A Delightful, Self-Effacing Tour of Sweden From Eurovision 2013

Once again, the Eurovision Song Contest has come and gone, the people of the Eurovision Broadcasting Union nations have spoken and another pop song has been chosen as champion. But while Danish pop singer Emmelie de Forest’s "Only Teardrops" ran away with a big victory in the finals, one of the most memorable numbers of the finals wasn’t in the competition at all. As part of her hosting duties for this year’s contest, held in Malmö, Sweden,  popular comedian Petra Mede was charged with the task of introducing Europe and the world at large to Sweden and its people.

Sweden has a long and illustrious history in the Eurovision Song Contest, from helping assert ABBA’s pop dominance ("Waterloo" was a Eurovision winner) to 1991 winner Carola to last year’s anthem from Loreen, "Euphoria." And the thing about Eurovision is that the winning country hosts the following year, which means the host country has an opportunity to showcase itself in whichever fashion it chooses. And, for Sweden, that choice was a big, cheesy and wonderful production number. As we all know, there’s far more to Sweden than ABBA, IKEA and other four-letter, all-caps cultural signifiers.

Mede and her team decided to run with the theme, joyfully lampshading every regular stereotype, global perception or other trope about Sweden, from horse-meat meatballs to its polite, orderly people to its successful women’s soccer team. It’s all in good fun, and bonus points for lines like "There’s Volvo, and Garbo, the best loganberries / and all of our problems digesting our dairy." Watch for something light for you to ease into your week with. 

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