Trust Me! I Know What I’m Doing! (Writer’s Workshop)

One of the reasons I love Mary so much is that she understands my sense of humor. At first, she didn’t get it, but it progressed swiftly from her understanding my jokes to telling my jokes to thinking like me.

One of the areas where she demonstrates this is TV shows. I was on the road one week, and when I called home she said, “There’s this show you just have to see!” The next week, when I was home, we watched it together, and she was right. The show?

Sledge Hammer!

The show starred David Rasche as Sledge Hammer (son of Jack and Armen), a not-too-bright and borderline psychotic police detective who carried a .44 Magnum (which he named Gun and to which he would talk on occasion). Sledge was based on Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” character and was created by producer and director Alan Spencer. Evidently, when Spencer first shared the idea with network executives, they all rejected it, one going so far as to ask Spencer to get a psychological evaluation. However, after the executives saw the last Dirty Harry movie (1983’s Sudden Impact), they thought it might find an audience.

Sledge’s partner was a woman named Dori Doreau, played by the beautiful Anne-Marie Martin, wife (now ex-) of Michael Crichton. She was the more sensible of the two of them, although shortly into the pilot episode she showed she could be just as crazy and violent as her partner. Their long-suffering and often-exasperated boss was Captain Trunk, played by Harrison Page, who would later play Rear Admiral Morris, a military judge, on the show JAG.

Originally, Sledge’s catchphrase was “I’m crazy, but I know what I’m doing!” ABC, the network that bought the show, balked at that, so it was changed to “Trust me, I know what I’m doing!” When he’d say that line, often along with drawing his pistol, you knew he didn’t know what he was doing, and the result was going to be disastrous. He never actually shot anyone, except for once, and that was off-camera and was said to be “an accident.”

Some of the humor of the show came from references to other shows and places. For example, in one show they had to solve the murders of Elvis impersonators, so Sledge enrolls himself in the Famous Elvis Impersonators’ School. This was accompanied by a slide featuring The University of Chicago with the caption “Famous Elvis Impersonators’ School.” On another episode, there was the following exchange between Sledge and Dori:

Sledge: When am I on?
Dori: You follow a guy from Dallas & precede a guy from Miami.
Sledge: Between Dallas & Miami… what a terrible place to be!

This was a reference to the show’s time slot, opposite CBS’s Dallas and NBC’s Miami Vice.

The show lasted two years and was nominated for a Golden Globe. Ms. Martin retired from acting shortly after to raise and show Icelandic horses, but Rasche and Page are still working and evidently good friends.

Many episodes of the show can be found on YouTube. I think you’ll find them funny. Trust me.

(Kat’s prompt was “Write a blog post inspired by the word: trust,” though I don’t think this was what she had in mind…)