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"More inexplicable is Andy Richter's work as a limousine driver with sinister connections to music piracy rackets. He is given an accent, from where I could not guess, although I could guess why: At a story conference, the filmmakers looked in despair at his pointless character and said, 'What the hell, maybe we should give him an accent.'"
When a character has an accent that cannot be explained by the setting. It's often wildly dissonant with other accents of characters with the same background. Similar to Not Even Bothering with the Accent
, except that the actor doesn't have the accent, either — there's simply no good reason for it. It can
be explained as being for humor or to take advantage of a cultural stereotype for characterisation, but sometimes it happens for no good reason at all. If an accent is because a character is from a real life place, but uses an accent for a different real life place that is a Misplaced Accent
See also What the Hell Is That Accent?
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Anime & Manga
- In the Animaniacs fan-series entitled Zany To The Max:
- Jot Warner, a cousin of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, has a Mexican accent. Her accent was inspired by Speedy Gonzales, but that's not an In-Universe explanation.
- Subverted with Jakko Zarner's Finnish accent. He can actually speak Finnish, explaining his accent. He was originally going to sound like a higher-pitched Wakko.
- His sister, Zot, sounds like Dot with Wakko's accent.
- Sikko has a Liverpudlian accent like Wakko's. Because of her "Animeniesque" appearance, you'd expect her to have a Japanese accent.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Almost every single character in Nemesis, where even the American actors playing Americans put on inexplicable foreign accents.
- Bronson Pinchot's art gallery salesman character in Beverly Hills Cop. He recycled the accent for Perfect Strangers.
- The Room. Johnny mentions arriving in America, but we never find out what accent he has. This is apparently Tommy Wiseau's actual accent. He claims to be Cajun, but most people don't believe him and no one is able to place the accent.
- Werewolf. Speaking of unidentifiable European accents. Although Yuri (who is implicitly roughly Slavic in national origin) has an accent that causes comparisons to the Frito Bandito, Natalie's is... less easy to pin down. "It was a wurrwilf!"
- Jack Ryan's wife in the film version of The Hunt for Red October speaks her few lines with an English accent. Both the character and the actress are American. (And when Gates McFadden was replaced with Anne Archer in later installments of the series, the British accent was dropped.)
- Captain Raimus' scottish accent, despite him being Ukrainian. At first one can dismiss it as Translation Convention as he's speaking with other soviets and the English is presumably for the convenience of the audience and they are actually speaking Russian, but later he interacts in English with still the thick Russian accent Sean Connery is known for.
- Dutch actor Rutger Hauer inexplicably adopts an American accent for his role in Ladyhawke and everyone else sounds British, despite the setting being Medieval France.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show is pretty bad for this. Frank and O'Brien both speak with very different British accents, Magenta speaks with a terrible Transylvanian accent and Dr. Scott speaks with a German accent right from the get-go, when his nationality is supposed to be a secret.
- Magenta's accent shifts from Transylvanian to British to American depending on the scene.
- Repo! The Genetic Opera: Parvi Largo speaks with some sort of Italian accent, despite having the same upbringing as his (American-accented) siblings. His father Rotti has a light Italian accent, in contrast to the thick, forced accent Parvi has.
- Accent explained: Rotti's accent is Paul Sorvino's natural speaking voice, while Pavi's was Nivek Ogre making fun of Sorvino.
- Goldfinger: Despite being played by the very Germanic Gert Frobe, when the character is introduced Felix Leiter says he's "British, but he doesn't sound like it." Of course Frobe was dubbed by another actor but he is still given a German accent. The character wasn't even British in Fleming's novel (he was Latvian) so why this was put into the film is a mystery (no other details about his background are mentioned)
- It's not clear if it was intentional or not, but one scene in The Seven Year Itch has "The Girl" (played by California-born Marilyn Monroe) shift very briefly into what sounds like a stereotypical New York accent ("pahhty" instead of "party"), even though her character is said to be from Denver, Colorado. This can't even be explained as her trying to fit in with the native New York characters, since the actors playing them don't speak in New York accents.
