I used to love to go in there and tweak the curves until it was beautiful spaghetti heaven. But now, I almost forget about it. As I'm working on my own clips (I'll post some more this week-end and next week) I've been paying attention to what I'm doing, especially ever since I get asked by students and workshop attendees what my workflow is. And I realized that I don't use it as much anymore. In fact, for the current clip I'm working on I check my curves for moving holds and in case there are some hiccups that just won't go away due to some funky spline curve bumps, but that's it.
I love to work through the viewport with hotkeys for making my character CONs visible, I go frame by frame, draw and plot arcs using my dry erase pen or intense staring :), and check every now and then in my perspective view that my character works in 3D space. When I need to copy/paste keys, insert breakdowns, space out keys, convert from linear to spline (I block everything out using linear curves), etc. I use the Maya timeline for it.
The only time I go back and tweak my curves is when my character rig is light, so I can play the animation in real-time and adjust the curves as I'm watching it in order to get the right feel and timing that I want. But since I can't really remember the last time I used a light rig, it's an exception. Although Norman is very light and it would work with that rig.
Although yesterday I had to tweak a foot roll so that my leg would not over-extend during a hold and that required super small value changes, which I only got through the graph editor. So I guess for detail work like that I go back to it.
But by now I'm just so used to working by setting additional keys instead of tweaking curves, that I don't miss the graph editor. I don't have thousands of keys though, I'm still pretty organized and clean most of the time. I can't say that I'm a slow animator either (I think), so I don't think there would be a workflow speed improvement. It's still shocking though to me. Managing curves and splines or whatever you want to call it is always regarded as a holy grail, some people even have barely any keys and do everything through curves. I guess everybody has their own way.
What do you guys use? What's your method? Anybody else out there who almost abandoned the graph editor?