In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, Peacock’s newest unscripted show that features Amy Poehler as both narrator and executive producer, the goal is to permit homeowners to simply let it all go.
The hourlong transformation series from Scout Productions, Paper Kite Productions and Universal Television Alternative Studio focuses on people who are at a major crossroads and need to get their houses and lives in order. Swedish “death cleaners” come in to help organize and demystify homes, lives and relationships, while allowing the owners to prepare for death while enjoying what’s left of life.
The show, which premiered April 27, is based on the 2018 nonfiction book of the same name by Margareta Magnusson. Poehler and her production partner Kate Arend executive produce alongside Scout Productions’ David Collins, Michael Williams, Rob Eric and Renata Lombardo, as well as author Magnusson and Jane Magnusson, Stephen M. Morrison, Faye Stapleton and Susanna Lea.
“It’s a philosophy,” explains Collins during a panel at Deadline’s Contenders Television: Documentary + Unscripted event. “It’s a perspective. It’s through the lens of death that we live, that we get to see ourselves with new eyes and live in a different way. Death cleaning in Sweden is very natural. It’s part of who they are. The idea is basically, you’ve got a whole bunch of stuff you collect over the years. When you die, what’s gonna happen to it? As Amy says in the narration, what are you gonna do with all this crap at the end? It’s a way of looking at the big stuff in our lives, the small stuff, and more importantly, the stuff that really matters to us.”
Added Poehler: “I was drawn to the original book, the stuff that David’s talking about, and the bigger idea that … especially over the past couple of years … how we’ve really had to come to terms with what’s important. What do we want to be surrounded by? What do we want to tell the people in our lives while we’re still around? That was just the juicy, deep part of the show.”
Check back Monday for the panel video.