Heil Honey I’m Home! was a British sitcom written by Geoff Atkinson and produced in 1990. It was broadcast by the then-young British Satellite Broadcasting Company in 1990 on its Galaxy comedy station.
Groups such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews protested, and Galaxy pulled the program after just one episode.
On September 30, 1990, British Satellite Broadcasting aired a single episode of Heil Honey I’m Home, a Nazi-themed sitcom featuring fictionalized versions of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. They live next door to a Jewish couple, Arny, and Rosa Goldenstein.
The show spoofs elements of mid-20th century American sitcoms and is driven by Hitler’s inability to get along with his neighbors. It caused controversy when broadcast and has been called “perhaps the world’s most tasteless situation comedy.”
In 1938, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun live in Berlin, next door to a Jewish couple, Arny and Rosa Goldenstein. Hitler and Braun have little in common with their historical counterparts, acting more like a stock sitcom husband and wife.
The Hitlers are a typical urban couple, and their biggest challenges are making dinner for British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and surviving the antics of their neighbors.
“The joke is that Adolf Hitler is a fool: the ultimate loser,” Geoff Atkinson told a newspaper back when the show aired. Atkinson created the show and wrote many of the scripts. For years he’s defended his sitcom.
Atkinson mentions Mel Brooks’ The Producers as an inspiration. The 1969 comedy musical involved two scummy theater producers putting on a musical about Hitler. The film won writer and director Mel Brooks an Oscar for best original screenplay.
Atkinson said: “Sometimes you can destroy bullies by laughing at them,” and “This isn’t about denying what happened…it’s about being human in the face of inhumanity.”
The first reaction when you start watching the sitcom is “What is this? You have to be kidding me! Really?” But later you realize it’s not that all that shocking. The relationship between Hitler and the Goldensteins is no different to the many conflicts between neighbors seen in US sitcoms.
The program proved controversial. The television historian Marian Calabro described it as “perhaps the world’s most tasteless situation comedy.”
It was accused of crassly trivializing Nazism, although some have defended it as being in the same tradition of Third Reich parodies such as Allo Allo or Hogan’s Heroes, or along similar lines to the portrayal of Hitler as a domestic fool in The Producers.
Geoff Atkinson maintains that the aim of the show was not to shock, but to examine the appeasement surrounding Hitler in 1938. He concedes that the satire of this appeasement did not translate as well as he intended. Discussing the furor around the show, Atkinson has also advised that three-quarters of the cast were Jewish and did not consider the concept controversial.