SLEDGE HAMMER! IS HYSTERICALLY FUNNY. BUT WILL AMERICA GET THE JOKE?
Meet Sledge Hammer -- a detective [sic] so in love with violence that he makes Rambo look like PeeWee Herman. On his way to work, he blows up a building. Someone says, "Kill the lights," and he blasts out the bulbs. His favorite charity is Toy Guns for Tots. When a female criminal facing him off at gunpoint taunts, "You'd never shoot a woman," he replies, "Call me a feminist," and blows her away. A smashing spoof on all the Rambos in movies and on television, this new half-hour comedy is so bold that even David Rasche, the comic actor who plays Sledge, can't believe that ABC is airing it. "What I know of television -- and this is really my maiden voyage -- is that it's very conservative," says Rasche. "I'm surprised at people's willingness to go ahead with this, because it makes a strong statement. I think there's room for it on TV." Rasche -- who insists Sledge Hammer! is not a star vehicle but an ensemble piece -- has paid his dues in Chicago's famous improvisational troupe Second City, in New York Theatre and in TV guest spots. After holding out from a regular role on a TV series, he committed to this one because "I appreciated what the show had to say. It can be a good time poking a little fun at some of the things we have actually been taking seriously. The danger is that the show might be enjoyed for the wrong reasons. It's inevitable that some people won't get the joke, but you can't not do it for that reason." The show couldn't be in a worse time slot: on Friday nights, competing with Dallas and Miami Vice. But Sledge Hammer! offers an intelligent alternative: comedy at its very best.
[Picture of Sledge holding "INSPECTOR S.F. POLICE" badge. Caption reads: "Rasche reports that behind the scenes "everyone knows this is something weird and different."]