Spoiler Alert! (There are only old spoilers in this column)

J. H. Osborne • May 6, 2019 at 5:30 PM

Apparently, something big happens in “Avengers: Endgame,” the in-theaters-now three-hours-plus film featuring superheroes from the Marvel Comics universe. I had no idea what until I mentioned to my boss I was thinking of making “spoilers” the subject of this column. She blurted out the something big that happens.

“That’s what I’m talking about,” I said. “I don’t particularly care in this case, but you just spoiled it for me.”

Our exchange came about an hour after lunch Friday. Several coworkers and I had gone to L.E. Clark’s Grocery to make sure we caught lunch there one last time before it closes May 8. On the way to Clark’s, one coworker warned the rest of us his friend who was meeting us is looking forward to seeing “Endgame” and didn’t want to hear any spoilers — even though she’d already searched online and read some. One of us texted the warning to another coworker, Carmen Archer Musick, who was not riding with us. She wasn’t hard to convince. She didn’t want any spoilers mentioned either, because she hadn’t seen “Endgame.”

For the record, here’s how Merriam-Webster.com defines spoiler: “1) a person or thing that spoils something — ‘A spoiler beat the predicted winner.’ 2) a device (as on an airplane or automobile) that controls the flow of air and lift. 3) information about the plot of a book, movie, or television show that spoils the surprise or suspense for a reader or viewer.”

It’s the third usage we’re talking about here — the reason “SPOILER ALERT!” has become a common header on posts online.

Clark’s was crowded. We had to park in the grass next to the paved parking lot. We got in line, ordered, went to a large table and waited for our food. And bam! Right out of the gate someone mentioned “Endgame.” Rick Wagner tried to work Wonder Woman into the conversation and was shot down. Rick next brought up Batman and Superman. Shot down again. A discussion of Marvel Comics vs. DC Comics ensued. Carmen was pretty relaxed until she heard me say “spoilers.”

“I will kill somebody at this table,” she said. “I’m not kidding.”

I explained I wasn’t trying to get anyone to spill the beans about “Endgame,” but was asking Matthew Lane to remind me of some of the “old” spoilers we’d talked about on the drive to Clark’s. We’d wondered if it was OK to talk about “old” movie plots ... are there folks who don’t yet know, and would they be upset, if we blurted out, “Shelby dies!” Or “The boat sinks!” Or “Rhett leaves Scarlett at the end.”

We spent a few minutes — over our Big Hack Cheeseburgers, chopped steak, grilled cheese, and french fries — pondering what are the biggest spoilers ever, and whether folks could guess the movie or TV show just from our imagined spoilers.

Our short list:

• “Bruce Willis was dead the whole time.”

• “It was Earth. He finds the Statue of Liberty at the end.”

• “It was all a dream.”

• “Kristin.”

• “It was a dream. And it was hysterical. He woke up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette.”

• “Matthew dies.”

• “Ross and Rachel end up together.”

• “Sybil dies.”

• “He’s Luke’s father!”

• “It’s the biggest french fry I’ve ever seen.”

Oh, wait. That last one was about my lunch. And with that we were back to food talk and a silent agreement that what happens at the movies stays at the movies. At least for now.

J.H. Osborne covers Sullivan County government for the Times News. Email him at [email protected]



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