Call for Comments: Pop Culture Etiquette

From Hannah: We spend a lot of time on the show talking about how we experience pop culture with other people. I only watched Game of Thrones, really, because I enjoyed sharing it with my friends. We have online communities of strangers, where we can all commiserate over The Bachelor franchise. Back in the olden days of high school, my friends and I basically lived at the movie theater during the summer. In short, Game of Thrones doesn’t just have to be about what’s actually happening on Game of Thrones … it’s how and when we experience it with others.

Last year, we did a show on spoilers that included us asking questions about what is the proper spoiler etiquette: How long do you hold off before posting spoilers for a show online? Are you the worst if you spoil someone else? These questions, and related issues, all get at one general problem: how do we handle the intersections between our entertainment and our relationships with other people, especially if that entertainment comes from a social connection?

So we thought we’d do an episode asking important “etiquette” questions of how not to be the worst fellow fan. These include:

  • Am I in the wrong if I watch ahead on a show I usually watch with my partner? (Does the answer change if it’s just a friend?)
  • How long do I have to wait to watch say, Stranger Things, if the person who said they wanted to watch it with me has been making me wait three years to start it?
  • Am I the worst if I complain about something other people like on social media?
  • If Little Women is being remade again, is it still a spoiler to reveal [SPOILER EVERYONE KNOWS]?
  • Are you under an obligation of any kind to read your partner/friend/family member’s favorite book, watch their favorite movie, or show interest in their hobby?
  • If I host a watch party for a TV series premiere, am I obligated to keep hosting all season long?

… And so on. We want to know what you think about these questions (and if you have any problems that bother you).

But, for the record, if you go to the movie theater and take a phone call and talk loudly in the theater, you are the worst.

7 Replies to “Call for Comments: Pop Culture Etiquette”

  1. It takes a strong resolve to hold off watching until other catch up! It was just as Battlestar Galactica (2004) ended that a friend bought the box set. We watched it together, and the lapse between waiting for him to buy the next one was rough. Then other friends got involved so we waited for them. So many times I was tempted to buy it myself and press on! But it was worth waiting and watching the finale as a group.

  2. As for being obligated to read/experience a family member’s/friend favorite thing, I don’t think you should. If you care about that person and want to bond it’s a great thing to do. I also don’t think you should take it personally if they aren’t interested. Rather recognize and celebrate when those you care about share in your interest even if it isn’t their favorite thing.

  3. • Am I in the wrong if I watch ahead on a show I usually watch with my partner? (Does the answer change if it’s just a friend?)
    • How long do I have to wait to watch say, Stranger Things, if the person who said they wanted to watch it with me has been making me wait three years to start it?
    • Am I the worst if I complain about something other people like on social media?
    • If Little Women is being remade again, is it still a spoiler to reveal [SPOILER EVERYONE KNOWS]?
    • Are you under an obligation of any kind to read your partner/friend/family member’s favorite book, watch their favorite movie, or show interest in their hobby?
    • If I host a watch party for a TV series premiere, am I obligated to keep hosting all season long?

    1. bah, posted too soon (clearly)

      watching ahead — needs to be decided on a case by case basis. How much does the partner care about watching it with you? That answer might change depending on what it is that you are watching.

      Stranger Things — if you’ve communicated that it is a thing that you’d like to see and they keep putting you off, watch the damn thing with out them. I’d say a month is reasonable wait time unless there are reason (TM)

      The worst — people like different things. There could be others that are with you, but not vocal yet (because they feel that they are the only one)

      Remakes — if it’s not a deviation from the original, than it’s not a spoiler. If it is a deviation (ie: Grampa Joe and Charlie do in Willy Wonka, but not in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) then it is.

      No obligation to read things that are not interesting to you. I’ve not read Game of Thrones nor anything by Patrick Rothfuss, my partner is surviving (to be fair, they haven’t read any Terry Pratchett either)

      Hosting — do what’s right for you. If people don’t like it, they can host the next one.

  4. Netflix cheating is serious business. That said, Cait and I eventually conceded that we live in a world where at any given moment there’s 20+ current shows (let alone old shows) we want to watch, so we’ll have shows we watch separately (and discuss later) and shows we watch together. The Game of Thrones thing was serious enough that I added HBO to our Hulu account so she could watch it on her phone while she was out of state visiting her mom. There was no way I was NOT watching like the penultimate episode the day it aired.

    • Am I in the wrong if I watch ahead on a show I usually watch with my partner?

    Absolutely, assuming you’re on the same page. My ex read ahead in the Manga for Death Note and so when the BIG REVEAL of the entire franchise occurs I was FREAKING OUT and she was just calmly like “Yep.” and I figured out she had read ahead from what had currently aired and I was SOOOOOOO mad about it (mostly because we did not have that shared moment of shock together.)

    • How long do I have to wait to watch say, Stranger Things, if the person who said they wanted to watch it with me has been making me wait three years to start it?

    You don’t have to wait. Unless you’re very serious about watching it together, in which case you have to prioritize it over whatever else it is you’re watching.

    • Am I the worst if I complain about something other people like on social media?

    Yes, but only if you’re making a big show of it or doing it in their mentions and kicking over proverbial sand castles. If you’re just complaining about not liking a thing, well… if you can let people enjoy things, they should allow you to NOT enjoy things. Just beware that sometimes you’ll be in very bad company (Star Wars TLJ and Captain Marvel) if you speak out about disliking something.

    • If Little Women is being remade again, is it still a spoiler to reveal [SPOILER EVERYONE KNOWS]?

    Depends… this sort of applies to books being adapted to shows/movies too. Like, people absolutely shouldn’t be casually talking about the Red Wedding. That said, all the big “spoiler” movies out there I knew the spoilers to before I watched them. I knew Darth Vader was Luke’s father, I knew they were on Earth in Planet of the Apes, I know that Rosebud is the name of the sled, and that there’s no Keyser Soze. Everyone who is going to play the FF7 remake in March knows that Aerith dies. Some spoilers just CAN’T be contained.

    • Are you under an obligation of any kind to read your partner/friend/family member’s favorite book, watch their favorite movie, or show interest in their hobby?

    I think it’s important to indulge in your partner’s hobbies because you never know what you’ll end up enjoying. I never watched Buffy or read Harry Potter. I did both for Cait and enjoyed them greatly. In exchange she read some comic books and watched some anime and she’s an avid comic reader now and enjoys even some of the most ridiculous anime (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure) now.

    • If I host a watch party for a TV series premiere, am I obligated to keep hosting all season long?

    I was playing some long co-op games with some people right before college. I still have the unfinished save files… so, with that said, absolutely not unless you can accomplish it in a reasonable time (or rotate hosting duties, which is something we did with our Tabletop game campaigns.)

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