There are times when you just give up on a piece of fiction. You walk out of a movie theater before the show is over. You drop a television show from your DVR lists. You take a comic book series off of your monthly pull list. You hurl a book across the room in frustration.
Thought we both pride ourselves on our ability to finish what we start, sometimes…you just have to give up.
In short, you quit. You tap out. You’re just done with it.
That prompts this month’s question:
“Has a Movie, Book, Television Show or Piece of Media Ever Made you Tap Out?”
Here’s what our hosts had to say…
I wrote about this a few months ago, briefly in the comments section of a past Mailbag question, but I’ve got to revisit it here.
“Lucifer’s Hammer” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle was a real slog for me when I tried to read it about ten years ago. And it really shouldn’t have been.
It should have been a science fiction novel right up my alley. I’ve always had a real soft spot for the post-apocalypse.
Something about it touches that Jane Goodall button in my brain that wonders what people might become in the wild, after you scrape away the rules, laws and civilization.
What are we really like?
These stories are always simultaneously an autopsy and diagnosis for the fall of civilization. We sift through the broken bits of what we were, while trying to decide what sort of people we’re going to become.
These are the thoughts that make me such a big fan of stories like “the Planet of the Apes,” “the Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, “the Walking Dead,” Pat Frank’s “Alas, Babylon,” and the Fallout series of games by Bethesda.
But before I can care about the world these stories take place, I have to not completely loathe the people that populate them.
And that’s where Niven and Pournelle’s book about the aftermath of a comet striking Earth fell apart for me.
I hated, hated, hated, hated the characters in this story. They were all self-satisfied in a way that people in a story about the end of the world should never be, unless the purpose of the story is to either condemn or redeem them.
The story never did the former, and I didn’t hang in long enough to learn if it did the latter, because it didn’t feel like the authors understood how unlikeable their leads were.
Characters like this always remind of the protagonists of Chick Tracts or Ayn Rand stories, who exist as smug author proxies to let the readers know that they’re better than everyone else.
But best I can tell, the authors aren’t pushing any discernible ideology in this book, other than a big “I-told-you-so” to all the Doubting Thomases that believed that the comet would safely pass us by.
Even this could have been a bit more tolerable had the action been good, but it took nearly 330 pages of a 700 page book for the comet to actually crash into Earth.
Nearly half of of the book was devoted to a lengthy debate around whether they comet would actually hit us or not. I’m sure this would be compelling and hypnotic stuff if I were watching it play out in real life and lives of all humanity were at stake. That sort of tension is completely dissolved when the back of the paperback I was reading was outright telling me that the comet would hit.
So fucking hit us, already!
This is a disaster story, not fucking “Moonlighting.” You can’t spend half the book on “will they/won’t they?” speculation.
During all of this, a bizarre feeling entered my mind. I was rooting for the comet.
I was hoping that it would kill everybody, wipe the slate clean, and I’d get a new crop of main characters.
By the time the comet did strike, my interest was just gone. The book had eaten all the way through the good will and the allowances I’ll give a disappointing story in a genre I like.
I tapped out during what should have been the most exciting part of the book: people fleeing tsunamis and earthquakes.
And when you fail at making that exciting, you know you’ve done something terribly wrong.
I mentioned in our last podcast, ‘Swing Away, M. Night,’ that I never have walked out of a movie theater in sheer disgust, but had I paid for a ticket to see ‘The Happening,’ you bet that I would have.
Alas, I am guilty of having quit more books than I’ve finished, but I chalk that up to my attention span having mostly disintegrated from too much Nintendo (those parents’ groups from the 80s: THEY WERE RIGHT ALL ALONG!).
And, something about the current age of home video/streaming that creates a glut of availability (and the choice paralysis that goes along with it), that also absolves one of guilty for casually aborting a movie or TV show. Louis C.K. is right, everything is amazing and we’re big babies about it.