- In Ghostbuster II, Janosz Poha has a weird European accent that the other characters can't identify. When asked where he's from, he replies "The Upper West side".
- In Highlander, Connor MacLeod has a French/Belgian accent. It is remarked during the modern day segment where a cop says he "speaks funny" and asks where he's from, to which he replies "Lots of places".
- According to one story, Christopher Lambert purposely made Mac Leod's accent muddy in the belief that someone who's been alive for centuries would have picked up bits of various different accents.
- Areola in Not Another Teen Movie. Her accent is explained, in that she's a foreign exchange student. The inexplicable part is that it changes from scene to scene, often crossing oceans and continents.
- Redwall tends to use species-specific Funetik Aksents, but occasionally gives one character an accent that doesn't fit. Most of the vermin speak either "generic thug" or Talk Like a Pirate, with the smarter ones and each book's Big Bad often speaking Standard English, but for some reason Dingeye and Thura in Salamandastron were recognisably Brummie, and Wraith speaks with Trrrilling Rrrs. Most of the hares come under the heading of Upper-Class Twit, but Rockjaw Grang had a very broad Oop North accent; justified in his case as he originally came from the Northlands, which are usually depicted as a Scotland analogue but likely have a nearby Yorkshire analogue.
- Different species of Talking Animal in the Spellsinger novels also have different accents, and they're often Played for Laughs (e.g. Brooklynese tough-talk from a robin).
- Subverted in The Laundry Files: Boris (who works with the protagonist in a British intelligence agency) has a thick Russian accent for no apparent reason. Later on, it's explained that it's the result of magical brain damage.
- Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- This is more a case of the other Betazoids lacking an accent, though. Since the accent is one that Marina Sirtis invented on her own for the role. In one episode, it's stated that she picked it up from her human father, so we can't even blame the Betazoids. That doesn't explain why it changes from British to Mid-Atlantic to some weird pan-Slavic thing from episode to episode, though.note
- To say nothing of the apparently French Captain Picard having an undisguised British accent. Apparently he made a game effort at a French accent in early screen tests but never got it to sound convincing or consistent enough and gave it up as a bad job. Things get even more inexplicable when we meet Picard's brother Robert, who (despite being a Frenchman who's lived all of his life in France), also has a British accent... Except that it's a different regional accent than Picard's, even though it's explicitly stated the two grew up in the same area where Robert still lives.
- Maj. Winchester on M*A*S*H has a strong British accent, despite Bostonian origins.
- His accent is actually an (inaccurate) attempt at a Boston Brahmin accent, to go along with the character's upper-class background.
- In-universe use: On The Drew Carey Show Kate wants to ditch her date, so she asks the guys to act like her crazy family so that her date would ditch her. Oswald comes in with a thick Ozarks accent claiming to be her brother and her baby's daddy. The date calls him on it: "If you're her brother why do you have an accent and she doesn't?" "Because... I was born on vacation!"
- Often invoked in Whose Line Is It Anyway? when someone attempts a particular accent badly and another player will mock it by implying this trope is going on, e.g. "If we're all from France than how come you speak like a Russian?"
- Red Dwarf
- Cat, played by an English actor, speaks with an American accent, was born in space. The logic behind the Cat race having American accents is that they learned English by watching the film & TV programs stored on the ship — presumably, the majority of the media is American.
- Chris Barrie uses a fairly ambiguous accent to play Ace Rimmer as opposed to the (more similar to Barrie's real accent) normal Rimmer accent. He speaks with a blend of English RP (which suits his status as stiff upper lip officer) and Trans-Atlantic, which is generally used to sound "cool", but has the side-effect of sounding slightly bogus, cheesy and affected. It's essentially perfect for the character of Ace.
- Both Delenn and Londo of Babylon 5 have vaguely central/eastern European accents, which stand out all the more because their respective underlings don't, and it's a crapshoot as to whether any other individuals of their races will display an accent either. In Delenn's case it's Mira Furlan's actual Croatian accent. As for Londo, Peter Jurasik invented his accent, and William Forward imitated it as Lord Refa; there is a suggestion that Londo and Refa have similar accents because they are older and thus less used to speaking English than their underlings.
