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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. 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.

Examples of Unexplained Accent include:


Anime and Manga

  • In general, dubs 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.
    • It's also unexplained why everyone has American accents, despite America never technically existing and thus they should have British (or French) ones.
      • The United States of America never existed, but the colonies that would have become it did, and became Britannia instead. So American accents is exactly what the characters should have, if you think about it... In Spite of a Nail, anyway.
  • In the English dubs of the Dragon Ball series 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 the English dub of Yu Yu Hakusho Jin the wind demon has a Scottish accent and Chuu has an Australian accent.
    • Jin was given an Irish accent in the English dub in an attempt to mirror his hard to understand dialect in the Japanese version.
    • Chuu, on the other hand, was probably a reference to Mad Max - he looks like he wandered in from either there or Fist of the North Star, after all.
  • Molly in Sailor Moon's 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.
    • Actually, Naru's case Accent Adaptation for the Kansai Regional Accent (the last name "Osaka" was meant to lampshade this). But 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 English dub.


Film

  • 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 actor are American.
  • Adrian Veidt in the film version of Watchmen slides between an American accent (in public) and a German one (in private). His backstory has him as a German-American and he hides his accent when speaking publicly.
  • Most of Arnold Schwarzenegger's roles. He retains his natural Austrian accent no matter what role he's playing, from futuristic cyborgs to all-American soldiers.
    • Averted in Kindergarten Cop (his character is Austrian) and arguably the Terminator films (if you're making robot after robot and they have to pass for human, giving some of them foreign accents will add verisimilitude).
  • Used intentionally, to chilling effect, in No Country for Old Men.
  • 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.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour speaks with a Welsh accent. While it's not necessarily unreasonable for a British politician to have a Welsh accent, Bill Nighy, the actor playing him, is English, and Scrimgeour isn't stated to be Welsh in any of the books.
  • 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.


Literature

  • 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 Upperclass 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).


Live Action TV

  • 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.
    • Also, Captain Picard. He's supposed to be from France, but Patrick Stewart played him with his British accent.
      • Not only that, but when he visits his home village in France his entire family affects a British accent. This would indicate that the family and perhaps the entire village or region are British transplants, perhaps refugees from some conflict before the 24th century.
        • Several possible explanations: French people choose to teach British English in the 24th century rather than American English; Picard chose that accent for himself in the universal translator; or (as I think makes most sense) the universal translator by convention translates all French accents, or perhaps the accent from Picard's region of France, as a Yorkshire accent.
  • 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!"
  • Cat from Red Dwarf, 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.
    • Which isn't really any different to them being from Liverpool and all their underlings from New York, or Sydney; why would all members of a given race have the same accent?
    • Delenn's accent is forgivable: Mira Furlan is Croatian. Londo (Peter Jurasik) did so on purpose and several other actors portraying members of Centauri high-society emulated the accent, like Carmen Argenziano (Urza Jaddo) and William Forward (Lord Refa).
  • Barry Kripke on The Big Bang Theory has a completely inexplicable accent best described as sounding like Elmer Fudd's speech impediment. Raj at one point comments on Kripke's accent, asking, "What part of America that accent from?"
  • 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. 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.


Newspaper Comics


Radio


Video Games

  • 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.
    • Barrett gets a Mr T. impersonation for a voice. Probably because he's basically a more violent, foul mouthed Mr T. anyway.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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.


Western Animation

  • Wakko from Animaniacs has a Liverpudlian accent, which makes it ironic that he's the one who sings about the American capitols (as he's the only one who doesn't sound American).
  • Stewie on Family Guy has a British accent.
    • Oddly, in an episode of Family Guy, Brian's Asian acupuncturist has an Irish accent.
  • Dexter of Dexter's Laboratory has a German or Russian sounding thick stereotypically Eastern European accent.
    • This could be due to the connotations of Russians and Germans. A lot of well-known scientists came from either Germany or the Soviet Union.
  • 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. Kyle's mom has an extremely strong Noo Yawk accent to make her sound more Jewish and no other indication she's from there. In The Movie, Kyle's mom says she moved to South Park to get away from the city—and she also has family in that area (e.g., Kyle's cousin "Kyle Schwartz from Connecticut"). 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!"
    • Kyle's mom has been revealed to from New Jersey, which is close enough to New York City to let it slide.
  • 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. Judging by the name Szyzlak, he could be from the Gary area/Chicago area. Chicago and New York accents are somewhat similar, though he sounds as if he's from the Bronx.
  • 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 the Hedgehog 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).
    • Those accents shouldn't even exist, even in the Archie comics.
  • Snap from Chalk Zone 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 and Mandy The Grim Reaper has a Jamaican accent of all things.
  • The British cartoon 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.
  • In The Beatles cartoon, George Harrison has an accent that definitely isn't Liverpudlian and is otherwise indescribable.
  • 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. Other than making him sound more like a country bumpkin, is there some sort of logic to this that this American Troper just isn't getting?
    • Canada is a very large country, and most regional accents, other than Newfoundland's, are fairly subtle. His accent is one of the exceptions.
  • 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.
  • The Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood, despite being British has a Southern US accent, as do both his deputies.
  • 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 can not 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.
  • Inverted in Kung Fu Panda - the setting is in China, and only a couple of characters have the appropriate accent. Translation Convention, perhaps?
  • 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 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.
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