The WORST fake English accents: Why don’t they just hire British actors to play British characters??

I’m at the stage at my stay here in the UK that I don’t really hear the British accent anymore.  Unless it’s a strong local-y sounding one (Yorkshire, Bristol, Scouse, Geordie), it washes right over me.

But when they hire an American, an Irish person or an Australian to play a Brit – OH! – Mine ears, they do tremble.  Why don’t they just hire Brits??  Especially since they’re cheap labour

I’ve been doing some Googling to find some evidence, and I’ve come up with the following 3 heinous examples:

Anne Hathaway in One Day

Bless her heart, I love Anne Hathaway in almost everything she ever touches (yes, this includes the Princess Diaries 2).  But how can I keep track of what’s going on in a film with this strange Ameri-cockney-yorkshire accent beast staring me down?

Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta

I’m also a huge lover of Natalie Portman – she’s a freaking genius and most things she touches turn to golden box office successes.  But her ACCENT!  Ohmygee, her accent.  That’ll be ten Pledge of Allegiances and a whole cheese pizza as penance, Nat-Port.

Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins

No list of crappest-Brit-accents would be complete without Dickie-boo!

I love this movie.  MY GOD, I love this movie.   I live in eternal hope that one day I’ll find a handbag big enough to keep a floor lamp in.  But Dick Van Dyke really set the bar in terms of heinous accents.  It doesn’t ruin the over all movie for me, though – probably because it’s all so cartoony and his accent is, too.

Part of me gets it.  Directors have a specific actor in mind and they bring them in regardless of their stubborn American twang.  It’s distracting, though – there’s nowt to be done about it!

I know it isn’t a one-way train.  There are plenty of Brits doing heinous American accents out there (except for Hugh Laurie, of course.  He sounds more American than I do), but for some reason I don’t tend to find bad American accents as distracting.  Now that I mention it, I should give a shout out Gweneth Paltrow who throws a seriously excellent English accent in my opinion.

What about you guys?  Can you stand it?  Have I missed any obvious ‘worst English accent ever’ candidates?  Or what about bad American accents?  I can’t think of any off the top of my head…


Americans living abroad: Your chance to be on the telly!

One of the greatest things about running SNFY with Yankeebean is the great feedback we get from our readers. We get all kinds through our email boxes on a daily basis, and we are honoured that you stop by to say hello, rant, and just let us know what you think. So in keeping with the fantastic offers  we receive, I just wanted to take a moment to share an opportunity that might appeal to you lovelies out there looking for your big break– a chance to be on the telly! Have a look:


I stumbled upon your blog while researching for potential contributors for the US hit television series House Hunters International. I understand three of you are currently living abroad in the UK. Would any of you be interested in sharing your story with us? I would love to hear some more details on your house hunt, and see if we can make your journey fit into an episode of House Hunters International.

Here is a brief description of our show:
Our hit show is looking for energetic individuals, couples and families to share their story about moving abroad. Participating in our show is a lot of fun and a great way to document your exciting search for a home and new life abroad. We are looking for people that have relocated any place in the world except North America.

If you are interested in participating with our show or learning more, please send an email to [email protected].

To view current episodes of the House Hunters International, you can visit the following youtube links (please copy/paste the links listed): – London from South Africa – Dubai from Illinois

HGTV is a top 20 cable network in the US and House Hunters International is one of their top rated shows. At any given time the show is also airing in a variety of other countries.

I look forward to hearing from you and sending you further details.


Melissa Grassi
Associate Producer
1-3 St. Peter’s Street
London, N1 8JD
+44 (0) 207 704 3300
[email protected]

If one of our lovely readers manage to make it on this show, do let us know, we would love to watch! xx We’re not jumping on the offer ourselves because, erm, well we just don’t have any money to buy a property here in the UK. Heck, or abroad for that matter…someday though, someday….

Red Plastic Dixie Cups and Other Secret American Icons


I thought I’d heard it all. Every single perception lovingly held by British folks about America had been brought to my attention for critical assessment.

Why is it called the the World Series when it is only American teams?

Why are there so many fat people in America? How come you’re not fat?

Why do you say “bay-zil” instead of “baah-zil”

What on earth is a fraternity or sorority and why do they use Greek letters for their names?

Is your fridge the size of my flat?

Why do you talk about distances in minutes instead of miles?

