Biting the hand that feeds Wilfred

SBS comedy Wilfred has come under fire today for taking $1.5m in government grants across two series as “a comedy about a bong-smoking dog that has sex with a cat.”

“The cult SBS series Wilfred is also peppered with profanity, full-frontal nudity and jokes about rape,” notes the Herald Sun.

The show is one of many projects that was eligible for subsidy funding through Federal and State film bodies. Film Victoria has contributed $210,000 for first series and $294,048 towards the second while Screen Australia (previously the AFC) contributed $400,000 to Series One and about $580,000 to Series Two.

But the Herald Sun has made references to its language and adult concepts with a criticism from Family First Senator Steve Fielding, who suggests the money would be better used for health and education.

SBS spokesperson Jane McMillan defended Wilfred noting its AFI Awards and pre-television Tropfest wins.

“We know that it will not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s in the appropriate timeslot, with the appropriate rating and comes with the appropriate warnings.

“SBS, like the ABC, invests what limited budget it has in quality Australian productions because we want to tell Australian stories with an Australian voice. We want to encourage local talent.”

Thankfully Screen Australia recognises that not everybody wants their comedy safe and predictable and has funded the project which not only created employment for its cast and crew but develops the talents of its creatives.

Since being supported with government funding, Adam Zwar has gone on to create Lowdown, the upcoming ABC comedy, while Jason Gann is finalising a deal for a US version of Wilfred.

Meanwhile Family First says nothing about the 1.4m Australians who sit down for the sexually-driven gags of Two and a Half Men every weeknight (where are the family values there?), in a show that is much cheaper to buy than producing local Australian comedies.

$1.5m subsidy for sixteen episodes of television is remarkably cheap, when one hour of Australian drama costs between $500,000 – $800,000.

Shouldn’t the story really have asked Screen Australia and Film Victoria to justify their funding decisions?

Maybe it was a better story because Satisfaction is off air and Home and Away is currently lacking gay sub-plots. Maybe it made for a better headline than “Aussie comedy set for US remake.”  A more valid question might have even been “Critical hit, but who is watching?”

If SBS is really lucky, the controversy might be enough to bring more eyeballs to the show anyway….

Source: Herald Sun


  1. We’ll give you money to make shows, but only if you make the kind of shows we like.

    Hmmm… That sounds oddly familiar… Ah yes, Goebbels approved!

  2. Seymor Smith

    The Herald-Sun’s manufactured outrage is pretty boring. They used to have some other journo who would watch the Chaser and then post something about half and hour later. It’s not really news when you’re creating it yourself.

  3. Or “Family First: Why They Aren’t TV Critics”.

    Fielding also suggested that the show displayed “acts of bestiality”. Steve, it’s a man in a dog suit and a woman in a cat suit. On no level does this make sense.

  4. The ABC is showing Breaking Bad , slightly less swearing , but the story line is much worse than Wilfred. and the complaints are where ?
    Summer heights high was sold to HBO ,Wilfred has that x factor that would work OS.

  5. whoa birddoggie you need to calm down, take a mexican sleeping pill dude! if you don’t like this country than move to virginia and ride horses.

  6. I am so sick and tired of all this articifial outrage drummed up by the tabloids!!! Seriously, what is the matter with this country?? Go to hell Murdoch press – the day Screen Aust takes it’s cues, moral or otherwise, from the likes of you and your go-to guy for scandalized soundbites will be a sorry day indeed. I would fund a hundred Wilfreds before I funded half the consevative rubbish that makes it into our screens. Okay, deep breaths, deep breaths…

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