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Amy Poehler narrates The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: “Human life is full of laughter and heartbreak”

There’s a lot in the title of the Peacock reality series The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. It’s a little uncomfortable, but facing your own mortality isn’t easy.

“I love all those words,” says Amy Poehler, who produces under the Paper Kite banner and narrated the series. “It’s intended to be provocative, and it’s also very Swedish in its title. Swedes like to get straight to the point. It’s tender, it’s art, and — we’re all going to die.”

Narration by Amy Poehler aims to balance humor and heart. Taylor Hill/FilmMagic2021 1485623751

This show is the creative work of Queer Eye ‘s Scout Productions , inspired by Margareta Magnusson’s New York Times bestseller of the same name, via Sweden’s döstädning or dead clean concepts help readers embrace minimalism. Essentially, it boils down to getting rid of possessions in your life that no longer serve you so your loved ones don’t have to rummage through all your junk when you die.

Each episode, three Swedes – organizer Ella Engström, designer Johan Svenson and psychological Scholar Katarina Blom — who spends a week helping people in the greater Kansas City area pack their bags and unpack how they feel about it. (There’s a Marie Kondo vibe that’s upbeat, but full of R-rated humor and no shortage of puns.)

Dead Cleaner before the casting process Were strangers, but Engström told THR that they became good friends, chatting via WhatsApp and phone, and meeting in person whenever possible to get to know each other before filming began. “We’re very complementary,” she said, adding that it’s her mission to be honest with people about their stuff and whether it still works for them. “I gave them the encouragement they needed, but I also gave them a big hug and a big smile.”

First episode revolves around 20 – 7 year old former lounge singer named Suzi, a curmudgeon redhead with Her extensive collection of penis paraphernalia from her travels over the years.

“I’m a prisoner of my property,” she explains in the episode. “I consider them treasures. They are priceless to me, but prevent me from moving on with my life.”

There is also a rack of vintage sequined clothing, a A framed photo of Kevin Costner and some family heirlooms, including a quilt her grandmother sewed.

“This show isn’t about hoarders and making people throw everything away. It’s really about [asking], “You want to figure it out by checking your stuff Is there anything about yourself that you would like to share with others? ’ ” Poehler said. “She could live with the [quilts] in the basement her whole life, or she could wrap them in beautiful paper, put them in a cool box, and write a note saying what her grandmother meant to her , and give them to her niece.”

Later in the season, the cleaners visit Doug, a single father whose fiancée of nearly ten Hasn’t seen his basement in years and says she won’t be walking down the aisle unless he cuts down on his Polynesian gadgets and Oscar Mayer Wiener cars (yes, plural). Doug — whose restaurant is a full-fledged tiki bar — has become hemmablind, the Swedish word for “family blind,” Svensson explained. , and made his house into a “flea market” wrong.

Poehler’s brother Greg, who lives in Sweden and is the show’s writer and consultant, said finding the right tone for her narrative was a challenge. My hope is that this show will be a celebration of life and have a lot to laugh about,” she said. All these strong feelings, but also without taking them too seriously. We really wanted a human show, a human life full of laughter and sadness. ”

Even though death is a one-time event, döstädning can – and Poehler suggests should – be in your Something to do intermittently throughout life.

“There is a death cleanup every year in Sweden,” Poehler said. “It’s probably something you realize, ‘I don’t know I am not that person anymore. I don’t know if I’ll still be able to work in finance, and now that I’m climbing the glacier, I want to clean out everything that no longer makes sense to me. ”

Taking the time to browse through a lifetime’s possessions — your own or family members’ — is a bit like time travel, says Poehler. “A lot of people look through their loved ones’ stuff and realize they want to ask about them, but it’s too late,” she said. “Now tell your story.”

Engström says people shouldn’t be so obsessed with the “death” part of death cleansing. “Don’t be so afraid of the word death,'” she said. “It’s a great way to look at your life in the here and now and see what works for you. Home should be a reflection of you, it should be a place where you can recharge.”

Ultimately, the show synthesizes practical advice on how to start clearing up in your own life – something as simple as using red and green stickers to classify which things should stay and which can go – as well as macro life lessons.

“The things around you can give you tremendous meaning, but they can also get you stuck,” says Poehler. “The real point is that you only have one life, and it’s never too late to try to figure out how you want to live it and be the architect of it.”

This story first appeared in the June Independent issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe .



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