So apparently spoilers don’t ruin things, according to SCIENCE!!!
Two thoughts, though admittedly neither are about jokes. They’re about drama. Specifically, two things I’ve read/watched recently that had me more on the edge of my seat that pretty much anything else.
The first was KJ Charles‘ novel, Non-Stop Till Tokyo, which is awesome, and which also has one of the most intense climaxes in any book I’ve recently read. No small part of that tension was due to the spoiler warning on the book, which flat-out states it includes “graphic violence”. If the book didn’t have the warning, I probably wouldn’t have been so tense when it came to (small spoilers) one antagonist holding a lit cigarette millimetres from the protagonist’s eye, threatening to press. Normally I’d assume the author “wouldn’t really do it”. But this time, with that warning? I wasn’t so certain.
The second was the most recent in the rebooted Spider-Man franchise, whose clocktower denouement is literally the only time I’ve ever been on the edge of my seat in a superhero film action scene. And the only reason for that was “knowing” Gwen Stacy’s fate, and wondering whether the film would have the guts to not just do it, but do it “right”.
(Spoiler: they did… mostly.)1
Honestly, as someone who saw The Sixth Sense knowing the twist, I’m not convinced that any piece of media that relies on being unspoiled in order to “work” is particularly good, full stop. A spoiled work has different emotions associated with it than an unspoiled one–dread or anticipation versus surprise–but truly good works survive either way.
Soylent Green has been people for a long time now, after all.
- For those wondering: the point is that Spider-Man himself kills her. It’s an accident, yes, and the fall would’ve killed her anyway. But, in this case, the actual direct cause of her death is Spidey webbing her around the middle, effectively snapping her in half thanks to that little inertia thing that never seems to be an issue in comics except when a girl has to die FOR THE MAINPAIN!!!!