Patrick Dempsey may be the McDreamiest leading man in primetime in the United States, but it's a different American TV star who tops the list of tube favorites for viewers in Sweden. And that’s why Dallas star Patrick Duffy's guest appearance on Thursday's Welcome to Sweden was dream casting for creator/writer/producer/star Greg Poehler.
"We made a list of the most famous American actors in Sweden, and Patrick Duffy is still at the top of the list even after all these years," Poehler tells Yahoo TV. "He was our clear first choice.
"In the '80s in Sweden, I think they had one channel and Dallas was on it 20 hours a day," Poehler jokes during a phone chat from Sweden. "It doesn't get any bigger than Patrick Duffy here in Sweden. He was a dream get for us, so when he said yes, it was such a great day. The Swedes were rejoicing. It was big news. Out of all the guest actors we had in Season 1, he was by far the biggest in terms of the Swedish reaction to it."
Adds Duffy during a phone call from his home base in Oregon, "The reason Dallas lasted as long as it did was it seemed to translate in every country, in any language. I've been to Indonesia in a house that's basically four poles and a thatched roof, and there's a television, and Dallas is playing. In Sweden, it's playing in its subtitles. In France, we even have our own different theme music. We knew over the years that in the Nordic countries, Finland, Norway, Sweden, it was monumental. I know that's why I was asked to do it. It's a great PR hook to have Bobby Ewing, especially now the new Dallas [is on] over there as well."
See Duffy on Welcome to Sweden:
Will Ferrell, KISS frontman Gene Simmons, and Poehler's big sis and co-executive producer, Amy Poehler, have also guest-starred on the first season of Welcome to Sweden, but Duffy's appearance as Wayne Evans, the superconservative father of Poehler's Bruce, not only is a boon for Duffy's Swedish devoted but also led to one of the season's funniest episodes.
In "Parents!" Wayne and Nancy (Emmy nominee Illeana Douglas) visit their newly transplanted son — and his girlfriend, Emma (Josephine Bornebusch) — in his new Swedish home for the first time. Wayne is unimpressed with the scenic surroundings and free-spirited lifestyle of Emma's parents until he finds a surprising hangout that makes him feel at home. Meanwhile, Nancy has an extreme reaction to seeing Bruce and Emma's happy relationship.
Watch a preview clip:
"It was so much fun to do, my God. It was so much fun to do," said Duffy, who's also currently starring in the third season of TNT's Dallas. "I had a phone conversation with Amy Poehler, and I am an abject stalker of Amy Poehler. She's unbelievable. I want to be the air between her and Tina Fey. That's my goal in life, to just be that little bit of air between the two of them when they work together.
"We talked on the phone, and I was going to New York for TNT to do some publicity for Dallas. I said, 'Let's meet.' She came to the hotel, and we sat down in the lobby. I said, 'Just relax. I want to come and do the show no matter what, even if you don't pay me. I don't care. I want to do the show.' It was because of Dallas's popularity that it was a good mix. Then Greg is fantastically talented. The combination of the two of them… I think it created this unique type of show. It's not trying to be anything resembling another type of show, and that's very hard to do nowadays. They did it, and they just got the pickup from NBC to do a second season. I'm hoping Wayne might show up again."
Greg Poehler, who's currently writing the second season of Welcome to Sweden, which will begin filming in January, said he hopes to bring Duffy and Douglas back, too, though he joked that he's worried about getting anyone to travel to Sweden in January.
"We want to keep the things about the show that we like and that people like, which is that, first and foremost, the show is a romantic comedy. There will be a lot more storylines of Bruce and Emma and where their relationship is going to go," Poehler said about Season 2. "But the first season, we shot it during the summer, and it was very sunny and light, and I just didn't want to be held responsible for people moving here assuming that it's like that all the time. I want to show the other side of it, so we can show the entire package. There will be a lot of weather-related stuff."
Poehler, whose real-life experience of falling in love with a Swedish woman (Charlotta, now his wife) and moving to her home country inspired the series, said he'd like to do an episode in which Emma's family goes to America to see how Bruce's family lives, and he also plans to continue the celebrity guest appearances in Season 2.
Who else is on his guest star wish list?
"The entire cast of Dallas, and then the entire cast of Falcon Crest," he said. "Lorenzo Lamas, of course. We have a lot of people that we're hoping for for Season 2. I'd really like to get Britney Spears. She's on my list. I don't know if she's on anybody else's list. Right now, we're writing a scene for her and hoping that somehow she'll say yes. Also, all the Skarsgårds. They're Swedish, so we'll take any of them. There's so many of them. It doesn't matter which one."
As for other Dallas-ites, Duffy said one of his co-stars was with him, at least in spirit, while he was filming his guest role in Sweden last summer. He tweeted a photo of himself standing under a sign for an art gallery named Hagman.
Random street while filming in Sweden. I look up and... I guess he's always with me!! pic.twitter.com/AgWQLdhFDT— Patrick Duffy (@therealpduffy) June 30, 2013
"I couldn't believe it. I was just walking around and happened upon it," Duffy said. "I said, 'He's over me all the time. He always gets top billing, even when he's dead.' Larry would have loved it. From the day we shook hands at the table reading of the original Dallas, we became best friends. We were brothers. I'm thoroughly convinced in some life form somewhere, we were truly brothers. We just continued that relationship this time around. I think about him literally every day, and I'm never sad. Every time his image passes through my mind, I break into a smile. He was the best guy in the world."
Welcome to Sweden airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC; Dallas airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT.