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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Spoiler alert: I cannot abide spoilers

You know who you are. You’ve seen a great movie and you want to share the joy. You fairly bubble with enthusiasm. You ask if I’ve seen it. I say no. You tell me I’ll love it. Then, when your inner voice should say “Stop,” you keep going.

You say, “This won’t ruin it for you … but it deals with a man who doesn’t know that his wife is secretly a terrorist.” How can this not ruin it for me? I still haven’t seen that particular movie, and now I don’t want to.

Same with books. Recently an acquaintance told me to read the newish Alice Hoffman book “The Dovekeepers.” She actually said to me, “I won’t tell you how it ends, but it unfolds on Masada in ancient times.”

I was curt: “The events on Masada are not exactly unknown to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of Jewish history.” She didn’t get it.

When I approach a new movie or book, I want to experience it as a virgin. No prior experience. A white palette. Everything others say colors my expectations, so I don’t want to hear anything beyond a recommendation. I’ve had people suggest a film with a knowing smile and the words, “It has a surprise twist at the end.” No, no, no. That is not acceptable. Knowing there’s a surprise ahead ruins the fun. Think Norman Bates behind the shower curtain.

When I was in high school, there was an annual ritual. On the first day of school, the kids who did the morning P.A. announcements always said, “Welcome to all you freshmen. And by the way, Finny dies.” This, of course, referred to the main character in “A Separate Peace,” which all the first-years were about to read. If I just ruined it for you, shame, shame. You should have read “A Separate Peace” decades ago.

All of which brings me to “Breaking Bad,” the best show on television since “The Wire.” This series, now in its fifth season, is something to behold. I just started season three on Netflix. I want to talk about it without being a spoiler, and I would love for you to share your thoughts, but not tell me more than I want to know. Can we do this?

Good deal.

“Breaking Bad” has changed my life. I’m taking a roller coaster ride on the dark side and loving the experience. I dole out one episode an evening so it will last longer.

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