After Mark Nicholson and Sebastian Peart pitched their animated comedy Regular Old Bogan they were quickly greenlit.
There was just one problem.
“We told them we had a studio built out the back, so when we got the contract in, we said, ‘Shit, we have to build this thing now!'” Nicholson tells TV Tonight.
“We had to get the company incorporated, we had to set up bank accounts. We write in our lounge room, I produce from the kitchen table and Seb animates from his bedroom.”
Stepmates Studio, as they have since formalised, were invited by Seven to pitch based on a previous web comedy Fighting ISIS, in which four Aussie bogans go over to the Middle East to fight ISIS.
Head of Multi Channel Programming Billy Betts spotted the series following an article in The Guardian and, rarely, extended the invitation to pitch.
“I watched the video, and I thought, ‘Wow this is interesting.’ We obviously have The Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad on 7mate, but we should try to do a (local) adult animation,” Betts explains.
“Obviously we have limited budgets, so you’ve got to go for noisy content.”
“Obviously we have limited budgets, so you’ve got to go for noisy content. But we just think a lot of people will want to be laughing at this time.”
Nicholson adds, “It’s certainly very different to anything on Australian telly at the moment and that’s a huge credit to Seven for having the balls to do something. As online creators it’s a natural thing for us to sit back and complain about network television never doing anything different.
“Everyone’s reaction was the same when we told them we sold it to 7mate: ‘Really? Are you sure?’ Which was very funny.
“We couldn’t be prouder. We’re stoked.”
Nicholson and Peart wear multiple hats as writers / directors / producers and voice cast, joined by Natalie Bond, John Nelder and Peter Corrigan.
“It’s an adventure show about a regular family who go onto extraordinary and fantastic adventures. It revolves around our main character, Gav, who’s a stubborn tradesman, and his wife, Wendy, who’s an overbearing, stay at home mother,” he continues.
“We wanted to really focus on some some cornerstones of Australiana.”
“We wanted to really focus on some some cornerstones of Australiana. We have a fishing trip that goes awry, where the father and son are confronted by an Ivan Milat-style backpack killer. Our eight year old daughter character gets kidnapped by dingoes on a family camping trip and then liaises with a 40 year old Azaria Chamberlain, who’s been raised by dingoes. That same character goes to Bali and ends up on death row for drug smuggling after visiting the Schapelle Corby museum.
“We have a man flu epidemic, or man-demic, that sweeps the nation and takes over all men. We have a cycle gang of middle aged men in lycra and biker gang war. And we have the little daughter character who starts showing weed to junkies so they can pass Centrelink drug tests.”
No question the comedy is definitely adult in themes and language. But Betts maintains, “It’s all done tastefully, I think.
“Both Paul & Mark really understand their audience. While episodes certainly push buttons, it is a family and it always brings it back.”
“It’s just good, dumb, Aussie humour, bringing back the ratbag”
“It’s not deliberately offensive. It’s doesn’t target anyone unjustifiably. It’s just good, dumb, Aussie humour, bringing back the ratbag, bringing back the pisstake. And it’s really celebrating what we like about the Australian sense of humour, which is that it’s gruff, an element of brevity, embraces the puerile …all those sort of things,” he insists.
“That’s something that we haven’t seen on network telly for a long time.”
Regular Old Bogan airs 9pm Monday on 7mate.