Heil Honey I'm Home! is a British sitcom, written by Geoff Atkinson and produced in 1990, which was cancelled after one episode. It centres on Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, who live next door to a Jewish couple, Arny and Rosa Goldenstein.[3] The show spoofs elements of mid-20th century American sitcoms and is driven by Hitler's inability to get along with his neighbours. It caused controversy when broadcast and has been called "perhaps the world's most tasteless situation comedy".[4]

Heil Honey I'm Home!
Written byGeoff Atkinson[1]
Directed byJuliet May[1]
  • Neil McCaul
  • DeNica Fairman
  • Maria Friedman
  • Gareth Marks
  • Caspar Constantine
  • Lewis Barratt
  • Thomas Lord
  • Ben Boardman
  • Laura Brattan
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes8 (7 unaired)[1]
Executive producerPaul Jackson[2]
ProducerHarry Waterson[1]
Production companies
Original networkGalaxy[1]
Original release30 September 1990 (1990-09-30)[1]

Premise Edit

The first episode opens with a caption card explaining Heil Honey's fictional back-story, which supposes the rediscovered "lost tapes" of an abandoned, never-aired American sitcom created by "Brandon Thalburg Jnr". Ironically, the real show would suffer a similar fate, as only one episode ever aired of its recorded eight episodes.

In 1938, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun live in Berlin, next door to a Jewish couple, Arny and Rosa Goldenstein.[1] Hitler and Braun have little in common with their historical counterparts, acting more like a stock sitcom husband and wife. Hitler, for example, appears in a golfing sweater and cravat as well as military garb.[5] The Goldensteins are similarly hackneyed characters, with Arny making frequent disparaging comments about his mother-in-law and mockingly performing a Roman salute at one point. The show is a spoof — not of the Third Reich, but of the sort of sitcoms produced in the United States between the 1950s and 1970s "that would embrace any idea, no matter how stupid".[1] In this spirit the title, plot and dialogue are deliberately vapid and corny and characters are applauded whenever they arrive on set.[1] Patterned after I Love Lucy, the actors have New York accents.[3]

Plot of the first episode Edit

The plot of the first episode centres on the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, coming to the Hitler house. Not wanting the Goldensteins to interrupt the visit, Hitler instructs Braun to keep the news from Rosa, which she fails to do. Rosa duly invites herself over with hopes of matching Chamberlain with her dull niece Ruth. Hitler gets the Goldensteins drunk in an attempt to make them leave before Chamberlain arrives, but they stay. Arny and Eva end up leading the visiting Prime Minister in a conga line around the living room while Hitler hides the "peace for our time" agreement in the icebox.

Only the pilot was ever screened,[6] although eleven episodes were planned and eight were recorded[1] in which a story arc involved Hitler's secretive attempts to kill the Goldensteins.[7]

Unlike the pilot episode, the other episodes had animated opening titles, similar in nature to those of Bewitched.[8]

Cast Edit

Production, controversy and cancellation Edit

Ticket to a planned filming of an episode

The programme was written by Geoff Atkinson and commissioned by the satellite television channel Galaxy, part of British Satellite Broadcasting (which later became part of BSkyB). It was shown at 9.30pm on a Sunday,[1] after an episode of Dad's Army. During the credits of Dad's Army, Galaxy's announcer said "And unless Arthur Lowe defeats him, it's the man himself in a few moments in Heil Honey, I'm Home!, as the Galaxy Comedy Weekend continues."[6]

The programme proved controversial, with Hayim Pinner, secretary general of the Board of Deputies of British Jews describing the pilot as "in very bad taste", adding that: "We are against any trivialisation of the Second World War, Hitler or the Holocaust, and this certainly trivialises those things. It's very distasteful and even offensive."[3]

Television historian Marian Calabro described it as "perhaps the world's most tasteless situation comedy".[4] However, some commentators also point out the crassness was intentional, and an element of the parody – among these is David Hawkes, professor of English, who cites Heil Honey, I'm Home! as a "heavy-handed concept", and argues that the show was a failure as a comedy because it "disastrously exceeded" the limits of irony.[11] Even so, the show has reached a level of infamy in which it still gets discussed in incredulous terms on retrospective programmes.[12]

A video from GarethMarks.com, entitled "Comedy Showreel", contains clips from the pilot and unseen episodes.[7][13][14][10] Arthur Mathews has said that the production company sent him a copy of the entire series.[15] The filming of the series was cancelled immediately by Sky (BSkyB) on its acquisition of British Satellite Broadcasting. The show is one of the most controversial programmes ever to have been screened in the UK; it was listed at number 61 on Channel 4's 100 Greatest TV Moments from Hell.[16][17]

Atkinson maintains that the aim of the show was not to shock but to examine the appeasement surrounding Hitler in 1938. He said that the satire of this appeasement did not translate as well as he intended. Discussing the furore around the show, Atkinson has also stated that three quarters of the cast were Jewish and did not consider the concept controversial.[14]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Lewisohn, Mark. "Comedy Guide: Heil Honey I'm Home!". BBC. Archived from the original on 4 April 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2007.
  2. ^ The Rise and Rise of the Independents: A Television History, Ian Potter Guerilla Books, 2008, page 151
  3. ^ a b c The Fuehrer in Britain : New Satellite Service Pins Its Hopes on 'Dangerous' Hitler Sitcom, Jeff Kaye, Los Angeles Times, 23 October 1990
  4. ^ a b Zap! A Brief History of Television, Marian Calabro, Four Winds Press, 1992, (p. 150). ISBN 0027162427
  5. ^ The Listener, Volume 124, BBC, 1990
  6. ^ a b Heil Honey I'm Home Full Uncut Episode, YouTube, 8 May 2012
  7. ^ a b gmomusic (13 June 2016). "Comedy Showreel". Archived from the original on 13 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ Heil Honey I'm Home (Animated Opening Titles) – via YouTube.
  9. ^ "Hitler: The Comedy Years". 10 May 2007 – via www.imdb.com.
  10. ^ a b "VIDEOS". GARETH MARKS official website GMO.
  11. ^ David Hawkes, "British Contemporary Comedy", in Comedy: A Geographic and Historical Guide, edited by Maurice Charney. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005 (p. 197). ISBN 0-313-32714-9
  12. ^ Martin, Laura (28 September 2020). "The long-lost Hitler sitcom that caused outrage". www.bbc.com. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  13. ^ "gmomusic". YouTube.
  14. ^ a b "Heil Honey I'm Home!". curiousbritishtelly.co.uk.
  15. ^ Are You Right There Father Ted? (Commentary Track). Arthur Mathews. Channel 4. 2007 [1998]. Channel 4.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  16. ^ "Heil Honey I'm Home". The British Sitcom Guide. 2007.
  17. ^ "The 100 Greatest TV Moments from Hell". DVDfever.co.uk. 29 October 2000. Archived from the original on 29 October 2000. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 61: Heil Honey I'm Home (BSB, 1990)

External links Edit