Review: ‘Welcome To Sweden’ Best Comedy on NBC

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Review: ‘Welcome To Sweden’ Best Comedy on NBC

Bottom line: ‘Welcome to Sweden’ is absolutely NOTHING like any network comedy you have watched. And this is a good thing.

Fresh, quirky, truly funny and endearing, the cast and the familiar fish out of water premise is taken to Nordic extremes and dressed with some of Sweden’s best actors – Lena Olin, Josephine Bornebusch, Claes Månsson, Per Svensson, Christopher Wagelin – in the main cast, all of whom effortlessly deliver lines in Swedish and English, with occasional sub-titles easy to read to see the quips they are doling out as their daughter’s boyfriend from America (Greg Poehler) is exasperating them at almost every turn with his big goofy Yankee two left feet and penchant to overdress for the sauna.

Add a great supporting cast underscored by sister Amy Poehler, a whackadoo Aubrey Plaza (scene stealer), Will Ferrell, Gene Simmons, Illeana Douglas (another scene stealer) and even Patrick Duffy, you have yourself a fantastic lighthearted comedy that will make even the most network hating human being (me) go “tack så mycket” (thank you very much) and more please!

Don’t pay any attention to some reviews out there that say this series won’t translate to American audiences or isn’t funny, utter rubbish and balderdash!

This is a romantic, fun, lighthearted and sweet look at the power of love and what a man will do to be with the woman he loves, and what the family of said woman will do to make her happy and accommodate the new family addition.  Swedish people we can learn a lot from. And they from us.

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Josephine Bornebusch (L) and Lena Olin, (R)

This series is quite similar in spirit to the wonderful Netflix series “Lilyhammer,” where Steven Van Zandt plays a mobster on the lam in the small Norwegian town where the Olympics were held.  He learns the language, falls in love and slowly but surely becomes  a fan (and the boss!) of the village pace of life, and they become enamored with a bit of his American energy injected into their day-to-day lives and financial doings.

So it is for Greg Poehler’s journey in “Welcome to Sweden” where he initially resists but then gets with the Scandinavian ebb and flow, much to the chagrin of his future possible mother-in-law Viveka (Lena Olin, beautiful and funny as hell at age 59 and at 5’11”).  I mention her height because the running gag between her and “Bruce,” Poehler’s character, is his height, and her concerns that her daughter is possibly mating with such a short man.  Her sly zingers about his stature are hilarious.

Poehler plays a successful money manager who follows his girlfriend Emma (Josephine Bornebusch) back to her home in Sweden when she gets a promotion. He retires from the rat race to “figure it out” which to practical Swedes like Viveka and partner Birger (Claes Månsson) is not sitting right. Mind you their 28 year-old son is at home, jobless and drunk half the time.

There is a fly in the ointment. Bruce’s star clientele can’t quit him. Gene Simmons, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza all stalk him when the IRS are relentless to audit them. They need him to unravel the Gordian knot of their tax files.  Then, Plaza takes the crazy to whole new levels of physical comedy.  The scenes between Greg Poehler and Aubrey Plaza are comedy gold. If the late John Belushi were a skinny female comedic actress reborn, he’d be inside of her. She’s positively mental in the best sense of the word.

Also watch for Poehler’s parents, Douglas and Duffy, who arrive to visit. Like Lena Olin,  Illeana Douglas is an actress I never get to see enough of and when I do, I am never disappointed. Douglas plays Bruce’s mother who cheers him on to find and follow his happiness.

Even Viveka and Birger’s summer house is a bit of a character in this ensemble, the beautiful seaside pastoral spot is so lovely you forget that most of the year its covered in snow. When the weather is glorious and sunny (almost all day and night) the Swedes eat the outdoors up with gusto.

Seriously, do not go into this with ideas that this will be some cookie cutter crap version of every damn sitcom you’ve seen for the last ten years; it’s so good I spent the July 4th weekend watching the entire season… and that is unheard of for me with network shows.

Amy Poehler and Greg Poehler present Welcome to Sweden, premiering Thursday, July 10 at 9/8c..

First Look at Welcome to Sweden

The creators of Welcome to Sweden (including Executive Producers Greg and Amy Poehler) take you inside the new series.

How Swedish It Is

Amy Poehler and Greg Poehler present Welcome to Sweden, premiering Thursday, July 10 at 9/8c..

Greg Poehler Interview

Show creator and star Greg Poehler talks Welcome to Sweden, premiering Thursday, July 10 at 9/8c.

Amy Poehler Interview

Executive Producer and guest star Amy Poehler talks Welcome to Sweden, premiering Thursday, July 10 at 9/8c.

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