FanFare Mad Men Rewatch Issues & Proposal May 23, 2014 7:17 AM   Subscribe

Some of us are discussing a re-watching of Mad Men from the beginning once this current half-season ends. We have some questions around spoilers and quasi-spoilers and exactly how to set this up in FanFare.

First, please don't post any spoilers in here as a way of illustrating your point in case anyone participating in this thread is not fully caught up. I'd like to hear their perspectives as well!

In the latest Mad Men FaFa thread, it's been proposed to schedule a re-watch of the series starting after this current half season ends and finishing just before the last half season airs. Quite a few people would like the discussion threads to fully explore the recurring themes of the show, the character arcs, overall plotlines, an so on. In other words, to be full of spoilers. The threads would be titled something like "Mad Men Re-Watch S1E1" and the first comment would warn that it's full of potential spoilers.

As mochapickle noted "There are a slew of smart, original recaps out there (including on TWoP, the site whose closure was a catalyst for this subsite). But there's not much out there in the way of retrospective recaps. That's a way for MeFi and FanFare to offer something new." I agree with this fully. And one thing that makes all those other recaps (and our own original threads from past episodes) interesting is all the theorizing and attempts to connect the dots about what's going to happen next with a client, or what a character will do in a situation, etc. Those types of organic threads can't be reproduced by people who are re-watching episodes. We know what happens - no need to wonder or craft theories.

So if we can't talk about character arcs and themes and plot connections and we won't be theorizing or predicting, we're not sure what we'll all be talking about.

If we can't have a real re-watch thread we'll still give it a try with no spoilers, but that plan has its own issues. It's easy for us to follow the letter of the spoiler policy and "refrain from discussing events that take place in future episodes". But by default we're going to focus on characters and themes that become important and ignore those that don't. We won't say "wow, in this episode you catch a hint of how Character X is going to do that horrible thing in a few episodes" but we'll still be calling attention to all the warning signs Character X reveals in the current episode. There will be many comments of the type ""I can't believe I never noticed Character X say THAT THING" where the unwritten second half of the statement is "considering what happens in a future episode that I won't mention here". With a show where some characters are eliminated from the cast in various ways, the comment "Character X still does that thing/wears that tie even today!" is a spoiler - you know that character makes it through whatever happens in subsequent episodes.

Between worrying about posting inadvertent spoilers like that and worrying about honest mistakes - slipping with a changed character name or location, or mentioning a company that I thought has been introduced but hasn't - I'd be second-guessing myself to the point where I honesty don't know if I could meaningfully participate. Speaking as someone who was years behind on Breaking Bad, I don't want to spoil anything for anyone. And I wouldn't want to enter something advertised as a "spoiler-free" thread where there is so much potential for inadvertent spoilers or even hints. I'd much rather have a clear warning.

Since we're still experimenting with exactly what FanFare is, I'd propose this Mad Men in-depth, spoiler-rich, re-watch series as a trial to see how it goes.
posted by mikepop to MetaFilter-Related at 7:17 AM (143 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I'm not a big spoiler fan in general, but in this case it seems far, far more useful to assume complete knowledge of the show during the rewatch. I think there is far more utility in letting a bunch of people who have been watching the whole show go back and analyze old episodes in the context of the whole show than in tying one hand behind their back in order to allow a much smaller group of people (I presume) to talk to each other about it in "real time" as if it were 2007.
posted by dfan at 7:34 AM on May 23, 2014 [15 favorites]


FaFa? Nooooooooope.

And I think that, in general, even if the spoiler policy remains as-is for all FanFare threads, if I was very spoiler-averse for a particular show that has already aired, I would not read FanFare threads about it, for precisely the reasons you give.

If you really wanted to have a "real-time" spoiler-free discussion about an older show you could call it a "First Watch" as opposed to a "Re-Watch". It would be suggested that folks who have already watched the series would not participate significantly in a "First Watch" to avoid those kind of hinty spoilers.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:38 AM on May 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm with dfan, and I say that as someone who's way the hell behind on Mad Men specifically.

I like the idea of fully-spoilered rewatch threads separate from the "original" unspoilered episode posts -- in five years, it'll be fascinating to do something like that with, say, Penny Dreadful, where FanFare was discussing it from S1E1 and we get to compare it with Rewatch Penny Dreadful threads in anticipation of its final season.
posted by Etrigan at 7:41 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think that re-watch should be fair game for all spoilers/whole series knowledge. Otherwise what is the point? You could distinguish between Re-Watch and Late-Watch threads with different rules, perhaps. I've seen this happen, sort of, on another message board where there are parallel Game of Thrones threads for people who haven't read the books and have.
posted by selfnoise at 7:43 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think that re-watch should be fair game for all spoilers/whole series knowledge. Otherwise what is the point?

QFT.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 7:51 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree that there's not much point in doing it if we have to ignore the greater context of the show's run. I doubt I'd participate in something like that.

I do see derail potential, though. Do you think it would be worth having a guideline about comments that *only* discuss future episodes and have *no* mention of the episode currently under review? Kind of like on Law & Order, when they say, "Objection, Your Honor - Relevance?" Or would that be too taxing on the mod staff?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:54 AM on May 23, 2014


Oh, also, I mentioned this a while back in the original thread on Metatalk, but I really think it would be cool if there was a way to have advance notice on these re-watch threads, or for old movies, or books, so that users would have warning and could go watch the show so they could participate. Maybe you could have a way to post a thread in the future and then it would appear on an "upcoming" sidebar.

Sorry, I know that's a bit of a derail.
posted by selfnoise at 7:57 AM on May 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


I agree with Rock Steady: if you want a rewatch thread for people who have seen the show, then make one. But then please acknowledge prominently that those threads won't be for those of us who haven't seen the show and/or haven't been following along. As long as you are aware that by including spoilers you'll also be eliminating a potential audience, it shouldn't matter.
posted by zarq at 8:13 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I understand what everyone's saying, but the counterargument is that the larger usefulness of these threads is via discovery by someone watching for the first time.

Likewise, the formal bookclub-like Rewatch is a good excuse for someone who's never seen the show in question to dive into such a large body of work (72 hours in this case?) with a bit of a schedule to help them out. The subsite's still pretty small, so it seems like maybe a mistake to exclude them?

So I wonder if maybe the same overall spoiler rules should apply, with the understanding that there'll probably be a bit of leniency: No big plot reveals, but it's okay if commenting on the current episode hints a bit at future things (the same way the Hannibal threads -- differently from the GoT ones -- seem to be okay with comments hinting at how the source material handles future events).