But, playing along with the spirit of this Radio vs the Mailbag question, if I had to locate one instance with the most trauma attached, it has to be hitting the ejector seat on ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.’ At once you’re probably thinking to yourself: Adam Sandler? I get it. Juvenile jokes at the expense of homosexuals? Hahaha! It’s going to be so funny, right?
Well, hear me out. The last time that I’d ever watched an Adam Sandler movie before this was probably Punch Drunk Love, P.T. Andersen’s 2002 dark romantic drama that is the farthest afield from a prototypical Sandler fart-joke-fest. It also has some moments of brilliance with Philip Seymour Hoffman. But, seeing the trailers for Mr. Deeds and Anger Management waved me off of any desire to pay for any of his malarkey.
Flash forward eight or so years, I find myself sitting on a pile of freebie DVDs from Universal I inherited from a job. Having worked our way through almost every other selection, my spouse and I decided to give it a try.
First scene, firefighter Adam Sandler is playing basketball outside the station and he’s approached by two gorgeous hussies who, in a mishap of truly unfortunate comic timing, meet one another and find out Sandler is dating both of them at once. D’oy! What a pickle. Adam Sandler truly gets to live out his fantasies that he can be such an irresistable sexpot, and a brave firefighter to boot.
Next scene, there’s a four alarm fire, Sandler and Kevin James arrive on the scene of a burning building. They heroically dash inside to help rescue anyone trapped by the fire and come upon, oh shoot me now, a big fat guy who can’t get out of bed. What’ll they do next? They proceed to have an argument how they’re going to save him. Sandler jokes that they should chop him up with his axe and take him down in pieces.
They both take two arms the laugh-out-loud-fattie is on top of and begin to run, doing a ridiculous slapstick, running-in-place to slowly lift him off the bed.
EJECT DVD! I can’t take this seriously. I can’t find it funny. It’s just fucking insulting.
Less than 10 minutes. Couldn’t make it past the first reel. Not even to the hook of the movie where Sandler and James agreed to get gay married so one of them can get health insurance. So fucking clever, Hollywood comedy writers! Totally missed where they would’ve obviously played up the ‘Yuck, gays are so icky. We have to see them kiss. Oh, that’s gross-out hilarious!.’ Not even close.
Never again will I even see a Sandler movie that I got for free. And, I’ll see you in hell before I give money to the King of Queens. I learned my lesson. I suppose I got off easy, and considering I took that DVD to the used book store and sold it for something that 20 cents, I should be grateful to got off so easy.
P.S. A narrowly close second on my list was Lou Reed’s last album, a collaboration with Metallica of all people, entitled Lulu. An awful, awful legacy and I couldn’t make it past track one. And I even like Metal Machine Music.
What do you think? Ever walked out or given up? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Oh man, the Brian Herbert Dune novels.
I had to give up. The characters went from really deep and multifaceted to defined by some sort of “Character Feature Slot Machine,” where you’d get a name, a defining verbal characteristic, and a single word description.
Count Hasimir Fenring is one of the better examples. He went from a behind-the-scenes multi-valued assassin to someone who liked choking people to death in bathroom stalls.
After watching the Red Lettter Media review of “Jack And Jill”, Sam and I felt compelled to watch it as a point of pride. (Sam may report that this was my doing–don’t believe him).
Once the movie started, I wanted to stop SO. MANY. TIMES. But out of respect for the sanctity of my marriage I forged on. It wasn’t just the racist Mexican jokes. Or the unwarranted (like, not-propelling-the-plot-at-all) jabs at an atheist character. Or Adam Sandler yelling. Or even David Spade in drag. IT WAS THE WHOLE DAMN TERRIBLE FILM. The whole thing. Have offense and boredom ever fought for supremacy with your tear ducts?
I swear, no matter how vitriolic I get about The Village or The Happening, Jack & Jill elicits 10x fortified Angry Becky.
