Mel Gibson eludes trial via plea bargain

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Good old Mel Gibson, whose crazy misogynistic/racist ranting seems positively old-fashioned in light of the more entertaining, slightly less horrifying antics of Charlie Sheen, will not be having a big public trial over the charge that he hit his wife. That's one media circus averted. Gibson's lawyers negotiated a plea bargain that requires the leathery actor to receive counseling, but won't send him to jail; Gibson apparently believed he could win the case but feared that a long trial would be a strain on his family.

Or at least that's the line said lawyers are taking with the press. Even if you buy their "stoic fallen warrior takes the hit for his loved ones" claim, it's hard to imagine that Gibson's career could ever recover from this latest fiasco — although on the other hand, pop culture's seen its share of unexpected second acts. Maybe he just needs a few years off followed by a surprising reality show. Is he any good with pigeons?