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'Welcome to Sweden' recap: The name of the game

Season 1 | Episode 7 | “Homesick” | Aired Aug 21, 2014

I’m always excited to see Amy Poehler featured as a guest on Welcome to Sweden. Even though she’s on the screen for a total of two minutes, she completely steals the show. That is, until Aubrey Plaza makes an appearance. Give me those two comedic geniuses and a couple of famous Swedish dudes named Björn, and you have the recipe for a successful episode!

Amy calls Bruce, paranoid that the IRS is out to get her. She begs her former accountant to come back to figure out her taxes. Bruce causally mentions that he doesn’t have the time because he is now a Swedish money manager for celebrities, to which Amy retorts, “There are Swedish celebrities?”

It’s true that there are literally dozens of Swedish celebrities. The fact that Bruce manages their money is false.

Amy offers Bruce ridiculous money to come back to work. When he refuses, she sends Aubrey to wear him down and then calls for her assistant, Pepe, to tape together all the important tax documents she just sent through the shredder.

I wish she were on the show every week.

Emma thinks that Bruce’s spontaneous lie is actually a decent idea. Why doesn’t he work as a Swedish money manager? Maybe the change of pace will help him out of his funk. Emma offers to set him up with some celebrities. It’s a small country. They all know each other.

Welcome to SwedenBruce first meets with Björn Ranelid. I had no idea who this guy was, but found his tangerine-tinted skin simply fascinating. After a quick Google search, I learned that Mr. Ranelid is a famous author who quotes his own work as a gift to those listening. He tosses a few bills and coins onto the table and employs Bruce to make the money grow. Bruce appears less than thrilled at the idea of his first Swedish celebrity client, and is quick to leave when Viveka calls him with an emergency.

Later that day, Emma notices Aubrey hiding behind a pole near Emma’s front door. She calls her out and Aubrey dreams up a solid fabrication as to why she is in Stockholm. She tells Emma that she is on a European comedy tour. When Emma asks her what cities she’s visiting, the believable lie withers into a ridiculous lie.

Aubrey: I’ve been to London, German City, Praugastein. You know, all the major ones.

She suggests that Emma meet her for lunch the next day, then casually mentions that she should bring Bruce too. Emma assumes Aubrey is back in Stockholm to seduce Bruce.

Meanwhile, Viveka has Bruce horizontal on her therapist couch, probing him for proof that he’s depressed. When she asks why he feels like crying for no reason, Bruce defends himself. He’s not depressed! He wants to be more Swedish! He’s just trying to play the game. Viveka understands. It’s hard to tell the difference between depressed people and the Swedish.

She encourages Bruce to just be himself. She also admits that she likes him much better now than when she hated him, when they first met. Bruce considers this major progress.

After his therapy session, Bruce runs into Aubrey, the European comedy star, and she convinces him to hang out with her for the day. Moments later, she’s complaining about the zoo they visited that didn’t have any animals, the sunken ship he made her tour and the old town that turned out to be literally an old town.

Bruce takes her to the ABBA museum and she is not impressed. Not only does Aubrey think it smells like dead people, but she challenges Bruce to name one good ABBA song. As fate would have it, Björn Ulvaeus walks up behind them. No, not the sun-kissed Björn from before. This Björn is the world-renowned singer, songwriter, producer and former ABBA member!

Aubrey: Name one really good ABBA song.
Bruce: I forget the name.
Björn: “Dancing Queen?”
Bruce: Not “Dancing Queen.” The good song.
Björn: “The Winner Takes It All?”
Bruce: No! The good one.
Björn: “Mama Mia?”
Bruce: You’re not helping, man.

Aubrey leaves in a huff, angry that Bruce has turned into a boring old Swede. Bruce looks perplexed, then suddenly remembers his favorite ABBA song. “Disco Inferno!” Then he compliments Björn on his costume and asks him if he’s a superfan?


Back at home, Bruce admits to Emma that he’s been trying to act Swedish. She tells him that she doesn’t want him to act like them her. She wants her confident Bruce! He channels his old New York self, offers a few negotiation tactics for Emma’s review the next day, and breaks out the fancy belt, tie and Blackberry clip before heading off to land another Swedish celebrity client. It’s all very posh and cosmopolitan.

Until he discovers his new client is Mr. ABBA himself, Björn Ulvaeus. Guess what? Björn Ulvaeus doesn’t want to make more money. He’s happy in his ABBA museum.

Bruce takes his anger out on 10 packets of sugar and the girl behind the counter of his favorite coffee shop. He goes home to Emma and confesses that he feels like he’s losing his mind. Sometimes he wants to stop playing this game and just go back home.

Emma wonders what they would do if they went back to the U.S. He casually mentions that he should take up Amy on her offer. Her $300,000 offer. Emma chokes at the thought of that much money and jokingly says they should consider it.

Bruce hops up from the table and kisses Emma in celebration! He’s going to call everyone right now to tell them he’s back!

Who needs Swedish celebrities when you have Amy Poehler and Gene Simmons waiting for you back in the States? Could this be the last of Bruce’s Swedish adventures? Since the show was picked up for another season, something tells me the answer is no. Plus, the name of the show isn’t Goodbye, Sweden. That was my second clue.

Welcome to Sweden on NBC

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