Deemed as “perhaps the world’s most tasteless situation comedy” by television historian Marian Calabro, Heil Honey I’m Home became famous for a number of reasons, though none of them good. Geoff Atkinson, formerly a main writer for Spitting Image, he teamed up with British Satellite Broadcasting channel Galaxy (similar to UK channel GOLD, playing classic shows while also making their own programming) in 1990 to create a new sitcom. After airing just a single episode, the show was then cancelled after garnering a huge amount of controversy (come on, it had Hitler in it! Did they not even think about this?). Made to look like a classic American sitcom, Heil Honey I’m Home was to be a British take on a formula that had worked for years. Unfortunately, the idea of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun living next door to a Jewish couple didn’t really win people over. So, I will now watch this show and see where it goes.
The show starts with a message to make it look like a “lost sitcom” from the US. Set in Berlin. We first meet Hitler (as played by Neil McCaul, sadly he hasn’t had much of a leading role following from this) whose first line is the title of the show, and Eva (DeNica Fairman, had a few acting credits but hasn’t seen much activity since 2006) with both of them speaking with a more American accent instead of trying to mock the German. Hitler, after trying to be nice to Eva, tells her he has Neville Chamberlain coming for dinner (and makes mention to planning an invasion of Poland). They mention they’re nosy neighbours the Goldensteins! Arny and Rosa Goldenstein (Gareth Marks and Caroline Gruber) are a moany couple. They discuss the life of their relative Ruth, they bicker about everything and Arny likes to think he is Jackie Mason. When Hitler and Eva are planning the drink, Hitler tells Eva to not tell Rosa Goldenstein about the visit. So, what do you think she is going to do? Well, I can honestly say that I have probably smiled a few times, but nothing much to really chuckle about.
Eva lets slip about the visit, and it is done in an excruciating way! Then an even worse game of charades is given to actually tell Rosa who the visitor is. Rosa looks to then set Ruth up with Neville Chamberlain and do this while both Goldenstein’s attend Hitler’s home without an invite. Hitler argues with Eva with the fact the Goldenstein’s know they have a special guest coming. To get them out of their home, Hitler and Eva plan on getting the neighbour’s drunk to get them out of the house before Chamberlain actually gets there. Hitler goes to collect Neville Chamberlain while Eva attempts to get the Goldenstein’s out of the house. Then, the legendary Patrick Cargill arrives as Chamberlain, and the first thing he does is tells a joke. “What do you call a bear with three balaclavas on? Anything you like because he can’t hear you”. The jokes are also about with the “funny walk” of the Nazi army. Chamberlain joins in with the Goldenstein’s and actually does a sing-song with them. Eva convinces Hitler to embrace the situation with the drunken Goldenstein’s in his home to show he is a down-to-earth guy. While Chamberlain calls Hitler a naughty boy for his activity in Europe (well, naughty might be a bit light!). Chamberlain presents the ‘Peace For Our Time’ agreement in hopes to prevent WW2, which Hitler then just hides it away. Then if random is what you wanted, a conga line begins with the line “I came, I saw, I conquered”, then you get to see Ruth meeting Mr Chamberlain in yet another cringe-worthy moment. Then, as Arty looks for some food, he finds the hidden agreement which sees bad blood between Chamberlain and Hitler as the Goldenstein’s reveal to Chamberlain about Hitler’s army and all his tanks and plans. Hitler then signs the agreement and says “and now, am I a nice Fuhrer or what?”. This ends with Chamberlain happy and he takes Ruth for the date. Everything between Hitler and Eva are shown as good and happy in the end.
Well, that was the first time I watched that show. I will admit, it was a bit funny in places (very few and far between places). The jokes are mostly flat, the characterisations are just 100% different to the real life counterparts and it begs the question as to who decided this was a good show to commission? I feel bad for all involved in that production, some of them seemed to be great actors and you do feel that this did very much kill any career for them going forward. Is the show offensive? I think it is very much awkward, it plays on horrible perceptions and the cheap attempt at laughs and humour is just awful. Plus, the idea of making Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun your typical couple is almost sickening, with the Nazi jokes shoehorned in to bad effect. What would I like to see? I would like to see Neil McCaul given one more shot at a lead role, he had a certain amount of charisma and charm behind him, and it went into the wrong project. Have you ever seen Heil Honey I’m Home? Well, the full episode is on YouTube and you can watch it here!
Final Rating: For the acting: 4/10. The Laughs: 2/10. The re-watchability: Just don’t watch it again, once is enough for anyone!
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove