"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. 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, because Real Life Writes the Plot
, or to take advantage of a cultural stereotype for characterisation, but sometimes it happens for no good reason at all.
See also What the Hell Is That Accent?
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Anime & Manga
- In general, dubs occasionally give the characters bizarre accents for no reason.
- Despite everybody else speaking regular English without any noticeable accent, the English dub of Fantastic Children has Tohma (and to a lesser extent, his mother and father) speak in some strange unidentifiable accent.
- In the Code Geass English dub, while no other Britannian has such an accent, Lloyd and to a lesser extent Schenizel speak with sort of campy British accents. Likely, it just might be the voice actors hamming it up.
- In the English dubs of Dragon Ball Z, some characters have accents like Zarbon has a British accent, Jeice has an Australian accent in the Funimation dub (and a Liverpudlian accent in the Ocean dub), and Pan has a Southern accent.
- In Pan's case it was probably a case of the voice actress (Elise Baughman)'s natural accent slipping through. The voices were recorded in Ft. Worth, TX, and even though many characters have slight traces of Texas accents (particularly Kid Goku, Kid Gohan, Bulma, and Chi-Chi), and Texas-based dubs in general can suffer from this, they hardly tried to hide Baughman's thick accent. Likewise, many Canadian-based dubs (particularly Sailor Moon and Ranma ½) as well as UK-based productions (particularly Project A-Ko and Cyber City Oedo) can slip into this trope as well, even though the voice actors may not have realized their natural accents were leaking through.
- Parodied in Dragon Ball Abridged where this is explained by Jeice being from Space Australia.
- In the English dub of YuYu Hakusho Jin the wind demon has a Scottish accent and Chuu has an Australian accent.
- Sailor Moon
- Molly in the English dub has an utterly inexplicable and quite thick Bronx accent. The original character, Naru, has no accent at all relative to the rest of the characters. Naru is a case of Accent Adaptation for the Kansai Regional Accent (the last name "Osaka" was meant to lampshade this).
- At least one One-Shot Character actually got an accent out of nowhere — although neither of the characters from the Sailor V animation episode had an accent in the original, one of them was made to sound like a Southern belle in the DiC English dub.
- The 4Kids version of One Piece gave Sanji a Brooklyn accent and Nico Robin a Southern accent. Quite a bit of the supporting characters also had strange, unexplained accents. The FUNimation version thankfully ignored all of this.
- 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.)
- 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 Ghostbusters 2, 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- The same can be said of James, who also speaks with a british accent (though that can be explained by his voice actor).
- Fallout: New Vegas: Melissa Lewis is a Hispanic (by the game code) with a New Zealand accent (by her voice actor Zoë Bell) in post-apocalyptic Nevada. She's not doing it to fit in with the Great Khans, since she doesn't sound like any of them, and Zoë Bell voices several other characters, such as Alice Hostetler and Diane, with little trace of her native accent. It's definitely not intentional as J.E. Sawyer states that he was just as confused by the accent as anyone else.
- 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.
- The Scout from Team Fortress 2 speaks with a Brooklyn accent, despite the fact that he's from South Boston.
- 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.