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'Welcome to Sweden' recap: Mama mia

Season 1 | Episode 6 | “Parents” | Aired Aug 21, 2014

Everyone knows that Patrick Duffy is television royalty. He’s Bobby Ewing, for goodness’ sake. I figured I would enjoy his guest appearance as Bruce’s father, but I never expected that Illeana Douglas, playing the part of Bruce’s mother, would have me in a fit of giggles. Once the American-loving Uncle Bengt showed up at the parental meet-and-greet, I was tickled pink.

Bruce and Emma, however, were not feeling my vibe. Bruce is discouraged that his parents think he’s made the biggest mistake of his life by moving to Sweden. He wonders if there is any way their cruise ship could possibly hit an iceberg? Emma laughs and tells Bruce she’s late. Bruce is late too, and runs out the door to meet Wayne (Duffy) and Nancy (Douglas).

Wait, what?

Bruce returns seconds later, shocked by Emma’s news. She stares at him, anticipating his reaction.

Bruce: Are you happy?
Emma: Are you happy?
Bruce: If you’re happy, I’m happy.
Emma: Tell that to your face.

Bruce assures Emma that they will get through this—together. She reminds him she is having a baby and is not terminally ill. He leaves the apartment to go pick up his parents.

Wayne and Nancy are the perfect blend of a non-American person’s view of the stereotypical American visiting a foreign country. Wayne complains that the cruise is too expensive; he has nothing good to say about the snooty people in France; and he thinks every well-dressed European man is gay. When Nancy isn’t popping pills, she’s hell-bent on Bruce taking her to see Vikings in their natural habitat.

Nancy: I’d like to see some Vikings doing some Viking things. Where they wear the helmets and the skirts and the girls with the braids. You know a place like that, honey?

Welcome to Sweden ScreencapThe Evans arrive at Viveka and Birger’s house and are greeted by a very pale and very naked Swedish man who is using Old Glory as a beach towel. Hey Uncle Bengt! He drops the flag and dives into the water. I’ve never been more happy to see a blurry modesty patch. Thank you for that, NBC.

The affectionate Swedes hug the disgruntled American man and the half-baked American woman. Nancy is concerned that Viveka’s hair is not blond. A soaking-wet Uncle Bengt is ecstatic that Bruce’s father is named Wayne. He notices the puzzled looks, channels a gravely voice and performs his best Batman impression.

Uncle Bengt: I love America.
Nancy: Me too!
Wayne: You should come visit us sometime.
Uncle Bengt: Yes! When?

When Emma has trouble fitting into any of her pants, she has a serious conversation with Bruce about the fact that she’s pregnant. Bruce panics, wondering if they are supposed to get married now? Emma doesn’t think that is necessary, and Bruce is relieved. He has enough problems to worry about.

Huh. Maybe that’s why Nancy wants to see a Viking in his natural habitat. I can see that.

Birger and Wayne take a hike around the property. Wayne is impressed with the amount of land that Birger owns. Birger laughs, explaining that there is a rule in Sweden that states that everyone has a right to be on anyone else’s land.

Wayne: But how do you know who you’re supposed to shoot?

After Nancy praises Viveka for growing such a darling vegetable that looks exactly like tomatoes (Spoiler: They are tomatoes.), Viveka sneaks Nancy to her secret mushroom stash out in the woods. Nancy refuses to partake, but stashes one mushroom away in her purse for an emergency.

Later that afternoon, Viveka serves a lavish lunch and encourages everyone to dig in. With mouths watering and olfactory nerves pulsing, Wayne puts a damper on the moment by giving thanks before the meal. When he chastises Viveka for not saying “amen” at the end of grace, she returns that she’s not religious and doesn’t believe in God.

This is too much for Nancy to handle. She heads up to the bathroom, pops a mushroom cap in her mouth and puts on lipstick while giggling to herself in the mirror. I love this woman.

When she returns, Uncle Bengt has booked his flight to America on his phone, Bruce is sliding further down in his chair and Wayne is preaching that it’s a bad thing to have kids out of wedlock. He has officially offended everyone sitting at the table.

Emma is concerned that Bruce feels the same as his father. Is that why he brought up the subject of marriage? Bruce draws Emma in and tells her there is a reason he lives so far away from his parents. Little Gretel will be the apple of his eye.

Just before Wayne and Nancy get back on the boat, Nancy takes Emma to a cafe for some alone time. She is proud of Emma for all that she’s accomplished, and she’s excited for her son that he took a chance on love, following a beautiful girl around the world. Apparently Nancy had the same opportunity once upon a time with a dashing young foreign exchange student from Amsterdam, but she didn’t take it. Reliving the memory of that summer was enough to send Nancy into a minor meltdown. Someone give that woman a Xanax! Or another shroom!

Bruce finally faces his father like a man and tells him that no matter what, he is not leaving Stockholm because he is in love with Emma. Wayne doesn’t respect what Bruce said, but he certainly respects the way he said it. Bruce considered the moment a victory.

Emma and Bruce bid the Evans a heartfelt farewell from the docks. Nancy promises that they will return at Christmas because she never got to see those Vikings. I can hardly wait.

As it turns out, Emma is not pregnant after all. Bruce seems genuinely sweet, comforting a sad Emma when her head snaps up.

Emma: This means I’m just getting fat!

Perhaps Viveka has something in the secret garden that could take care of that problem?

Welcome to Sweden 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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