Created By: Orbitron on March 7, 2011

Hollywood Swede

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Swedes in Hollywood TV shows have a fixed set of traits: they are blonde, they are athletic, they work as masseurs/masseuses, they have an extremely easygoing attitude toward sex. They speak English in a high tone that goes up and down like a carousel, and they say "Ya" instead of yes, always and often. The men are named Sven without fail, and the women are named Inga.

There are some origins for these stereotypes. In the 1960s, when pornography was still illegal in the United States, a series of sex-ed movies were produced in Sweden, drawing much attention, and this is where the sexually easygoing steretype comes from. There is also such a thing as a Swedish massage technique, although most Swedes haven't heard of it. "Ya" is roughly how the Swedish word for yes (ja) is pronounced, but Swedes speak English as a second language better than any other peoples, and would not forget to use the English word. As for the accent stereotype it comes from the Swedish tendency to put emphasis on all syllables in a Swedish word and not just the first one, although this is not done when speaking English.

Sven and Inga are old-fashioned names, almost entirely found among the old these days, but they do sound distinctly Swedish.

Swedes tend to respond to the Hollywood Swedish stereotype with mild bemusement. They will especially wonder why so many faux-Swedish characters work as masseurs.

Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • March 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Two 1970s euro-trash softcore porn films were Six Swedes in a Campus and Six Swedes at a Pump. Made in Switzerland & France, in German, about Swedish Sex Kittens.
  • March 8, 2011
    peccantis
    Swede yo. Are you ready to fight to death over the superiority of Swedish over Finnish speakers of English as second language? I suggest you tone down that particular claim.
  • August 2, 2011
    DarkSasami
    This really needs to get made, if only so Lotus and Aloe, the sultry-accented twin spa ponies from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, can be listed as examples.
  • August 2, 2011
    madelinemary
    • The Swedish Chef ? I know he's not blonde but I think he's pretty much where everybody's impression of Swedish people comes from.
    • In the movie Crybaby Wanda's parents attempt to force her into a foreign exchange program with a girl named Inga who is already at their house- Inga can only say "ya" and Wanda's parents make a big display of their stereotypical knowledge of Swedish culture.
    • Averted in Friday Night Lights: In Season 2, there is a character named The Swede with whom Julie cheats on Matt. However, despite the nickname and other characters constantly referring to him as "that Swedish guy" he shows absolutely no Swedish traits whatsoever, not even an accent.
  • August 2, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • On The Simpsons the town of Springfield built a wall to keep out Swedes from a neighboring town, but they hired the Swedes to build the wall. All the Swedes were of the blond Sven/Inga type (although their sex lives didn't come up).
    • Yogi Yourgesson did the Swedish accent on novelty songs, for example "I Youst Go Nuts at Chistmas."
  • August 3, 2011
    Frank75
    I don't think the Swedish chef is that realistic...

    And you forgot to mention that they're tall.
  • August 3, 2011
    JonnyB
    The Swedish chef might not be realistic, but he is a Hollywood stereotype.

    In one episode of The Flintstones, there were two Swedish brothers named Sven and Ole. ("Ja, he is Sven and I am Ole...")
  • August 3, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I don't think this is just for Sweden, I think it's for Scandinavians in general.
  • August 3, 2011
    cocoy0
    Paul Bunyan's named crew numbers one Big Swede.
  • August 3, 2011
    Mimimurlough
    Sven, the swedish architect collective in How I Met Your Mother
  • May 22, 2016
    Arivne
    Film
    • Ulla, the Swedish secretary in The Producers, is tall, beautiful, blonde, sexy, not too bright.
  • August 3, 2011
    JonnyB
    ^^^^ Might be able to make a related trope out of that one. All Scandinavia Is Sweden.
  • August 3, 2011
    TonyG
  • August 3, 2011
    TooBah
    • Heartbreak Ridge has "Swede," a tall, musclebound Marine who didn't talk much, didn't seem too bright, and was the "enforcer" of Recon Platoon.

    (I don't think he was blonde, and didn't talk with the accent... when he talked at all. So, borderline example)
  • August 3, 2011
    madelinemary
    i thought the whole point was that they weren't that realistic. hence "hollywood" swede.
  • August 3, 2011
    JonnyB
    Judging from the examples that are coming up, I'd say another trait of the "Hollywood" Swede is that he's not exactly the sharpest tool in the drawer. Some of the examples are "dumb as a post", others are just "country hick" naive, but many of them seem to fall into the less-smart-than-most range in one way or another.
  • August 3, 2011
    eviltwin531
    I think the "not too bright" thing is simply Dumb Muscle. However, I almost never hear the name Inga. Whenever I hear it, I usually hear Olga or Ilsa.
  • August 3, 2011
    DarkSasami
    Sven and Ole are separate from the stereotype the OP was getting at. The most important distinction, I think, is that Sven and Ole live in Minnesota, and get run over by trains while arguing over whether they're moose or elk tracks. Seriously, type "sven a" into Google and it suggests "Sven and Ole jokes". Oh...and this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ole_and_Lena

    The tall blonde Swedish girl, who is intelligent but not cutting, skilled in massage and a number of other things, and who so often has a twin sister, is entirely different.
  • August 3, 2011
    JonnyB
    I think they're part of the same thing. (Besides, as far as Hollywood is concerned, Minnesota is in Scandanavia.) And the "original" Sven and Ole (from The Flintstones) came from Sweden. (Or Swederock or whatever.)
  • August 3, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    • Most of the characters' families in The Golden Girls are enormous stereotypes. Rose comes from a little Swedish town from Minnesota, and most of the names she recalls are very stereotypical. One of the most obvious examples is the episode A Visit From Little Sven. At the beginning of the episode, Rose explains that pretty much everyone in the family has the name Sven. When he visits, we see that he's tall, blond, and speaks with a very thick accent. His fiancee Olga is also tall, blonde, and speaks with the same accent.
  • August 3, 2011
    DarkSasami
    Digging around in Wikipedia, Ole and Lena jokes appear as far back as the 1940s. So no, Sven and Ole aren't from The Flintstones.
  • August 3, 2011
    foxley
    Olaf, one of the Blackhawkss, is either from Sweden or Norway (the comics vary on his nationality), constantly says "Ja" instead of yes and his favourite exclamation in "Yumpin' Yimminy!" (has anyone in the history of the world every eclaimed this?). Of course, every member of the Blackhawks is a walking stereotype.
  • August 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Futurama: when Professor Farnsworth gets a delivery from Pi-kea, the deliverybot says "Enjoy your affordable Swedish crap" in a "Swedish" accent.
  • May 19, 2016
    Slothgirl
    @Jonny B isn't 'All Scandinavia is Sweden' covered by Norse By Norsewest?
  • May 20, 2016
    Snicka
    ^ Yes, it is.
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