Also, I’ve tried valiantly to watch “Avatar: The Last Airbender” several times and haven’t made it past minute eight without falling asleep, or getting distracted by an urgent need to clip cat toenails or clean the refrigerator vegetable drawers.
Making you finish watching the movie was my little way of getting back at your for making me start the movie.
Jack and Jill is just bad. No good part. Just bad. It is anti-fun. Put it in a magnetic bottle chamber with a slip-and-slide and you could power Baltimore for a year.
I am proud of making it all the way through the same way I am proud for blacking out when the anestesia wore off duing a major dental proceedure. I know both of these experiences, and I do not know which is worse.
not blacking out. why would I be proud of not blacking out? I would be happy to black out.
Oh, and Lost. Mike had to brief me on the final 6 episodes. I almost went that way with Revolution, but (thankfully?) the network canned it.
There’s not many books I haven’t finished; I soldier on to the end no matter how much I may dislike it. However, I’ll say that I tapped out on Robert Heinlein in general. I liked most of his so-called juvenile novels from the 1950s, and a few of his later novels – mainly the Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which I think is his best work. But I started to become disenchanted with Stranger in a Strange Land, and I almost couldn’t finish Number of the Beast. And the problem wasn’t his politics (even though I generally don’t agree with them), it’s the characters – as Mike noted with Lucifer’s Hammer, I just couldn’t stand his smug, self-righteous characters pontificating on how great they wonderfully enlightened they are.
I will bail on something like nobody’s business. There is too much genuinely good stuff out there for me to waste time on stuff that annoys me, or is ‘sorta good’.
Occasionally, I will come back to something after bailing – I’m certainly glad I did that with ‘Fringe’ for instance, but I have a limited time to read books, watch TV, read comics or see movies – and I don’t feel a need to watch stuff that makes me annoyed.
In addition, I’m lazy. It’s far easier to just STOP watching/reading something than it is to continue watching/reading it.
But seriously, between cable tv, downloads, dvd sets, comics trade paperbacks, ebooks, youtube… we have never had such access to a wide variety of enjoyments and delights, and as far as I’m concerned, unless I’m getting something positive from something that’s there to entertain me, I just flat-out don’t have the time for it.
Stuff I’ve bailed on includes:
It became increasingly obvious that Chris Carter was just making this shit up as he went along and it was becoming increasingly nonsensical.
Also, I had started watching ‘Homicide: Life on the Streets’, and the procedural elements of the show were starting to feel like an icepick in my eye. Fox Mulder was a TERRIBLE profiler and Dana Scully was an awful pathologist. ‘Homicide’ (and David Simon) is responsible for me bailing on a large number of police procedurals. Plus, it was increasingly obvious that the writers were writing Scully as a combination of ‘idiot straw(wo)man’ and ‘damsel-in-distress’.
When the series became more about whiny, circular arguments between the two brothers rather than fighting monsters, I bailed.
The DC Universe.
I grew up reading DC comics, but for almost(?) a decade, there’s been this tone of teenage bullshit nihilism. Because I was fond of the characters, I sought out the odd bright spot, but with the nu52 reboot, it became SO much easier just to forget the whole thing and write it off as a loss.
Televised Professional Wrestling.
I used to have cable, and used to watch both WWE and TNA programming. However, when I moved house about ten years ago, I was at the point where I realized I was enjoying maybe one segment in five, and the stuff I was enjoying tended to be the stuff the companies were using as filler, and the workers and characters I liked were not ones the companies were interested in promoting.
Tabletop Role-Playing Games.
I still enjoy playing pen-and-paper RPGs, but back in the 90’s, I was playing A LOT. Two games in particular I played for over 5 years each, and at the end, I realized I was spending more time AFTER the game bitching about them than I was in actually playing and enjoying them.
