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Slap Maxwell Story

By Mike Henry, TX

"The Slap Maxwell Story" was an ingenious attempt by ABC to show-off its own venture into "quality television" that was becoming more and more dominated by NBC in the Awesome80s. "Slap" was an excellent shot, but failed mostly because it had no laugh track (sad as it is). The thought behind this was based on the "Dramady" concept. People will be emotionally educated enough to laugh or cry at the right moments....because we're "smart". Nope. Didn't work, and the show got low ratings and canceled after one season.

Trouble is, it was very good. The program was one of the best on the air that season. Like NBC before, with shows like "Cheers" and "Hill Street Blues", ABC executives should have given Slap Maxwell at least one more season to collect word of mouth and more complete critical attention.

Oh well. This little show about a middle-aged sportswriter had a lot of promise. Dabney Coleman played the lead role to the hilt. Just divorced, Slap tries to find himself and his place in the universe...much of his troubled present stems from his own difficulties in understanding the ultimate truth: He's the problem. The entertainment comes from an ability to show us ourselves. That's why we laugh at most things anyway. Not enough people got the chance to view this short-lived show, and that's too bad.


Share Your Memories!

Do you have a favorite episode of Slap Maxwell Story? What do you remember about the series? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"My favorite episode was one where Slap kept mispronouncing the name of Enos Slaughter, a baseball player. I always thought it was odd that someone involved with the show didn't point it out before the show was filmed. Is there anywhere to see the show in reruns? This show truly was a great one. Too bad TV executives are all too often brainless."

--Bernie G

"My favorite Slap Maxwell episode was the one before Slap won the sportswtiter award and Judy was talking to Slap, who was depressed, and she gave this speach about reaching for the brass ring and not grabbing it."


"Great, great underrated funny warm show. Everything from the writing to the casting to the music worked. Man, did I have a crush on Meghan Gallagher back then!"


"Tell it to the Slapper! Hands down, this was MY FAVORITE sit-com of all time! "The Slap Maxwell Story" had it all! Great, great casting, full of nothing but talent! Great writing and audacious irony with the plots. The very, very epitome and all time best of the "intellectual TV Sitcom". My ever lasting kudos to virtually everyone engaged in that production!"

--David Clarke, San Bernardino

"I LOVED this show. Does anyone have a list of the screwball mixed metaphors that the editor used? I could only remember him saying "There's no sense beating your head against a dead horse." [Editor's note: If you have such a list, please submit it!] "


"Without any doubt, "Slap Maxwell" was the best program of its day. The metaphorical writing was the best there was, with the prolific coining of phrases like "unbridled sex" left no question in the mind what was intended. Dabne Coleman performed "dead-pan" with such style and form unmatched before or since with his classic performance in this program.

My vote is cast for Megan Gallager as a heart-throb unmatched. I never missed an episode as it was like a religious experience to hear the metaphorical references to the boss and higher ups with the single expresion cutting them to bits as I did have a very stressful job during that time in my life."

--Hal 376

"The "Nelsonisms" I've always remembered are "kissin' the switchboard" and "It's time to shoot the dog and let it lie. ""




Aired: 1987-1988

Cast: Dabney Coleman

Network: ABC

Genre: Sitcom

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