DVD-R Hell - Heil Honey, I'm Home
May 19, 2011
Brad Jones: Tell me if this is a good idea for a series: a 1950's-style sitcom starring Hitler and Eva Braun, who live in a suburban household next to their Jewish neighbors. Are you kidding me? It's a great idea! Not for a television series, but for an episode of my DVD-R Hell show.
[Image of the Wikipedia page for "Television series cancelled after the first episode".]
Brad (vo): There have been a handful of shows that were cancelled after the airing of only one episode. [title card for...] The 1969 show Turn-On was discontinued by affiliates mid-way through its first broadcast. [promo shot for Emily's Reasons Why Not] Some of the other one-episode-wonder series include [pictures come up as he lists them] the Brian Bosworth show Lawless, Boscho's Public Morals, South of Sunset starring Glenn Frey, and several reality shows that I really don't give a shit about. [footage of...] But it was the 1990 Galaxy British television series Heil Honey, I'm Home that proved arguably to be the most controversial of them all.
Brad: I can't imagine why.
[Footage of ending credits for "Dad's Army"]
Brad (vo): At the start of the DVD we catch the tail end of whatever was being aired right beforehand. If you wanna know why these actors look disturbed and senile, it's because their show was the warm-up act for [opening credits for...] Heil Honey, I'm Home. And pay attention to these actors' names, by the way, because after this series, it's highly likely they used an alias for the rest of their careers.
Brad: Well, regardless of whether the show is good or bad, it can still have a catchy theme song. So what's this one like?
["Heil" title card in Germanic font as sprightly opening music starts.]
Singers: Heil, honey/Heil, honey/Heil, honey/Heil, honey/Heil, honey/Hello/I'm home-
Brad: Not instantly forgettable, I guess. [scratches his head] I don't think I'll be using that one as the theme to any one of my shows.
["Heil" footage of Hitler entering a 50's-style house to canned audience applause]
Hitler: Heil honey, I'm home! [canned laughter]
Brad: Hey, congrats, they have a title! And it's still nothing more than just a really stupid pun.
[Eva Braun enters in a frilly apron]
Brad (vo): This is Hitler and Eva Braun, as if I had to introduce them. Isn't it obvious who they are?
Hitler: You must be very mad at me, honey. I'm a very, very, bad Hitler.
Brad: (awkward laugh) Becase he killed millions of people.
Brad (vo): Also, what accent is he using?
Hitler: Eva, babe, please! I'm the Fuhrer. I'm a busy man, I can't just walk off the job at five o'clock.
Brad (vo): He sounds like the offspring of Kramden and a weinerschnitzel. Right off the bat, we pick up on what is going to be the entirety of this show- World War II injokes.
Eva: On Monday, you had to meet with Goebbels, on Tuesday, Von Rippentrop, on Wednesday, Klaus Katzenjammer-
Brad: I hate it when shows name-drop.
Brad (vo): Hitler and Eva argue back and forth like they're in a sitcom, a sitcom starring a genocidal dictator.
Hitler: Aw, c'mon, honey, don't get sauer.
Eva: And don't think you can smooch-rau me like that, Adolf Hitler!
Brad: So, how much longer 'til they kill themselves?
Brad: (vo) At least they get along sometimes.
Hitler: Here comes the tickle monster.
Eva (giggles): Oh, you!
Brad: If you're trying to get me to like Hitler...it's not working.
Brad: (vo) A majority of the episode's plot has to do with Hitler anticipating the arrival of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. That, and being annoyed by his neighbors, wait for it- the Goldensteins!
Eva: What is it, honey?
Hitler: It's the Goldensteins!
Brad: They say this show was cancelled for being in poor taste. I'm not seeing it.
Hitler: When I finally get to invade Poland, who will be the first know? The Poles? No, Rosa Goldenstein!
Brad: Right, nothing says comedy like Kristallnacht.
Brad (vo): The Goldensteins, by the way, are your typical retro sitcom neighbors, that would have been perfectly happy living next to the Ochmonecks or the Jeffersons.
Rosa: Arnie Goldenstein, you are a slob! Whatever happened to the glamor? Where did the romance go?
Arnie: How do I know where you put things? I can't even find my shirts.
Brad (vo): This scene is succeeding at making me think [promotional photo for...] The Ropers could have been worse. Hitler, meanwhile, is trying to keep things under wraps about Chamberlain.
Eva/Hitler: Don't tell Rosa Goldenstein!
Brad (awkward laugh): Because he hates the Jews.
Brad (vo): Eva's got more important things to worry about, though, like the meatloaf.
Eva: So do you think just about the most important person in Europe would like my meatloaf? Me and by big mouth! Adolf will kill me!
Brad: Not if you kill yourself first.
Brad (vo): But before long, Eva spills the beans about Chamberlain in the form of charades.
Rosa: Uh, Beffel, Cheffel, Revel, uh, Neville- oh! Neville! Wait, I know who this is!
Brad (vo): What, you don't know the answer? Clearly it's classic character actor Neville Brand from [photo from...] That Darn Cat. Rosa herself now has to promise not to talk about Chamberlain.
Rosa: Just tell me, honey.
Eva (doing Heil salute): Swear to it?