After that, I promised myself that I’d have two rules – (1) that I wouldn’t play anything unless I REALLY wanted to. No playing a game, just because it’s there, and (2) I wouldn’t play anything open-ended. The game had to have a goal and be working towards it in terms of storyline. Even if the game continued and established a new goal, there had to be periodic points where you could say, “That’s a good place to wrap it up” and the whole thing would have a satisfying conclusion.
After that decision, it was five years before I played in a game.
I’ve been a Doctor Who fan since the 70’s, though never rabidly, starting with Tom Baker. And slogged on through the revival. I liked Eccleston, but Tennant’s version REALLY rubbed me the wrong way. I was hoping with the replacement of Russell T. Davies that things would improve, and they did to an extent, but it became obvious to me that while I was irked by RTD’s excesses, that at their core, there was a deeper dissatisfaction.
The series has stopped being a science-fiction anthology series with a recurring character, and has started being a series about a magic spaceman and his friends. In the pre-relaunch series, each story could exist as a narrative without the Doctor, but post-relaunch, the series has existed as a series focusing almost exclusively on the Doctor and his companions.
I acknowledge that there’s no way the series could go back to being multi-part serials, but without that element, it’s become something I’m just not interested in anymore.
Those are just the first that came to mind, but like I say, there are plenty of others.
Lost, I loved the first season, and I really, really tried, sat through that entire stupid second season and after a couple of episodes into season 3 saw it was getting even dumber and as I had never got any of the answers I wanted and I realized I probably never would, I just gave up.
Assassin’s Creed III
There is absolutely no reason why the American Revolution should be boring. There is absolutely no reason why a Native American training to be an assassin to fight in a centuries old shadow war against the Knights Templar to keep them from controlling the fate of humanity with ancient technology should be a dull, uncharismatic, wet blanket. There is no reason why the fifth game in the Assassin’s Creed series should be more difficult and tedious to play than the previous two games in the series.
Nevertheless, Assassin’s Creed III manages all of these things.
I gave it a valiant try, but the story didn’t grab me, the characters bored me, and the gameplay (with the exception of the naval combat) just wasn’t fun. Repeatedly dying in the same place over and over again to the point that I have to look up how to not die in an online walkthrough does not a good game make, in my opinion, so when I’d died for about the tenth time during the Battle of Bunker Hill sequence, I’d had enough.
I haven’t been back since.
“There is absolutely no reason why a Native American training to be an assassin to fight in a centuries old shadow war against the Knights Templar to keep them from controlling the fate of humanity with ancient technology should be a dull, uncharismatic, wet blanket. ”
Bravo, Bethany! That’s my nomination for Comment of the Year™
Books, well, quite a few; if it isn’t grabbing me in the first 20 pages (for novels) it never will. I went through a period, in my late 20s, where I thought I should read some of the classics of literature. Part of it was driven by reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for an adolescent psych class. I really, really enjoyed the book. So, during my trips to local used book stores, I decided to look for some classics, and not just genre stuff. I didn’t get very far with many. I really wanted to enjoy James Fenimore Cooper and tried the Deerslayer. I was getting bored fairly quickly and started skimming. I’d find a good passage, then get bored again. Finally, I gave up. Same with Last of the Mohicans. I love the characters, love the story; but, actually reading Cooper’s long-winded prose was too much. I’m with Mark Twain on Cooper’s crimes against literature. The man needed an editor.
In a more modern vein, I used to be a bookseller, and tried the Da Vinci Code when it came out. I tried; but I couldn’t take the leaps in logic, the absolute certainty that vague symbols meant only what the hero claimed, the shallow characters and lack of development, the ludicrous plot, and the whole mix. I didn’t care what the solution was. Whenever customers asked me about the book I just related what people who liked the book said, as I never wanted to discourage anyone, professionally, from picking up a book. Outside the store was another matter.
Mickey Spillane was another author I tried. I read I The Jury and was starting the second of three, in an omnibus, but just couldn’t take his style anymore. Everything was just so relentlessly gritty. I’ve read Hammett and enjoyed him more; but, I find that I prefer crime and noir in visual form than in prose.
