It was a ‘Welcome to Sweden’ double feature last night on NBC! The first of two episodes began with Bruce on the way out the door to pick up his parents at the airport, and Emma making that dreaded announcement: “I’m late.” Bruce assures her that he’s very happy she might be pregnant, and she says that he should tell his face. Hurry up Bruce. Tell your face. He doesn’t tell his face.
Bruce deserves a break, though, because he’s on his way to get his parents, and that’s an understandably stressful time. Bruce’s parents, played by Ileana Douglas and Patrick Duffy, are a fairly standard nightmare combination of pill-popping mom and bigoted dad. But everything about this show that would be unoriginal if it were set in America is so very much better in Sweden. Bruce’s dad, Wayne, can’t help but notice all the gay nannies everywhere. Bruce tells him that those are just well-dressed dads on paternity leave. “Oh good, so they’re all dependent on the government,” Wayne says. “Sounds fun,” Bruce’s mom, Nancy, says dreamily. Then she asks if they can go see the Vikings.
Birgir’s brother, Bengt, reappears in his American flag regalia, and he could not be more excited that Bruce’s dad’s name is Wayne. He immediately launches into a Batman impression. Wayne nicely, but very obviously insincerely, invites Bengt to come to Cleveland to visit. He books a non-refundable flight before anyone can stop him.
As Birgir and Viveka take Wayne and Nancy to various parts of the property, Emma discovers that none of her pants are fitting, further strengthening her pregnancy hypothesis. Bruce asks her if she thinks they should get married, and she says no. He says good. Emma is very forgiving, because Bruce might as well walk around with his foot in his mouth.
The family comes back together for lunch and Wayne insists on saying grace. Birgir and Viveka don’t say “Amen” at the end, which rubs Wayne the wrong way. Viveka tells him they don’t believe in God, “like, at ALL.” She says it very good-naturedly, but it starts Wayne off on a tirade that ends with him calling all children born out of wedlock bastards. Which includes Emma, and her potential child.
Later, Bruce finally stands up to his dad in a bar. His dad doesn’t agree with anything he says, but he respects that Bruce was willing to be a man. Meanwhile, Emma and Nancy are off together and Nancy is getting all verklempt because Emma and Bruce seem so happy together. Apparently she once had an international love but it didn’t work out and, you know, Wayne can be so decisive. Awkward.
At the end of the episode, Emma finds out that she’s not pregnant and concludes that she’s just fat. Lucky for Bruce, the credits roll before he can comment.
In the next episode, “Amy Poehler” tries to bribe Bruce to come back to New York to fix a money situation for her. She offers him $3o0,000. He turns it down, which takes some serious inner strength, because he’s still not exactly what you would call “employed.” He tells Amy that he’s a Swedish money manager now, which makes Emma really excited. She sends him to meet with a friend of hers who can get him started in that business. “Amy” tells “Aubrey Plaza” to go to Stockholm and enact Phase 2 of their plan to get Bruce back; next thing we know, Emma is “running into” Aubrey outside her apartment building.
Emma has told her mother that she thinks Bruce is depressed, so Viveka texts him and asks him to come to her office for an EMERGENCY. When he shows up, she asks him if he wouldn’t like to make himself more comfortable on her couch. She asks him how long he has not been enjoying things and felt like crying. He says he’s not depressed, he’s just trying to be more Swedish, and she says that sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between depressed and Swedish.
“Aubrey” then runs into Bruce, and he believes her when she says she’s in Sweden for a comedy tour. He takes her around to see the sights of Stockholm, but eventually she gets bored and asks if they can just go somewhere and have sex. They go to the Abba museum instead.
Emma finds Aubrey and tells her to stop stalking Bruce. Aubrey says that Bruce has gotten really boring and she’s trying to help him, but Emma knows that, and she’s trying to help Bruce get back to being himself. Aubrey needs to step off. Meanwhile, Bruce is at his favorite coffee shop, where the barista is refusing him his requested three sugars. That’s too many. He gets angry; he doesn’t want to have the appropriate Swedish amount of sugar, he wants to have the amount he wants. So she gives him ten sugars, and he puts every single one in his little cup of coffee.
At the apartment, Bruce and Emma talk about his attempts at “Swedishness,” and he says he’s tired of trying to fit in and not really wanting to. Then he tells Emma that Amy offered him $300K to go back to New York for 3 months. Emma gets briefly excited, but not as excited as Bruce gets when he sees that she might want to do that a little bit. So perhaps the next episode will be called “Welcome Back to New York”?