Here’s tiny little conundrum for you to ponder.
Why is it that British actors have no issues whatsoever emulating an American accent, but whenever the Americans have a go, they usually end up sounding like utter shite? One of the best, or perhaps worst (depending on how you look at it), examples of how American actors are outright butchering the English language on a regular basis is the TV show Frasier. In the fourth season, housekeeper and physical therapist Daphne’s old flame from the old country drops by for a visit. Naturally, the whole thing escalates into a household mayhem of hilarious lies and intrigue. But the most memorable addition to the plot is sadly neither Niles’ ill-concealed attempts of squeezing every little drop out the fake stone that is his and Daphne’s fake romance, or Roz’s even less covert agenda of making a move on the former ex-boyfriend for her own exploitative pleasure. No, the standout is the absolutely dreadful British “accent” that rears it ugly mug every time the actor playing the ex opens his mouth. If that not qualifies as a bonafide slaughter of the Queen’s English, we don’t know what does.
On the other hand, there are more than a few stellar attempts from the British side when it comes to making the lingo of the US of A proud. Just look at The Wire, one of the greatest television series to ever grace our screens. Granted, the main character, Jimmy McNulty, may have some Irish green in his veins, but is supposed to be a Baltimore Western boy, born and raised. Leave it to Dominic West to pull it off with grace, and even doing a belly-aching impression of a proper English gentleman during one of the Major Crime Unit’s undercover stings. A Brit playing an American playing a Brit.
Now, THAT’s talent…