But I don't feel particularly strongly about this. If the site were 7 or 8 years old already, and if there were already threads for the first airings, I'd probably end up on the other side of the question.
posted by nobody at 8:15 AM on May 23, 2014

So I wonder if maybe the same overall spoiler rules should apply, with the understanding that there'll probably be a bit of leniency: No big plot reveals, but it's okay if commenting on the current episode hints a bit at future things.
This seems like the worst of both worlds to me. The first-time watchers will keep seeing hints of what's coming up, and the rewatchers will keep wanting to have a conversation about things that they shouldn't bring up. I think it would be much better to specifically cater to one of the two audiences.
posted by dfan at 8:35 AM on May 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


You know, on one hand I'm psyched to hear this as I'm watching MM from the beginning now for the first time and it would be neat to finally participate in a FanFare thread, but on the other, it's a re watch thread, and the idea of limiting discussion to avoid spoilers is nonsense. People should be able to discuss later events as long as it organically fits into that discussion (it would be dumb, for example, to tolerate people who wanted to discuss nothing other than their favorite moment of Season Five in a post for S1E4). Otherwise every thread would just be a free for all. But there should be no thought given to spoilers.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:38 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's no point in having a big rewatch if the spoiler policy is in place. Fanfare isn't going to work for newbies to shows like Breaking Bad because it came too late; it will work for shows like that which come in the future. But rewatches are fun, and if there were a little toggle button so when you opened a post you chose show + episode + is it a rewatch and then the title said rewatch and there was text added in the post saying this is a rewatch full of spoilers, that would probably be enough information that newbies would easily avoir it.
posted by jeather at 8:39 AM on May 23, 2014


Somewhat related: What to do about this thread, which is ostensibly about the S01E01 episode of Call the Midwives, but is actually almost completely a discussion of the whole series, including (very mild, imo, but still) spoilers about character arcs and events that occur in future episodes.

If that's what people want to talk about, great, but I do think such threads should be marked with REWATCH.
posted by lalex at 8:58 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


This sounds like a lot of fun. I'm rewatching Mad Men with grobstein and it lends itself to it quite well.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:35 AM on May 23, 2014


I definitely support rewatch threads in whatever form as long as we can discuss future episodes and whole character/story arcs.

I'd also like to welcome new show viewers and thread commenters to our tribe! Soon, you too will know the joy of endlessly dissecting the lives of desperately unhappy, wealthy characters.
posted by sweetkid at 9:41 AM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


I said this in the other thread but I think spoilers are over-rated anyway. Consider that someone on Season 2 of Mad Men who reads about certain things that happen later will now have information about whether or not following through is going to be an enjoyable experience ("It's worth paying attention to this because you'll notice it again later") or not ("Pay attention all you want but there's no point, this never comes up again").

And B., we're all already pre-tainted. I've never seen Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones and I never want to, but somehow I know everything about them, whether I want to or not. I want someone wringing their hands about that, for once.
posted by bleep at 9:43 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Would it be overkill to have a "New to You" thread and a "Play it Again, Sam" thread for each episode?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:44 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm considering picking up Call the Midwives to participate in that thread. It's been on my list for a while. I noticed it was all out on Netflix, though, and was wondering how it was going to be handled.

I'm okay with being spoiled; I just want to know whether it's more productive to binge-watch or schedule or what.
posted by immlass at 9:45 AM on May 23, 2014


Er, are we really going to call FanFare "FaFa"?
posted by orange swan at 10:02 AM on May 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


Would it be overkill to have a "New to You" thread and a "Play it Again, Sam" thread for each episode?

If there were two groups wanting to do a from-the-beginning First Watch and Rewatch, cool! Right now, the people talking about having a group marathon view are mostly rewatchers, since the conversation came up in the current season episode threads.

For any old episodes/seasons of currently running or finished series, it'd perfectly simple to put "First Watch" (which would have all the main FanFare spoiler rules for current episodes) or "Rewatch" or something right on the front page or the post title, with a description of what that means in the More Inside.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:05 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm kinda grumpy about this because if this ends up being the way the rules go it feels a bit like: We get to talk about the broader context and overarching themes with spoilers for this show because we're familiar with all the material even though you've never seen it, but you don't get to talk about all of that stuff for this other show because we would rather not be spoiled.

I realize it's not a 1:1 comparison. And, more importantly, the bulk of the userbase might be more in favour of these rules, which is probably the more important factor. If we had a "first-watch" thread for Mad Men who would realistically want to participate? Probably not nearly as many people as a coordinated re-watch thread.

So I probably just need to suck it up, is what I'm saying.

I did peek my head into the Call the Midwife thread because I have the first season on DVD and was considering watching it along with FanFare if that's what we were doing. Oh well.

On preview: No, orange swan. Certainly not.
posted by ODiV at 10:06 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


We get to talk about the broader context and overarching themes with spoilers for this show because we're familiar with all the material even though you've never seen it, but you don't get to talk about all of that stuff for this other show because we would rather not be spoiled.

Well, if Rewatch retrospective threads were permitted, then people should be able to do one for any show if there was interest.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:12 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Er, are we really going to call FanFare "FaFa"?

Psycho Killer/Qu'est-ce que c'est?
posted by sweetkid at 10:14 AM on May 23, 2014 [17 favorites]


I'm on board for either decision for these threads:

A. Spoil away! The show aired 6 years ago or whatever.
B. Nope no spoilers at all. Do you best to discuss, even on re-watches, just what has happened so far. Sorry.

I'd rather not have both a thread for rewatches and somehow a thread for first watches of old shows. That seems cluttered and confusing.

My proposal:

A time limit. Episodes of shows that aired more than 3(?) years ago are spoilerable. Anything more recent has to abide by the spoiler rules.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:23 AM on May 23, 2014


sweetkid! Run run run run, run run run away!
posted by Chrysostom at 10:33 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, if Rewatch retrospective threads were permitted, then people should be able to do one for any show if there was interest.

I guess this is all still shaking out, but it had previously been said that we weren't going to have separate spoiler/non-spoiler threads and this seems to be exactly that.

Beyond examples like this I'm thinking of stuff like shows that will be airing in the certain regions of the world significantly later than others, remakes of older shows, etc.

Realistically speaking in this case, it sounds like there's way more interest in a "rewatch" type thread, which as I said above, is probably the most important thing. I don't know if there's room for separate "first watch" and "rewatch" Mad Men threads. Maybe there's almost no interest in a spoiler-free discussion of it from the start at all. (Who hasn't seen it by now and would be interested? Me and... like two other people?)

It just feels like to discuss TV on FanFare I'd need to adjust my media consumption to align with the general American public and that's making me a bit surly.

This proposal is probably the right idea for how things should go just based on the numbers, but I trust Matt and the mods either way.
posted by ODiV at 10:37 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the show has been around long enough at this point, and has enough of a place in the popular consciousness, that it's fine to assume that, even if some people are watching it for the first time, you can't really be "spoiled" on certain things. Like, when this came up in the current Mad Men thread, someone mentioned the prospect of spoilers with comparing something that happened in the pilot episode with a line of dialogue in the most recent episode.

I think it's fine to compare early episodes with more recent ones in the sense that, yeah, we all know the show keeps marching into the future. "Wow, look how much the elevator has changed!" is not a spoiler. I think it's less fine to spoil some of the major and very obvious jaw-dropper plot points that have happened over the years.

As usual, I think a simple "don't be a dick" standard should be what we use. Don't ruin newbies' ability to enjoy the show. Don't whine about getting "spoiled" on the fact that Don is still the protagonist of the show, going forward. This isn't Game Of Thrones.

(Also, re Call The Midwife, I'm not super happy with the way that thread has gone, but not irritated enough to flag some of the spoilers that are there. I'm hoping that a thread on Episode 2 will be less general and more about the episode in question.)
posted by Sara C. at 10:41 AM on May 23, 2014


dissecting the lives of desperately unhappy, wealthy characters.

Oh shit today is the day I realize Mad Men = Dynasty.
posted by Sara C. at 10:43 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh shit Dynasty rewatch who is down.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:45 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Mud pool wrestling match between Joan and Peggy, then?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:48 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


The rewatches are primarily for people who have already watched once. If you want to join in the discussion but are behind, then I think you can either catch up or you can just not worry about spoilers. It seems ridiculous to me that we'd have to all have a pretend "first watch" of a show that's older than some second graders, or that discussion about character growth or series-arcs would be verboten. The vast majority of the people even interested in *re*-watching are likely already fans of the show, and fans by definition have already seen at least a substantial portion of the show.

I had to catch up like that to get the most out of discussions of other media (Hannibal, for one), and it hasn't been some burden, because I *liked* the media, which was why I was interested in discussing it in the first place, and I *wanted* to be able to have discussions about it with more more depth, which I couldn't do if I didn't know or remember a good bit about what people were discussing.
posted by rue72 at 10:49 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Re: Call the Midwife/Mad Men too, perhaps posting more than one thread at a time would encourage people to just talk about the episode in question? Perhaps the threads for seasons in the past could be about entire seasons instead of by episode? When talking about a show that's already aired I don't think individual episodes are a useful unit of measure to base a conversation around.
posted by bleep at 10:51 AM on May 23, 2014


Mud pool wrestling match between Joan and Peggy, then?

Sounds more like a Betty/Megan, Mona/Jane sort of thing.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:51 AM on May 23, 2014


If it does become FaFa, then this has to be the theme.

I just wonder who the spoiler free threads would be for? People binge watch old shows now, not watch them one by one. Such a treatment online is for people who have no option but to wait for the next episode.

I think if you do it, call it a "Rewatch" or "Classic" thread and then anything that is germane to the episode, including future repercussions, should be fair game. I have absolutely zero interest in pretending I don't know anything about what's going to happen in the future of the show and I suspect that's the majority of anyone who was going to do this. Otherwise it's a bunch of book readers from GoT sitting next to those who are watching the show unspoiled and going "DID YOU SEE THAT? WINK!" and that's frigging obnoxious.
posted by inturnaround at 10:52 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


This does beg the question of how to handle Orange is the New Black Season 2 when it comes out in a few weeks. Individual threads for the episodes or one blanket thread for the entire season? How do most people consume it? What's the most conducive to discussion?
posted by inturnaround at 10:54 AM on May 23, 2014


If it does become FaFa, then this has to be the theme.

Au contraire.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:58 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Wow, look how much the elevator has changed!" is not a spoiler.

Sara, stop using up the things we'll be able to talk about! /hamburger

I don't want to derail into GoT comparisons too much because it's a different/unique situation - older books exist that the series is based on that extends past where the series is, but the series doesn't follow them exactly (from what I surmise). So you can have people talking spoilers/hints about episodes before they air. That's different than a group of people wanting to re-watch an old show and talk about it in full where the discussion can't progress beyond the current latest episode (aside from speculation).

Certainly I think any show should be able to have a re-watch style thread - I just proposed Mad Men as a test case because we have a group expressing interest and I thought Matt might want to have a test case. If he'd rather just open up the idea of re-watch threads to everyone at once or shut down the idea entirely that's his call.
posted by mikepop at 11:02 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Potomac Avenue, Datarock? Really? If it's not going to be Guster, it has to be this. Otis Redding wins all arguments.
posted by inturnaround at 11:04 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sepinwall actually did something like this a few years ago with The Wire. I actually found the "veterans" threads more valuable and interesting than the "newbies" versions. I think a spoiler-heavy "veterans" FanFare rewatch party for Mad Men would be really fun.
posted by General Malaise at 11:13 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]




I said this in the other thread but I think spoilers are over-rated anyway.


I applaud this.
posted by sweetkid at 11:26 AM on May 23, 2014


Yeah, with watching a show like Mad Men, there are so many callbacks and references across seasons that its almost impossible not to spoil it, no matter how hard we try. But half the fun is taking a single passing comment by a character and breaking it down to show how it reflects their entire life history and how they relate to their significant other, etc etc. You can spend hours analysing every facet; it's a very intricate show which lends itself to rewatching.

The current plan is to watch two episodes per week, until we end up at S7.1 again right before the start of S7.2, with a schedule and some kind of heads-up (I guess) so those who want to take part, can.

So I would go full spoiler, because its all or nothing, baby. And as mentioned in the FF/FaFa/FeFiFoFum thread, it will be unique across other recap sites and may draw more eyeballs this way. We can be the next Tom and Lorenzo (except better!).
posted by tracicle at 11:33 AM on May 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


As someone who's watched the entire show up till the current season with the exception of Season 4, I would happily take part in spoiler-rich re-watching. I don't care about knowing what happened in the episodes I've not seen so far, as I have already seen everything since then.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:37 AM on May 23, 2014


Count me in as someone who would love to participate in a full-spoiler rewatch, but is unlikely to do so in a spoilers-only-up-to-this-episode rewatch. Because honestly, other than huge plot points, my memory is not really up to the task of keeping straight "I'm on episode 7 of season 2, so the unspoiled know THIS, but not THIS." I don't want to be that spoiling jerk, and almost certainly would unintentionally be that jerk at some point, so I'd probably bow out entirely to avoid that.

Which is totally fine if that's what's going to work best for most people, and from the standpoint of having a relatively consistent policy across FanFare. But I'd be sad, so I'll chime in with my preference, for what it's worth.
posted by Stacey at 11:53 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is a great idea! Rewatch!

I agree it should be spoiled. I think it would also help because sometimes people mix up minor characters from past seasons, and I could use the refresher as well.

While a reminder notification would be great, if it were on the same nights each week, I could set that up on a calendar program.

I would also totally watch Dynasty (the shoulder pads!!!) and also Knots Landing again. Was look at KL on Wikiepedia and found out Nicollette Sheridan used to be married to Harry Hamlin.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 11:54 AM on May 23, 2014


Personally I want this very much. I missed the middle part of the series when it aired and had a rewatch last year in order to catch up with those. In the process I discovered dedicated threads on different websites about the episodes and really got into reading them, but they were years old and there was little point in taking part.

Without spoilers though I don't see the point.

So I want it, but I'm also mindful that future catcher upperers will do the same thing and stumble across these threads through searches. I think because of that each post needs to be well flagged right at the beginning that it's a rewatch thread with possibilities for all kinds of future spoilers. We don't need people to find out Charles Manson is Megan with a strap-on beard before they're ready for it.
posted by vbfg at 1:09 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I really think we need a Double Thread policy. Two threads for each whatever, Spoler and Non Spoiler. Not that they would be generated simultaneously. Alternatively, spoiler tags of some sort.

I just cant' see FaFa being very good with "NO SPOILERS"
posted by rebent at 1:12 PM on May 23, 2014


I don't think we need two threads for everything, or even every rewatch. If there's a spoilerific rewatch, a later group that doesn't want spoilers should be allowed to go through and create a separate set of threads for that purpose. But I don't see the point of making double the posts for every single rewatch just on general principle.

