Rainn Wilson and the Geography of Bliss | Official Trailer | Peacock Original

That’s the premise of Peacock’s upcoming travel show Rainn Wilson And The Geography Of Bliss, which premieres on May 18. The idea is that Wilson has an anxiety disorder that he believes has prevented him from finding true happiness, so he travels around the world to learn about different communities and how they find and define happiness. It’s based on Eric Weiner’s book, which has the same name and the same premise (but without Rainn Wilson), and it seems perfectly nice—though the trailer should’ve had Wilson saying he played an “assistant regional manager” so viewers could enjoy the slam-dunk of responding “assistant to the regional manager” themselves.


But there’s a reason it has Rainn Wilson and not Eric Weiner as the star: Eric Weiner did not play Dwight Schrute. He’s not the one who trapped the bat in a garbage bag on Meredith’s head. He’s not Recyclops. He didn’t orchestrate the fire drill that gave Stanley a heart attack. Rainn Wilson did! You know, sort of.

The show probably wouldn’t exist without Wilson in the lead, or at least some other similar celebrity, which makes it clear that Peacock is cashing in on our general goodwill for the guy. But one example does not make this a trend, so maybe two examples will: This week, Peacock is also releasing The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning, a kind of mash-up of Hoarders and Tidying Up With Marie Kondo that happens to be narrated by Amy Poehler (who is also a producer).

The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning | Official Trailer | Peacock Original

Swedish Death Cleaning doesn’t need Poehler to be there—Hoarders and Tidying Up notably don’t have Tina Fey and Jerry Seinfeld doing voiceover—but it’s telling that another NBC sitcom star is involved as opposed to literally anyone else. Peacock knows how powerful that sort of thing is, and much like Paramount+ putting the Paramount stable of characters on a mountain for all of those commercials, it’s Good for Peacock’s Brand to say “Look, we’ve got people from The Office and Parks And Rec doing other things.”

Swedish Death Cleaning has some angles to it that set it apart from those other cleaning shows—the Swedish people for one thing, but also an emphasis on mortality and the desire to not leave a bunch of trash for your loved ones to deal with when you die—but it’s also worth noting that neither of these shows really seem conceptually revolutionary. It’s a cleaning show and a travel show. The hook is that people from these sitcoms are involved, which, again, is smart. If NBC is going to keep showing restraint by avoiding the “reboot every old sitcom” lever, then this is a clever way to maintain relevance and remind subscribers that they could someday pull that lever.