- In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Lily is the subject of an "intervention" by her friends (who are pretty much addicted to doing interventions) for constantly affecting a Cockney accent over the course of several weeks.
- On Coupling, Londoner Jeff has a Welsh accent — his mother, when she's later introduced, doesn't. Notable for not being scripted that way, the actor just felt like doing one. Many in the cast didn't even know he wasn't Welsh until a few episodes in.
- Johnson in Peep Show, although ostensibly British, speaks with a funny kind of transatlantic accent that sometimes blends in a bit of West Indies (he's black). Though this is probably because he is a total phoney and a poser. Paterson Joseph is slightly inconsistent with the voice over the series but this might even be intentional (since it's most likely an affectation)
- In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), when Dean asks Sam to bring him some pie, he slips into a southern accent as he says "pi-ah". In this case, it's because the actor playing Dean is from Texas, and has explained that his accent tends to slip as filming drags on.
- In a commentary for a season 5 episode of 24, Julian Sands admits he didn't bother attempting an authentic accent for the Slavic Vladimir Bierko, imagining him to have spent a substantial amount of time in England. There's no in-universe indication that this is the case.
- Game of Thrones: Is Littlefinger becoming more Irish?
- Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) also falls into this, being one of the few non-British actors in the main cast, and thus has an accent that sounds different to the other cast members.
- Claudia in Silent Hill 3 is an American character voiced by an Australian voice actress. For whatever reason, she has a British accent.
- Mario and Luigi have strong pseudo-Italian accents, despite (maybe) growing up in the Mushroom Kingdom, though, there's nothing that says there isn't an Italy Expy there.
- Also, at the end of the final level of Super Mario Galaxy, when Bowser Jr. shows Mario/Luigi the captive Peach being tied to the mast of his spaceship just right before the final boss battle against Bowser, Peach, for some reason, has a Japanese accent.
- Peach has a Japanese accent again at the end of Super Mario 3D Land, this time after Mario sees Bowser tie her to a flagpole.
- Originally, the Mario Bros. were both going to speak with gruff Brooklyn accents, but they were immediately changed into Italian accents after Shigeru Miyamoto found them too terrifying to children.
- Cait Sith in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has a Scottish accent. None of the characters from the same area has an accent like that, either.
- The Compilation seems to be good about those. In Dirge of Cerberus, Rosso the Crimson has a random Russian accent (despite the fact she was born and raised underground). Nero the Sable has a British accent, despite being born with the same circumstances as Rosso.
- Cait Sith speaks in a Scottish accent because he is a representation of a Scottish fairy. In other words, a literal Mythology Gag. They also attempted to give him an accent in the original game, but he sounded more like a southerner than a Scot... when they remembered to give him an accent at all.
- Subverted in Final Fantasy XIII. Vanille and Fang's Australian accent may seem out of place until it's revealed they come from Pulse, which is "down under" Cocoon"
- Cid gets a Texan accent, which was also hinted at in the game. Though just going by the text, an East London accent is equally applicable.
- Barret gets a Mr. T impersonation for a voice. Probably because he's basically a more violent, foul mouthed Mr. T anyway.
- Over in Final Fantasy X, Wakka's thick pseudo-Jamaican accent would make sense as a Besaid accent…if anyone else from said island had the same accent. Which they don't. The closest they get is random villagers without recorded voices copying Wakka's Verbal Tic.
- Cyan of Final Fantasy VI speaks in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe in the SNES translation, and a less "butcherede" version thereof in the GBA translation. No one else in his home country or the rest of the game speaks like that.
- Just like Cyan above, Frog speaks Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe in the SNES version of Chrono Trigger. Not only does no one else speak like that, flashbacks even show his own human self speaking in normal modern English! The DS version of the game just drops this outright.
- Chrono Cross. Every. Single. Character. Has some random accent. Australian, French, Russian, German, anything you can think of. And it doesn't make sense, considering that it's not like you travel to different countries. And quite a few characters that have completely different accents live in the same town. Hum.
