‘Breakout Kings’: To Spoil or Not to Spoil, That Is the Question

by | March 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM | TV News

Who got killed on "Breakout Kings"? It was one of these (clockwise from upper left) : Laz Alonzo, Domenick Lombardozzi, Jimmi Simpson, Serinda Swan (Photos: A&E, Getty Images)

A leading character was killed off Sunday night on “Breakout Kings” (in the season premiere, no less) and now comes the decision on whether or not to tell you about it.

The dilemma arises every time something momentous happens on a TV show that is followed — and talked about — by many, though not necessarily viewed by all of them at the time that it airs. Thus, if I reveal who got bumped off on “BOK” Sunday on A&E, I risk incurring the wrath of those who enjoy the show, but weren’t around Sunday night to watch it and perhaps recorded it or plan to watch it via some other media (such as right here on this site, for example, in this very blog post where the entire episode is embedded).

The question of when or if to “spoil” a TV show by revealing a key plot point is worth asking every time a TV columnist is faced with this decision. And in order to make the decision today as it concerns “Breakout Kings,” I’d like to present the case for and against “spoilers.” So here goes:

The case against: Fact is, the case against spoilers can really come down to just a simple statement, which is: It’s not very nice to go and ruin (a synonym for “spoil” in this context) a TV show for those whose schedules don’t quite match up with a show’s air time. And since a variety of media exist today for people to go and live their lives without being beholden to a TV show’s air time, and can simply watch their favorite show at some other time, it seems unfair to reveal major plot developments on the morning after, and then watch the tidbit spread like wildfire all over the Internet.

Or, you can ditch this “debate” and watch the entire “Breakout Kings” episode right here:

The case for: On the other hand, that’s one reason why proponents of “spoiling” say the practice is OK. Roughly speaking, that reasoning goes like this: Someone somewhere is sure to “report” the plot point anyway, at which time it will spread whether I report on it here or not. Some might also say that, if a story is newsworthy, you’re not supposed to sit on it just because it might spoil someone’s day. Plus, by not reporting something, it puts one journalist behind all the others — and TV columnists and reporters hate to be put in that position. And anyway, if a fan of “Breakout Kings” doesn’t want to know what happened on Sunday night’s show, the reasoning continues, he or she can always just avoid TV Web sites on Monday morning.

Rebuttal: The case against: Or can they? Avoiding such news is harder than it might seem, although, in the case of “Breakout Kings,” a show whose “following” is modest at best, it might not be that hard to avoid such stories because there might not be that many. For other shows such as “The Walking Dead,” for example, on which a character was also killed Sunday night, the story might be more difficult to avoid because that show has a huge following. As a result, it might be near impossible to keep a lid on that show’s news on the day after.

I think I’ve come to a decision: It comes down to this: Sure, journalists aren’t supposed to suppress “news.” But revealing who got killed on a TV show that isn’t exactly followed universally is not quite the same as sitting on some news story of national importance. It’s just television. And even though others might report who got killed on “Breakout Kings,” I think I’ll refrain for now, especially since the show’s second season is just getting started.

However, this moratorium will only be in place for a few days. I suggest that, if you like “Breakout Kings,” try and watch it soon, because many of us are already looking ahead to next Sunday night.

“Breakout Kings” airs Sunday nights at 10/9c on A&E.

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