Rosa (briefly doing the same...yeah): Swear and promise, may retribution curse my lips, and may all my children not marry someone in the professional classes! (spits)
Brad: I don't know what to say about that. Whenever I feel this uncomfortable, I just turn to classic Donald Duck cartoons for relief.
[footage from "Der Fuerher's Face" of Donald putting together bombs and saluting several Hitler portraits]
Donald: Heil Hilter! Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler!-
Brad (awkward chuckle): Thank you. Even that made me feel a little bit better.
Brad (vo): Things start getting really wacky when Rosa finds out Chamberlain is single, so she and Mr. Goldenstein agree to set up Neville with their niece Ruth, who has been living with them. Oh, nice sweater, Adolf. It's true what they say: when you dress Hitler up in a nice sweater, he's still fucking Adolf Hitler. This whole show is like looking into Norman Lear's fever dreams. When the Goldensteins arrive at Hitler's dinner, he becomes afraid Rosa knows of Chamberlain's visit. You know, it's not like this show is taking place in any realistic form of history. What's it matter if she does know?
Rosa: You don't know Neville Chamberlain is coming here to Germany?
Hitler (facing camera): She knows!
Brad: (awkward chuckle) Huh, that's something I've always wanted to see- Hitler breaking the fourth wall.
Eva: This is what we do: we get the Goldensteins tipsy so they fall asleep, and then we can bundle them back to their apartment! What could be simpler?
Hitler: The dummy who thought of it.
Eva: You've got any other plans?
Hitler: Yeah! We go in there and we punch their heads together! (Heil salute turns into an awkward wave to the Goldensteins)
Brad: (awkward laugh) That looked like a Nazi salute!
Brad (vo): This show hasn't name-dropped in a while. Let's remedy that.
Hitler (on phone): Hi, Hitler here...no, Bob Hitler, who do you think? Oh, it's you, Joe. (to others) Joe Goebbels.
Rosa: Hi, Joe.
Brad: Oh, Josef Goebbels, the Reich Minister of Propaganda who advocated the speedy procedure of the Final Solution. Oh, this is gonna be zany!
Brad (vo): Goebbels has Chamberlain held up at the airport, which Hitler has to take care of, leaving his neighbor to act drunk. [which includes dancing with a doily on his head.]
Arnie: No, it's not a monkey.
Rosa: (drunk laughing) It's Ruth!
Arnie: It's not Ruth. It's your mother.
Brad (vo): A sitcom character who hates his mother-in-law? Haven't seen that before. How can a sitcom about Hitler still be a freaking cliche? Soon after, Hitler arrives with Chamberlain. Apparently they came from the Ministry of Silly Walks.
Brad: I don't know what's worse, the World War II puns, or Chamberlain singing "I'm A Little Teapot".
[Cut to, yes, Chamberlain doing exactly that before Hitler pulls him into the kitchen.]
Brad (vo): After that comedic interval, it's down to business as Chamberlain wants Hitler to agree not to invade Europe.
Chamberlain: It's just that I feel, well, well, we all feel, that you have been rather a naughty boy. All this Czechoslovakia nonsense.
Hitler: Aw, c'mon, Neville, I was just having fun.
Brad (awkward laugh): Yeah, like when you had 1300 Czechs executed.
Brad: (vo) The Goldenstein's niece Ruth comes to the party, and she and Chamberlain seem to hit it off.
Ruth: I ain't dating at the moment.
Chamberlain: Oh. (laugh) Oh dear.
Brad (vo): But it gets a little awkward when Chamberlain finds out Hitler has been hiding his plans to invade Europe all along.
Chamberlain: You are mad, that's what you are, you are raving mad. No, don't try and deny it- you are a very, very naughty little Hitler.
Brad: Yes, he's naughty. Calling Hitler naughty is like calling Gacy finicky.
Brad (vo): But to save face with Chamberlain, Hitler signs the peace agreement, and all ends happily with Hitler and Eva.
Brad: Because if there's one story that I wanted to have a happy ending...it's one starring Hitler and Eva Braun.
Hitler: You're living with one slick Fuerher here.
Eva: Oh, Mr. Sausage!
Brad (vo): Never thought I'd see that, someone calling Hitler "Mr. Sausage". ["Heil" end credits] And thus ends the only time this series would ever air.
Brad: I'm not saying that Nazis or Hitler himself should never be satirized or put in some kind of comedic light. I get it, the show is a parody. It's just not a very good one.
[footage of programs as he talks about them]
Brad (vo): Look at classics like The Producers, or The Great Dictator, or even sketches on Monty Python. Those were clever, those were smart. This show is really, really stupid. Maybe as a five-minute sketch this could have worked, Hitler in a 50's-style sitcom, but whoever thought that comedically this one-joke premise could have lasted an entire series. Forget controversy for one second. With its constant puns, historical name-dropping, this was a joke that got really old, really fast. Even though only one episode aired, a few more were actually filmed and never saw the light of day, not even on a bootleg.
Brad: So would it be a good thing if these tapes were released? [beat of thought] Yeah! We already know what they've done, why hide it? And I don't like the idea of something exisiting if I can't get a copy of it.
[End credits to the "Heil" theme song.]