1 9 9 1 (USA)
14 x 30 minute episodes
This oddball series presented the Nielsens (named after the Nielsen ratings) – a family of fictional characters from a 1950s sitcom (called Hi Honey, I’m Home) that had been cancelled.
The family had subsequently been secretly moved as part of the “Sitcom Relocation Program” to a real-world New Jersey suburb in 1991 – an environment that was poles apart from the world they know.
Honey (Charlotte Booker) was the unbelievably cheerful wife. She served everyone fudge and exclaimed, “Oh, pooh” if anything was amiss. Lloyd (Stephen Bradbury) was her bland white-collar husband, and demure teenager Babs (Julie Benz) and chubby Chucky (Danny Gura) were their obedient kids.
Living next door were the decidedly contemporary Duffs: sarcastic divorcee Elaine (Susan Cella) and her sons, horny teenager Mike (Pete Benson) and punkish youngster Skunk (Eric Kushnick).
Mike Duff was the only real-world person who knew the Neilsen’s secret, having discovered that his favourite sitcom family (from reruns) was living next door.
He kept their secret while his puzzled mother and kid brother helped educate the out-of-touch Nielsens in such ’90s facts of life as credit cards, microwave ovens, and homeless persons.
When things got too much for the Nielsens to bear, they sometimes snapped back into their black-and-white world right before Mike’s eyes using a device called a ‘Turnerizer’ (named after CNN mogul Ted Turner) to switch between colour and black-and-white within their home.
Every episode featured an appearance by at least one famous actor of bygone TV times, in character, to meet the Nielsens. Among them were Mr Mooney (Gale Gordon) from The Lucy Show, June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) from Leave It to Beaver, Alice (Audrey Meadows) and Trixie (Joyce Randolph) from The Honeymooners, Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors), Grandpa Munster (Al Lewis), and Alice (Ann B. Davis) from The Brady Bunch.
The show was produced by the Nickelodeon cable channel and aired first on ABC each week and was then repeated two nights later on Nick at Nite. It was the first such cooperative venture between network and cable channels.
The series lasted only six episodes on ABC before being cancelled. A second season of seven episodes only aired on Nick at Nite during the summer of 1992.