Jul 09

“Welcome to Sweden” (Where Mom’s a Shrink): New TV Show

Coming to NBC tomorrow night is the new sitcom Welcome to Swedenwhich is based partly on the real life of its lead actor, Greg Poehler, Amy’s brother.

So much for falling for the girl next door…goes the tagline. Because “next door” is now becoming “very far away from home.”

Bruce (Poehler) decides to move to his girlfriend Emma’s (Josephine Bornebusch) home country of Sweden when she accepts a desirable banking job there. “With no job, friends or real clue about what he is getting himself into, Bruce is quick to face the many unique challenges and culture clashes that living in a foreign land presents,” says the official description of Welcome to Sweden.

Why post about this here? Mainly, the dysfunctional family stuff. And, even more specifically, Mom Viveka (Lena Olin)—who happens to be a shrink.

Her husband Birger (Claes Månsson) is a retired sea captain. Some other family members: “Emma’s younger brother, Gustav (Christopher Wagelin), is a 28-year old mega-slacker who, for some reason, can do no wrong in his mother’s eyes. Bengt (Per Svensson), Birger’s younger brother, is an American-adoring rockabilly type who seems to live his life through Hollywood movies.”

Bruce’s family is also featured—his Midwestern conservative parents are played by Patrick Duffy and Illeana Douglas.

Selected Reviews of Welcome to Sweden

Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times: “An American insistent on his right to be casual and to be accommodated, he is perhaps less charming and more of a pill than he is meant to be. We don’t quite see what his Swedish girlfriend…says she sees in him, and in nearly every conflict he creates or encounters we tend to take the other person’s side.”

Karen Valby, ew.com: “Exec-produced by Poehler’s sister, Amy, and based on his own experience of moving to Sweden for love, the show is romantically old-fashioned — think the best Mad About You episodes — and delightfully weird (somehow celebrity cameos by the likes of Will Ferrell and Gene Simmons work).”

Hank Stuever, Washington Post: “Unfortunately the show lacks a necessary zing; even the cameo appearances by Bruce’s former clients (Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza, Will Ferrell, Gene Simmons) fail to generate many laughs…(T)he situations and dialogue here are just a little too subtle to draw viewers in. It’s like listening to a friend go on and on about the year he lived overseas. It’s a protracted example of I-guess-you-had-to-be-there humor.”