Yes, I had heard it all. Until today.

Red plastic dixie cups have been called an icon of American culture. Who knew? Not a single British person has ever asked me about red dixie cups. Suddenly they show up in the comments of this blog post from The Guardian about looking for American tv cliches in real life America.

Yes, I have had many a drink from a red dixie cup. We use them at picnics. We used too many in college, usually paired with some scary form of jungle juice or a keg. Of course, the cups also make an appearance in the occasional game of beer pong. I wouldn’t be surprised if some American families even use them on a daily basis in their homes. We even used them at the outdoor rehearsal dinner for our wedding. Oh yeah, rehearsal dinners – another topic that puzzled my British in-laws.

But, it had never occurred to me that these cups were absent from my life in Britain. Nor had I considered that anyone outside of America may have picked up on their presence by watching American tv shows.

I can think of plenty of American icons: Barbie, Coca Cola, Elvis, pick up trucks, McDonald’s, Michael Jackson etc… But red dixie cups? I can’t believe that is the item causing me to rethink whether I fully immersed myself in British culture during my time there. There must still be hundreds of other things about America boggling the minds of our transatlantic friends.  Perhaps I will ponder these while I sip my Cherry Coke Zero from a shiny red plastic dixie cup FULL of ice.

American Advertising: my British man and I love to laugh at ridiculous fitness ads

pacific bird This one is for those of you who have been away from the US for some time and haven’t seen American television for a while.  Mr. Charismatic and I saw this ad when we first arrived in America and we still laugh for ages every time it comes on.   Hope it makes you laugh too…

PS. We watch a lot less tv now and we are REALLY missing British tv.  Who knew?

Me and Crocodile Dundee… two of a kind.

yankeebeanI’m sitting in front of Crocodile Dundee right now (yes, on a Friday night, but it’s been a bastard of a week and I’m knackered) – and I’m feeling the strangest of emotions…


I am EMPATHISING with Mick the man from Walkabout Creek – how bizarre…

I musta been about 8 years old when I first saw this movie and I remember thinking that it was HILARIOUS.  I’m sure you all remember the line:

That’s not a knife… THIS is knife…

(And if you don’t, get thee to your aging VHS collection and dust that shizzle off!)

But one of the key ingredients of this flick is that Mick keeps saying Aussie / bush things and New Yorkers laugh in his face.  The darker side of 80′s film making ;)

Now, as an expat (or ‘shamerican’ – more on that all-star term later), living in a strange-and-foreign land (kidding, kidding, chill out peeps) – I’m finding new depths to the bloody movie Crocodile Dundee…

Strewth, you learn something new every day…

Ameri-Brit children and awkward situations

pacific birdThis one is for those of you who might be raising kids with American and British families.  I’ve been spending a lot of time with my 14 month old nephew lately.  His parents are both American but Mr. Charismatic and I have given him a few books from Britain featuring iconic British characters, Noddy for example.  Today we were discussing Thomas the Tank characters.  My sister mentioned Sir Topham Hatt and Mr. Charismatic didn’t have a clue who that was.  So, she describes the nicely dressed man wearing a top hat.  “Oh!  You mean the Fat Contoller!” said Mr. C.  We all had a really good laugh about this.  Can you imagine a child going to an American school, playing with the train set and calling this toy “The Fat Controller”.  The American teachers would be horrified at such an un-PC name.

13 Little Reasons to love Britain

  • yahooavatar15Best music scene in the world, everything from Nick Drake to George Michael to the Smiths to Florence and the Machine

    Like to be inspired more by Britain’s positives? Click here.

    Want 13 Reasons to Love America? Click here

    Tori Amos on Something for the Weekend

    avt_kapyork_large115 Good Afternoon Ladies,

    Part of my Sunday ritual usually includes watching Something for the Weekend on BBC2.  This morning, Tori Amos was a guest on the show.  She was my teenage hero in the 90′s (along with Sarah McLachlan) but I had no idea I would connect with her again in my late 20′s.

    She married a British man and they, along with their daughter, split their time between Cornwall and East Coast USA.  She gave a fantastic interview on the show – mostly about being an American in Britain and she has clearly settled amongst those who strive to hold on to their “Americaness” and even referred to herself as a guest in Britain.  Her new single is even about a American woman who moves to London and loses too much of herself trying to fit in.  Sound familiar?

