Jul 16, 2014

Hi, Honey, I'm Home: 1950s Sitcom Transported to the Present

Pundits think that people who watch tv can't tell fiction from reality; they're walking around in a daze, accosting soap opera villains in the supermarket and insisting that only NCIS lawyers take their case.  To capitalize on the presumed blending of fictional worlds, Hi Honey, I'm Home appeared during the summers of 1991 and 1992.

The premise: A family from one of the "perfect" black-and-white nuclear family sitcoms of the 1950s is relocated to the "real" 1990s.

The family consists of wondrously loving Honey and Lloyd Nielson (Charlotte Booker, Stephen C. Bradbury), who are home all the time to care for their obedient, polite, clean, tidy, and studious children, teenage Babs and preteen Chucky (Julie Benz, Danny Gura).

But next door is an overworked, flustered, fast-food-preparing single mom, Elaine Duff (Susan Cella) and her obnoxious kids, preteen punk rocker Skunk (Eric Kushnick) and teenage nerd Mike (Peter Benson).

Elaine does her best to befriend Honey and bring her into the 20th century. She can think for herself, take a class, get a job.  Their friendship is threatening to Lloyd, who wants to be "the man of the house."

Gee, maybe the 1950s weren't so perfect after all.

Mike, a fan of 1950s tv, is the only one who suspects the family secret (and eventually discovers it).  He has an obligatory crush on Babs, but it seems forced.  He hangs out with the entire family because he feels wanted.  The Nielsons need him to help negotiate the strange new world that they're trapped in.

A selling point of the series was the many guest stars, characters from former sitcoms: Gomer Pyle, Grandpa Munster, Alice from The Brady Bunch, Lisa Douglas from Green Acres, Sally Rogers from The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Mr. Mooney from The Lucy Show.

Erick Kushnick and Danny Gura (top photo)have both retired from acting, but Peter Benson is busy with off-Broadway plays, and Julie Benz went on to play Darla the ditzy vampire on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Stephen C. Bradbury recently starred in Off the Record, an adaption of the incident where Idaho senator Larry Craig was arrested for soliciting an undercover cop in a Minneapolis airport men's room.

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