NEW YORK (AP) — Paul Simon, Jack Black, Neve Campbell, Amy Poehler and Jason Priestley make appearances in the second season of the television comedy "Welcome to Sweden," which launches on NBC on Sunday.
That's only marginally impressive, until you consider those guest shots required them to be in Stockholm during the long, dark winter months.
"We tried to get people who were already in Sweden and literally show up at their hotel with cameras," said "Welcome to Sweden" star and writer Greg Poehler. "Before they knew what was happening, they were on TV."
He's joking, sort of. Simon and Black were on concert tours that took them to Sweden while the series was being filmed and Poehler called on his sister Amy, who knew them both, to ask a favor. Campbell, who shares an agent with Greg Poehler, will appear in four episodes as an American businesswoman transferred to Sweden. Priestley also came just for the show.
Poehler, to remind fans who watched last summer, plays an American who falls in love with a Swedish woman and moves to her home country, mirroring the young actor's real life.
The show, filmed initially for Swedish television, was picked up by NBC and did well enough last summer to earn a second season in both those countries and others. Poehler recognizes that at a time networks are having trouble developing situation comedies that stick, it's a real opportunity to have a series that lasts more than a few episodes.
"There are so many stages of the process when something can go horribly wrong," he said. "If you survive that, the second season is really where you find your voice and find your rhythm, and I think we've done that."
Poehler's character this season gets a job as the "guy" for American celebrities visiting Stockholm, a person who gets special access to tourist spots and performs other favors — a narrative device that works perfectly for the celebrity cameos. Since he barely understands Swedish, "as you can imagine, he's not a very good 'guy,'" Poehler said.
The second season may be a little jarring for American television viewers since it is not only filmed, but set, in a Swedish winter.
"It will be a cold and dark and snowy Stockholm coming into your living room on July 19," he said. "You don't need an air conditioner. You can just watch our show."