Adam Zwar talks Agony Uncles
When Wilfred and Lowdown co-creator Adam Zwar was in high school and university, he was fairly sure he must be deformed or charmless. Perhaps even both. At least in the eyes of women.
"All I was hearing were stories of success, while I was just going through failure after failure," he says. "It wasn't until later in life that I realised that all guys feel like that, and I think it's important that guys know they're not alone when they luck out."
Fast forward to 2012 and Zwar's production company has created Agony Uncles, a six-part series with the tagline 'When you have absolutely no-one else to turn to.'
The series, which is executive produced by Zwar alongisde Amanda Brotchie and Nicole Minchin, features 18 men including animator Adam Elliott, academic Waleed Ali and actor Josh Lawson, discussing everything from picking up and the first date to getting your heart broken and moving on again.
The shoot took place over four weeks early last year in different locations around Melbourne. Interviews with the 'uncles' are integrated with stock footage from old-school sex education videos.
"I wanted to show that what the guys are talking about is timeless and nothing has really changed over the centuries," says Zwar. "Picking up, dating, falling in love, getting your heart broken, essentially the fundamentals are all the same."
That's not to say it was always easy to get the men to talk. Comedian Lawrence Leung remembers the experience being surprisingly painful.
"Guys don't normally talk about this kind of thing, at least not in such a public way," he says. "It was good to see all these guys from different walks of life had similar backgrounds of nervousness that I had."
A companion show called Agony Aunts will air later this year, featuring Judith Lucy and Wendy Harmer. Aunts and Uncles were shot back-to-back and Zwar says he was surprised at the different attitudes that could be found in the two sexes when it came to all things love-related.
"Guys do treat relationships as a little bit of fun, whereas in Agony Aunts I realised that women – even funny women – treat them as very serious business. It was quite profound, the difference."
Agony Uncles premiers on Wednesday March 21 at 9:30pm on ABC1.