July 19, 1991 (1991-07-19) – July 12, 1992 (1992-07-12)
Hi Honey, I'm Home! is an American television sitcom that ran from July 19, 1991, to July 12, 1992 for 13 episodes. Each week, a new episode of the series aired on ABC as part of its Friday night TGIF lineup. The same episode would re-air Sunday night on Nickelodeon as part of the channel's Nick at Nite lineup. ABC stopped airing the series after the sixth episode of the first season. The show's second and final season only aired on Nick at Nite before being canceled in July 1992. The series was taped before a live audience in Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios Florida.
The Nielsens (named after the Nielsen ratings) are a family of fictional characters from a 1950s sitcom that has been canceled; they have been relocated to a real world New Jersey suburb in 1991, which is different from the world they know. They use a device called a Turnerizer (named after Ted Turner) to switch between color and black-and-white within their home. Mike Duff, the teenage son of the family next door, is the only real-world person who knows their secret.
Honey Nielsen (Charlotte Booker) – An archetypal 1950s sitcom housewife and mom.
Lloyd Nielsen (Stephen C. Bradbury) – The bumbling, clueless dad. He tended to think himself automatically right in any conflict because he was a man, but could not keep a job for any real length of time.
Babs Nielsen (Julie Benz) – The Nielsens' pretty, popular, and well-endowed, but spoiled and vain, teenage daughter. Target of a crush by Mike Duff.
Chucky Nielsen (Danny Gura) – The Nielsens' chubby and naive younger son.
Elaine Duff (Susan Cella) – Sarcastic next door neighbor to the Nielsens and single mom to two sons. Her hyper-liberalism is contrasted with Lloyd's clueless conservative viewpoints. She must work, so she is seldom home.
Mike Duff (Peter Benson) – Elaine Duff's couch potato teenage son who knows the real identities of the Nielsens, as he is something of a television junkie. Has a crush on Babs.
Sidney "Skunk" Duff (Eric Kushnick) – Elaine's youngest, trouble making son, known for a developing criminal career Elaine is not fully able to handle.
The original unaired pilot featured two actors who were later recast. Actress Dee Hoty was originally cast as Elaine Duff, but replaced by Susan Cella. Future Backstreet BoyA. J. McLean was originally cast as Sidney "Skunk" Duff and was replaced by Eric Kushnick. The pilot was then re-shot with the different actors and aired.
The original pilot eventually aired during Nickelodeon's "Nick Knew Them When" anniversary marathon on June 27, 1999, highlighting A.J. McLean's involvement in the program.
In this episode, Mike Duff finds Hi Honey, I'm Home has been canceled, only to discover that the people from the show have just moved next door to him. Honey gets him to promise never to reveal that he knows their secret. Lloyd suddenly springs a dinner on Honey that she wasn't expecting, and this time, she can't make a miracle happen. Mike begins to teach her about modern life.
After a robbery experience, Honey goes to a self-defense class with Elaine. Lloyd prefers his gun collection, which actually draws robbers to the house. In classic male form, Lloyd faints, but Elaine and Honey manage to repel the intruders, with Honey daring them to "Go ahead, make my bed!"
Lloyd forces Honey to choose between her marriage to him and her friendship with Elaine, leaving Honey quite depressed and Elaine quite irate. Lloyd gets an unexpected visit from Alice and Trixie, who indicate that he and Elaine have very similar qualities (which explains the marriage and the friendship), that Honey must be friendly with Elaine, and that women are much smarter than Lloyd thinks they are. Honey proves this by becoming Lloyd's temporary duplicate and clone, even handcuffing herself to him. Finally, she decides to "draw the line" and demand that he respect her friendships the same as she's always respected his.
It's Mike's birthday, and Elaine wants to spend it with him, but she has to work too much, so he spends his time with Honey. Elaine feels this is a personal affront, because she and Mike were once best pals. Upon learning how Elaine feels, Honey beseeches help from Lucy ...