(Also, FanFare is short enough on its own. Plus FaFa gets the Guster song stuck in my head.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:18 PM on May 23, 2014


Ugh, fanfare needs a hard and fast rule that anything more than a week old(or whatever interval the show airs at) can NEVER be counted as a spoiler. I mean i get the exceptions for the book Vs show stuff, but if it's just a show then anything else is just freaking ridiculous
posted by emptythought at 1:26 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


With the advent of infinite streaming making it even easier to jump onto an old show than DVDs did, I strongly disagree. For instance, I've never had an HBO subscription, but I do have Amazon Prime, and that means I -- and a whole bunch of other people -- just got access to the entire run of The Sopranos, The Wire, etc. for the first time. You don't think there might be people itching to watch those for the first time and talk about it as they go?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:35 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hey, how about let's not post spoilers for anything just to be illustrative?
posted by Etrigan at 1:58 PM on May 23, 2014


Please do not post spoilers as some sort of political protest against the concept of spoilers. It just makes you look like an asshole.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:58 PM on May 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


So, you're saying it is still not the right time for the Cheers reference?
posted by Chrysostom at 2:02 PM on May 23, 2014


I vote for a spoilerific rewatch. I started to watch it again a couple weeks ago, and there is so much to talk about. I was dying to talk to someone about it but my SO doesn't watch and none of my IRL friends are rewatching. I can't imagine any other way to do the thread, (unless there is are first watch/rewatch seperate threads).

Also, I'm in. :)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:03 PM on May 23, 2014


If it does become FaFa, then this has to be the theme.

Au contraire.


Depardieu
posted by ian1977 at 2:28 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't watch Mad Men, but I would love to see this done (with spoilers!) for other shows.
posted by moira at 2:43 PM on May 23, 2014


I would love to see a Rewatch of Twin Peaks.
posted by ian1977 at 2:50 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ooh, I'd love a Twin Peaks rewatch, too. And I'd love, personally, to see that happen with future-knowledge info allowed. But I suspect the right thing for the site would be for comments to be restricted to watch-as-if-for-the-first-time (which is how the policy is currently articulated). Otherwise we're rewatching 20 years later and starting right off by talking about exactly who killed Laura Palmer?

In any case, Mathowie and co. will obviously need to chime in on whether they feel the site's ready for a bifurcated future-info policy, which is what this would represent. (And does going down this route suggest that the book readers for that other show would start creating their own episode threads, too?)
posted by nobody at 3:16 PM on May 23, 2014


Oh shit Dynasty rewatch who is down.

But no spoilers! I still don't know who died in the Moldavian Massacre.
posted by crossoverman at 4:53 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


A Twin Peaks re-watch was discussed on the blue when it was announced the show - and the movie - were coming to BluRay in July. I fully support this event.
posted by crossoverman at 4:54 PM on May 23, 2014


Reading a Twin Peaks re-watch might get me over whatever hump kept me from pushing past the first episode.
posted by moira at 5:18 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


If it does become FaFa, then this has to be the theme.

If it does become FaFa, surely anything from the English Renaissance will do?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:46 PM on May 23, 2014


I suppose this is a pony request, but why not have both in the same thread. If you have spoilers in your comment, click the checkbox marked "has spoilers", or do it like Reddit does and have a spoiler tag you can use to hide stuff in your post.

For those of us who have already seen every episode to date, we could check a box at the top of the comments which would reveal all the hidden text. This would be the best of all possible worlds and would allow series veterans to mix with the beginners. Spoilers aren't the end of the world but it would be nice to have certain aspects of the show surprise the new viewers. And then the rest of us could take great pleasure in their cries of anguish, just like the book readers got to enjoy the GoT viewers react badly to a wedding.

As for me, I'm not sure I could watch it all again. I had a particularly nasty flu this past January and spent my plague-ridden month sitting on the couch and going through seasons 1-6 non stop. Was a great but somewhat traumatic and claustrophobic experience which ended up with several anxiety dreams, particularly about how season 1 ended for one of the female characters.
posted by honestcoyote at 7:53 PM on May 23, 2014


1. I am mad psyched for the Mad Men Re-watch. I may mostly lurk, but I lurk a LOT.
2. Please, let's not call FanFare Fa Fa.
posted by brina at 8:37 PM on May 23, 2014


FanFare - two syllables

FaFa - two syllables

absolutely no reason to do this. Your fingers can type those three extra characters, I promise. Hell, I'll come over and type them for you if it's that big a deal.
posted by komara at 10:14 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have mixed feelings about this idea. I don't think it is a bad idea, but I hope this doesn't happen for every single show that has already aired. I like surprises. I like making those discoveries as they happen. I like the anticipation of not knowing what's going to happen. I like reading and engaging with MeFa as I watch the shows. Although I would be down for a Twin Peaks rewatch or even more casual shows like ST: TNG, but something like Treme or Mad Men I probably wouldn't even visit the threads because I haven't watched them and I am not aware at all what happens in those shows. I might peruse them after I've watched through the whole show, but more than few seasons of threads might be a higher barrier than I care to dig into.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:30 AM on May 24, 2014


I LOVE the idea of a Mad Men rewatch, and I want in and where do I sign up?

But I also think it will only work if spoilers and discussion of future events is permitted - it won't be very interesting otherwise.

Awesome idea - I think discussions of foreshadowing will be incredibly interesting.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 2:21 AM on May 24, 2014


I watched the first few seasons, whatever was available on Netflix up to a year ago, with my parents.
We watched in the evenings, after the daytime caregiver split because she (the caregiver) was rattled by the sexytimes.
What interested me most was the fact that my parents (who suffer from dementia) were able to follow the storyline; they would both remember what was happening.
They would talk about the show during the day and wonder what would happen next.
I'd roar up a couple of quarts of popcorn doused with Parmesan, and we found out...

I did a re-watch earlier this year, with some friends who had never seen it. We also watched the new episodes.

Our opinion is that the show suffers from the actors take over syndrome. Excellent shows crumble once the top actor gets their hands on the reins.
We saw it happen when Alan Alda got hold of MASH, and recently when Hugh Laurie influenced House.
When you allow the actors to take over the story arc, you wind up with a quacking, self-indulgent shit-show.
You wind up with a rock tumbler shit-load of surplus acting. (see Robin Williams's efforts.)

Writers can some times act in tiny parts, and actors can sometimes write.
But not often and not for long.
posted by Pudhoho at 2:24 AM on May 24, 2014


The people who can 'write' and 'act' at the same time become directors.
posted by Pudhoho at 2:30 AM on May 24, 2014


I don't see why people couldn't do both, as separate threads, but I also think the audience for first time watchers of old shows that must discuss it on metafilter will be much smaller (vanishingly small) compared to the audience of re watchers. Even on this thread people are talking about the possibility of watching an old show, not that they are doing it. I definitely don't think this small minority should force the larger, spoiler keen audience into silence.

As a digression i find it interesting how this idea of spoilers has so thoroughly permeated popular culture; it was practically unheard of not so long ago, and certainly never viewed as an impediment in informed film discussion, for example.
posted by smoke at 3:20 AM on May 24, 2014


When you allow the actors to take over the story arc, you wind up with a quacking, self-indulgent shit-show.

