Follow TV Tropes


Series / Welcome to Sweden

Go To
Love is universal. The rest is lost in translation.

Welcome to Sweden is a Swedish sitcom that is about Bruce, an American accountant, who becomes disillusioned with his career and life in New York and decides to follow Emma, his Swedish girlfriend, when she moves back to Stockholm. Most of the show revolves around how Bruce attempts to adapt to life in Sweden while trying to find a new purpose and how the Swedes around him react to this Funny Foreigner who recently arrived in their country.

It stars Greg Poehlernote  as Bruce and Josephine Bornebusch as Emma, along with Lena Olin and Claes Månsson as Emma’s parents: Viveka and Birger.

The show is produced by TV4 in Sweden and is also run by NBC as a summer series. A second season aired in 2015, but the series was canceled mid-way through. The episodes remaining were put up on NBC's website.

This show contains examples of:

  • Agony of the Feet: Viveka laments that she never ran barefoot in the streets and proceeds to do so. And promptly cuts her foot on a piece of glass.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Bruce's parents. His mother is a Cloudcuckoolander who asks to go see some Vikings in their natural habitat when she visits Sweden, while his father is an arch-conservative who complains about all the foreigners around. Emma's parents aren't much better.
  • Fake Nationality: Pepe/Gary, Amy Poehler’s assistant, uses his vague ethnicity to his advantage, pretending to be Hispanic and unable to speak English when he’s really Cherokee and doesn’t speak Spanish. Also see Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • As Himself: Several celebrities make guest appearances playing fictional versions of themselves.
    • Amy Poehler plays a deranged version of herself who is absolutely hopeless with money without Bruce's mitigating influence.
    • Aubrey Plaza wonders if she can pass off her Brazilian waxes as business expenses. She's also Amy Poehler's drug dealer.
    • Will Ferrellnote  arranges for his family to visit Sweden just so he can have Bruce take care of his finances.
    • Gene Simmons does the same and hits on Emma at the same time.
    • Swedish author Björn Ranelid is completely loopy and speaks almost entirely in non sequiturs.
    • Björn Ulvaeus apparently lives and works in an ABBA museum and only wears one of his old stage costumesnote .
    • Jason Priestley is now an acclaimed movie director who wants Bruce to show him the places where Ingmar Bergman shot his films and introduce him to someone who worked for him.
    • Pro skier Anja Pärson appears in "Scrapbook/Skidresa". She and Emma were schoolmates, and Emma brags that she once beat her in a junior skiing competition.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The show is set in Sweden but features an American protagonist. Because of this, English is only spoken when Bruce is around and the rest of the show is in Swedish. Subtitles are included, of course.
    • Each episode has a Swedish title and an English title, and they aren't necessarily direct translations of one another.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • This universe's version of Amy Poehler. When notified that the IRS will audit her, the first thing she does is shred the paperwork Bruce prepared to protect her in case of an audit. She also makes extravagant investments once Bruce isn't around to rein in her spending habits.
    • Any celebrity who appears as themselves on the show count. Not one of them thinks of finding a new accountant and Will Ferrell, Aubrey Plaza, and Gene Simmons actually go to Sweden to track Bruce down so that he can do their books.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Emma berates her relatives for forcing the severely jetlagged Bruce to join them in a sauna. Everyone's confused, however, as to why Bruce is wearing shorts (all the other men are naked).
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Discussed and invoked after Aubrey casually says to Greg that she tried to have sex with him while he was asleep. Greg is quite unhappy to hear about this, but Aubrey treats it like no big deal.
  • Eagleland Osmosis: Emma's uncle Bengt is part of the Swedish "Raggare" subculture, which roughly translates to the American greasers of the 50's and 60's, and idolize everything about iconic Americana, especially large muscle cars, leather jackets and rockabilly. He is thrilled to suddenly have an American in-law, not realizing that reality doesn't exactly correspond to his cultural ideal.
