While everyone seemed to be pumped for “Extant,” the CBS show starring Halle Berry, another summer TV show captured my attention.
“Welcome to Sweden” is the kind of show that might not have a ton of substance, but it’s pretty funny. And it’s way less confusing than “Extant,” which I did watch one episode of, but didn’t enjoy. Sorry, but space freaks me out, and the concept didn’t make much sense, in my opinion.
The NBC show “Welcome to Sweden” centers around Bruce, played by Greg Poehler, as he adjusts to life in Sweden. Why is he in Sweden? He left New York and his celebrity accounting job to follow his girlfriend, Emma (Josephine Bornebusch), to her home country.
Cultural differences are inherently funny. America is very different from other countries, and that’s accentuated in “Welcome to Sweden.” For example, Bruce doesn’t understand why people don’t say hi when they pass one another in the halls, but Emma explains that Swedes stick to themselves. I don’t know how true that is, but watching Bruce attempt to make conversation with other apartment tenants was quite entertaining.
And Bruce can’t find a job because he can’t speak Swedish or drive in the country. He tries to be a tour guide, but he becomes too seasick to handle it.
The show has a lot of subtitles, but it never feels pretentious. It’s necessary to convey the lack of communication ... and the family’s snide remarks about Bruce, which they make right in front of him.
It’s not all about cultural differences — it’s also about making a life together and how hard that can be. Bruce and Emma move in together, have to combine and sort their material belongings and deal with in-laws. None of that is easy, but it’s portrayed on the show in a humorous, yet realistic way.
The show is loosely based on Poehler’s real-life experiences (His IMDb page says he was an attorney before going into show business). He is an executive producer on the show with his sister, Amy, of “Parks and Recreation” and “SNL” fame.
“Welcome to Sweden” airs at 9 p.m. Thursdays on NBC. The show has been picked up for a second season after the show was already picked up in Sweden, where it first aired.