Nope. The showrunner, Matt Weiner, is 100% - 1000% - in control of Mad Men. That's not to say that your perception of it being quacking or self-indulgent is incorrect, but it's not the fault of the actors.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:55 AM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Just how tough is it to spin up a new sub-mifi? Proposal:


deconstrucTV.metafilter.com



hmm?
posted by sammyo at 4:56 AM on May 24, 2014


Boy howdy, finally caught my breath enough on this whole weird week to stop and dig into this this morning. So, thoughts! These are just my thoughts, not mod canon or anything since we're all still catching up on everything; we'll talk about this stuff more as a team.

1. I think the Mad Men rewatch is a great idea.

2. I think having it be spoilerful seems totally fine so long as that's clearly delimited.

3. I think for now in the absence of any formal mode thing the thing to do there is include "Rewatch" in the title of each episode thread (maybe just as a parenthetical at the end of the title) and a little bit of boilerplate in the more inside.

4. The posts, above and below the fold, should still themselves stay spoiler-free just as we're aiming for with default style posts.

5. A formal category-selection distinction between Rewatch and First Watch may be something we want to implement on the system side if this turns out to work well (and I'm guessing it will), so that we can actually provide system-generated spoiler-guideline boilerplate at the tops of posts and allow some extra post-browsing/searching filtering for folks who know what they do and don't want.

6. I think it's a reasonable guess that our current default First Watch no-future-spoilers format will appeal mostly to folks watching stuff current/recently airing and that spoilers-okay Rewatch format will make more sense as the default for older shows, but I don't think we need to try and make that a bright line demarcation.

There will be cases where folks want spoilery discussions of newer shows (GoT, Hannibal, Walking Dead etc all have aspects of existing non-TV canon, as we've discussed a lot already), and there may well be cases where folks want to try and do a virgin run on older shows. One thing to keep in mind is that the older the show, the more plausible it may be that a lot of people will have an interest in it based more on its reputation than on having actually seen all or some of it; letting them have a space for that that doesn't involve having all the major plot arcs and character development spoiled seems like a good idea.

7. And we certainly should not establish an arbitrary age-based spoiler policy. That would be something to consider if it was a gun-to-the-head, no-other-options situation somehow, but it's not and any such policy would be a mess to enforce and lead I think to a lot of confusion and heartbreak for no good reason.

I guess this is all still shaking out, but it had previously been said that we weren't going to have separate spoiler/non-spoiler threads and this seems to be exactly that.

It's all still shaking out. Or more to the point, really, it's all building out from what the actual "we aren't going to bifurcate" situation was—the question of immediately splitting out double threads for one of only two shows in first blush test of the system.

At this point, FanFare is seeming like a very solid thing that we can start talking about growing more functionality for. I think this rewatch idea is a great test for a couple aspects of that, and we can see what we learn from it and go from there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:02 AM on May 24, 2014 [14 favorites]


I think it's a reasonable guess that our current default First Watch no-future-spoilers format will appeal mostly to folks watching stuff current/recently airing and that spoilers-okay Rewatch format will make more sense as the default for older shows, but I don't think we need to try and make that a bright line demarcation.

Where should we expect the Call the Midwives posts previously mentioned to fall on this line? (Again, don't care if I'm going to be spoiled, just interested in terms of how I watch.)
posted by immlass at 8:15 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The posts, above and below the fold, should still themselves stay spoiler-free just as we're aiming for with default style posts.

I think this format is failing somewhat, and I have a suggestion. Rather than trying to walk the line between copy-pasting the Comcast channel guide's blurb about an episode versus trying to figure out exaaaaaactly where the "spoiler" line is, why not just eliminate these "posts" from FanFare entirely? The titles suffice.

Hannibal: Mizumono Season 2, Ep 13 is perfectly descriptive; the post adds no further or useful information. Ditto Movie: X-Men: Days of Future Past. If I'm browsing the front page for television shows to chat about, maybe I don't want to discover that Wolverine travels to the past in the movie I'm going to see tomorrow, y'know? By requiring "posts," you're following a format that has worked elsewhere (MetaFilter, AskMe, etc) for reasons that become irrelevant over on FanFare. The site isn't for discussing "posts," it's for discussing content that is entirely off-site. The titles are all that matters. Lose this placeholder text, and you'll have a cleaner page with no worry about potential spoiling.
posted by cribcage at 8:31 AM on May 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I had previously disagreed with episode-title-only post titles, but honestly, a lot of shows just can't be unspoiled with any description these days -- the fact that someone is still alive is a major spoiler for a lot of shows I can think of.

We should just go with episode title, season number and episode number, and then let the poster recap as the first comment.
posted by Etrigan at 8:41 AM on May 24, 2014


We should just go with episode title, season number and episode number, and then let the poster recap as the first comment.

I agree with this.

A show I watch seemingly killed off a major character at the end of last season. The new season recently started, and there was an episode synopsis that said something like "John and Jane reconcile to fight the alien horde" which is a major spoiler for folks who haven't started watching the current season and were unaware that John has been resurrected.

(I also don't care about spoilers, but I think we've established that folks have varying degrees of sensitivity about this issue.)
posted by lalex at 8:44 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's an interesting point and well worth thinking about as a possible change. It's totally fair to say that the above-the-fold post text was originally motivated as much as anything by the formal consonance with the rest of the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:58 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


It'd be consistent with Jobs, at least, and also consistent with the "no spoilers above the fold" ideal on the blue. Also makes things easier on posters.
posted by lalex at 9:04 AM on May 24, 2014


We should just go with episode title, season number and episode number, and then let the poster recap as the first comment.

I agree with this. I would rather walk into an episode or a movie knowing nothing about it.
posted by isthmus at 10:07 AM on May 24, 2014


I just opened my Amazon Prime app this morning, saw the HBO offerings, and now I want to re watch all the shows.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:34 AM on May 24, 2014


a lot of shows just can't be unspoiled with any description these days -- the fact that someone is still alive is a major spoiler for a lot of shows I can think of.

This is not a major spoiler for anything on Mad Men, and considering that the show started seven years ago and has been streaming on Netflix for ages, this gets deep into "don't be a dick" territory in terms of the concept of what a "spoiler" is.

No, it's not a spoiler that Pete is still on the show, if we use the episode description "Pete joins an exclusive club." Mad Men isn't that kind of show, and if you've never seen enough to know that it's not, the post doesn't pertain to you and it doesn't matter. You can't be spoiled by knowing there are characters that have names on a show you've never seen.
posted by Sara C. at 10:46 AM on May 24, 2014


now I want to re watch all the shows

I rewatched episode 2 of Six Feet Under and am vaguely disappointed. And about weird things. Like, the sound mix is kind of shitty, and it's poorly color corrected.

I would actually love to see FanFare posts of the HBO stuff.
posted by Sara C. at 10:49 AM on May 24, 2014


This is not a major spoiler for anything on Mad Men, and considering that the show started seven years ago and has been streaming on Netflix for ages, this gets deep into "don't be a dick" territory in terms of the concept of what a "spoiler" is.

