1 9 9 1 (USA)
14 x 30 minute episodes
In September 1952, television comedy Hi Honey, I’m Home premiered at 8:00 PM (following Dragnet).
It was a typical sitcom about the Nielsens, a squeaky clean conservative American family, comprising parents Honey and Lloyd and their children, Babs and Chuckie who lived in the town of Springfield.
Honey (Charlotte Booker) was the problem-solving housewife, and Lloyd (Stephen Bradbury), “the idiot father”. Babs (Julie Benz) was the high school beauty queen and Chuckie (Danny Gura), the youngest, a Boy Scout (Nest 14).
Then their show was cancelled, but it was picked up for syndication and ran for many more years in reruns.
As the years passed, stations began to drop the series and when the last station decided to pull the plug, the SRP (Sitcom Relocation Program) stepped in and relocated the black and white characters to 178 Morgan Road in New Jersey.
The Nielsens live in a black and white world, although the ‘Turnerizer’ (a reference to 1980s media mogul Ted Turner and his efforts to have old black and white films converted to colour) allows them to switch to colour to live in the modern world, or back to black and white to feel secure.
They are also given a book, A Modern Life User’s Manual, to help them adjust to life in 1991.
The SRP places them next door to the Duffs, single mother Elaine (Susan Cella) and her two children, Mike (Peter Benson) and Sidney (Eric Kushnick), who are the polar opposite of the Nielsens.
Honey Nielsen looks like a Barbie doll. She is starched and ironed and cheerfully goes about her wifely household duties. Honey has a naturally sunny disposition and is the only one who can grasp the reality of life in the 1990s.
Lloyd Ralph Nielsen is impervious to what is going on. He is a wimp (though a hero in Honey’s eyes).
He first worked for Mr Mooney (Gale Gordon) in an unnamed position, then as a salesman for the Bijou Furniture Company, as a broker for a savings and loan company, and finally as a golf ball salesman at Mr G’s World-O-Golf.
Babs is rather well developed and loves to wear tight, cleavage-revealing sweaters. Elaine has a tendency to call her “Boobs” (the 1950s Babs doesn’t realise what Elaine means and just smiles).
She is the most popular girl in high school and dates only the most handsome boys.
Elaine Duff is a hard-working single mother (her husband deserted her) struggling to raise two kids.
While she never mentioned a job, she was seen wearing a phone company tool belt, and she seems to be either a linesman (woman) or an in-home installer.
Elaine attends night classes three times a week and is involved in various projects to save the planet.
Elaine can’t believe a woman like Honey exists and is determined to make a 1990s woman out of her.
Mike Duffy is Elaine’s oldest son. He uses TV to escape from reality and Hi Honey, I’m Home was his favourite daily TV show (when it was eventually replaced by Joanie Loves Chachi, the Nielsen family appeared next door).
When Mike visits his new neighbours, he realises they are the TV Nielsens, and agrees to help them keep their secret (if the truth were known about the Nielsens, they would never get picked up for reruns again and would have to remain in the real world forever).
Sidney Duff is Elaine’s youngest son. He is a punk dresser and goes by the name of Skunk. Mike refers to him as “the crime of the neighbourhood”. He calls Mike “Coma Boy”.
Babs (Barbara) Nielsen
Chuckie (Charles) Nielsen
Sidney ‘Skunk’ Duff