"What is food to one man may be a fierce poison to others."
Many shows have broad appeal, and most people who see them generally have a positive or neutral opinion on their value. Others appeal to a niche market and get positive views from their target audiences, while mainstream viewers are merely indifferent. Others are awful, but a lucky few of those manage to gain fans who like them because they're so bad.
Some, however, manage to achieve the result of intensely polarizing viewership, with the result that nobody thinks the show is average or "worth watching, if there's nothing else on". Half of the viewers laud the series as the greatest, most intelligent, engaging thing ever to grace the small screen, and the other half condemning it as a horrible, worthless load of festering bollocks that clutters the airwaves with reeking lines of awfulness.
Similarly, with Video Games and albums, reviews take the form of either "This is the best game/album ever - buy it now!" and "This game/album should never have been made. Avoid."
Sequels or remakes to existing properties that significantly change the source material are particularly prone to this kind of reception. People tend to either love the work as a reinvention/evolution of the source material, or despise it for changing too much and/or losing the spirit of the beloved original.
When this happens within a fandom, it's known as Broken Base. Serious Business tends to aggravate the problem. Expect various forms of Take a Third Option, though this usually ends up being just a third point of extremes.
See also Hype Aversion, Hype Backlash, Confirmation Bias, Your Mileage May Vary and Contested Sequel. Applied to food and drink (and fierce poison), this is usually Foreign Queasine. May form a Hatedom. Compare Base Breaker, which is basically this trope when applied to characters.
Contrast So Okay It's Average.
No real life examples, please; in Real Life, this applies to literally everything. No matter how universal the affection for something may seem, there is someone, somewhere who doesn't care for it (and vice versa). The only way to cover all the possible examples would be to write "Everything ever, to some extent", so Real Life examples aren't wanted.
- Exploited in ads for Marmite. The manufacturers use "You Either Love It or Hate It" as their advertising slogan, giving this trope an alternative name- The Marmite Effect.
- This is the newest series of ads for Miracle Whip salad dressing - different folks talking to the camera about how they love it or find it vile.
- J. K. Rowling claimed in the documentary about writing the seventh Harry Potter book: "For some to love it, others must loathe it."
- Neal Shusterman's Scorpion Shards has a character cursed In-Universe with Love It or Hate It. Every woman he meets immediately falls madly in love with him, and every man he meets immediately develops a powerful and Irrational Hatred towards him. Oh, and if he actually kisses a girl, his curse sucks her soul out of her body somehow. Tough break. (It turns out his true superpowers are more benevolent, but he's been corrupted by an otherworldly power-sucking parasite.)
- Ebert and Roeper were deeply divided in their opinions of the anime adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis. You can see their review for yourself here.
- On The Movie Show, Australia's equivalent of At the Movies with Siskel and Ebert, David Stratton gave Dancer in the Dark 0 stars whilst Margaret Pomeranz gave it 5. This is the only time this ever happened on the show.
- Invoked by the Magic: The Gathering card Schismotivate, which works by inciting strong positive and negative emotions in two target creatures. The happy creature gets powered up; the sad creature gets powered down.
- Mother 3 has the Peculiar Cheese item. How much HP is restored from it depends on who eats it. Those who love it regain more HP, and those who hate it regain less HP.
- Played with in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: the more Snake eats items he doesn't like, the more stamina he regains and the more he starts to enjoy them. However, he loves ALL the items thats give you full stamina.
- Home On The Strange invokes this trope when discussing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this strip.
- Programmers working on the Netflix algorithm to recommend films to customers have expressed difficulties in dealing with quirky films like Napoleon Dynamite or I ♥ Huckabees. They explain that viewers tend to have strong, immediate Love or Hate reactions to these films that are difficult to predict.
- Cracked.com's topic page about Nickelback jokes that Nickelback is seen either as immaculate and heavenly or as incomprehensible dreck.
- The yearly Interactive Fiction Competition has a special award for games that fall into this category: the Golden Banana of Discord, given to the title with the highest standard deviation.
- The music blog Pitchfork Media reviewed Robert Pollard's Relaxation of the Asshole and, on a scale of 0 to 10, they rated it a 0 and a 10.
- One episode of South Park was about the critical and popular reception to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Much of the town seemed to hate it, but a small and scattered part of the town, including Butters, really enjoyed it.