The idea for "Hausen" came to director/writer Kendall Breivogel in a dream. He pitched it to many studios, which all turned the idea down, calling it a cheap cash-grab from the success of similar shows such as Full House and Sein Feld. Then he had the brilliant idea to self-fund the show, and air it on German television where no one knew about Sein Feld. Sein Feld actually doesn't exist in Germany due to cultural differences, so Hausen was easily able to fill the void.
Hausen in da Haus went on to run for four seasons, with the pilot episode airing September 18th, 1992 and the final episode airing April 19th, 1996. By the final episode the show ranked 4th in its time slot for ages 18 to 45, attracting over 6 million viewers: 4 million Germans and 2 million out-of-country viewers from foreign networks that picked up the show.
The show centers around the lives of four roommates, Liebling, Zoe, Joh, and Achtung, and their dog, Inu. They all live in Da Haus, a house in Little Germany, a quirky, hip, and above all German neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City. The pilot episode establishes the primary conflict of the program: the day-to-day struggle for survival of the four roommates, getting food to eat, paying the rent, etc. Critics lauded the mature themes, including the imminent threat of starvation that the Hausers face.
Throughout the first season the romantic tension between Achtung and Zoe builds. They begin dating in S1E6 after Zoe forgets the German names for several common colors and shapes, and Achtung helps them out. Meanwhile, the reoccurring landlord character Zlabetshasch (played by Morgan Freeman) threatens to kick the Hausers out if they can't pay the rent. In the season finale, S1E8, Liebling gets left at a truck stop near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and has to hitchhike home.
In S2E1, Liebling encounters bandits while hitchhiking home, and in a controversially violent scene, murders both, hallows out their bodies, and sleeps in a fortress of their decaying carcasses in order to survive a mild October cold front. As the season progresses, Zoe and Achtung's relationship deteriorates as both find being in a relationship with another livining, conscious human being to be at odds with their shared philosophy of solipsism. In S2E5, in an attempt to get home, Liebling mails himself, but unfortunately gets sent to Argentina instead of Brooklyn. The episode features his famous line, "Wow, Brooklyn got a lot more South American since I left", which recently ranked in Time Magazine's top 100 funniest quotes from television. It was one of only three foreign programs to be featured. In the season finale, S2E7, Jo's illegal drug empire is exposed to the law enforcement officials, but in a thrilling turn of events, rather than getting sent to prison, he's put on Haus arrest and is forced to remain in the Haus for the time being as the NYPD investigates the extent of his criminal actions.
The eighth episode of Season 2 is the famous Christmas special, which has no audio and lasts only 5 minutes, which in itself is just a loop of the same ten-second clip thirty times over. Because of these unusual features, the episode is widely regarded as the predecessor to the modern .gif format. Not surprisingly, it also marks the first known instance of arguments over the pronunciation of ".gif", as the episode itself features Joh and Achtung both dressed as Santa Claus, arguing and pointing at a thick book entitled "phonetics".
Season 3 only had a single, feature-length episode starring none of the regular cast save Connor Sheffield as Liebling, in his quest to finally return to the Haus. In a largely abstract and difficult to follow epic, the character travels to a series of alternate dimension Brooklyns, before waking up from a coma in a gray and green room surrounded by abstract toy-looking imagery. The episode concludes with a forty minute psychedelic animated music video sequence set to the entire album Tin Drum by Japan, interrupted only once, during the song "Ghosts", by disturbing and ominous footage of Zoe and Joh warning the viewer not to look too closely at fire hydrants.
S4E4 revolves around Liebling's welcoming home party. In S4E5 the Hausers are visited by Sein Feld, and the whole gang go on an adventure to fight a guy called the Soup Nazi. The episode was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews, especially from German audiences, who were unfamiliar with Sein Feld and his comedic style. The show never recovered and was eventually cancelled at the end of the season. In S4E8, the series finale, the gang get convicted from the Haus because they fail to pay the rent. The Hausers all then die in dramatic death sequences involving increasingly strange and improbable events. At the end, the entire show is revealed to have taken place inside Shrek's dream, which confused audiences at the time, since Shrek would not come out for another five years.