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Accent Work on Soaps: The Good, The Bad, and The Godawful


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Watching Quebec-born Kathleen Gati play German doctor Obrecht on today’s GH got me thinking: what are some of the best and worst accents you’ve seen actors do on soaps over the years? 


I’ve always marveled that both actresses who played Southern-fried Opal on AMC, Dorothy Lyman and Jill Larson, hailed from Minneapolis of all places. 

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Good: Eileen Davidson as Susan Banks

Bad: Michael E. Knight as Martin Grey; Not only does it sound fake, but it makes this 61 year old man sound like he's 81

Godawful: Zachary Garred as Levi/Peter Harrell on GH; I thought it was smart at first that they had an Australian actor playing an Australian character, but when they had him try to do the American accent, it was horrendous. He couldn't pull it off at all

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16 minutes ago, AbcNbc247 said:

Bad: Michael E. Knight as Martin Grey; Not only does it sound fake, but it makes this 61 year old man sound like he's 81

Yeah, I wish he’d just abandon it. He looks better than he has in 25 years. A shame that he sounds so ridiculous.

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21 minutes ago, carolineg said:

JJY as Mac as worst? The Australian accent was dropped after a few months lol

JM as Stefano as one of the best. I did not know he was American for years. 

Yes, I was stunned to hear Joseph Mascolo’s normal accent when I was a kid. I guess it’s easier when your parents are immigrants, and you’ve heard the accent a lot or are even fluent in the language. Same with Melina Kanakaredes as Eleni on GL.

 

I was surprised to hear Fiona Hutchison’s flat American accent as well, but her parents are British.

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5 minutes ago, Antoyne said:

Kristian Alfonso as Princess Gina. I have no idea what the accent was supposed to be but it was baddd.

 

Stephen Nichols as Stefano. Just terrible.

 

The way Gina said "JAWN" instead of John grated on my soul.  

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, carolineg said:

JJY as Mac as worst? The Australian accent was dropped after a few months lol

JM as Stefano as one of the best. I did not know he was American for years. 

Mac was the first one that came to mind.  It was pretty bad and then all but gone.  Mac in general was pretty wild.  He came on all rebellious, hated Robert, then became a more traditional hero type.  I didn’t really love him until he and Felicia started working together during the original Ryan storyline.  Anyone that started watching the show after 1996 would have no idea why Mac was a good character, let alone once an actual lead.

Edited by titan1978
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3 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

Mac was the first one that came to mind.  It was pretty bad and then all but gone.  Mac in general was pretty wild.  He came on all rebellious, hated Robert, then became a more traditional hero type.  I didn’t really love him until he and Felicia started working together during the original Ryan storyline.  Anyone that started watching the show after 1996 would have no idea why Mac was a good character, let alone once an actual lead.

 

Yeah, Mac's character clearly changed directions once Monty left.  I guess he and Felicia had stories up until 1998-1999 when I think the Tale of 2 Macs was his last real leading story.  And I think everyone, including JJY, would like to forget that.  It's too bad because I think JJY is a decent, if bland, hero that could have led stories for years instead of being Uncle Mac or the bumbling commissioner only.

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Days went to "West Virginia" as part of the Pawn/John Black has Marlena and is on the run in 1986. While looking for them, Bo and Shane are held by moonshiners who assume they are the revenuers. Hope seeing they're in trouble, pretenders she's the moonshiners' cousin to get them to let the guys go. 

 

So, you have the actors doing a mix of trying to speak southern, maybe or maybe not trying to exaggerate it because they're faking it in-character.

 

Not surprisingly, Bo's was the best of the three. Hope did more of a "Gone with the Wind" type and Shane's is ... it's really something. It's so bad you can't tell if he's sincere or not.

 

(Within the storyline, the other two pass it off as Shane being sent to fancy schools.)

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Julianne Moore thought she was bad but I thought she did a fairly convincing British accent as Sabrina Fullerton Hughes. When I heard that her mother was from Scotland, my only surprise was that the show didn't make Sabrina Scottish as well, especially since most of the characters who were not American during that period of the show were from Scotland.

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Don't throw tomatoes at me, because I know she's a bland actress - but I think the current actress playing Claire on DAYS does a very convincing American accent. I had no idea she was Australian until I read it here.

 

Whatever MEK is doing on GH is god awful. Not sure what the accent is even supposed to be, but it's bad.

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2 minutes ago, AlexElizabeth said:

Don't throw tomatoes at me, because I know she's a bland actress - but I think the current actress playing Claire on DAYS does a very convincing American accent. I had no idea she was Australian until I read it here.

Huge contrast to Tammin Sursok as Colleen on Y&R, who sounded like she was doing an Outback commercial.

 

25 minutes ago, DramatistDreamer said:

Julianne Moore thought she was bad but I thought she did a fairly convincing British accent as Sabrina Fullerton Hughes. When I heard that her mother was from Scotland, my only surprise was that the show didn't make Sabrina Scottish as well, especially since most of the characters who were not American during that period of the show were from Scotland.

She’s so good with accents. English again in The End of the Affair. Southern in Cookie’s Fortune. Sarah Palin’s accent.

 

I suppose Michael Swan did a decent Scottish as Duncan.

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Posted (edited)

Zoey and Zander from B&B own this - so dumb.  The explanation was to see who could lose the accent the longest.  That Pilar girl from Y&R was bad also with the fake Yack Jack.  Lost her accent over 1 day. Pathetic 

Edited by Fevuh
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3 hours ago, AlexElizabeth said:

Don't throw tomatoes at me, because I know she's a bland actress - but I think the current actress playing Claire on DAYS does a very convincing American accent. I had no idea she was Australian until I read it here.

I think that with Isabel Durant on DAYS, the blandness and the accent work probably go hand in hand. I've noticed that a lot of Australian actors can be very charismatic in their native accents but seem flat when asked to do American accents, because they're so focused on flattening their natural inflections (see, for instance, Sam Worthington or Eric Bana). 

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