No, it's not a spoiler that Pete is still on the show, if we use the episode description "Pete joins an exclusive club." Mad Men isn't that kind of show, and if you've never seen enough to know that it's not, the post doesn't pertain to you and it doesn't matter. You can't be spoiled by knowing there are characters that have names on a show you've never seen.


Your definition of what is and is not a spoiler -- as well as which shows are the kind that have spoilers -- does not necessarily align with everyone's. Wouldn't it be considerably easier to just have title-only "posts" across the board than to have to dance around what is and isn't a spoiler now vs. ever vs. next week? Is "Pete joins an exclusive club" really useful to have above the fold?

I know where you're coming from -- I was in the "capsule descriptions aren't spoilers" camp within the last few days. I think I even posted to that effect recently, but since then, I got spoiled by a capsule description on a show (not on FanFare) that could not possibly have been more innocuous and could not possibly have contained less information. MeMail if you want details on how that can happen, but I won't Rosebud this conversation by giving specifics.
posted by Etrigan at 10:59 AM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I definitely don't think this small minority should force the larger, spoiler keen audience into silence.

Silencio you keen of spoilers!

...keenage of spoilage!

...spoiler people who are keen to do such!

Silence I say!!!
posted by P.o.B. at 11:09 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Etrigan, I think it should depend on the show. I can see how certain shows would benefit from not having them, or keeping them very cryptic with no references to actions specific characters are taking. Mad Men, however, is not one of those shows. The show still revolves around the principal cast introduced in the pilot episode of the show. So who is getting spoiled, here? People who've never seen Mad Men? Why do they matter?

Look, I've been spoiled on stuff, and it kind of sucks. But I choose to save my ire for when I've actually been spoiled.

Everyone on FanFare knows there's going to be another episode of Louie next week, and that Louie is still going to be the protagonist of the show. That's... what the show is about. And people who are so spoiler-sensitive that they can't know from week to week that there's going to be another episode, or that Louie is unlikely to get murdered between episodes 3 and 4 and will probably remain on the show going forward, I just... is FanFare really the place for them?
posted by Sara C. at 11:40 AM on May 24, 2014


But what's the harm of just using the name/episode number/episode name as the text, and then any recap in the first comment? I agree that generally speaking the current descriptions aren't causing much of an issue, but they could, at least for some shows and some people. And it doesn't seem like there would be any negative effect with moving all that info an inch lower on the page.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:49 AM on May 24, 2014


I could see getting rid of all synopses because they're not useful, in general. I think it's silly to get rid of them for reasons of spoilers.
posted by Sara C. at 11:54 AM on May 24, 2014


Etrigan, I think it should depend on the show. I can see how certain shows would benefit from not having them, or keeping them very cryptic with no references to actions specific characters are taking. Mad Men, however, is not one of those shows.

Yet. Plus the fact that the ad agency at the heart of the show changes names is kinda spoilery.
posted by Etrigan at 11:54 AM on May 24, 2014


I think the negative effect is not remembering which episode is which, and then having to click in to see which one it is.

It's kind of ironic that we have all these great shows that seemingly demand discussion but can't be discussed because we're all watching at different times. Maybe it was better before when we were all watching the same crap at the same time.
posted by bleep at 11:56 AM on May 24, 2014


Yet. Plus the fact that the ad agency at the heart of the show changes names is kinda spoilery.

Disagree if the why and how of that change is nowhere in sight. Spoiler alert.
posted by bleep at 11:58 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Eh, I think the whole spoiler thing is silly, too. But if makes people happy and doesn't harm me, why not accommodate them?
posted by Chrysostom at 12:00 PM on May 24, 2014


Ertrigan, I don't want to start a fight or just keep repeating myself, so I'm just going to have to say that we deeply, deeply disagree. Episode synopses on FanFare isn't a hill I'm willing to die on, but I feel like if FanFare users disagree this dramatically on the nature of a spoiler, the "spoilers run amok" concept in re-watch threads probably isn't going to work out.

Or, I don't know, maybe the opposite, maybe all of FanFare should be a Here There Be Spoilers zone, and if you don't want to know that Don Draper is still the protagonist of Mad Men after seven seasons, just don't go to FanFare ever.
posted by Sara C. at 12:00 PM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I shudder to think of what would have happened if something like FanFare had existed when Star Trek TNG's "Best Of Both Worlds" cliffhanger was going on.
posted by Sara C. at 12:02 PM on May 24, 2014


So who is getting spoiled, here? People who've never seen Mad Men? Why do they matter?

Why do you think people who haven't seen Mad Men don't matter?
posted by lalex at 12:02 PM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I haven't watched that yet Sara, thanks for spoiling the fact that it's a cliffhanger and can be spoiled.
posted by bleep at 12:03 PM on May 24, 2014


Why do you think people who haven't seen Mad Men don't matter?

In a conversation about how plot synopses for Mad Men should be phrased, they really don't.

Who are these people we're protecting from spoilers, is what I'm getting at.
posted by Sara C. at 12:08 PM on May 24, 2014


Can we agree that maybe there is a difference between the character a show is named after and one of many characters in an ensemble drama?

I think really bright line rules -- absolutely nothing that happened after this episode for new watches, and anything at all goes for rewatches -- are clear and easy to deal with, allowing for both newbies and rewatchers to enjoy the appropriate threads. (It will make things hard for newbies speculating on old shows.)

I see arguments both ways for episode descriptions -- I know that in general I don't remember episodes by their titles but by what happens in them. (I might also remember some titles, but not always.) But on the other hand, they can be surprisingly spoilery if you're more than a few episodes behind. I wrote two FanFare posts and I had to work harder than I thought I would to be recognisable if you'd seen the episode, but generic that they don't give anything away. I'd probably be inclined to remove them, but -- and I am fairly anti-spoiler (unwanted ones, anyhow; I don't care if people choose to be spoiled, and I sometimes do) -- I don't think either solution is perfect.
posted by jeather at 12:09 PM on May 24, 2014


Who are these people we're protecting from spoilers, is what I'm getting at.

People trying to avoid casual spoilers on the part of the page where casual spoilers shouldn't be. It's totally okay for you to have your preferences but you sometimes come across as dismissive of anyone whose preference differs and this is feeling a little bit like that. It's okay to have stated your position and just leave it at that for now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:17 PM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Maybe title, season #, episode #; then click to show episode description, which may have minor spoilers, or have the episode description as a "more inside" thing?

I like the idea of bright line rules for rewatches vs. new watches.
posted by moira at 12:18 PM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


With the episode description still mostly trying to be spoiler-free.
posted by moira at 12:19 PM on May 24, 2014


I think a "three-tier" approach like moira mentions would be great. Title and season/episode numbers on the front page. Blandly descriptive blurb designed for someone who has seen recent episodes, but not this episode as the "more inside" (I like the idea of clicking it to make it appear on the front page, but I know that might be a tricky technical feat) and actual discussion of the episode starting in the first comment.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:35 PM on May 24, 2014


Sara C.: Episode synopses on FanFare isn't a hill I'm willing to die on

If it doesn't matter that much to you, then could you please step away from the thread and let the people to whom it does matter discuss it? You don't think spoilers are a big deal--fine. OTHER PEOPLE DO. And other people use this site. So could you cut us a fucking break?
posted by tzikeh at 1:42 PM on May 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't see how you could have an episode synopsis that wasn't also spoiler ridden. It's baked right in.
posted by ian1977 at 2:15 PM on May 24, 2014


If it wasn't above the fold it wouldn't be an issue. But it is above the fold and adds hardly any value, anyway, so why have it?

