Category Archives: NBC Universal



Editor’s Note: Vote for me on the Laugh Your Way to Sweden contest! I’m at the bottom row wearing a striped shirt. My skit is called, “People Don’t Stop Anymore.” Just go here.

Welcome to Sweden,” NBC’s comedy about a NYC accountant who falls in love with a Swedish tourist (Sundays 8/7c) has a very funny challenge. Sweden is not known for being funny. Now, England, there’s a funny country. But Sweden, not so much. It’s this dichotomy of unfunny versus funny that makes this comedy so appealing.

There’s a great mix of deadpan and absurd humor to be found here. And you’d expect that from Amy Poehler. And now we come to also appreciate the comedic talents of her brother, Greg Poehler. After 12 years as a lawyer, in 2012, Greg Poehler started doing stand-up comedy in Sweden. At the same time, he began writing the script for what became his first TV series, Welcome to Sweden, in which he plays the lead part, in addition to his roles as head writer and producer. His sister, Amy Poehler, decided to produce the show after proofreading the script.

The first episode sets the tone for this quirky romantic comedy. While most of the characters choose to hide behind a Scandinavian reserve, they are also quite crafty and/or blunt when pushed. We begin with what should be a mild, if not pleasant, exchange between a young man asking for the blessing from the father of the woman he loves. Bruce Evans (played by Greg Poehler) starts out hoping for some goodwill from Birger Wiik (played by Claes Månsson). Instead, he gets a tidal wave of passive-aggressive shyness and resistance. And it turns out that Bruce did want more than just a handshake or a pat on the back. If it were left up to him, he would have gotten full-on validation and the longest and warmest of hugs. No such luck with Papa Wiik. Then, to really floor him, Bruce gets an unequivocal answer. Viveka Börjesson (played by Lena Olin), the woman that Bruce thinks he wants as his mother-in-law, simply says no.


The premise of the show is that one person in this equation is clearly a fish out of water. Bruce has uprooted himself to Sweden to be with the woman he loves. However, the woman he loves, Emma Wiik (played by Josephine Bornebusch) is not totally in her own element even though she has home court advantage. Emma is a bank executive. She’s the boss. People call her the “chairman of the board.” But Emma has met her match when a marketing expert seems to take over operations as she devises how to best give the bank a much needed image makeover. Diane (played by Neve Campbell) is a social media genius. Emma doesn’t even know what a meme is. Each time Diane attempts to take a flattering photo of Emma, it’s the same pained expression over and over. Diane, in frustration, tells Emma it should be impossible to maintain that same expression. This problem, like a meme, takes on a life of its own with very funny results.

I’m so glad this show popped up on my radar. It’s definitely something different. With an appealing self-deprecating charm, Greg Poehler makes a great fish out of water. It will be fun to see him at least try to overcome his situation.

To check out the show and watch free episodes, got to NBC right here.

And there’s a contest underway, that’s in its final days, where you can vote on your favorite fan tributes to the show. I couldn’t help entering. I feel that I tapped into some of that quirk factor working so well on the show. Whoever wins the most votes gets to go see the show on location in Sweden. Show your support and vote for my entry, People Don’t Stop Anymore, on the contest page right here.

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Filed under Amy Poehler, Comedy, Greg Poehler, Humor, NBC, NBC Universal, Sweden, Television

NBC TV: Out with the Bad; In with the Good

You know how life, real life, can take center stage in your…well, life? That’s a very good thing. It helps to throw out a lot of stuff that does not amount to a hill of beans. You know what I mean. Anyway, I want you to trust me that, when I do take some time to write to you here at Comics Grinder, it is time well spent. Sometimes it will be a quick observation on comics or pop culture. Sometimes we’ll throw in an interview. Lots a good stuff. For now, a few thoughts upon learning that NBC’s once bright shining star of a TV show is no more. Yes, “Heroes” has finally gotten the axe.

“Heroes” is cancelled. It is a thing no more. And that is such a good thing. As I say, it’s good to throw out the things that simply do not matter. At Comic-Con in San Diego last year, you would have choked on all the heavy promotion for “Heroes.” I told you all way back then that something did not seem quite right. And where did it lead to? Nothing. Zero. If you are in tune with what is good and worthwhile, I do not believe for a second you would have been sold my the panel presentation or the outdoor circus to desperately make “Heroes” appear relevant. It was all false. The whole so-called “exciting” theme of a carnival was totally bogus. It was something that was ripped out of the last “Wolverine” movie. So, anyway, breathe a deep sigh of relief. The nightmare of a forced “exciting” TV show is over. Of course, the show has its fans. Maybe they will “demand” a very special episode or “movie” to tie up all the loose ends. Or maybe they won’t. I say, let us move on.

Now, from all the other shows that have been touted out for the Upfront treatment, the only one that appears to be a genuine piece of entertainment is the latest J.J. Abrams effort, the spy show, “Undercovers.” Let’s hope the best for it. Here is the logline as reported in The Hollywood Reporter:

Outwardly, Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, “Resident Evil: Afterlife”) and his wife, Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, “Bonekickers”), are a typical married couple who own a small catering company in Los Angeles and are helped by Samantha’s easily frazzled younger sister, Lizzy (Jessica Parker Kennedy, “Smallville”). Secretly, the duo were two of the CIA’s best spies until they fell in love on the job five years ago and retired. When fellow spy and friend Nash (Carter MacIntyre, “American Heiress”) goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, “Deadwood”) to locate and rescue Nash. The pair is thrust back into the world of espionage as they follow leads that span the globe — and Steven and Samantha realize that this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides the excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing. Also starring is Ben Schwartz (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”).

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Filed under Heroes, J. J. Abrams, NBC, NBC Universal, Undercovers