Lloyd's inability to find a job leads to him losing his television person-hood and becoming a normal man with a severe case of depression. Elaine convinces Honey to take Lloyd to a therapist. She also gets him hired, but pays his salary until Lloyd overheard her. Then Mike and company try to restore his spirits with a variation of This is your life! that doesn't go well. Lloyd only recovers when he gets a visit from Grandpa (Munster) Dracula.
The Nielsens have a chance to go back on the air, as a timeslot has opened up. But it's on the night before Mike has finally gotten Babs to go out with him. In desperation, he confesses the truth about the Neilsons to Elaine, who discounts him but warns Honey and asks if Mike is around too much. This is a threat to their ability to return to television. Mike later steals the Turner-izer device, but has a nightmare about the consequences and returns it, bidding the team a fond farewell. Honey realizes she can't abandon Mike, so she improvises a new script for the family to follow, with herself as a smoker, Babs as a mother, Lloyd as a transvestite, and Chucky as a tattooed delinquent. The SRP representative is not pleased, and gives the slot to the beloathed Brady Bunch.
Skunk desires new Skyhooks shoes, which Elaine won't pay for. Chucky desires to be friends with someone, anyone. So Skunk convinces Chucky to help he and another friend steal from a vacationing neighbor's house in order to get the money for the shoes. Chucky is then left behind and arrested. The Neilsons are angry, and Chucky is punished. He refuses to rat the other thieves out, but Honey suspects Skunk. Elaine is outraged. Later on, she interrogates Skunk herself, but he denies it. But the truth comes out when Elaine and Chucky arrive in the house, and Chucky asks Skunk if they can be friends. Skunk refuses, saying Chucky got caught. Chucky pleads that he was loyal, and didn't expose him, but Skunk is unmoved. In anger, Chucky tells Skunk to kiss his Skyhooks goodbye, and microwaves them. Skunk prepared to attack Chucky, only to have a very angry Elaine put a stop to that. She decides to send him to his father, as he's always saying he'd rather be with him anyway. But in the end, she foolishly backs down. This does not mean, however, that Skunk gets away without punishment ...
Elaine, who keeps asking Honey for favors, feels that Lloyd is taking advantage of Honey's kindness, and convinces Elaine to look at a college catalogue. Mike finds that Babs is doing the same thing to him. A few days later, Mike and Honey, and Georgette Baxter, meet at the same class, "The Doormat Dilema – say yes to no." Georgette is the teacher, it turns out. She uses the idea of the U. S. S. Minnow and Mike and Honey being stranded. Mike is repairing the ship, while Honey is keeping the place clean, and she finds a sandwich. She gives it to him at first, then offers half to him, but spurred on by Georgette, Honey learns to become more assertive. She can't say no, but Georgette suggests she sing it. Honey can do that, and does so with great gusto. Mike wants the sandwich because he feels he needs his strength, but Honey counters that her work is just as important. In their increasing anger, they shout "Elaine" and "Babs", then refuse to give Georgette back her sandwich. Mike rips up the homework he's been doing for Babs, while Honey sings "No" to Elaine, and forces her to realize that she doesn't respect her fellow woman as much as she thinks she does.
Honey decides to fix Elaine up with several different men so she won't have to go to a banquet on her own. All of the men are a disaster. In desperation, she rings up an old friend, Don ... "Oh. It's Donna, now?" But at the very end, a man from the environmentalist group "Green Planet" comes to the door to sign petitions. Hyper-liberal Elaine gladly accepts his petition, and his compliments, and thinks he'll make a perfect date for the banquet.
While cleaning out her house of junk, Elaine gives a bust clock to Lloyd. He takes it to an appraiser, and finds it to be financially valuable. This causes a feud between the neighbors, and when the clock disappears, they go up to The Persons' court. There, Honey and Mike reveal that they took the clock because Honey couldn't stand the greed on either side. The judge breaks the clock, and the money is split equally between the families.
Mike wants to go to the dance with Babs, who still rejects him. He has a friend named Mo who's a mechanic's daughter and has learned the trade well. She likes Mike, and gladly lends him a car to impress Babs, but when Babs betrays him, he and Mo decide to go to the dance. Then he betrays Mo, and ends up alone as both girls go to the dance, Babs with her father and Mo with someone else, looking ladylike for the first time.