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


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LOL I agree that Brenda Dickson’s accent worked out well in a funny way and Dickson really sold it so well there in 1986 as silly as it was. There was just something so fascinating about Jill’s overall victory lap there from 1986-1989ish had it been any other soap Jill would have failed miserably and learned a lesson or something yet Y&R allowed Jill to succeed beyond anyone’s wildest dreams that she got the respect she always wanted. 

 

 

Hunter Tylo’s attempt at a British accent in 1995 on B&B was laughable AF though. 

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On Y&R, I was always amused by Jacques(?) the maitre de at the Colonnade Room. He didn't have much to say but the few lines he  did have were delivered in a cliched/fake French accent. I think Hugh McPhillips was the actor but there may have been others.

 

How was Elaine Princi as Miranda on ATWT?

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On 3/17/2021 at 8:36 PM, Faulkner said:

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 watched some of Gati's scenes on Youtube, and as a German, I can say that her accent isn't that accurate. Especially her intonation sounds wrong to my ears... it's way too melodic, like French or Italian, and she also swallows a lot of consonants. If she's supposed to be from Switzerland, then she wouldn't have a stereotypical "German" accent because they speak a different variation of German there. (By the way, why is the character called "Liesl"? The proper spelling would be "Liesel", a short form of Elisabeth, but that variation has been out of fashion for almost 100 years.)

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1 hour ago, Huntress said:

By the way, why is the character called "Liesl"? The proper spelling would be "Liesel", a short form of Elisabeth, but that variation has been out of fashion for almost 100 years

I'd hazard a guess and say they probably copied the spelling from the character in The Sound of Music

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7 hours ago, Dion said:

I'd hazard a guess and say they probably copied the spelling from the character in The Sound of Music

 

... which takes place in Austria where again another variation of German is spoken

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 Fun fact: While a classic in the US, the movie The Sound of Music is basically unknown in Germany, Switzerland and Austria and was a huge commercial failure when it was released.

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On 3/19/2021 at 3:30 PM, Cat said:

 

WELL HELLO!  

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 In a weird way, and as OTT as that accent was, it worked for me. It worked within the confines of Y&R as one of the most glamorous, lush and old-school melodramatic soaps on air. It worked in terms of Jill pretending she was to the manor born when the audience knew full well she was not. It also worked when things went wrong for Jill and there was this comedic aspect to it. I personally loved how committed Brenda Dickson -- and by extension, Jill -- was to keeping the accent going, even in intimate scenes with family. It was like Jill had reinvented herself root and branch in order to 'make it' and there was no going back to Jill Foster.

 

And Deven Green did a brilliant send-up imitation of that accent when she did the comedy dub-over of Brenda Dickson’s Welcome To My Home videos - it’s f***in hilarious.

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The Wicked Witch tone that Victoria Wyndham used when she played Justine was pretty bad.  Even more baffling was that Rachel adopted Justine's afflicted Wicked Witch tone after Justine was killed.  She continued to use the accent the last three years of the show.  A producer or director should have taken on the side and put it in check, but I guess at that point no one cared.

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3 minutes ago, watson71 said:

The Wicked Witch tone that Victoria Wyndham used when she played Justine was pretty bad.  Even more baffling was that Rachel adopted Justine's afflicted Wicked Witch tone after Justine was killed.  She continued to use the accent the last three years of the show.  A producer or director should have taken on the side and put it in check, but I guess at that point no one cared.


I was going to say something about VW’s sudden accent after Justine but I forgot. I was wondering if working with Keating had rubbed off on her as well. When SoapNet began rerunning AW reruns it was very nice to hear VW using her regular voice again. She used a stronger Brooklyn accent when she guest starred on SVU in 2007. 

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43 minutes ago, j swift said:

How about Rena Sofer as Lois Cerullo on GH?  She was from New York, not the Cyndi Lauper School for Girls who want to have fun.

I thought her Brooklyn accent was pretty good tbh.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/19/2021 at 7:01 PM, DramatistDreamer said:

 

This was the way I saw it too. It was as if she were asserting her new identity (people really do this IRL, think of Madonna or Andre Leon Tally), that she was no longer the same woman who did manicures for rich ladies...she was now the rich lady and she would never let anyone (including herself) forget this.

 

It's like a really meta actor who is always in character.

 

Well, Brenda Dickson did study at the Lee Strasberg Institute, according to her Wiki. I can believe it -- you only have to watch some of her clips from the 70s and 80s to see what a strong, subtle, natural (and underrated) actress BD was. Yes, she went down the Alexis Colby route in 1986, but she embraced it so completely then, too. 

 

 

On 3/20/2021 at 1:09 AM, soapfan770 said:

LOL I agree that Brenda Dickson’s accent worked out well in a funny way and Dickson really sold it so well there in 1986 as silly as it was. There was just something so fascinating about Jill’s overall victory lap there from 1986-1989ish had it been any other soap Jill would have failed miserably and learned a lesson or something yet Y&R allowed Jill to succeed beyond anyone’s wildest dreams that she got the respect she always wanted. 

 

 

Hunter Tylo’s attempt at a British accent in 1995 on B&B was laughable AF though. 

 

Living well was Jill's best revenge on everything she had lost a decade before!

 

OMG Hunter Tylo's accent was meant to be British? I thought she was supposed to be Dutch! 

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 That was the accent she put on when Ridge looked for her while she was holed up in the Prince of Morocco's palace, right? (The actors who played the Prince, along with Mustafa, his right-hand man, were very good, I thought, and gave sympathetic portrayals of what were initially conceived as 'foreign, exotic' characters).

 

15 hours ago, j swift said:

How about Rena Sofer as Lois Cerullo on GH?  She was from New York, not the Cyndi Lauper School for Girls who want to have fun.

 

Totally agree with this. I love me some Rena Sofer, but that 'Brooklyn' accent was way OTT, even more OTT than Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. It was like Shannen Doherty (Brenda on 90210) playing Laverne the 1950s waitress at the Peach Pit.

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, DramatistDreamer said:

 

But...but, Tomei really is from Brooklyn, lol. I'm sure she played it up for comedic effect though.

 

She is from Brooklyn (unlike Sofer) and is clearly comfortable with NY/NJ accents. But as an ex-New Yorker, I'm here to tell you that she was playing it up, lol.

 

IMO the definitive Italian-American Brooklyn accent out there is Dr. Fauci.  Listen to him if you want to perfect your Brooklynese.

Edited by Cat
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