To paraphrase master satirist Stan Freberg’s ad line for Hogan’s Heroes let me just say “If you liked World War Two you’ll LOVE Heil Honey, I’m Home! The premise of this study in cosmic-level bad taste makes it sound like a comedy sketch lampooning the staggering callousness of television executives. Or maybe like a Springtime For Hitler– style moment from a satire on television’s desperation for getting ratings through calculated outrageousness.
Unfortunately this program was an honest-to-God attempt at launching a sitcom in the U.K. in 1990. Eight episodes were filmed but after the pilot aired for this failed attempt at dark comedy the ensuing outcry ensured the show’s immediate cancellation.
This one-shot wonder was a self-styled “Hitcom”, the producer’s technical term for “Hitler comedy” as opposed to “Sitcom” for Situation Comedy. Are you laughing yet? Heil Honey, I’m Home! depicted Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun as a typical apartment-dwelling couple in 1938 Berlin putting up with the standard sitcom trope of annoying neighbors … in the form of Jewish couple Arny and Rosa Goldenstein. Are you laughing now?
Heil Honey, I’m Home was presented as a bizarre parody of 1950’s sitcoms complete with an annoying laugh track going nuts at the lamest jokes. Adolf and Eva plus Arny and Rosa had characteristics of the Kramdens and Nortons from The Honeymooners as well as the Ricardos and Mertzes from I Love Lucy.
Hitler cum Ralph Kramden is planning to put on a good show for his “business guest” Neville Chamberlain at dinner but the darn Goldenstein’s crash the dinner party and try to fix Neville up with Ruth, one of Rosa’s frumpy relatives.
In the end the Goldenstein’s get drunk, Chamberlain is fooled into thinking Adolf will be “a good little Fuhrer” (Are you laughing yet?) and Ruth plans a movie date with Neville before he leaves.
As the episode comes to a close Adolf and Eva embrace and in lieu of “Baby, yer the GREATEST” Adolf calls her his “hootchie koochie girl” and she calls him her “little sausage man”. SURELY you’re laughing now, right?
Some people try to defend this puppy as a coal-black parody of suburban sitcoms from the 50’s but even that excuse is pretty lame. I already acknowledged that in the proper context it would be funny but ONLY if the point is to ridicule tasteless television programming.
Since HHIH was slated to be a running series any justification along those lines won’t hold up. And even if it had been just a one-shot bit in a larger satirical story it STILL would just be a quasi-imitation of the Springtime For Hitler parody from The Producers.
To be anywhere close to original a one-shot sketch would have to have been something like All In The Manson Family and feature Charles Manson and his “family” dealing with their neighbors Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. The synopsis could have been “While Roman feuds with their new neighbors the Mansons Sharon tries to break the news to him that she’s pregnant.”
But I repeat, EVEN for that not to be irredeemably tasteless and callous it would have to be part of a work savaging the entertainment industry. Heil Honey, I’m Home! was trying to become PART of the entertainment industry.
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