Things don’t start out so well for Bruce in this week’s episode of ‘Welcome to Sweden.’ He basically gets blacklisted from his local coffee shop because he has stuffed half a pastry in his mouth before he accepts the fact that his credit card has been declined and he can’t pay for it. Not cool, Bruce.
At home, he complains to Emma that the barista didn’t recognize him. She tells him it’s because his face is so “normal.” He dislikes the word normal and also the fact that he has basically run out of money. He doesn’t want to be one of those boyfriends that just stays at home and lives off his girlfriend’s money, like a “normal-faced housewife.” Emma says it will never happen because he’s not a woman, but then she doesn’t hesitate to ask him to iron her shirts and have dinner ready when she gets home.
Later, Bruce hangs out with his friend from Swedish class, Hassan, the guy who hates Americans, and has to pretend he went to NYU, which is evidently a small school outside of Montreal. Hassan assures Bruce that he will get a job, but warns him that it might not be a good one. A cousin of his has been in Sweden for four years and he is a toilet cleaner. However, he was also a toilet cleaner in Iraq, so there you go.
The next step in Bruce’s career journey is to go to an employment agency, where a Swedish man is very impressed by his resume. Bruce himself looks highly unimpressive in a T-shirt and hoodie, but the man doesn’t seem concerned about this. He tells Bruce that most of the jobs he has require a driver’s license–a Swedish one. Time to go to the Swedish DMV.
At the DMV, we learn that Sweden takes driving very seriously, and in fact plans to completely eliminate traffic deaths in the country. A worthy goal, for sure. In order to make sure Bruce can handle the responsibility of never causing a traffic death, he needs to take lessons. These lessons will cost 10,000 krona, which is about $1500. Not great for a guy with no job.
Bruce and Emma go to a bar that night, Bruce yet again incredibly underdressed, and they see this week’s A-list guest star: Gene Simmons. He’s a client of Bruce’s, naturally, so Bruce hides behind a plant. Gene meets Emma and insists that she call him “Gene Simmons.” Then he sees Bruce and gets angry because the IRS is after him. Bruce rebuffs him, as he does with all his clients, and Gene leaves in a huff, but not before telling Emma that he’d like to show her around his “backstage area.”
Bruce’s attempts at being a normal-faced housewife don’t work out so well the following evening, as Emma can’t even stay home for dinner. She’s going out with a friend. Bruce’s hot dog stew will have to go uneaten. Later, he practices driving in Hassan’s taxi, but it has a manual transmission, and Bruce has apparently never used one of those. He sees a sign that says “Farthinder” and gets a good laugh out of it, but Hassan isn’t amused. He tells a joke for which the punchline is “Both Aram and Amed are from Afghanistan.” Bruce doesn’t get it and neither do I. Then Bruce tries to turn right on red and Hassan gets mad and won’t let him drive anymore.
Finally, a scene at the family home! Viveka tells Bruce that in Sweden a man can have a traditional woman’s role and still be a man. She clearly doesn’t think so, though. Emma points out Gustav as an example of a man with no driver’s license and no job. Viveka, offended, says that Gustav works from home. “To work from home, you have to have a job,” says Emma. “Otherwise you’re just home.” “Like Bruce,” says Viveka.
The helpful man at the employment agency suggests that Bruce go on an interview for a tourism job because he speaks “good” English. Bruce does not get off on a very good foot when he laughs at the name of the man interviewing him (“Sixten–it’s like six, and ten.”) Also, Bruce is yet again wearing a T-shirt and a hoodie. How did he get to be a fancy New York accountant when he doesn’t even know how to dress for a job interview? Anyway, all Bruce has to do to get hired is read “If you look to your left” in good English, and he does.
Unfortunately, the job is a tour guide on a boat, and Bruce does not do boats very well. While trying to figure out which part of the script to read during the ride, he loses his bearings and gets cussed out in multiple languages by tourists. Then he gets fired. He’s relieved.
He goes back to the employment agency (same hoodie, different T-shirt), and the man there is thrilled that Bruce is willing to consider an accounting job. But then Hassan comes by and tells Bruce that he got fired because someone from the taxi company saw Bruce driving his taxi the other day. Hassan is actually okay with this, because he didn’t like the taxi job and wants to find something he does like. This inspires Bruce to stop looking for accounting jobs, much to the chagrin of the poor man on the other side of the desk.
The episode ends with Bruce going back to the coffee shop to pay for his pastry. It’s the same barista, but she doesn’t recognize him, and he gets mad and says he’s never coming back. After one last pastry, of course.
Still not enough Birgir, Viveka, and Gustav, but a very funny episode nonetheless.