Welcome to Sweden: Season 1

| May 14, 2015

Created by and starring Greg Poehler, and executive produced by his sister, Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Welcome to Sweden is about an accountant leaving his life in Los Angeles to move in with his girlfriend (Josephine Bornebusch) in Sweden.  What happens next makes for an extremely conventional sitcom pretending to be original because its set in a country a lot of Americans don’t know anything about.

I can’t stress how big a fan I am of Amy Poehler.  Her runs on Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation along with her occasional film roles are all a riot, but I think she has a bit of a blind spot for her brother, Greg, putting her accumulated clout behind getting this show made.  As would be expected, Amy is the best part of the show as she plays a satirical version of herself firing people who work for her in some non-specific capacity.  Unfortunately, she only shows up maybe every other episode along with other celebrity guest stars like Will Ferrell and Aubrey Plaza (Life After Beth).  The rest of the series is devoted to the relationship between Greg and Josephine’s characters struggling to come to terms with their increasingly more serious relationship, Swedish culture shock, and of course her family.  Not to say that some hilarity doesn’t ensue, but a lot of the comedic situations are too predictable in their familiarity and it makes genuine laughs from the audience few and far between.

I have no idea where Welcome to Sweden airs.  I can only assume that it was literally created for Swedish television and doesn’t have a home on American TVs anywhere even with the strong American influence and actors.  There are funny moments for sure.  The second episode sees Greg’s character Bruce attending a Swedish language class along with many other foreigners and one of his classmates is a fiercely anti-American Iraqi.  He isn’t a stereotype, but rather developed to have some eerily relevant grievances against the American invasion of his country.  On top of that, he’s completely adorable and loveable and after an episode with him I was wondering why we aren’t watching an entire series devoted to that guy and his family adjusting to Swedish life after being driven out of Iraq by American infidels.  That’s a better, more original, funnier show in my mind.

No special features on the DVD, and I don’t know if it’s returning for a second season in Sweden or anywhere else.  Season 1 is available on DVD from Entertainment One on May 19.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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