Short-lived ’80s sitcom or cheesy Cleveland heavy-metal band? Actually, “Slap Maxwell” was both, but for our purposes, let’s focus on Slap the sitcom.
The show starred Dabney Coleman as an egotistical sportswriter at a southwestern newspaper called The Ledger. Slap, who penned a column titled “Slap Shots,” was especially adept at pissing off his readers, subjects and beleaguered editor, Nelson Kruger.
So insufferable was Maxwell that, as the program’s opening showed, he was always getting, well, slapped–by a nun, an angry athlete or the random reader. With Coleman’s trademark miscreant characterization (similar to his earlier Buffalo Bill cad), the series’ solid writing and a fine supporting cast, Slap had an almost Archie Bunker-like appeal. But unlike Archie, who had moments of warm fuzziness, Slap was all bravado all the time. In short, he was a grade-A ass without apparent redeeming qualities.
The show wasn’t a total loss for Coleman–he won the 1988 Golden Globe. Oh, and he does have that hardcore metal band thing going for him.
USA / ABC – Slap Happy / 22×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 23 September 1987 – 14 September 1988
DABNEY COLEMAN as ‘Slap’ Maxwell
SUSAN ANSPACH as Annie Maxwell
MEGAN GALLAGHER as Judy Ralston
BILL COBBS as The Dutchman
BRIAN SMIAR as Nelson Kruger
BILL CALVERT as Charlie Wilson