Help! I can't stop myself from reading spoilers.

Over the weekend I began watching Netflix's crime-thriller limited series Bodies. Halfway through the first episode, without giving conscious thought to what I was doing, I picked up my phone and started reading the Wikipedia plotline of the series... while I was watching it in real time.

I only became aware of my act when I realised that the series had eight episodes but only the first five had their plotlines written out on Wikipedia. Because of this, I stopped myself from watching episodes six through eight. I couldn't watch a show without already knowing what happens! That's crazy!

This was the first time where I made some "drastic" decisions when it came to my TV-watching habits. However, it wasn't the first time I wanted a TV show or movie spoiled for me.

Watch: Sophie Turner's Game Of Thrones Tattoo Was A Spoiler. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Whenever I'm watching something by myself (or even with a few people – if I can hide it), at some point, I get my phone out to make sure I know the plotline before the scenes take place.

I don't do this for everything I watch. It's for specific genres. Usually thrillers, mysteries and horror. Basically anything where there's going to be some sort of big reveal or twist. I get so anxious about not knowing the unknown.


Another specificity that is very important to me is how I come to know about the spoiler.

I watched someone cry when they overheard a Game of Thrones conversation about an episode that she hadn’t watched yet (unpopular opinion but I think she was the one at fault here, but that's for another unpopular opinion article). Similarly, I’ve seen people rage in the comments section when they stumble across a social media post on their feeds without "spoiler alert" written in capital letters and approximately 10-12 exclamation marks.

I also hate things getting spoiled this way.

There's an art to spoilers. They have to be done in a controlled environment where the person who wants the spoiler takes it upon themselves to do the work.

That's the only way spoilers make the viewing experience better. 

If someone else spoils it for you, unless their name is IMDB, it creates a chaotic environment of them trying to explain things that don't need explaining or getting things wrong or, the absolute worst, forgetting what actually happens, leaving you in an even bigger hole of now knowing the unknown.

When I couldn't bring myself to continue watching Bodies without the safety of my trusty Wikipedia plotline page, I did what everyone does who's going through a mini crisis at 1am: I googled my symptoms.

According to an article in Psychology Today, the main reason people enjoy spoilers is because of something called 'perceptual fluency'. Perceptual fluency is the ease with which our brains can grasp and make sense of what we see, hear, or read and how quickly we understand and process information.


The author of the piece, Eva M. Krockow, says that this could be a reason why some people enjoy spoilers. By reading spoilers we've anticipated what's about to happen, making the content feel lighter and easier to understand while also enhancing our viewing experience, as we're not burdened with the work of having to play catchup while the story is unravelling.

Another reason mentioned is pleasurable tension. And no, the definition is not as sexy as the term. The article states that people find enjoyment in knowing about an upcoming reveal or twist becuase it increases their excitement. I liken this to showing a friend your favourite movie for the first time and watching their reactions the whole way through.

Spoilers give me a sense of comfort and assurance of "I will be okay once the movie ends". I mean, I obviously know I'll be okay, but sometimes by body doesn't respond that way. I feel everything. Every jump-scare, every awkward or cringe moment, every heartbreak – I can't help my emotions from emoting, hard.

Reading spoilers puts my mind at ease and allows me to fully enjoy the story that's happening in front of me. 

So now, I am a proud member of the #yesspoilers movement (just let me know how it ends).

For more from Em Vernem you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem or listen to her Mamamia podcast Things You Didn't Learn In School.

Feature image: Canva.

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