***Spoiler Alert*** If you don't want to know anything that goes on during some episodes, don't read!"
I don't know if my NBC affiliate picked up Welcome to Sweden, I found it on my DirecTv app. Knowing little about it, I had all episodes sent to my Genie. I've gotten through a few episodes, and am finding it to be uncomfortably enjoyable.
I've read some of the other reviews here, and it's apparent to me that a few reviewers aren't familiar with Amy Poehler's non-SNL work, or can't imagine her connection to this project other than the sanguinity between the producer and the lead actor. But the opening sequence is a dead giveaway that Welcome to Sweden is related to Parks & Recreation.
The people who don't know who Aubrey Plaza is definitely never watched Parks & Recreation, and are obviously unacquainted with creepy, deadpan, spontaneous, lazy & manipulative April. Fans often confuse actors with the characters they portray, but Plaza admits to having some April in her. She steals April wholly to portray herself here. Will Ferrell also plays oddball here - not Ron Burgundy or Chazz Michael Michaels, I've seen this character before but I can't recall where off the top of my head. He is married to a Swedish woman in real life. It's too bad that Will Arnett isn't a part of Amy's life anymore, he would make a great addition to this cast.
It seems that some people were expecting a sitcom, but got art nouveau instead.
The characters are all odd, actually. Bruce is nothing short of the biggest Doofus this side of Andy in P&R, except Bruce displays greater maturity & work ethic, but has fewer of Andy's endearing qualities. I think many people expect Emma to be less strange than Bruce, and the only reason I can find for this is that most people assume that beautiful women are somehow more polished, more mature - in effect, perfectly normal. But Emma is not. People ask, why is she with Bruce? Why should she not be? Just because she's pretty does not mean she isn't neurotic, strange, or a Doofus in her own right. Just as her parents had all these expectations that they feel Bruce doesn't live up to that we viewers can see are either reasonable or not, so we viewers shouldn't be placing our prejudices on Emma. Pretty women can be hot messes.
Emma's family are a hoot. They make perfect sense to me. I've been in the situation of being brought into a family I don't know, as a live-in girlfriend, and to say it's awkward is an understatement. Add a culture clash and more than a little neuroticism, and you have this quirky show that I want to continue watching.
As for the people who just can't believe this has been picked up for a second season: Amy's recent endeavor, Parks & Recreation, had a 1st season of 6 episodes. A second season wasn't a given. The third season didn't even start until January of the TV season, because there was talk of cancellation. Similarly, Amy's former SNL castmate, Tina Fey, was getting awards for 30 Rock, with almost no audience share. I can remember when they got, I don't know if it was a SAG award, or a Golden Globe, in season 1 or 2, and Tina thanked their "dozens and dozens" of viewers. Yet these shows went on to carve niches out, P&R not so much as 30 Rock; still, P&R will be an instant cult classic.
Welcome to Sweden isn't perfect. It's odd, discomfiting, droll, peculiar, and a bit offensive. Just what I'd expect from the Poehlers.
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