For movies, I’ve never walked out of a theater; but came close on three occasions. The first was Streets of Fire. I went to see it, based on the music videos from the film (love the soundtrack). I couldn’t take Michael Pare’s mumbling hero, the unbelievable characters, or the plot. However, I had driven 20 miles to see it and I was going to get my money’s worth. The second time was when I went to see Gor. I was going to school, in the US Navy, and was bored in the evening. I checked the paper for a movie; but had seen most of them. I saw the listing for Gor. I had read about 4 of the novels, before getting tired of the fetishism overtaking the adventure elements. I figured I’d check it out and see what they did with the material. Whew, man, they tanked it! The budget was miniscule, so no Tarns. The props were laughable and sets practically nonexistent. The dubbing was terrible on the lead. It just lay there. It didn’t even have the kinky stuff!
The third time was Mary Reilly. Julia Roberts is horrible in that film and John Malkovich isn’t much better (though he at east had a serviceable accent). I was checking my watch 10 minutes into the film, which is a sure sign I am bored. The only reason I didn’t leave was that I was the guest of a friend, who worked at the theater and I got in free.
I tapped out of monthly comics in the early 2000s. My subscription list kept shrinking and shrinking, until it consisted mostly of mini-series, one-shots, and the odd series with an infrequent publication schedule (Hellboy, Astro City). I went from getting comics weekly to every other week, then every 3-4 weeks, to just waiting for a trade collection. Since I worked in a bookstore and got a deeper discount, I stopped going to the comic store altogether.
I tapped out on regular tv about 10 years ago. Same thing, I found fewer shows that entertained me enough to catch each week and dvd was more convenient. I gave up on the Simpsons around season 12 or 13. I would forget to tape it, then found that when I did I was only mildly amused. I bought the first ten seasons on dvd and decided that was enough.
Comics are a slightly different beast. I usually gave up on a series if I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Now, I have continued reading a series that I enjoyed less than before; but still found it engaging enough to justify the price. Rarely did I stick with something in hopes of it getting better. The one time I really did that was John Ostrander’s Manhunter series, from DC. I had enjoyed it at the beginning, with Doug Rice on the art. However, after the first four issues, the level of action dropped significantly. Then, Rice left the book and Grant Miehn came on board. He had been okay on The American, at Dark Horse; but, wasn’t Chris Warner. Here, he wasn’t as dynamic as Doug Rice and Ostrander was spending more time with Mark Shaw’s family and friends than he was in the hunt for the villains. I stuck with it up to the end, in the hopes that the action would pick up. However, it didn’t last that long, so it wasn’t a long commitment. I later met Doug Rice and talked to him about the book. He said the series had been conceived as a big action piece and that’s what he got with the initial scripts. Then, they were filled more and more with scenes of people standing around and talking and Rice lost interest.
I tapped out on mainstream music by the end of the 90s. It just seemed to become so artificial. I filled my time, for a bit, with cult bands, like Los Straitjackets and similar punk/surf mixes; but, not much else, other than going backwards to sample earlier stuff, like rockabilly.
I tapped out on pro wrestling after the demise of WCW. I wasn’t watching it much (WCW); and was not a fan of Vince McMahon’s promoting style (I did watch the WWE, when better matches were on); but, I watched the WWE for a little while afterwards (I used to watch just about any wrestling: NWA/WCW, AWA, WWF, various territories, japan, etc..). I enjoyed the matches less and less, as they became more about signature moves and popping the crowd than telling a story and using chain wrestling as a bridge between spots. The botched Invasion Angle soured me and the WWE became less creative, without competition. The final nails were the escalating deaths of performers I had been watching for the previous ten years, who were my generation. I was saddened by Eddie Guerrero’s death, as he had seemed to have gotten his life together and was doing a fantastic job. However, after Chris Benoit, I couldn’t watch any of it. I couldn’t separate they way he ended from the guy who used to set rings on fire. No amount of technical skill and talent can compensate for murdering your wife and child.
