Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 336

Brits subtitled

My British friend here in the USA mentioned that she sat down to watch the telly last night and (don’t judge her for this) there was a programme on called Party On on the E! Channel. Yes, it’s a reality show that is dedicated to ‘exposing the best party scenes the world has to offer via its “exclusive resorts and gorgeous beaches.” Brits and Americans hang out and party, basically. I guess someone has to do that.

But, my British friend said, that the Brits were being subtitled in last night’s episode! What?! This is a clip from the show (sans subtitles). The guy’s not that hard to understand is he – really?!!!

Party On!

Party On!

To be fair, though, before we moved the States we watched The Wire and we had to subtitle that because this little British girl couldn’t get her head round the street talk. Well, now, let me tell you, I am totally in the know-how about ‘re-ups’ and ‘Five-O’ etc ;)

But Party On is not the only show on U.S TV to subtitle those hard-to-understand-British accents….The Saturdays (fyi, a British girl group, if you’ve not heard of them) have a U.S reality show coming out and that will be subtitled for the American audience because of their very British accents.

Apparently the producers were convinced that the audiences would have trouble understanding the girls. To be honest, I don’t really know why they bother subtitling, because my guess is that none of them will say anything that is going to be earth-shattering, but who am I to judge? ;)

British girl group 'The Saturdays'....

British girl group ‘The Saturdays’….

It’s not all the conversations that need subtitles, mind you, but the producers have been forced to transcribe most of their scintillating conversation so viewers can understand their musings.

Subtitles come into play particularly when Frankie (Essex girl) and Una (Irish filly) are speaking.

The Daily Record notes that in one exciting conversation, chat turns to the bedding in their LA mansion, and (thankfully for all mankind) their words are flashed up on the screen to clarify this momentous chat.

Later, Frankie breaks down in tears and the titles reveal her words: “I just feel like I can’t even do my job any more.” Fascinating.

An American TV source said: “While the show is fun, it will not be likely that all of America will understand what The Saturdays are actually saying.

“They may have good diction and clarity of speech in the UK, but their UK accents simply aren’t understood by some Americans.

“It’s going to be tough to change that because they speak slowly and properly.

“The show is good fun and very dramatic but, in truth, if people cannot understand them, it might bomb.”

We wait with bated breath!

Don’t let us forget the hard times some of our British celebs have on the telly in the USA – it’s not the first time our Brit stars have found it hard to appeal to the ears of our American cousins.

Cheryl Cole’s Geordie twang was said to have confused viewers in X Factor. You decide (and stay watching for the British class/accent comment!)

Even the brillopads Scouse accent fell prey to American producers who subtitled footie stars Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher in ‘Being Liverpool’. I did not know this was a show. Neither does my husband, thankfully.

Freezing rain = school delay

This is my first experience of freezing rain. I thought it was a kind of ‘we’re just delaying the schools because there’s some really cold rain’, but it’s true – it is freezing rain, and it is really slippy. Yikes.

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9 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 336

  1. Andy says:

    Well to be fair (and with all due respect to your friend) most of the people that watch these ‘reality’ shows have probably never stepped foot outside their own little community and have never heard an English accent in their lives, with the possible exception of Downton Abbey. ;-)

    FWIW I think Cheryl Cole is not only lovely but has a great accent – and I say that as a Londoner who used to think that going north of Luton was the equivalent of stepping back into the middle ages.

  2. That dork can’t even get “Cole” out of his mouth and why do we have to yell. Grrr!

  3. Carol says:

    They also do subtitles on Honey Boo Boo. Actually I don’t know if they still do because I know that quite a few people were irate about it.

  4. Josh says:

    I understood Cheryl Cole just fine. I think if Americans heard the various accents routinely, it might become common, and not such a big deal. I’ve worked with a girl from Lincolnshire, watched a lot of the S Club 7, and have been watching tons of footy, so It’s not too big of deal for me. However, I understand the possible frustration. One of my favorite bands is the English band, The Sundays. The lady singer has the most beautiful voice ever, but many times her Oxfordshire accent is hard for me to understand. I know that sounds lame, but sometimes it takes me a few listens to understand her. It’s also what makes me love the band.

    I find the various accents to very interesting. It amazes me that you can learn where a person is from and what social class they are just by their accent alone.

    As far as freezing rain goes, it can be super nasty stuff. I’m from Michigan and around Christmas time, my area was hit hard with freezing rain. Electricity was knocked out for several days, Tree branches would break and hit power lines because they were ice coated. The roads were nearly undriveable because of the ice. My vehicle was coated with 1/8″-1/4″ of ice. It looked like it was encapsulated in glass. It was the worst that I’ve ever seen.

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