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Spoiling Shout-Out

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Pity the people who never finished The Sixth Sense.

Becca: ...and Darth Vader is Luke's father.
Jesse: Oh, right, so you just happened to guess the biggest cinematic reveal in history?

Say you're watching a program. They frequently make references to other works on this program. Tonight's episode is no different. The characters have made a couple of references and... wait, did they just give away the ending to something by referencing it?

You have just experienced the Spoiling Shout-Out. A work has referenced another work, but they gave away the ending or a major plot point in the process. You might not mind much if you've seen the other work, but if not you're probably annoyed.

Granted, this could be forgivable if the spoiler has reached It Was His Sled status. (A lot of them are; alternatively, frequent Spoiling Shout-Outs and eventual Pop-Cultural Osmosis can be how a plot twist achieves It Was His Sled.) If not, this could be considered careless. If done deliberately, it could be seen as a Take That!. Compare Late-Arrival Spoiler a.k.a. "Spoiling Sequel".

As a spoiler trope, there will be some in the examples.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Strips 
  • FoxTrot: Paige walks in on her father watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and starts gushing about it despite his repeatedly asking her to be quiet, culminating in her spoiling the happy ending where they realize they don't need any presents...
    Roger: I wouldn't know, I've never seen it.
    Paige: [thinking] Paige, be quiet.
    Roger: Now what was that about not needing any presents?
  • A Peanuts strip has Linus watching Citizen Kane. Lucy comes up and spoils the movie for him (and any readers who hadn't seen it) by revealing that Rosebud was his sled. Much later, when Rerun is watching Citizen Kane, Lucy attempts to do the same thing again; Linus, still sore about the first time, stops her preemptively.

    Fan Works 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Yami wins his duel against Arcana in "Sore" by "spoil[ing] every plot twist in existence, thereby ridding the general public of any desire to see your convoluted mess of a movie series." It begins with him mentioning that Snape kills Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and eventually concludes with him spoiling that Rosebud was Kane's sled in Citizen Kane.
    Arcana: NO! You're spoiling all the best plot twists!

    Films Live-Action 
  • The opening of Play It Again, Sam consists of the main character watching the ending of Casablanca, spoiling the ending of that film for those who haven't seen it.
  • In 50 First Dates, Lucy watches The Sixth Sense "for the first time" (due to amnesia), and at the end is wowed that Bruce Willis was a ghost. Her dad and brother, who already know the twist, just nod uninterestedly.
  • Pitch Perfect: Becca complains that movies are so predictable that she could guess that Darth Vader was Luke's father. Jesse is disbelieving, but also admits that it's a well-known cinematic reveal, so there's that.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In According to Jim, Jim spoils The Sixth Sense to Andy while he's watching to get him to come over. To be fair, based on that description they spoil the ending of a movie, but you don't know which one unless you've already seen it (or at least already know the spoiler).
    Jim: [on phone] What movie?
    Jim: Bruce Willis is a ghost and he doesn't know it.
  • Becker: In "The Film Critic," Becker tries to see a film called Lethal Vision but everyone seems to want to talk about the twist ending and spoil it for him. His angry rant on the subject contains a spoiler itself.
    Becker: You know, when Hitchcock made Psycho, they had signs in the lobby warning people not to talk about the movie and you know what? They didn't. That way nobody knew that Tony Perkins dressed up as his mother and killed all those people.
  • The Big Bang Theory has two examples in "The Spoiler Alert Segmentation":
  • Cheers: In the B-plot to "Tale of Two Cuties," the guys discuss a movie that ran on television the previous night. Frasier asks them not to because he hasn't seen it yet. They still do and spoil it for him. In retaliation, he spoils the endings to Citizen Kane (Rosebud was Kane's sled), Murder on the Orient Express (Everybody Did It), and The Empire Strikes Back (Darth Vader is Luke's father). Despite most of these being well-known by the time the episode aired, Woody has apparently never seen the last film, meaning it is a genuine spoiler for him.
  • In a 2001 Comic Relief bit with Richard Wilson and Annette Crosbie reprising their roles from One Foot in the Grave after the final episode where Victor dies. Throughout the sketch, Margaret is apparently ignoring Victor, the way she often does when he's ranting. At the very end he finds a video of The Sixth Sense and mentions he saw the end coming a mile off. While he's talking, Margaret walks out of the room without turning to him and leaves him staring at the video. He doesn't actually say what the twist is, but it's made clear the sketch has the same twist.
  • Played with in the Community episode "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking". Throughout the episode, plot points and spoilers for an Expy of Game of Thrones are given away by Abed and Britta. The entire point of using an Expy was so they wouldn't actually spoil Game of Thrones.
  • In The Flash (2014), Barry catches up on TV he missed at Super Speed and casually drops Game of Thrones spoilers in the process: "Oh no, Jon Snow died... wait, he's alive."
  • Friends: Rachel and Joey agree to swap their favourite books, she'll read The Shining while he reads Little Women. While checking in on their progress Joey accidentally reveals the ending of The Shining to Rachel and the audience. Rachel gets back at him by revealing what happens to Beth March.
  • In one episode of How I Met Your Mother Season 9, Robin and Barney thought that they're distantly related and are worried that it's going to be a Surprise Incest since they're going to be married. Then, Barney amusingly tries to ease their worries by spoiling Game of Thrones.
    Barney: King Joffrey's parents are brother and sister and he was a fair and wise leader.note 
  • On one episode of The Naked Truth, Dave takes a new vitamin and gets his intelligence boosted. After impressing Les with his new found intellect, Les asks him "You're not gonna die in two days like that guy from Phenomenon, are you?"
  • In an episode of One Day at a Time Barbara and her not-boyfriend, a film buff, are stuck sharing a motel room with only one bed. A lamp is hanging low from the ceiling; he pushes it so that it swings and whistles "WHEET! WHEET! WHEET!" implying the Reveal in Psycho. He hangs a blanket on a string down the middle of the bed, citing the film It Happened One Night. After some discussion while lying in bed, Barbara lifts up the blanket and asks him face to face "What did happen in It Happened One Night?" The blanket falls down and the boyfriend clutches it a la a Modesty Bedsheet and says "That!" (It should be noted that they are both fully clothed while lying in bed.)
  • In the Saturday Night Live 2015 short film "Say What You Wanna Say" a couple of characters, watching a parade of sorts, have a little small talk.
    Woman: You know what show I really love? Breaking Bad.
    Man: Oh, no spoilers, I haven't seen it yet.
    Woman 2: You waited too long. Walt dies. HA HA!
  • One of the side plots of an episode of Scrubs is Dr. Cox spoiling the ending of The Sixth Sense to the Janitor while he's watching it, and the Janitor spends the rest of the episode plotting to get back at him for it.
  • In the fourth episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Wong is watching The Sopranos. Madisynn carelessly tells him of the deaths of major characters Adriana and Christopher, and that Tony kills the latter.
    Wong: ...You just ruined it.
    Madisynn: I cried for three days.
  • Supernatural: In the episode "#Thinman", in which the Winchester brothers and the Ghostfacers are investigating a series of murders involving Thinman (a pastiche of Slenderman), upon discovering the real identity of the killer Dean remarks "So there was no teleporting, just a couple of douchebags doing a Scream thing." referring to the usual twist in the Scream movies that there are two people wearing the Ghost Face mask.
  • On one Will & Grace, Will is watching The Usual Suspects when Jack comes by with something important. Will tells him he's watching the movie and trying to figure out who Keyser Soze is. Jack says "It's Kevin Spacey." and shuts it off.