    You can see the interview here:

    And, watch out for her new video on youtube,  called “Welcome to England”.  I’ll post a link when I find it.

    Kraft – Its the Cheesiest! And other care package desirables

    avt_kapyork_large115I received a care package yesterday!  My Mom sent 9 boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and 2 bags of Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chips!!  That’s right Ladies, semi-sweet morsels!!  :)

    Care packages are just automatic ways to lift spirits and be reminded of favourite treats from home.  Any of the yucky feelings left over from a rough day at work yesterday suddenly lifted.   Note to self: bring small baggies of morsels to work every day. 

    It got me thinking – what things will I want in a care package from the UK when I’m back in America?

    Here’s a quick list:

    Cheese and onion pasties or veg pasties if from Thomas the Bakers (not suitable for overseas travel, sigh)

    Cadbury’s Dairy Milk

    Lemsip – Flu strength

    Yorkshire Tea

    Any number of vegetable curries (also not a good shipping contestant)

    Louie Theroux documentaries

    Episodes of Never Mind the Buzzcocks with Simon Amstel

    Umm, this one is embarrassing but… I really like all the reruns of Murder, She Wrote that you can get everyday if you have Sky.  I don’t think you can still get that show in America anymore. 

    What would you put in your care packages Ladies?

    Christmas in Britain as an American, the facts

    yahooavatar15Merry Christmas from us 3 American gals here at ‘’! Our Christmas poll results  are showing that you, lovely readers, prefer saying “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Christmas”, so were going to stick with that one–! Myself and Yankeebean are in America for Christmas, while Pacificyorkshirebird will be in Britain.  Where are you this holiday season?

    As you readers know, Christmas in Britain brings on its own wacky traditions… no one tells you these things as an American in Britain. Oh no, I have learned these things for myself:

    Christmas crackers: Under no circumstances should you win the Christmas cracker if you are pulling it with your well-meaning British Sister-in -law, her kids, or your mother-in-law. Trust me. Monitor your pulling effort and just let them win the cracker. Do you really want nail clippers anyway? And don’t be fooled by the “Marks and Spencer Luxury Crackers” either, they have nail clippers in them, too. Laugh at the jokes inside, even if you they’re not funny–because it is  guaranteed that they won’t be.

    The Christmas Hat– You might pull your Christmas Cracker too hard (to not win requires lots of practice) and you may need to put on the colored paper-hat inside. Depending on the British family you are with will dictate if you are required to do so. You need to be aware that yes, you will look stupid in a bright-orange-tissue-paper-crown. But if everyone else puts it on and you don’t you will look like a big stick in the mud and that is definitely a social no-no.  Style your hair so that it would look good with a bright-orange-tissue-paper-crown on top. Maybe you could plan ahead to coordinate your Christmas day outfit so that it would match these common Christmas hat colors: Red, Bright green, dark purple, bright yellow, bright orange, and dark blue or black. Pray that you get the black hat if you do pull too hard and win the Christmas cracker– it looks more suave then the other colors.

    The Queen’s Speech: You should be prepared to watch the Queen’s Speech, regardless of what you think of the Royal Family. My mother-in-law has tons of collectible “Royal plates” on her wall so I knew it was going to be a given. Although some British families (probably not many) do not watch the Royal Christmas message, so just be prepared to stop your Christmas dinner to watch. Or, your Christmas dinner will revolve around the Queen’s speech timed to absolute perfection when the teas and coffees are served. Practice some lines beforehand saying nice things about the Queen even though her speech might seem fake, over-rehearsed and out of touch with reality. Easy for her to say ” I hope all the hungry children in the world get food to eat this Christmas”– she lives in a castle for heaven’s sake!

    Boxing Day: Just when you thought Christmas was over comes along Boxing day. Think positive: at least you are not at work like a lot of American employees back home! Yet, it is another day where everyone sits around in a food coma and eats lots of left-over beef and mincers while watching football matches you probably don’t give a hoot about. Around this point you might have had a few scuffles with your British partner and their family, probably unintentionally and probably about topics like their mother-in-law offending you, and what time you are going to leave. A lot of British families like to take walks in the country on this day– you could fake a headache or indigestion if the thought of that is not appealing. At that point Christmas is about over anyway. And you will have made it through. Score!

    Thanks for reading and Happy Christ– I mean, Merry Christmas!