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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.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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