- At least Kid's is probably affected After all, Schala didn't talk like that in Chrono Trigger.
- Played with in Tales of Monkey Island, where the Marquis De Singe is offended at the implication that he's French. Even though he's got the accent... and the outfit ...and the name...
- Pip in Luminous Arc 2 has a sort of British accent for some unknown reason. No one else in the game does, including his twin sister Pop. Moose has a German accent, but he supposedly studied at a foreign university, so that may explain the accent.
- The Merchant in Resident Evil 4 has a Piratish/Cornish accent for some reason. The entire game takes place in an unspecified and unnamed rural region of Spain.
- Fallout 3: Has Moriarty and Tenpenny, who have Irish and British accents respectively while everyone else in the game speaks with an American accent. This makes no sense in a post-apocalypse world where the ability to cross the Atlantic ocean was lost centuries ago, assuming that the British Isles are even still inhabited.
- Word of God is that Tenpenny at least was supposed to hint at a post-War UK. Desmond Lockhart in Point Lookout is also referred to as a "limey".
- Similarly, there's Dukov, who speaks with a thick Russian accent.
- Colonel Autumn speaks with a thick Southern accent despite the fact that he was born and raised in an oil rig off the coast of California.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Brynjolf and Delvin of the Thieves' Guild speak with a Scottish and a Cockney accent respectively and are the only ones to do so. Brynjolf is particularly unusual since other Nords speak with a Germanic accent or none at all.
- Delvin can be at least somewhat justified by the fact that he's a Breton, and their home province of High Rock is the most straightforward example of a Britain expy the setting has (with a little French thrown in for good measure). What makes him stand out is that he is literally the only npc in the game with that accent, making it seem very unusual. However, according to his backstory in the official guide Delvin grew up as an orphan in Riften and his brother in Raven Rock doesn't have the accent.
- There are possible explanations for Brynjolf, but it still makes it odd that he's the only one to use it — he's either speaking in an archaic dialect (back in the Morrowind days, the Nords sounded Scottish), or a Morrowind-settlement dialect (the Nords in Morrowind sounded Scottish).
- Bodhan and Sandal, recurring characters of the Dragon Age series, speak with heavy Cockney accents rather than the American accents that Dwarves generally speak with.
- Javik of Mass Effect 3 has an inexplicable Haitian/Jamaican/African/something accent, although the other Protheans we see in flashbacks have American accents.
- Fiora in League of Legends is, so far, the only person in the entire world with a French accent.
- And Viktor is the only person with a Russian one.
- Caitlyn's high-class English accent is utterly unlike those of other Piltover natives, who speak with various American accents.
- Heimerdinger, as an Einstein Expy, speaks with a faint German accent. Other yordles don't.
- In the English version of the Astérix and Obelix: XXL games, Asterix speaks with a French accent. This makes some sort of sense as he is from what eventually became France, but it fails to qualify as Just a Stupid Accent as none of the other Gauls have one. The other Gauls speak in various British Accents - Vitalstatistix is Scouse, Obelix is a bit Cockney, and so on. Getafix and Julius Caesar both speak RP despite one being a Roman and the other being a Gaul. All of the Gauls mentioned so far were born and raised in the same village of about 200 people. While making no sense, it serves as nice shorthand for their character archetypes - Asterix is a revolutionary and a French patriotic hero, Obelix is rowdy, blunt and quirky, Getafix is learned, Caesar is Shakespearean and very classy, and Vitalstatistix is tough but a bit shiftless, all of which are stereotypes a British person would ascribe to their accents.
- Parodied in Jays Journey, where one NPC gives hints to a minigame in hard-to-decipher cockney, and Jay wonders where she could have picked the accent up.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, every Republic character has an American accent and every Imperial character has a British accent. What makes this odd is that the British accent in-universe is very explicitly Coruscanti, i.e. the accent of the Republic's capital world. It is the only work in the entire Star Wars universe to do this and no explanation is given for the switch. While it's likely to make the Sith Empire seem like the Empire of the Original Trilogy, this still doesn't make sense because Palpatine's Empire was based on Coruscant and was the Republic before he took over. The Sith Empire has a totally different geographic origin.