Hmm, somebody actually made a movie based on those rebarbative Gor novels? Shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. Also, I’m surprised it wasn’t just a straight-up bondage porn flick…
Check out the MST3K episode “Outlaw,” if you can. The movie was also released as “Outlaw of Gor,” is a sequel, and features one of their best musical numbers.
That, at least, might have been interesting. The two movies are like watching paint dry and, they feature Oliver Reed and Jack Palance really slumming it! Reed had druk himself into this position and Palance did a lot of low budget stuff; but, Ripley’s had to pay better than this garbage!
THE RETURN OF THE KING. Both book and movie.
Yeah, I’m the heretic that thought Tolkien should have quit after THE HOBBIT. That was a nice, tight, fun story. But the LOTR trilogy has always struck me as the most bloated, over-written, padded thing I’ve ever tried to slog through. Even the movies, which were stripped down and lean-n-mean compared to the books, come across as way too under-edited, and I fell asleep trying to watch the final installment. I can’t bring myself to even think about the new HOBBIT movies considering how padded out THOSE have to be.
Why college hippies grabbed on to those books in the sixties and not Lloyd Alexander’s PRYDAIN CHRONICLES, which were almost contemporaneous to Tolkien’s books, just as sweeping in scale and very similar in milieu… BUT, in my opinion, infinitely better written and plotted, I’ll never know. Alexander’s books had better jokes too. If Disney hadn’t tanked THE BLACK CAULDRON so bad and someone had made a decent movie out of Prydain we’d be living in a whole different world, I’ll tell you that.
You’re not heretical at all – I very much agree about LOTR. However, I did a full 180 from being a really big fan of the trilogy as a little kid and then teenager, and only came to the realization – or perhaps finally admitted to myself? – that those books were simply not that good as an almost middle-aged adult. So yeah, I definitely think Tolkien should have stuck to what he actually wrote best: light-hearted, fun and unpretentious stories like the Hobbit or Farmer Giles of Ham.
I went through the same process, albeit much more quickly, with the movies: I liked all three of them well enough on the first watch-through, but now I can’t sit through any one of them – there’s just too many parts that drag…
Since you mentioned Lloyd Alexander, I have to air my own personal gripe, i.e. that Le Guin’s Earthsea books deserve all of the love, status and adulation that Tolkien’s LOTR gets. She is an infinitely better writer than Tolkien, and unlike the case with LOTR, I like her Earthsea books more any time I re-read them.
Oh, yeah, all this talk about Tolkien and his Middle Earth books reminded me of one of those rare instances that I did not soldier through and finish a book I had started: the Silmarillion. I picked it up the first time in my early teens after my second reading of LOTR, read about ten pages and set it aside. I tried again in college and managed to read about twenty pages before throwing in the towel. Since then, I’ve never had even the remotest interest in attempting to read it again, nor any of those other posthumously published books of “lost” or “unfinished” tales.
Weird; that’s the one book of the three that I really enjoy. Two Towers is where I tap out. I have never been able to read it straight through, without skimming. Silmarillion I’ve never been able to do more than sample. I didn’t even try on the other stuff. I was greatly amused to read Michael Moorcock’s essay, “Epic Pooh,” where he takes Tolkien to task for his fantasy country uptopia and shallow characters, likening them to Winnie the Pooh. He promotes Tolkien contemporary Mervyn Peake and his Gorhmgast (sp?)novels.
I also agree with Moorcock when it comes to Conan. Some of the Howard stories are quite good; and, even the lesser ones are filled with atmosphere. However, the guy is rather one dimensional. I side with Moorcock on the superiority of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories. The characters have more fully developed personalities and more believable motivations, and the work has a sense of humor. Why no one has turned the stories into a film series is beyond me. The pitch is easy: “Think Lethal Weapon with swords! 48 Hours with wizards! A fantasy caper comedy!” It’s a license to print money.
