It’s not as if comedies based around the Nazis are that unusual. The Producers, Allo Allo, Hogan’s Heroes, the list is endless. Many of them are now considered classics in the history of comedy.
And then there’s Heil Honey, I’m Home!
For those of you with taste, Heil Honey, I’m Home! (HHiH) is a sitcom broadcast on British TV in 1990. The main characters are fictionalised versions of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun; who also happen to live next door to a married Jewish couple called Arny and Rosa Goldenstein.
Bad shit crazy or what?
Personally, and this may be my Family Guy-addled mind talking, but I don’t think it was too bad of an idea. Conflict is the very basis of great comedy; and having history’s most memorable anti-Semite live next door to the very people he hates could have been ripe for gut-busting hilarity.
The pedigree behind the show was not to be sniffed at either. Geoff Atkinson (who would go on to write 40 episodes of Spitting Image) had already made a decent name for himself writing for the Two Ronnies and Rory Bremner.
And the music! While not as accomplished as anything heard in The Producers, I do find the actual theme song of HHiH to be rather snappy with its upbeat melody. Accompanied by a nifty animated intro, if anything it’s a great reminder of the classic 60s shows that it seeks to emulate; such as Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie.
Unfortunately audiences of the 90s would never see it as it was only scheduled to be broadcast for the episodes after the pilot. And piling on top of that misfortune is the fact that the theme song was pretty much the only entertaining thing about this show.
But don’t take my word for it! Have a watch for yourself.
If you’d like to watch one interrupted video, click here. Below is embedded the same episode split in 3, but in a much higher quality.
It’s clear that the show was meant to be some form of satire of the old 1950s sitcoms (Atkinson even confirms this), but it’s satire in its laziest form. Canned laughter, over-enthusiastic applause and out of date mother-in-law jokes are just a few of the dead tropes dug up for this 25 minute funeral.
I feel that part of the problem also lays in the fact that by using Hitler as a major character there’s a (not unreasonable) expectation that Hitler will be made fun off. But because HHiH is more about making fun of sitcom tropes, the Hitler aspects come off as rather pointless.
Though to be fair, it’s not every day you get to see Adolf Hitler and Neville Chamberlain dance a conga line!
The British Jewish community, as you might expect, didn’t exactly warm to the show. Hayim Pinner, the Secretary General of the Board of Deputies of British Jews (now that’s a job title!) said of the show:
Anything that trivialises Hitler is to be deplored. Someone who caused so much human misery and grief is not really a fit subject for humour and trivialisation.
I must be honest though. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing the remaining episodes; mostly for historical curiosity rather than for any comedic value. While only one episode was broadcast it seems that a total of eight were recorded; with a season-long arc in which Adolf and Eva try to kill their Jewish neighbours. (which would have been… My God, I can’t even imagine.)
In the end I do still think HHiH is a pretty good idea. It just would be better suited to a five minute sketch or short animated interludes in another show. But in the pursuit of a long running weekly show, this was never going to be a hit.