“Heil Honey, I’m Home”

Posted: October 10, 2012 by S. Trevor Swenson in Entertainment, Observations
Tags: , , , , , , ,

See? Creepy and strange doesn’t equal funny, people!

Sometimes when I am feeling bitter (which in my most conservative estimate is 80-85% of the time on any given day) I look up things like “Least Funny Comedian” or “Worst Comedy of All Time”. As a decidedly unsuccessful comedy writer it makes me feel better in an odd way. Plus, being a pop culture junkie, I am always thrilled to chime in with my 2 cents of commentary. Today while browsing through the ranks of the painfully un-funny, hoping to read some clever reviews about the abysmal NBC show Wings, which despite being sandwiched between the most successful shows on the network was completely unwatchable, I came across an English TV show in that aired in 1990 called “Heil Honey, I’m Home”.

The premise? Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun living in the suburbs, next door to a Jewish couple. Hilarity ensues.

I’m going to repeat that because I feel it requires repeating. A television program…in 1990…called “Heil Honey, I’m Home“… The premise of this sitcom is Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun living in the suburbs next door to a Jewish couple.

Someone thought this was a good idea for a comedy and they wrote it down…then someone else thought it was a good enough idea to make into a television show. I’m a little more willing to give the directors, actors, actresses, camera people etc. a pass, as work in the industry can be very sporadic at best. Impending bills and empty stomachs will often trump unbelievably bad taste.

Now, I love bad taste. I think getting away with bad taste in film, literature, art or any other medium; takes a very specific talent. Director John Waters is the master of this. Waters got Divine; a 300 lb drag queen to eat a dog grumpy in a film, and (some) people called it art. I think bad taste is a ‘bend, but don’t break’ kind of thing. It’s safe to say the “Heil Honey, I’m Home” breaks in spectacular fashion.

 

Wow. . . Just . . Eerrrr . . . WOW.

 

I almost hate to say it, but “Heil Honey I’m Home” gets my creative juices flowing. After discovering its existence and watching about 17 seconds of the first (and thankfully last) episode, so many scenarios came to mind. 17 seconds was about all I could take. The acting and writing was almost as bad the plot. Somehow “laugh track” and “Nazi” don’t really belong in the same sentence.

I can just picture a struggling actor calling his parents about his big break.

“Mum, I got the lead in a new show that’s going to be on telly.”
“Oh, I’m so happy for you dear. I knew you’d find something. You were always so talented.”
“Oh Mum, if this show takes off, I wont have to wait tables anymore. I can pay back all the money you and dad have lent me…”
“Tell me all about the show, dear.”
“I’m playing Adolf Hitler.”
“Hitler? Is it a miniseries about the war?”
“No mum…it’s a sit-com.”
Pause
“Mum? Are you still there?”
“Let me put your father on, dear.”

I also pictured the pitch meeting. A successful and busy producer’s office. A nervous young writer waiting to see him. This could be his big break. The producer’s secretary answers the phone. “Mr. Goldstein will see you now.” The writer enters the inner office carrying a script in a binder. The producer sits behind a massive desk puffing away at a cigar. His walls are adorned with posters for the massively successful shows he has and is currently producing. He motions for the writer to take a seat.

“Alright, Snodgrass..I’m a busy man, you’ve got 30 seconds…tell me about this show of yours.”
“Well JG, it’s a sit com.”
“Uh huh.”
“Two couples, living next door to each other in the suburbs and their love/hate relationship.”
“I like it so far.”
“Now, here’s the kicker JG.”
“Sock it to me..”
“The two couples are Adolph Hitler, Eva Braun…and … wait for it… living next to …a Jewish couple.”

Silence. The producer stares at the young writer for the longest 10 seconds in his life, then rising slowly he reaches for his cigar box and offers the writer one before sitting back down and leaning back in his chair as he shouts “I love it! Tell me more!” He leans over his desk and pushes the office intercom. “Ms. Price, hold my meetings and see what directors are available to start shooting next week.” Given the scale of even small television productions, it’s a safe bet that there were 50 or 60 people who were hoping that “Heil Honey I’m Home” would last at least one full season.

“Isn’t life swell, dear? “
“It sure is, hon.”

The show was initially supposed to be a spoof on 1950’s squeaky clean American family comedies like “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It To Beaver”. This got me thinking about what sort of theme song and opening credits the show would have. They could start with stark black and white footage of Stuka dive bombers and goose-stepping German soldiers set to very dark music by Wagner, then cut to a bright, color exterior of a little yellow house with Adolph Hitler mowing the lawn using an old fashion push mower and muttering to himself. The music changes to an upbeat accordion Oom- Pah- Pah Bavarian-Polka type tune.

Announcer’s deep baritone voice: “Heil Honey, I’m Home! Starring Joesef Kantactfurshit…Karla Kuntbagg, David Hasselhoff aaaaaand Shecky Wunderschwanz as Hitler.”

As the announcer speaks, a beach ball falls in Hitler’s yard. Hitler picks up the ball and glares over at his next door neighbors. A young Jewish man wearing a yarmulke and an early 1900’s bathing suit beckons for him to throw the ball back. He is standing in a shallow kid’s pool. Hitler goosesteps over to his front porch and punctures the ball on a World War One German helmet’s spike. The helmet is a matching set that is hung upside down and being used as flower pots full of daises. Upon seeing his ball punctured, the Jewish neighbor shakes his fist at Hitler. Eva Braun comes outside and waves to the Jewish man’s wife who is also coming outside carrying a tray of lemonade and sandwiches. Or, while we’re being all disgusting and anti-Semitic here, a tray heaping with lox and bagels.

The rest of the opening credits could include a montage of wacky, slapstick clips like Hitler coming out of the kitchen covered in soap suds from the inevitable “Husband and Wife switch roles and husband is clueless” episode.

Announcer: Sponsored by…Volkswagen!… and Manischewitz Matzo Meal.

Somehow, I am picturing Adolph and his Jewish neighbor being frenemies…like Mr. Rush and Munroe in “Too Close For Comfort” or George Jefferson and Tom Willis on “The Jeffersons”. The Jewish neighbors could have a rambunctious little boy who is always tormenting Hitler. Perhaps a cute running gag like the little boy always getting his name wrong. Hitler was also a strict vegetarian and took several medications for excessive flatulence. Another running gag. If it wasn’t so repugnant, this show would practically write itself.

“Hi Mr. Tilter.”
“Ze name ees Hit-ler, HIT-ler, vare ist your fadder?”
“He’s at work Mr. Pitler.”
“Ach yes, ze accounting…teepical Jewish proveshun.”
“Eva, get zis child avay from me.”
“What’s that smell Mr. Shitler? It smells like broccoli and poopie.”
“EVA, GET ZIS CHILD AVAY FROM ME!!!”

Only one episode of the show aired, which is certainly one episode too many. Seven shows were shot. It makes me wonder if the producer tried to plead his case that “the show was just beginning to hit its stride” or “The Battle of Britain Holiday Special is coming up.” or “Maybe if we started adding weekly guest stars…can you see Meatloaf as Goering?”

I think I’ll go take a shower now.

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