian Wagner, to weigh in—unapologetically, I should add. Meanwhile, this week’s episode once again set new viewership records, attracting slightly more viewers (17.8 million) than this season’s premiere did two weeks ago (17.4 million).
But while lots of folks were tuning in to watch the Night King’s much-dreaded arrival or headed to theaters to see the Avengers grapple once more with Thanos, it seems fewer folks than ever headed out to the ballgame. Sure, it’s early in the baseball season, and it’s been unseasonably chilly over much of the country. Still, some are concerned with the falling numbers of fans at many Major League Baseball games so far this season. Perhaps if they added explosions, dragons or CGI …
Elsewhere this week, several celebrity moms opened up about the challenges of balancing their high-profile careers and raising children. Singer Pink (whose latest album, Hurts 2B Human, dropped last Friday) talked with Carson Daly on Today about motherhood, saying,
I am completely changed since being a mom. I’m much more open, I’m much more accepting of myself, I’m much more thoughtful. I think about the world more, and what we’re leaving for these kids, and the direction we’re headed in. And so I guess it changes your music.
In separate interviews this week, the 39-year-old singer also talked about why she’s no longer going to post pics of her children on social media, as well as opening up about the trauma of having multiple miscarriages and how that’s affected her emotionally.
Another popular singer, Carrie Underwood, talked with Today’s Natalie Morales this week about trying to juggle her singing career with two children. She said, “I feel like moms put a lot of pressure on themselves to have it all together and know everything and plan for everything and you just … it’s impossible.” Like Pink, Underwood also discussed having had three miscarriages in 2017 and 2018.
Two other actresses, meanwhile, have been speaking out about LGBTQ issues. Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson is pushing Disney to “move faster” with regard to representing greater gender and sexual diversity in its films. And Kristen Stewart, who’s moved from her Twilight fame to edgier indie roles, wants Hollywood to focus more on “queer” stories.
Finally this week, what happens to a generation that films virtually everything that happens to them? How does that influence their memories and the way that they process important events in their past? New York Times contributor Jeremy Engle ponders those questions in his provocative piece, “Are Digital Memories Ruining Our Real Ones?”