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Sledge Hammer

By Jeff Shannon

The "Magnum Farce" of Sledge Hammer aims at deserving targets and scores a bull's eye every time. Thanks to DVD, one of the funniest, most unconventional sitcoms of the 1980s has been gloriously revived, with an abundance of bonus features that fans are going to love. This is sweet revenge given the show's original ABC time-slot, buried under Miami Vice and Dallas on Friday nights, but creator-producer Alan Spencer's savvy spoof of Dirty Harry had critical praise in its favor when it premiered (with a senseless laugh track, mercifully deleted here) on September 23, 1986.

Played to perfection by David Rasche and introduced with an infectious Danny Elfman theme song, Sledge is a trigger-happy male chauvinist pig (er, cop) in mismatched clothes who thinks The Deer Hunter is a comedy, sleeps with his .44 Magnum (called simply "Gun"), drives a bullet-riddled sedan with an "I ♥ Violence" bumper sticker, and somehow manages to always catch his quarry. "I'm a nihilist, not a stylist" he says (in the hilarious episode "Sledgepoo"), and that puts him at reckless odds with his lovely, karate-kicking partner Dori (played with flawless aplomb by former soap-star Anne-Marie Martin) and the vocally volcanic Capt. Trunk (Harrison Page, a slow-burn master and vital ingredient to the show's excellent casting).

Partly inspired by Get Smart!, Spencer and a host of talented writers and directors dished up consistent laughs and daring anarchy, challenging broadcast standards with topnotch spoofs of hit movies (in episodes titled "Witless," "Jagged Sledge," "The Color of Hammer," etc.) while familiar guest stars like John Vernon, Brion James, Clint Howard, Michael De Barres, and Mary Woronov raised the comedy quotient even higher. After a deliberately outrageous, go-for-broke season finale it's a miracle that the low-rated Sledge Hammer! was renewed for a second season, but Anchor Bay's DVDs do justice to the show's enduring quality, and Spencer's commentaries (on four episodes) rank among the funniest ever recorded (one of them during an earthquake, no less). All in all, this is one of the most delightful DVD surprises of 2004, with more fun to come in season 2.

Sledge Hammer on DVD!
Sledge Hammer is now available on DVD! Get it at Amazon.com!
Season One, Season Two

 

Share Your Memories!

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

Your Memories Shared!

"All I remember about this show is one episode where Sledge (is that even his name?) has to be in a wedding and they won't let him wear his gun under his coat. Since all that weight isn't there he can't walk right. I remember liking the show but hardly remember anything about it."

--Anonymous

"A comedy spin on the Dirty Harry Movies, a clueless gun happy LAPD Detective "Sledge Hammer" who fights crime with a female partner and a chrome 44 Magnum Pistol short lived but knock you to the ground funny.

The gun sleeps next to him on a satin pillow and was a trick shot artist"

--R Randall

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: September 23, 1986 - June 30, 1988

Cast: David Rashe, Anne-Marie Martin

Network: ABC

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of ABC


Sledge Hammer memorabilia!
Sledge Hammer Videos and DVDs!
David Rashe memorabilia!
David Rashe Videos and DVDs!

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