  • Enormous Engagement Ring: Discussed. Bruce goes to buy an engagement ring for Emma but is surprised to learn that Swedish engagement rings don't feature huge stones like American rings, leading to a debate over American expressiveness and Swedish pragmatism.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Bruce is incredulous that Swedes consider skiing a sport.
  • Fish out of Water: Naturally. Bruce is constantly bewildered by just how different Sweden is. Then he goes back to New York and realizes just how much he’s changed.
  • Funny Foreigner: Bruce is the funny foreigner to the rest of the cast. Swedish reactions to his Americanness range from being amused to being off put. Bruce, for his part, does make an effort to learn and adapt to local customs.
    • Which leads to a Hoist by His Own Petard moment for one of Bruce’s neighbors. Bruce learns that Swedes aren't comfortable with the concept of casual friendliness so he simply walks by without realizing that the neighbor (who brushed off Bruce’s attempts at being friendly earlier) is actually trapped in the building’s elevator and is asking for help.
    • Back in New York, Pepe, Amy's assistant, can't speak English and is only around because Amy can't figure out how to tell him he's fired.
  • Gay Bar Reveal: Bruce and his father stop by a pub for a drink. Bruce realizes that they’re in a gay bar while his fathernote  is happily oblivious and talks about the friendly young man he met in the bathroom.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: In "Flash Mob/Frieriet", Emma is part of a photo taken for the bank's website, but is looking bored in it. The picture goes viral, which embarrasses Emma, until her fame gets her a restaurant reservation.
  • Manchild: Gustaf, Emma’s brother, is a drunken slob who mooches off their parents, although Viveka does baby him. He somehow manages to get himself entangled in Greg’s recliner and the first thing he does is call out for his mother.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: Birger is seen shaking in front of the computer in "Scrapbook/Skidresa". Turns out he's using a shake weight.
  • Motor Mouth: Bruce, being in a country where he is unfamiliar with the language and culture, will start babbling whenever he gets nervous and ends up digging himself into an ever deeper hole whenever he accidentally offends someone.
  • Mushroom Samba: Bruce’s mother spends most of "Föräldrar/Parents!" hopped up on Xanax and has a mini breakdown once she runs out of pills and has to actually feel her emotions. She also goes out mushroom hunting with Viveka thinking they were looking for the magic variety when they were just gathering wild mushrooms for dinner. She eats one and proceeds to go on a psychosomatic trip. Hallucinogenic mushrooms do indeed grow in Sweden, but are illegal to pick, and even more illegal to process and consume.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bruce, being a friendly American, has a habit of running his mouth off around the more reticent Swedes he encounters. Normally he’ll just unintentionally offend somebody but he has also temporarily broken up Birger and Viveka.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: There’s more to Pepe, Amy Poehler’s assistant, than meets the eye. His real name is Gary, he doesn't speak any Spanish (besides "Si" and "fuego"), and pretends he doesn't speak English because doing so helps him avoid getting fired. Also, he’s not even Hispanic. He’s Cherokee.
  • Precision F-Strike: The normally soft-spoken Birger lands one on Bruce in "Förhållanden/Breakups".
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Greg returns to New York because Amy Poehler offered him an extraordinary paycheck but discovers that his brief time in Sweden has changed him enough that New Yorkers view him as a foreigner.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: A dating example: while Greg Poehler isn't bad looking, he isn't conventionally handsome, either, while Josephine Bornebusch is a Statuesque Stunner. The show, however, does show that Emma is attracted to Bruce's personality and that she sees him as someone she wishes to settle down with. The show lampshades Bruce and Emma's different levels of attractiveness when one of Emma's exes shows up for a visit and Bruce is driven into insecurity when he sees the kind of men Emma used to date and he wonders what exactly Emma sees in him.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Emma quickly pulls a gambit together to end her parents' separation because she can't stand being part of Viveka's attempts at recapturing her youth.