On Sledge Hammer! (1986)

Book coverAh, gentle reader. After successfully ploughing (as one does in England) through (which does not rhyme with “plough” though–although though and although do), ahem, after successfully ploughing through the first six series of Red Dwarf, I thought I might delve even further back in my DVD set acquisitions and watch the two seasons of Sledge Hammer! which I got in 2004. So, yes, it has taken me twenty years to get around to watching these (as opposed to only thirteen years for Red Dwarf). I felt compelled to watch it as I was reliving my television watching of the 1980s and because Lileks posted a picture of David Rasche recently (and I do mean like within a month or so ago recently).

I mean, I did run through the first season some years back, back when our DVD player was a PlayStation 2, but when it switched to the second season with its lower budget and “five years earlier” thing, and I couldn’t continue–which is also how it went with Red Dwarf–it stepped out of my nostalgia zone and I couldn’t deal with it. But I plowed through both seasons this viewing, and it took as long as Red Dwarf because it was basically the same number of episodes in two seasons of American television as it was for six series of British television.

So: Sledge Hammer is a police inspector, a spoof of Dirty Harry–underlined by John Vernon playing The Mayor in the pilot episode, wanting a man who gets results to locate his daughter who has been “kidnapped” by a terrorist group. Hammer is given a new partner, Dori Doreau, a woman to act as a straight, er, woman to Hammer’s excesses which include shooting his gun, roughing up suspects, and talking to his gun. Most of the episodes spoof on movies or detective show tropes of some sort or another, and I certainly benefited from being familiar with the source material. Perhaps not in 1986 when I watched it on television, but certainly now.

So I chuckled at some of the nearly 40-year-old gags. You can basically derive my sense of humor from droll English humour like Red Dwarf and spoofs like this. Maybe that’s what built my sense of humor as these were on the telly in my teenaged years.

And if the Internet had been a thing back then, perhaps we would have had Detective Doreau versus Officer Daley arguments.

Anne-Marie Martin played Detective Doreau. Her acting career was fairly brief; a couple of horror and crime films in the late 1970s and early 1980s, some credited to her birth name and some using Martin. She was married to Michael Crichton for a while and has a writing credit on the film Twister. She’s also perhaps the first actor to do both Marvel and DC as she was in an episode of Wonder Woman and in the television movie Dr. Strange. She fit the lithe/athletic 80s blonde mold (along with Sandahl Bergman) and pretty much retired from acting after Sledge Hammer!

Patti Tippo played a uniformed police officer in most of the episodes over the two seasons, sometimes just as a bit of background or having a line or two. She’s had an active career in guest starring on television series and small roles in films including Ace Venture: When Nature Calls and Being John Malkovich.

To be honest, I favor Officer Daley a bit. But I can see both sides of the argument.

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