Parents' Guide to

Welcome to Sweden

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Fish-out-of-water comedy has rude jokes, sweet laughs.

TV NBC Comedy 2014
Welcome to Sweden Poster Image

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Most Americans know little about Sweden beyond massage techniques and ABBA records, so Welcome to Sweden is like a cultural curio wrapped in a series of gentle jokes that go down so smoothly, you'll want to keep the good times rolling by watching episode after episode. This is more "hmm!" humor than the belly-slapping variety, with funnies resulting mostly from cultural mix-ups. Bruce is earnestly trying to understand his new home -- and to fit in, and to make his new (sorta) in-laws like him. But he can barely understand a word of Birger's heavily accented English, and his mother-in-law, the luminous Lena Olin, seems intent on making snippy jokes about Bruce's height and dire prospects for making a go of Swedish citizenship.

What makes this show rise above what could be sitcom tropes is its abundant sweetness, evident in a family that sits together in the garden enjoying homemade cinnamon buns (even if the desserts give Bruce diarrhea) and sings Swedish drinking songs at parties. Bruce is genuinely bewildered by most aspects of Swedish life, but his gameness and the relatability of his struggles (absurd as they are) make this show a winner. Oh, and since it's widely known that the Poehler who plays Bruce is the brother of Amy Poehler, it should be noted that she, and other American stars such as Aubrey Plaza and Will Ferrell, show up frequently, playing themselves, usually to pretty good comic effect.

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