Just wanted to make sure you’d all read Ken Tucker’s essay on why, as a critic, he thinks it’s within his rights to reveal crucial plot points: “Whether I’m writing a review or reading one, I don’t want anyheld-back information to prevent that review from being the mostinteresting, thought-provoking one possible,” he says. “If that means a movie critic reveals a crucial plot point in order tolay out an argument for a film’s greatness or its hideousness, so be it. As a TV critic, I am going to tell you who got killed on, say, lastnight’s 24, because an event like that immediately becomes part of thepop culture conversation — you bouncing your opinion off mine, critic andreader relishing the opportunity to speculate together on what thismeans for a show we care about.”
I think we can all agree on that, right? A critic has a job to do, and the reader can choose whether to read the review, just look at the letter grade, or live in a bubble. What I find more interesting/debate-worthy is what Ken says at the end of his essay: “I admit that if someone tells me who won The Amazing Racebefore I’veseen it, I may gnash my teeth a little. But chances are, it will make mewant to see how those people scored their victories and how theproducers edited the game even more.Knowing the way something turns out shouldn’t ruin anyone’s pleasure.”
Knowing the way something turns out shouldn’t ruin anyone’s pleasure. What do you think? For me, it depends. I can see enjoying The Bachelor just as much if I already knew which woman he picked, because it’d be fun to study their chemistry and the way the show was edited. But then I think of something like the Angel Season 4 episode “Awakening.” Someone told me about the twist before I finally caught it in repeats (five years after it originally aired), and while my pleasure wasn’t anywhere near “ruined,” it was definitely altered. I still appreciated the show’s ability to hurt so good, but my emotions weren’t the roller coaster they should have been. They were more like a Tilt-A-Whirl.