I have to give a massive shout out to ‘The Broken Sword’ by Poul Anderson. Written at about the same time as ‘The Hobbit’, it has a wonderful mix of Wagnerian sturm und drang, epic tragedy, glorious world-building, vivid descriptions and utterly amazing adventure… and it’s under 200 pages long.
It’s utterly magnificent.
A couple of things have lost me now, I shall start with the connecting rods “Man of Steel/the whole F**ing “New 52” Universe. I was actually starting to get back into comics when this was announced, I purchased All 52 issues… And it only took a week before I gave up, As with the man of steel Movie I HATE THISE PEOPLE, There is No FUN anymore, The old silly but serious parts are gone, The entire idea is BAD We have GIVEN UP treating women Anymore, EVERYONE needs to be Depressing, Cold Assholes, and Unlikable in Almost every way, I liked the days when We could look up to superheroes, Not be ashamed to see them. The next part is a movie front with a similar case, I walked out on Kick-Ass 2. I NEVER liked the first one, But I agreed to see the sequel for the reason that a lot of people said it got better… In some ways Yes, It MUCH better than the comic, But to quote my thoughts when I walked out “RAPE IS NOT FUNNY, EVER.” When that came up, even though it took the high road over the comic. This was SO far removed from what I considered to be good Entertainment I just gave up. In good movies I get put in a good mood watching them. This movie I was unsure of being Pissed about wasting my time on something So Horrible (Practicly Bordering on Offensive to me) Or Sad that THIS is the “Heroes” I have. My apologies about the long rant But that’s what happen when I see things that Wounds me. Especially when it is something I care a lot about.
The first thing that came to mind here is the comic book Cerebus. I got on board in the late 80s, half way through the Church & State II storyline, and was blown away. As a seventeen-year-old whose previous comics experience was basically lots and lots of DC and Marvel superheroes with the occasional stack of Archie or Richie Rich when I’d visit my cousins, I had no idea what I was getting into when I first added to my monthly mail order this unusual title I’d been seeing good things about in the letter columns of the aforementioned Marvel and DC comics.
It took me a few issues to really get into it, but once I did, I was hooked. I grabbed up every back issue I could find. I bought the bi-weekly reprint title when it started coming out. I bought the ‘phonebooks’. I followed the adventures of the letter column writer-inners. I stuck with it through the misogynist rants (as a shallow, inexperienced young 20-something, I thought Dave Sim was a genius and a visionary. I mean, chicks, amirite?) I was a Cerebus fanboy through and through.
But as the story meandered more and more, and Dave disappeared ever further up his own arse, and the book turned into, “What Dave Sim Reckons About Famous Dead Writers But Only The Guys Because Chicks, Amirite?”, I completely lost interest. I’ll probably go back and finish it one day, but as more of an academic exercise than anything else.
I’m also with Pol above, regarding the DC Universe and WWE.
Tapped out on Cerebus after Guys, though I was ready to by the end of Mothers & Daughters. The misogyny was bad enough; but, the storytelling was just relentlessly plodding, by the tail end of the thing. It started well, then just got nastier and nastier; and, slower and slower. Guys went kind of the same way. It started out rather funny, with some troubling aspects, then it got less funny and more troubling. That was it for me. I’m not as down on Melmoth or Jaka’s Story as some; but, to me, High Society was the apex, with Church and State close to the summit, and then downhill from there.
I gotta add my vote for Lost. I tapped out right at the end. There was so much potential storywise, and they went with “everyone dies and goes to heaven”. I went from agnostic-atheist to full-blown anti-theist for months – that’s how hard I tapped out.
My second would be the Anne McCaffrey Catani sequence novels (beginning with Freedoms Landing). After the 3rd book, the story arc was clearly over… and she continued their adventures. I was bored.