This is coming from someone who thinks that the Great 2000s Spoiler Movement has gotten wildly out of control.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:19 PM on May 24, 2014


Personally I think splitting into spoiler friendly and spoiler free zones will mean one of two things...two watered down scattered convos or one main convo where all the real discussion is happening and one ghost town. I could be wrong tho.
posted by ian1977 at 2:20 PM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


If we automatically put up two threads for each episode of each series, yeah, I agree. But as long as watch-throughs are being organized in advance, it's not a big deal to figure out whether people are looking for a rewatch or a fresh watch.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:33 PM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd happily participate in sanctioned spoiler-allowed rewatches, even as a first timer.

For a rewatch suggestion, how about Fringe?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:55 PM on May 26, 2014


I vote for allowing spoilers. For new shows where FanFare exists throughout the entire run, there'll be threads for people watching a show for the very first time to jump in and start discussing; however, I feel like there's a lot of value in people discussing the way a show feels after having endured 7+ seasons of its existence. I for one am not nearly enough of a hardcore Mad Men fan to see all the connections on my own, and would love for y'all NEEEEERDS to point out all the difficult and subtle shit for me.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:18 PM on May 26, 2014


(I will trade your comments on Mad Men for an exhaustive deconstruction of character and identity when we rewatch Breaking Bad, and/or for a frame-by-frame analysis of Twin Peaks, because I am rewatching that now and Holy Shit Frame Composition Is Tiiight.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:19 PM on May 26, 2014


If it wasn't above the fold it wouldn't be an issue. But it is above the fold and adds hardly any value, anyway, so why have it?

I know this is a late comment, but hey, long weekend and all.

That said: I just want to echo this, and add my voice to the crowd saying that it'd be preferable to get rid of the episode summaries. We all have lives, and get busy. It's perfectly reasonable for someone to be up-to-date on one show, but not another. So, while it's not the end of the world, it's still not so great to be looking for the discussion of an episode a week or two ago, and end up reading past later summaries that spoil things.

I think it's pretty clear that the mods don't want the above-the-fold text to contain spoilers. I think it's also pretty clear that it is often very difficult to write a summary that has any value that also avoids spoilers. So, why even put posters in the position of having to try to walk that line?
posted by tocts at 6:28 AM on May 27, 2014

Personally I think splitting into spoiler friendly and spoiler free zones will mean one of two things...two watered down scattered convos or one main convo where all the real discussion is happening and one ghost town. I could be wrong tho.
posted by ian1977 at 5:20 PM on May 24 [2 favorites +] [!]
I actually think the second way is what's happening right now for Game of Thrones. FPP with spoilers covers all conversation for all episodes throughout the series, and then individual posts for each episode on FanFaire.

I think this works really well because the thing about spoilers is that if you have spoilers, you probably have spoilers for the whole X - Show, season, universe, etc. So you really only need one post for the series, not a post for each episode.

What I suggest is we have just that, except codified so thats we don't have to wait (or worse yet force a poor FPP just to have a conversation) for a FPP to be made. One series-wide spoiler OK post, then individual posts for each episode.
posted by rebent at 7:32 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sara C.: " Who are these people we're protecting from spoilers, is what I'm getting at."

*raises hand*

My wife has finally convinced me to watch the show. So now I'm watching the first season. And yeah, I'd like to not see spoilers during a 'first timers' thread about how say, hypothetically Don dies and reincarnates as a large metal chicken named Beyonce, destroying my enjoyment of the show.
posted by zarq at 8:05 AM on May 27, 2014


….do you think if we sent Jenny Lawson a link to that comment, she'd start re-enacting popular TV shows with her menagerie?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:23 AM on May 27, 2014


To be fair, Matthew Weiner couldn't be foreshadowing the Robo-BeyDonHen twist any harder if he had a literal bludgeon.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:32 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Look, zarq, we can't help keep you from spoilers if you predict the major plot points yourself.
posted by jeather at 8:39 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


But zarq, you're exactly my point.

Since you've never seen the show, posting an above-the-fold synopsis with no real spoilers, but which implies that Don Draper is still alive in season 1, episode 2, will not be a problem for you. I bet you could go read all the synopses for the current season of Mad Men on FanFare and not get spoiled at all.

My "who are we protecting" was about the idea that simply by using above-the-fold episode summaries, some nebulous group of people who both watch the show and also don't watch the show are somehow going to be spoiled via the most basic details which are already widely known.
posted by Sara C. at 8:48 AM on May 27, 2014


I could easily write up Mad Men synopses that would spoil zarq or people a few seasons behind. That's actually the easiest group to spoil. If I am looking at synopses for a show I don't watch at all, "Sam goes to the moon while Pat waits at home" is completely meaningless and I will probably forget the details if ever I get to the show, but it means a lot if I have started the show and know that Sam and Pat both want to be astronauts.
posted by jeather at 9:04 AM on May 27, 2014


The current Mad Men synopsis is taken directly from the stock episode summaries used by iTunes et al.

I agree that if we're putting post creators up to writing their own summaries, yeah, everyone needs to be careful not to blatantly spoil the episode. But has that been a problem up to now?
posted by Sara C. at 9:10 AM on May 27, 2014


"add my voice to the crowd saying that it'd be preferable to get rid of the episode summaries"

Put me in for a +1 on this sentiment. I get frustrated even with Netflix episode summaries which I understand are somewhat of a necessity, but when I finish with one House of Cards episode and it auto-loads the screen for the next one and I see things like, "Claire deals with the [blah blah blah] scandal while Frank fights [whoever] for control of [situation]" I can't stand it. I'm a fast reader and even glancing at that part of the screen means I'm going to unintentionally pick up words or phrases I don't want to see. It leads to some big comedy of trying to select the next episode to play while deliberately staring above the tv and not right at it.

I'm exaggerating, but only a tiny bit.

Point is: even the most well-intentioned and lovingly-crafted summary is to some extent full of spoilers for those of us who want to go in absolutely blind. I am 100% in favor of removing the summaries and putting all episode information below the fold.
posted by komara at 9:23 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


The current Mad Men synopsis is taken directly from the stock episode summaries used by iTunes et al.

Mad Men is probably a bad example to use, as its episode synopses (like its teaser clips) are notoriously intentionally vague. I think I read somewhere that Mat Weiner insists on writing them himself.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:36 AM on May 27, 2014


"Don glowers at someone...a door is slammed...Betty is petulant...Roger says "What?!?" loudly...."
posted by Chrysostom at 9:42 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


Scanning through the front page of FanFare the summary that jumps out at me was from the season finale of Agents Of SHIELD, which would completely spoil anybody still making their way through the show about the big mid-season reveals.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:00 AM on May 27, 2014


I agree that if we're putting post creators up to writing their own summaries, yeah, everyone needs to be careful not to blatantly spoil the episode. But has that been a problem up to now?

Yes, it has.

I'm hesitant to bring up GoT, because it's been such a magnet of arguments regarding spoilers already for FanFare, but the summary for the latest episode absolutely does spoil things, and was (I believe) written by the person posting it. I would prefer not to drag the specific phrase used here, in order to keep this thread spoiler-free, but the first clause if that summary not-so-subtly answers an important question that was opened two episodes back, and if I hadn't been up-to-date when I read it I would have been mildly annoyed.

The episode prior to this had problems as well.
posted by tocts at 10:01 AM on May 27, 2014


But has that been a problem up to now?

I mentioned one incident above.
posted by lalex at 10:08 AM on May 27, 2014


Oh, wait, the Castle finale is worse.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:08 AM on May 27, 2014


My solution to this problem is that I'm not scanning the front page of FanFare. Instead I've been skipping down to the right-hand infobox to navigate, and just keeping my eyes away from the front page otherwise. That works. But yeah, I don't imagine the subsite was designed with the thinking that significant numbers of people would want to participate but pointedly not look at its front page.
posted by cribcage at 10:12 AM on May 27, 2014


The one FanFare thread I've created I went to IMDb to get the episode title and while I was there I saw their summary, figured it was as vague as possible and better than I could do, and so I used that. Didn't feel too terrible considering it's on a mini-series and one would expect most of the major characters to be mentioned, and yet I can see how that exact summary would be full of low-grade spoilers for a random episode in season 4 of an ongoing series.
posted by komara at 10:18 AM on May 27, 2014


I read these same summaries on Amazon/Hulu/Netflix before every episode for every show i watch and I have never once felt like they gave anything away.
posted by bleep at 10:39 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Betty smokes a cigarette while Henry complains. SCDP loses an important account, and Harry is upset. Peggy gets some bad news."
posted by Rock Steady at 12:32 PM on May 27, 2014


So for Mad Men in particular, it sounds like it's okay for us to go ahead with rewatch threads, explicitly labeled as such? We can add something like "Discussion will contain spoilers for the entire series" above the fold, just to cover our bases.

For MM, the episode summaries are so vague that not only are they not spoilery, they're not at all useful in identifying the episode. I have no strong feelings about including them or not including them.
posted by donajo at 6:07 PM on May 27, 2014


Yep, I think the Mad Men rewatch threads experiment is totally fine; add "(Rewatch)" to the end of the title for each of them and a nice clear SPOILERS AHOY! explanation to the post and we should be good, and we'll see how that plays out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:15 PM on May 27, 2014 [6 favorites]


Thank you, cortex! We'll try not to mess up.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:16 PM on May 27, 2014


I skimmed through the "The Wire" S1 Ep 1 thread that Sara C just posted - since it's not explicitly a Rewatch thread, wouldn't it be better to start an S1 finale thread for the general season questions & discussion rather than trying to vague it up in the Ep1 thread?
posted by oh yeah! at 10:10 AM on May 29, 2014


Okay, guys, we have a rewatch plan. Here's the calendar: http://tinyurl.com/MadMenRewatchCal. Posts will go up on Sundays and Wednesdays at 10:00 AM Eastern, with thanks to tracicle and Sweetie Darling. We'll label the posts as Rewatch, and discussion of the whole series will be permitted.

You all have 2 days, 16 hours, and 15 minutes to rewatch "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" before the first post goes up.
posted by donajo at 2:45 PM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


YAY. We watched the pilot last night at my house and have SO MANY FEELINGS to talk about.
posted by Stacey at 2:49 PM on May 29, 2014


For MM, the episode summaries are so vague that not only are they not spoilery, they're not at all useful in identifying the episode.

I think that's a more general issue, not just with MM. I've struggled to write above-the-fold descriptions for some of the Fargo and 24: Live Another Day posts I've made, because there's so little you can say about what happens without it potentially being a spoiler, that any non-spoiler description will very likely be so vague that it could apply to more than one episode, and thus defeats the alleged purpose of helping people to know which episode the thread is about. I'm finding it a difficult balance to strike.

As far as my personal tolerance for spoilers, it varies from series to series. I think I'll give The Wire a shot with the rewatch going on there, but I'm not too concerned about being spoiled for future episodes. It will be interesting to see how those threads end up. I can think of other shows I'd like to watch unspoiled, though.

Once I see how some of the other rewatches are going, I might do a rewatch of The Prisoner — at only 17 episodes, it's a manageable thing. But I understand for The Prisoner the preferred viewing order can be a very contentious thing.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:02 PM on May 30, 2014


FWIW with The Wire it seems like a mix of newbs and old hands, and so far the old hands have been exceedingly respectful. The deepest "spoiler" I've noticed so far is the implication that Season 2 deals with at least some Polish-American characters. Which, seriously if that's a spoiler, I just, I mean, why even talk about media on the internet, at that point?
posted by Sara C. at 8:10 PM on May 30, 2014


I watched all of The Wire back when it first aired, I'm not concerned about being spoiled myself. I'm just trying to understand the logic of starting with S1 Ep1 after a binge-watch of multiple seasons. Do you expect to go back and post a thread for every episode? It just seems like season finale threads would make for a more wide-ranging discussion of older shows, when there's no plan for an organized rewatch.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:04 AM on May 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


People participating in the thread seem to be pretty happy with it as it stands, and eager to talk about episode 2 next week, so I don't know why we should all stop and do it your way as someone who is not actively watching the show right now.

If you want a place to just talk about The Wire as a cultural phenomenon, do what the book-reading Game Of Thrones fans have done and just go make a post on the blue about the whole show.

Right now it looks like The Wire is the only show on FanFare that is conclusively off the air for good, so I don't know what kind of precedent should be set.
posted by Sara C. at 8:52 AM on May 31, 2014


I wasn't meaning to say that everyone should stop and do it my way, I was just trying to understand the logic of starting with the pilot. If its going well still, great.
posted by oh yeah! at 12:11 PM on May 31, 2014


That first The Wire post is starting to veer into spoilery territory. I agree that The Wire posts have been and should stay spoiler-free unless it's stated above-the-fold that there are spoilers within, but I'm not sure what the best way to call out spoilery stuff in-thread without calling more attention to the spoilers. It's the Streisand Effect.
posted by donajo at 3:47 PM on May 31, 2014


Have I missed the rewatch post? The only post I see on FanFare for June 1 is Orphan Black.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:29 AM on June 1, 2014


A minor but important critique of the first Mad Men re-watch thread: the spoiler warning isn't really conveying the distinction between a normal FanFare thread (which is already assumed to be full of spoilers, for the given episode and all prior episodes) and the re-watch thread (which contains spoilers for the whole run of the show).

There are a lot of people who don't read metatalk, and haven't read this thread. Simply having "rewatch" in the title and "spoilers within" doesn't really tell them what they need to know. It'd be a shame to just start watching Mad Men, think this is your chance to experience an ongoing discussion like it was brand new, and walk into a thread containing a spoiler free-for-all.
posted by tocts at 8:19 AM on June 2, 2014


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