On the 30th of September 1990 British Satellite Broadcasting’s premier entertainment channel Galaxy broadcast ‘Heil Honey, I’m Home’ a show the Historian Marian Calabro described as “perhaps the world’s most tasteless situation comedy”¹.
The show itself was a parody of three camera American sitcoms of the 1950s, think ‘I Love Lucy’, with the twist that the main characters were Adolf Hitler and Eva Broun. A title card claimed that the show was based on rediscovered tapes of a lost American sitcom, and viewers then followed the misadventures of Hitler and Eva as they prepared for a visit from Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister in 1937, and bickered with their Jewish neighbours Arny and Rosa Goldenstein.
‘Heil Honey, I’m Home’ was written by Geoff Atkinson, best known for his work with Rory Bremner, and was broadcast as part of a series of one off pilot episodes. Only the one episode was broadcast although that isn’t the whole story.
Immediately after broadcast the show was criticised for it’s trivialisation of the Holocaust and Hitler generally. While other comedies, such as ‘`allo `allo’, set in WW2 featured Nazi characters they were for the most part the bad guys, ‘Heil Honey, I’m Home’ set up a situation where you are supposed to root for Adolf over Arny. Hitler was not only the star he was the good guy.
So of course after the pilot aired the show was nipped in the bud?
Actually no. BSB commissioned 10 episodes from Noel Gay Television and planned to broadcast a full series on Galaxy the following year. The series would feature a story arc where Hitler and Eva come up with ever more bizarre ways of killing the Goldensteins with out them knowing. All ten episodes of the series were filmed, completed and delivered.
However British Satellite Broadcasting were taken over by Rupert Murdoch’s Sky and the new company BSkyB changed direction Galaxy came to an end and every show commissioned for it was cancelled. That wasn’t quite the end of ‘Heil Honey, I’m Home’ the completed series was offered to Channel 4 who declined to broadcast it, and ‘Father Ted’ co creator Arthur Matthews states that he was sent a copy of the entire series by the production company on the audio commentary for the ‘Father Ted’ episode ‘Are you right there, Father Ted?’
Is ‘Heil Honey, I’m Home’ the worst sitcom ever? It is offensive for the sake of being offensive, the parody of old American sitcoms looks dated, and the jokes don’t land. While shows like ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ are sometimes excused as being of their time, ‘Heil Honey I’m Home’ was wrong on every level, and however bad modern one joke sitcoms can be, none are as bad as ‘Heil Honey, I’m Home.’
¹’Zap!: A brief history of television’ Marian Calabro, Four Winds Press, 1992 pg. 150