In 1990, a British television channel thought it would be a great idea to parody the typical spousal sitcoms like I Love Lucy with Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. They live next door to an annoying Jewish couple, the wife of which Braun gossips with but the husband a mortal enemy of Hitler’s. Not surprisingly, they received complaints after only one episode and the series was yanked off the air immediately; ironic given its gimmick premise of being a "lost" 50's American sitcom unearthed from a Burbank backlot.
Heil, Honey I’m Home!, with its cheery theme tune, is a comedy of contradictions. It’s not an absurdist parallel history where Hitler and Braun are living peacefully in a suburban lodge. It’s Munich, 1938, Hitler is ruler of Germany and lives in a downtown flat where he conducts business with mistress Eva Braun. At the time, he's in the process of taking over Sudetenland and has threatened to invade Czechoslovakia. All of which are true to life and horrifying, but the show treats it all as the wacky frolics of a bumbling patriarch, complete with canned laughter, unwarranted audience applause and slapstick hijinks.
The plot of the pilot is based on the famous Munich Agreement signed by Hitler and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. Instead of a serious political meeting, however, it's depicted as an important dinner party. Imagine the familiar sitcom episode where the dad's boss is coming over for dinner and the dad is freaking out for the family to behave, but instead of dad getting a promotion, it's Hitler trying to hide the Third Reich's ambition to take over Europe. To poor Adolf's dismay, Eva blabs and the Goldensteins next door crash the party.
If you remember the short-lived Comedy Central series That's My Bush!, the premise is roughly the same, which is to take political situations and make them goofy and trivial; but while That's My Bush! actually tried to deliver its own jokes, Heil, Honey I'm Home! offers lame ones in order to maintain its gimmick. Maybe it could've worked if there's darker humor at play, but Hitler wishing for more countries to invade is the extent of what's on screen. The implied joke that Adolf's resentment for the Goldensteins is the cause of the Holocaust is morbidly amusing for a second, but it's already present in the pitch and there's not a whole lot more to it.
Heil, Honey I'm Home! is a funny idea, but that idea's endurance is limited to a short film or a sketch at best, so it was probably for its own good that it was canceled after just one episode. This first episode can be found floating around on the internet tubes if you look hard enough. I did.
Watch Out! is a feature on JustPressPlay where Arya Ponto showcases lesser-known, lesser-appreciated and often bizarre small films that are cool and deserve to get some attention. Venture here to see all previous entries.