Kingswood Country was a popular “Ugly Suburban Australian” sitcom back in the early 1980s.
It featured the bigoted Ted Bullpit and his wife Thelma, who lived in Wombat Crescent. The series also featured their feminist daughter Greta and her husband Bruno, their medical student son Craig, and a variety of other stereotypical characters. Ted loved his Holden Kingswood car, raised racing greyhounds, and had a ‘concrete Aboriginal’ statue in the garden.
The show spawned a fair few quotes that still have currency amongst my contemporaries. Probably the two most well known are “Bloody shambles, of course” (when someone asks how your day was), and “Money on the fridge” (when someone takes a beer). I could do without anyone imitating Ted’s habit of addressing Thelma as ‘Woman!”, and of shouting “Bloody wog!” when he’s irritated at Bruno. However, the Kingswood Country writers didn’t invent those. They reflected the very real way many white Australian men spoke at the time – a way that, sadly, hasn’t yet died out.
Many of the “jokes” in the show were racist, sexist, ableist, and homophobic in the extreme. But the point of the series, (however clumsily attempted), was to cast light on some of the tensions of the time by contrasting Ted’s prejudice and conservatism with a next generation that was moving (however jerkily) towards feminism and multiculturalism. Did it succeed?
Here is the title sequence:
Here’s a clip in which Ted and Thelma attend a marriage counsellor. Ted is under the impression he’s seeing a local councillor in order to get the sewage connected to their property.
Did you grow up watching Kingswood Country? Do you recall other Australian TV shows of the era that dealt with similar themes?