Will Pause For Drawls

It’s “Screen Week” over here at Happy Hippie Rose, and so this week’s posts are all kinda centered on TV, movies, and other media stuff that I like.  Admittedly, I watch way too much TV, and I’m always coming up with these tangential posts related to the crapola that I watch.  So why not lump them all together? Fun!

oh hay it's the most worst logo/icon ever. but it's all mine!


I live in Hawaii now – but after a lifetime in the Southland, I sure miss hearing the sweet sweet sound of a southern drawl.  A little lilt in the voice just lifts my spirits oh so much.

As you can guess, my exposure to hearing my beloved speak of the South is pretty limited these days.

i heart hawaii

Out here the way folks talk is very one-of-a-kind.  The Hawaii dialect is unique and unlike anything I ever heard growing up.  There’s local slang, Hawaiian words mixed into everything, and just a way of dialogue shorthand that’s super special to these islands.  I mean, I can’t speak Pigeon by any means at all, but I feel way more comfy chatting up my local pals than I did when I first got here.

So the language I’m exposed to out here on the daily is so different than the language of my homeland.  And don’t even get me started on ole stinky Duggs… he’s a New Yorker!  So that’s totally not music to my ears, either.

Sometimes I just CRAVE hearing a sweet Southern accent.  Thus, I get my fill from TV shows.

dixieland delight

When it comes to TV watching I divide up my time pretty evenly between reality trash TV and good scripted shows.  I like to watch an entire series at a time, using On-Demand or Netflix.  I love to start at the beginning and just plow on through.  That said, most scripted shows won’t have Southern accents (save a few characters here and there, like the WB shows that film in the South – One Tree Hill, The Vampire Diaries, etc).

My favorite, current, source of accents is MTV’s Caged.  Those guys crack me up!  Caged is the reality show about a scrappy group of MMA fighters in Louisiana, all trainging their hearts out and hoping to go pro someday.  And yes, I know it’s silly and simple, but I actually like Caged – I think it’s fun and well, it’s like comfort food for a relocated Southerner.

This one episode, Wes, breaks his hand in a bar fight and tries to train the next day (to be fair, Wes’ version of training is a few push ups, complaining, throwing in a dip, and getting a beer).   But even Wes’ level of working out is hard to do with a bashed hand.  He seeks medical attention, and finds out he’ll need surgery to repair it.  Since Wes doesn’t have health insurance, he tells the doc he’s just gonna “fix it up the ole country boy way,” and basically let it ride.  “I don’t play piano or nothing.”


wes from mtv's caged

The way he was talking, I felt like I was back in college.  If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen something handled the ole country boy way… oh man, it just tickled me.

I’m trying so hard to find a good video clip of Caged, and MTV’s player is down + I can’t find any decent clips on YouTube.  Frustrating!  Anyways, check in on MTV.com – they (theoretically) post full eps of the show and you can play catch up.

Caged is chock full of good accents, that’s probably the best source I have now.  Some of the Teen Mom cast are Southern, Maci and Leah both have thick drawls.  There’s a handful of Texas reality shows: Big Rich Texas, Most Eligible Dallas, The A List Dallas – and while they aren’t exactly the same as where I’m from, the y’alls and ain’ts I so aurally crave all fall into conversation naturally.

There are lots of great accents to be found in the world of reality TV, for sure.  All the hillbilly handfishin’ and what not, it’s great!

The difficult part is finding a quality accent to come out of Hollywood or from scripted TV.  YIKES!

There are few things that butter my biscuits more than a fake southern accent.  I HATE hearing some ridic Foghorn Leghorn, Plantation speak emitting out of a character’s mouth.   Few things make me cringe more. 

i do declare... i will ruin your viewing experience.

I heard this one episode of This American Life, on NPR, years ago that had a dialect coach, Sam Chwat  (he actually just passed away, sad). He was talking about how the Southern Accent is so dang hard for actors to nail.  And that so many producers/directors have terribly inaccurate understanding of how the accent sounds.  And thus, they okay these dreadful stage voices to continue.

article on Chwat = here.

Prime example, Julia Roberts grew up in Atlanta – and yet time and time again, she gives us these awful fakey bad accents.   She was trained to LOSE her natural Georgia Peach accent and then re-learn some cockamamy fake one for Steel Magnolias. Ugh. Why?

Julia Roberts in Charlie Wilson’s War

Googling lists of bad accents is pretty funny.  And annoying.  I mean, how do these dreadful over-the-top accents make it past the ears of everyone making a show?  Just… how?  and Why?

This list is pretty accurate – it’s a slide show, peppered with the likes of Anna Pacquin on True Blood (awful, awful, AWFUL accent), Nick Cage in Con Air (if I start complaining about Nick Cage, this post will never end), and Tom Hanks in the Lady Killers (probably one of the most awful drawls ever heard, and from a man we all KNOW can do an okay one – what gives?).

Here’s an AWESOME YouTube video with a lovely genuine lilt!  la1UXvtMvTk

A lot of the lists I keep pulling are redundant, mostly making fun of Nick Cage.  I can handle that.

And before you go commenting up a storm and yelling at me – of course I know that real Southern accents are varied and differ from place to place.  There are intensity levels, thickness, and certain regional terms that aren’t used across the whole land.  It’s just a general thing though, something about hearing one is so soothing.  I love how easy on the ears a nice southern way of speaking is.

It’s just one of my many TV watching quirks, I have to dissect and analyze everyone’s accent.  And when I come across a good one, they’ll git me to mash the ole rewind button for ’em!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

oh PS – as for me and my accent (lack thereof), I have pretty non-regional diction.  Hahaha. Okay, so I have a weird kinda teeny drawl.  Basically, I’ll pepper my sentences with certain phrases and words that if you’re from the North or the West, you’d likely consider Southern.  Some vowel sounds are drawn out. I say “y’all,” “fixin,” “right quick,” and I’m sure a bunch of other Southerny things.  If you’re from West Virginia or deep in the Carolinas though, you’d likely think I don’t have any accent at all.  Booze, stress, excitement, and nerves are all known to bring it out in me too – which can always be good fun!



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