How about sitting down one day and watching a sitcom about Adolf Hitler living in an apartment with Eva Braun who, while running Germany at the time, was having difficulty with his Jewish neighbors? Sound insane? Well in 1990 a pilot for this idea was shot in England and subsequently greenlit for an additional eight episodes.
Information on this show is a little tricky as most people involved seemed to have forgotten nearly everything about it. Between eleven and sixteen episodes were planned and apparently eight of them were shot before the pilot debuted in 1990, after which the plug was quickly pulled. Screams from Jewish organizations and the “bad taste” patrol shit all over it. Hayim Pinner, secretary general of the Board of Deputies of British Jews stated, “We are against any trivialization of the Second World War, Hitler or the Holocaust, and this certainly trivializes those things. It’s very distasteful and even offensive.”
The material here is odd, considering it’s supposed to be Hitler, you almost want to stop yourself from laughing at it. This isn’t like in The Producers where they know the material is terrible and are presenting it anyway, the humor is presented straight up. Not at all tongue in cheek, it is difficult to know how to take the material. The comedic elements and sense of pathos for the characters are wildly misplaced. The action revolves around Hitler entertaining Chamberlain in his apartment and trying to trick him into signing a nonviolence agreement (which sort-of happened in real life), but the Hitler’s Jewish neighbors crash the party and try to set up the British Prime Minister with their unattractive niece. Hilarity sort-of ensues.
It was defended by the producers by stating that various other comedies have been set during the Second World War. Allo Allo and Hogan’s Heroes being two such examples. While that is true, in both the Nazi’s were taken various seriously. The idea of being shot out of hand by them was present in nearly every episode of both series, even if individual Nazi characters were bumbling fools. In this it was like the entire war existed in an episode of Friends.
Granted there have been a few similar shows, depicting important people in situational comedies. That’s My Bush in 2001 for example, which showed former president George W. Bush (brought to us by the creators of South Park, apparently they had an alternative ready if Al Gore won, called Everybody Loves Al). That show, along with Heil Honey, is more of a mockery of the sitcom genre than making fun the target. But both were quickly canceled. At least That’s My Bush had its eight episodes aired before getting the axe.
The entire pilot episode is below for you to judge. Enjoy and Caveat Emptor!