- Wakko from Animaniacs has a Liverpudlian accent even though the Warners are American; ironically, he's the voice behind the American capital Ear Worm.
- Stewie on Family Guy has a British accent despite his parents both being American.
- Parodied in Mail Viewer #2 with the British version of the Griffins. British Stewie has a Southern accent.
- Oddly, Brian's Asian acupuncturist has an Irish accent.
- Dexter of Dexter's Laboratory has a thick stereotypically Eastern European accent because of the connotations of Russians and Germans scientists, even though none of his family members do. And Dexter's mother is the only member of the family with a Minnesota accent.
- In pretty much every incarnation of Transformers, many Cybertronians have Earth accents. This is literally never explained. So, Outback must come from the Australian part of Cybertron.
- Not canon but perhaps Fridge Brilliance in that, if they picked up the language from radio transmissions and the like, it's likely that they'd hear a broad range of accents and they adopted the ones that they liked the best.
- Butters in South Park has a Southern accent (to make him seem more "wholesome"), though neither of his parents share it. During his cross-dressing escapade, he's introduced as a girl from Texas. Mr. Mackey has a southern accent too. Cartman was always supposed to have a heavy breathing fat person accent, but since he cosplayed Robert E. Lee he's had Southern touches that play up when he cosplays a Corrupt Hick: "Respect my Authori-TAH!"
- When the boys are looking for a replacement for Kenny, we finally hear the voice of Dogpoo, who up until that point had been a voiceless Living Prop. For whatever reason, he has an upper-crust/British accent.
- Amy on Futurama has a Valley Girl accent, despite being from Mars and living in New New York. Her parents have heavy Chinese accents, which is theoretically justified since they're at least ethnically Chinese.
- Gordon on Catscratch has a Scottish accent, despite both of his brothers having "ordinary" American accents.
- Shrek the Scottish Ogre.
- The Simpsons — Moe Szyzlak has Russian ancestry and a pseudo-Slavic name, yet has a heavy New York accent to make him sound harsher, and in one flashback he speaks with an Italian accent. He's also from Indiana. Another episode jokes that he's Dutch - even walking on clogs to prove it. Judging by the name Szyzlak, he could be from the Gary area/Chicago area, though he sounds as if he's from the Bronx. Anyway, in the episode "Much Apu About Nothing" he's revealed to be an illegal immigrant himself.
- Scar from The Lion King is another character whose own family doesn't share his accent. He's got a cultured British accent, while nearly everyone else, including his brother, sounds American. It seems to be an Evil Brit thing — he's not British because he's British, he's British because he's evil.
- Zazu gets a British accent as well, but he's the only one of his kind in the movie.
- In the Sonic Sat AM cartoon, Antoine Depardieu ("D'Coolette" in the comics) has a French name and accent despite everyone else around him having some sort of American accent. This is unexplained, except for a throw-away line that he had training in the "Delmont Province". The accent seems to be mostly there to have him fit the stereotype of a Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey (er...coyote).
- Snap from ChalkZone has a notable Bronx accent.....but no one else in the show does.
- Presumably, that's just how Rudy heard his voice in his head when he drew the character.
- In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy The Grim Reaper has a Jamaican accent of all things.
- It vaguely has to do with Hollywood Voodoo as his auntie voiced by Dawn Lewis also has dreads and cooks around a cauldron, but goes right back into UA territory with his dad speaking with a general American accent (voiced by Red) and being more or less a cowboy.
- It's likely a reference to Yaphet Kotto's Mr. Big / Dr. Kananga character in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die, who wore skull-faced make-up and had the same acent.
- The British cartoon The Foxbusters is about three hen sisters — Ransome (Whoopi Goldberg), Sims (Joanna Lumley) and Jeffries (Jane Horrocks). They all have different accents. Ransome's American accent is lampshaded at least once.
- Good luck trying to nail down George Harrison's accent in the 60's cartoon The Beatles. It definitely isn't Liverpudlian. Whatever it is, it's sure as heck not British.
