Avoiding TV Spoilers

ABC, FOX, The CW

To quote the ski instructor from South Park:

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"If you go on Twitter before watching a finale, you're gonna have a bad time!"

Since TV finale season is well under way, which you already knew based on the rock-solid, fantastic coverage from E! Online's phenomenal TV team (they have spies inside our computers so just play along), we thought we'd offer up some tips to help you guys avoid getting spoiled on the ending of some of your favorite TV shows.

That way when you scream at us on Twitter, we can point to this article and say, "look, we tried to help you. But you didn't care enough about The Vampire Diaries' finale show to mute "TVD" on your Twitter feed. So what are we supposed to do?!" 

So here's some helpful hints and tricks to avoiding TV spoilers on the Internet:

1. Accept that it's practically impossible to always avoid spoilers

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The first step in this journey is just to admit that no matter what you do and no matter how well you prepare yourself, there's always a chance that something or someone outside of your control will ruin it. Like, networks accidentally releasing info before the episode airs or websites leaking photos of actors filming important scenes. Just accept that you might get spoiled and move on. It sucks, sure, but it's not the end of the world. Earth will continue to spin, we promise. The best way to almost guarantee a spoiler-free viewing experience is simple. First…

2. Watch it live

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Pretty simple, right? You can't be spoiled if no one else has seen it yet! If it's a show you just can't be spoiled on, we suggest doing your best to watch it live. Yes, that means enduring commercials which we know in this day and age is the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard but sacrifices must be made. Of course, we all know that most TV fans have more than one show that they love, and it's hard to watch every finale live, especially if they air at the same time. And what about the West Coasters? Well, if that's the case…

3. Stay off the Internet

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If a show is that important that you will literally figuratively die if you're spoiled, stay off the damn Internet for a couple hours! It can't be that hard to not go on Twitter or Facebook for a little bit before you watch your show. Sorry, but we feel no sympathy for people who log onto Twitter the night the finale airs and they're shocked to learn that people are talking about the show. Duh. Actors from the show live-tweet the episodes! Networks make up clever hashtags to make sure their show trends! Twitter is the worst place for a spoiler-phobe. Stay away!

It's like if you find out that the person you hate is going to a party. You don't want to see them, right? Then don't go to that party. Done. It's OK if you miss that party. It won't kill you.

Now, for those times where you can't watch the finale for a couple of days, well, that's a tricky situation. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to be spoiled, and it's not like the Internet and everyone else can wait for you to watch a show. And if you can't stay off the Internet, then you're almost screwed. Almost.

4. Stay off social media

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If you have to go online for work or school, try and stay off Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and any other sites where TV fans frequent. If you're writing a paper or working on a presentation, stick to your Word doc and only Google what you need to research. If you Google "Game of Thrones," well, you're just asking for a spoiler-fest, aren't you? Now if you have to go onto Twitter for work or if you have to wish your mom Happy Birthday on Facebook or else she thinks it doesn't really count as a legitimate birthday wish, there are ways to help cut out spoilers.

5. Alter your social media timelines/dashboards/etc.

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There are tons of plugins you can download that help you block certain keywords on social media sites. TweetDeck has a "mute" feature and you can block hashtags, search words, etc. If you just use Twitter, there are some third party apps that have similar functions. Tumblr and Facebook has settings where you can make sure you filter out any posts that have certain keywords in them. Daily Dot has a great list of apps and plugins that help you create a less spoilery social media experience and it will help as long as you remember that it won't 100% guarantee that something won't slip through the cracks.

6. Turn off your phone

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If you're like us, then you have friends that still text you about TV shows no matter how many times you tell them: "look, you live in Michigan and I live in Los Angeles. You watch the show hours ahead of me. Don't text me anything about it before I watch it." They never listen. So what do we do? We turn our phones off when we watch the show. Or we just leave our iPhones and iPads in the other room. We can be without them for a little bit if it means remaining spoiler-free.

7. Use common sense

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You'd think we wouldn't have to write this out, but unfortunately, we've seen too many people go into red hot rage fests because they were spoiled on something that could have been avoided. Don't go to entertainment news sites if you haven't seen the episode yet or stay off Tumblr if you know you follow mostly Scandal blogs because you know they'll be posting GIFs from that finale. That kind of thing. Use your brain, guys.

We also asked an expert from the simply beautiful, wonderful E! Online TV Team (they're sitting behind us right now) to give their single most important tip for avoiding spoilers during TV finale season:

"Just stay off Twitter until you watch. People don't care about spoiling things on Twitter anymore and it can be a bloodbath the night of a big episode!"

However, if you are watching live make sure you follow along on Twitter with us because we like to have a giant viewing party and we do it without spoilers.

Stay safe out there. Only you can prevent TV spoilers.

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