It's summer time – (Sommartider Hej, Hej Sommartider) – and it is the time of year in most countries where bad TV reigns. There are reruns and summer reality shows (So You Think You Can Dance is excluded from this category, because it is just plain awesome). But Swedish summer TV is a special form of painful. It remains that one nugget of Swedish culture that is a complete mystery to me.
I realize that all Swedes don't LOVE Allsång På Skansen, Lotta and Sommarkrysset - three similar yet separate Swedish TV shows - but the audience is always made up of such a diverse bunch that I always end up scratching my head. There are the old folks with blue hair. There are the young kids in Crocs (Foppatofflor). There are teenagers who sing along. There are folks in their twenties, who should be at a bar or nightclub. There are a wide variety of parents.
This is probably the most Swedish bunch you will see in Sweden, because I think the amount of immigrants who might frequent this type of event are negligible. Because seriously, we don't get it. Really.
The artists are an assortment of folks singing harmless pop songs. There is folksy commentary. For the life of me I cannot think of an American equivalent. Think of American Bandstand, but with boybands and country music.
This summer we travelled a bit with some Swedish family, so I have seen a great deal of these shows.
I had the pleasure of learning about what a Jedward was (I apologize now if you decide to find out for yourself). I also saw a bunch of Swedish 'country singers' as I tried to bury my nose deeper in a book.
Sure, Måns Zelmerlof is easy on the eyes, but none of this show is easy on the ears or your tastebuds.
Seriously if you want a crash course in Swedish culture, look no further. You will totally understand the whole Abba thing like you never have before.
Per Gessle gets a free pass, because he gave the world Roxette. But here is a taste of him on Allsang pa Skansen
Typical coversong fare on Lotta Pa Liseborg - You are warned!
Jedward on Sommarkryssat - Great Moments in TV history