“George Jefferson is the only black guy I know that calls Abe Lincoln a honky.” Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker, All in the Family, 1971.
That was probably the last time we at Flavorwire heard someone use the term honky. If you’re too young to remember, “honky” was a derogatory word for a white guy that was bandied about shows like The Jeffersons, All in the Family , and Sanford and Son in the not-so-politically-correct ’70s. Recently a controversial web-comedy called The Honkys has emerged and is reviving the word, much in the same manner the aforementioned classic sitcoms did over three decades ago.
The Honkys is a series of short comedy vignettes created by Scottish filmmaker, photographer and artist John McFarland. It’s based on a show he aired on the BBC under the title Honky Sausages (episodes are still available online here) with pretty much the same premise as the original: The trials and tribulations of a mixed-race, inner city family who is just trying to make ends meet. Unlike the ’70s shows that inspired it, The Honkys has no interest in moralizing and could care less about traditional broadcast standards and practices. Instead, it plays out somewhat like Arrested Development meets The Addams Family — in the ghetto.
No character is above scamming, lying, or stealing from another family member. The best part: all of their abhorrent antics are done with the best intentions, paving the road to hell in gut-splitting gags. Highlights include characters like OG, the Russian wannabe gangster who communicates in convoluted hip-hop tirades; Honky Bitch, the white daughter who has a huge litter of fatherless rug rats, each a different nationality; and Honky Grandad, the patriarch of the group, who knocks out his son-in-law with roofies and pretends he’s dead so that bill collectors won’t take the family’s furniture.
The Honkys is currently airing their first episodes online at www.thehonkys.com. New episodes and great footage of the filmmakers running around, throwing a mic in people’s faces and asking them if they know what a “honky” is, will be airing later this month. The plan is to air a new webisode every two weeks for now, and ultimately to take the show to television. But according to McFarland, “…I don’t care where people see it, as long as they do…” When we asked if he thought American TV studios were ready for this kind of content, he quoted back the immortal Sherman Hemsley, “Shut up honky.”