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'Welcome to Sweden' recap: Lay all your love on me

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “Learn the Language” | Aired July 17, 2014

Let me begin by saying that I still have high hopes for Welcome to Sweden. It’s only the second episode, and I’m rooting for Greg Poehler’s sitcom baby to start teething. But I’m a little nervous that they called the big guns out so early in the season. And by “big guns,” I mean Will Ferrell. I’ll get to him in a minute.

Bruce and Emma are still living at her parents’ house, and they are struggling to find private moments where they can be intimate. Between Birger building things outside, Viveka puttering around inside and Gustav working on his new reggae business (yeah, mon), Emma is about to explode and Bruce is a paranoid wreck.

After Bruce and Emma get caught by the entire family trying to sneak a quickie in the kitchen, everyone heads outside for breakfast. Viveka proudly offers Bruce a fresh cinnamon bun and he politely declines. He hates cinnamon. This rocks Viveka and Birger’s world, and they begin firing exclamations back and forth in Swedish.

Welcome to SwedenBirger: You can hate genocide and Hitler.
Viveka: Hating Hitler’s OK, but cinnamon buns?

P.S. Hitler is “Hitler” in Swedish. Consider Bruce thoroughly confused.

Gustav intervenes and implores Bruce to ask his American celebrity friends to invest a few million into his new business. Viveka is thrilled with her baby boy’s entrepreneurial endeavors and offers to help him buy some “reggae stuff” for his club. I can only assume that means steel drums, a large poster featuring Bob Marley and a pan of pot brownies.

Bruce wisely declines and leaves for his language class. He’s not picking it up as quickly as he would like. The alphabet is crazy, with strange dots over the letters. His practice tapes are practically useless. And to top things off, most of his classmates, including a new Iraqi friend, hates Americans. Bruce suddenly decides he’s from Canada, eh?

That night he receives a text message from Will Ferrell. He’s in Sweden, and he wants to have coffee. Emma is thrilled. What better way to escape her parents for a few hours? Bruce is cautious. It’s never just about coffee. Will wants something.

Emma wants something too. She and Bruce scramble under the covers and, just as they are about to get busy, the bed breaks. There will be no hanky-panky tonight!

The next morning, Emma casually suggests to Viveka that she should go to a movie with Birger. Viveka has no interest. She and Birger haven’t seen a movie since Ghostbusters.

Fun fact: Ghostbusters is “Ghostbusters” in Swedish.

Instead she somehow leads the conversation to Birger’s former career as a sea captain, and the effect his captain’s hat had on her endocrine system. With all of Viveka’s smiling, writhing and moaning, Emma is no longer in the mood. It’s time to visit Will.

Will is a gracious host and immediately offers his guests a plate of warm cinnamon buns. Emma glares at Bruce, daring him to say anything, and hands him the gooey roll. Emma and Will’s wife chatter away about picking blueberries. Will chimes in, offering his encouragement in perfect Swedish. Bruce is floored.

According to Will, if you love someone enough, the very least you can do is learn their language. Emma is visibly annoyed with Bruce and leaves the kitchen in a huff with Will’s wife. Bruce rolls his eyes and tells Will he can drop the act. Except it isn’t an act. Will actually loves Sweden. And it’s all because of a woman.

He loves his wife, sure, but he also loves the woman on his “Swedish for Beginners—Volume 4” cassette tape. She has the sexiest voice this side of the Kebnekajse (that’s a mountain), which makes learning Swedish fun and exciting. In many ways.

Will offers the cassette tape to Bruce, solidifying their bromance that Bruce had no idea existed. And in exchange for the cassette tape, Bruce will agree to do Will’s taxes. By tomorrow. Bruce is hooked. Whatever Will wants, he will get. They sit cheek-to-cheek, sharing earbuds and giggling like schoolboys.

Fun fact: Although he doesn’t live in Sweden, Will’s real-life wife is Swedish actress Viveca Paulin.

Curious fact: The woman playing his wife in the show was not Will Ferrell’s Swedish actress wife.

They leave Will’s house and return to an empty home. It’s party time! Only Bruce is suffering from a intestinal situation, and he makes a beeline for the outhouse. This is why he doesn’t like cinnamon. Emma makes herself presentable in Gustav’s bedroom/shed and practices a dozen sultry poses to surprise Bruce when he comes back. When he returns many, many minutes later, he finds her reading a comic book. That’s sexy to some people!


Clothes are stripped, lips are kissed, hair is pulled and suddenly Bruce becomes anxious again. He swears he hears Emma’s dad. Emma thinks this notion is laughable and pulls the shade open. Hi Birger! He was just coming in to ask for Bruce’s help. Bruce zips his pants and Emma considers a cold shower. Third time is not a charm.

Later, Emma finds Bruce on Gustav’s lower bunk, entranced by his new language tape. She grabs an earbud and listens. After a few seconds, she confesses that it sounds like a porno and wants to know if her voice is as sexy as Volume 4? Bruce immediately answers that her voice is too high-pitched to be sexy. But the rest of her is irresistible. Their makeout session is interrupted by Gustav from the top bunk declaring that there will be no kissing in his room.

Emma complains that three grown people shouldn’t be sharing a bedroom/shed. Viveka makes up the sofabed. This would have been a logical scenario from the beginning, but let’s just go with it for now. They finally have a semi-comfortable place to get horizontal. Bruce makes Emma check one more time to see if her parents are asleep. Exasperated, Emma creeps up the stairs and discovers her parents in a very compromising position. Birger is wearing the captain’s hat. That’s a mental picture Emma (and I, for that matter) will never forget.

Emma and Bruce end up in a hotel. She tries out her new sexy voice and Bruce laughs. He tries out some Swedish dirty talk and she laughs. Instead of finally doing the deed, they lose interest when the couple next door beats them, and the wall they share, to the punch.

Welcome to Sweden, Bruce.

Welcome to Sweden, rated TV-14, airs Thursdays at 9/8C on NBC.

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