  • Julie Brown's song "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun": After the queen is shot to death by a SWAT team she says "I did it for Johnny!" and dies. Nobody knows who Johnny is. Brown says "Oh God this is like that movie Citizen Kane you know where you later find out Rosebud was a sled? But we'll never know who Johnny was because like she's dead."
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic does plenty of research into whatever he has chosen to parody in order to have a high degree of accuracy to the subject at hand, thus avoiding creating a Shallow Parody. This sometimes deliberately including spoilers to other works of fiction. The most notable is his 1999 song "The Saga Begins", a parody of the then recently released film Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace to the tune of Don McLean's "American Pie", which recaps the whole movie (using pre-release spoilers he picked up online!) mentioning things like Anakin Skywalker creating C3PO and Darth Maul killing Qui-Gon Jinn.
  • In The Lonely Island's song "Jizz In My Pants", one of the things that makes the narrator jizz in his pants is finding out that "Bruce Willis was dead at the end of Sixth Sense".

    Web Animation 

  • Penny Arcade had a strip where Tycho gets angry at Gabe for spoiling the end of King Kong (specifically, that Kong dies). Gabe responds that there's a statute of limitations on spoilers, especially movies that old, and further spoils The Passion of the Christ (Jesus dies).

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy: We see someone watching a rental VHS copy of Citizen Kane in the "Screwed the Pooch" episode. Right after Kane says "Rosebud" and drops the snowglobe it cuts to Peter (who had taped over the copy) saying "It's his sled. It Was His Sled from when he was a kid. There, I just saved you two long, boobless hours."
  • Robot Chicken: In a The Walking Dead skit, Munsun begins to reference plot points from episode 3 that detail how the characters got out of situations very similar to what him and the Nerd found themselves in. The Nerd objects and says how he has so many episodes backlogged on his DVR that he hasn't seen it yet.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the "I Married Marge" episode, on one of their first dates Marge and Homer see The Empire Strikes Back. As they leave the theatre Homer says, "Wow! What an ending! Who would've thought that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father?", angering everyone in line to see the movie.
    • In "The Bob Next Door", Sideshow Bob says that his latest plan to kill Bart will be the best death "since Snape killed Dumbledore". Bart complains he didn't get up to that part yet.


Video Example(s):


Madisynn Spoils "The Sopranos"

Madisynn sees which episode of "The Sopranos" Wong is watching and immediately tells him that a major character dies in that episode.

How well does it match the trope?

4.31 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpoilingShoutOut

Media sources: