IN TELEVISION . . .
I haven't seen "Tru Loved," the picture that sent Ebert into meltdown, but I can sympathize. Eight minutes is about twice as much as I had seen of The CW's reality show "Stylista" before I knew that I wished slow, agonizing deaths on everybody involved. Believe me, I wanted to turn it off. I didn't, because . . . Well, I don't know, exactly.
It's not like I was going to change my mind. A reality show about 11 stupid, untalented people with vile personalities who calculate individual worth by clothing labels? The conception was trash, the execution was trash, the cast was trash, and the people who put it on the air are trash. No TV alchemist was going to turn the show around between its fourth minute and its 42nd.
Some TV critics would have turned it off. Colleagues have confessed that they occasionally write a review of a show they gave up on. Even more common, now that we get advance screeners on DVDs, is fast-forwarding through, cutting the time you invest in pure garbage while guarding against any big surprises toward the end. I don't do that, either, though I've certainly been tempted -- for instance, while watching NBC's "Knight Rider," which made so little sense that I seriously wondered if I had a bad DVD.
But quitting a TV show is an intellectually lazy slippery slope. Being a critic means you're going to take the bad with the good. Most of the time that's not going to be a good deal for the critic, because the bad is really bad and there's a lot more of it.
But however painful, it's part of the job, just as football teams have to play in the rain and the Macy's Santa has to sit there while kids pee in his lap. If you're going to criticize somebody's work, you have to sit through it first. Just wear those dead brain cells like a badge of honor.
-- GLENN GARVIN