Show of the Day: Heil Honey, I’m Home

2 Sep

From the title, even if you didn’t have the picture, you could pretty much guess that it was a show about Hitler.  For whatever else you can say, it was certainly daring of anybody, even almost fifty years after World War II, to make a show about Hitler, mockery, satirical or not. I suppose in an abstract way I appreciate the willingness to push the bounds.  For whatever else, the appearance of Hitler as a main character also probably meant the show was ill-fated from the start, and frankly it’s amazing that an episode even made it on the air, especially in Britain which felt the effects of Hitler’s Germany much more than the United States.  The show just lasted an episode before it was pulled for good.

The premise was that Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun were a highly domestic couple living next door to a Jewish couple (Arny and Rosa Goldenstein, I kid you not), leading to awkward relations between them.  In the one episode that ever aired, Neville Chamberlain and his wife are arriving for a dinner party at Hitler’s.  Hitler begs his wife to hide the party from the Goldensteins, but, of course, it slips out, and the Goldensteins crash the dinner, leading to all manner of wacky hijinks.

The program attempted to skate controversy by portraying a foolish, absurdly silly Hitler, in the spirit of The Producers, The Great Dictator, or the Nazis in Hogan’s Heroes.  Its gimmick (as if starring Hitler wasn’t enough) was that it was a show from the ‘50s recently discovered, filmed in black and white, and in the style of I Love Lucy, or The Honeymooners.  It was supposed to lampoon that sort of canned comedy between husband and wife.

I thought this premise sounded so absurd and ridiculous that I explained it to everyone I met when I found out about it a couple of years ago.  I got together a bunch of friends and put it on.  I expected it to be bad, but bad in an enjoyable way.  It wasn’t.  It was just bad.  We watched for about five minutes and then lost all interest.  We didn’t even see a point in finishing the episode.

It’s worth talking quickly here about a show or movie being bad.  It’s not enough to describe something as bad.  There are levels of bad.  There’s bad, like Two and a Half Men, bad.    It’s not good by any means, but it’s not incredibly cringeworthy (usually) and it’s more or less tolerable, if stupid, for a couple of minutes.  There’s so bad it’s funny, such as many Mystery Science Theater 3000 movies, like Reefer Madness and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.  Even lower than so bad it’s funny is simply so bad it’s bad, so bad that you can’t even enjoy reveling in its badness, you’d rather simply be doing almost anything else than watch.  That’s Heil Honey, I’m Home.  Even with all its gimmicks, it, a show about Hitler in the style of a ‘50s sitcom, still couldn’t manage to be funny bad, and that’s maybe the most impressive thing.

That said, the first episode is entirely on Youtube if you want to try it for yourself.

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