- On Invader Zim, Tak has a British accent while none of the other Irkens do. Lard Nar has one as well, though we only have one other Vort to compare him with.
- Ezekiel on Total Drama has a typical Canada, Eh? accent, even though the whole cast is Canadian and no one else has it, making him sound like a country bumpkin.
- Then again, that was probably the point...
- Several characters on Hey Arnold! have New York and Eastern U.S. accents, despite Word of God stating the show takes place in Washington.
- Several on Jimmy Two-Shoes. Molotov has a Russian accent, while Peep and Rudolpho have Cockney accents.
- On American Dad!, CIA Director Bullock has a British accent. It's not that likely that a British-born person would be in charge of an American government agency. But hey, it's Patrick Stewart.
- Rainbow Dash in the third generation of My Little Pony and Rarity in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. To add to the confusion Rainbow Dash lacks her British accent in G3.5 and Rarity lacks most of her accent as a Filly.
Though Rarity's accent is a cultivated one, you cannot have it naturally, so it'd make sense for the character to adopt it as she wanted to seem fancier and more cultured. Neither her parents (who are extremely less cultured than she is) nor her younger sister share it.
- There is also the Apple Family in G4. They all have a variety of country accents, which wouldn't be strange for a family of farmers, except that they're native to Ponyville (as in the family goes back to its founding), and no one else in Ponyville uses those accents.
- The Smurfs have a variety of accents, despite them all having grown up at the same time in the same village. Most notable is Painter's outrageous French accent, but there are several others, such as Clumsy's Southern drawl and Sweeper's extremely fake-sounding Cockney accent.
In the 2011 movie, new character Gutsy follows tradition by being a Brave Scot.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in every incarnation have totally different accents. They were raised by a Japanese man, but Mike sounds like he's from southern California, Raph sounds like he's from Brooklyn (which makes the most sense since they live in New York), and Leo and Don sound like they're from the Midwest or otherwise speak neutral American English. Considering they lived in isolation until age 15 they probably learned how to speak from imitating the TV rather than Splinter. They all tend to use Totally Radical surfer slang when they're excited, though Word of God states this was due to Executive Meddling. They were going to speak in hip urban dialect instead.
- In Popples, four out of the six Sports Popples speak in different accents. Big Kick speaks with a British accent, Cuester talks with a Brooklyn accent, Dunker talks with a stereotypical African-American accent, and Pitcher talks with a Southern accent.
- The Octonauts could initially be justified in the crew, themselves being a Multinational Team and defaulting to British accents, but all other animals are just random or Rule of Funny in the case of Lemmy the lemon shark, the French-accented remipedes or the Ricardo Montalban-sounding dwarf lantern shark.
- Everyone in Adventure Time has a standard "newscaster" American accent (and usually not a "cartoony" take on one, either) except Tree Trunks (Southern) and Flambo (New Yorker). No in-universe explanation is given for either.
- Goliad also has an English accent, despite being both raised by and based off of the DNA of one of the aforementioned newscaster-voiced characters.
- Spongebob Squarepants occasionally says his dialogue in a thick, flawless French accent and even peppers his dialogue with French words. Also, the narrator of the show (who is voiced by Tom Kenny, the guy who voices Spongebob,) speaks in the same low, suave French accent that we hear Spongebob using sometimes. We never find out why.
- The French dub of Superfriends bordered on Gag Dub. Batman's accent was least explicable, but the Bizarro episode had one guy with a just-got-off-the-boat North African accent and another from Belgium.
- Fillmore!: The brave Safety Patrol of X Middle School have solved many mysteries, but somehow never got around to investigating the inexplicably substantial number of students sporting vaguely British accents. The accent of Ambiguously Brown librarian Mr Lender at least makes a kind of sense, assuming he was raised in England before moving to America, but the number of pseudo-English students is remarkably high for an American school.
- Some of the Heroes of Hero Factory, who are robots constructed on an alien robot planet, have these, most notably Stringer speaks with a southern accent. Surge is a stranger case, as with the change of his voice actor he suddenly and inexplicably adopted a strong Australian accent.