[*Look, if you’re going to post something like this, WHY NOT give it a jaunty Upworthy-worthy click-bait title?]
It used to be that we Americans only knew British television via Monty Python, Doctor Who and Masterpiece Theatre. UK TV was kinda classy compared to American television. Except when it wasn’t, but we didn’t get those sorts of misfires over here. Here we got Upstairs, Downstairs. Brideshead Revisited. The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
There are a lot of completely demented UK TV shows that most Americans have probably never heard of, but that now can be found on torrent trackers and YouTube.
Take for instance the short-lived Spike Milligan sitcom Curry & Chips from 1969. Milligan—never a man known for his racial sensitivity to begin with—donned blackface to play “Kevin O’Grady” (or as he is also called on the show “Paki Paddy”) a “foreigner” from Pakistan who says that he is Irish.
The producers claimed the show was supposed to combat prejudice—and that it was the English characters who looked the dumbest—but essentially the series relied upon… unvarnished racial abuse for the laughs. “I’m with Enoch!” is but one unfunny punchline the studio audience chortles along to. Milligan’s “Irish” character says he left Pakistan because of “the wogs.” It just gets worse from there.
Have a look for yourself, this is the full first episode of Curry & Chips:
Curry & Chips was cancelled after just six episodes, but it still fared far better than Heil Honey, I’m Home! a severely misguided 1990 attempt to get a few laughs out of the notion of Hitler and Eva Braun moving in next door to a Jewish couple, The Goldensteins.
Or does it?
Heil Honey, I’m Home! has but a single decent idea (one used to far better effect in Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place) and this is the conceit that the series was a “long lost” American sitcom from the 1950s. The show begins with a card reading:
To most people the name of TV executive Brandon Thalburg Jnr. merits no more than a three word footnote in the annals of American Situation Comedy. Yet it was Brandon who, some years ago, sought to break new ground when he commissioned the series Heil Honey I’m Home! under the billing ‘not so much a sit com, more a hit com.’ Unfortunately, neither Brandon nor the series were heard of again. Until now!
A chance discovery in a Burbank backlot has revealed the lost tapes of: Heil Honey I’m Home!. Tapes that we believe will vindicate Brandon’s unsung comic vision.
Hey, not so fast on the posthumous vindication, there. It starts to suck right after the above words leave the screen (yes, I just gave away the best part). Even the title sequence is fucking terrible, they couldn’t even get that right, and the eponymous catch phrase is surely the worst of all time and will never, ever be topped for its abject shitness.
All in all, Heil Honey I’m Home! just stinks! Writing at Splitsider, Matt Schimkowitz said the show was the “Holocaust meets The Honeymooners” and that gets it about right. Imagine the fucking pitch meeting!
Don’t get me wrong, Nazis can be funny, just ask Mel Brooks (or Mitchell and Webb), but Heil Honey I’m Home! is plain awful. It was killed after only one episode aired, but there were seven more in the can. If The Day The Clown Cried ever gets released after Jerry Lewis dies, Heil Honey I’m Home! would probably make a good opener on a Nazis comedy double feature.
Here’s Heil Honey I’m Home! in all of its… er, glory.
Posted by Richard Metzger |
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