The British Invasion…of Hollywood

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UK & USA Flags - Dot Matrix

UK & USA Flags – Dot Matrix (Photo credit: gavjof)

Every so often, usually around election time, the conservative contingent in this country revamps their diatribe about foreigners coming to ‘Merica and stealing our jobs. I don’t typically participate in this discussion because it’s tiring and ridiculous and I’ve yet to meet an out-of-work American dying to pick lettuce for $7 an hour.

But this time it’s different.

I have discovered a whole new wave of American jobs being covertly filled by non-Americans, specifically, Brits. That’s right; the Brits are taking our jobs…in Hollywood. What makes this practice particularly insidious is that British people are light-colored and can fake an American accent and we don’t even know it’s happened until it’s too late.

Allow me to elaborate.

Remember the first time you saw Hugh Laurie outside of his title role on House M.D.? Maybe you were a little surprised to hear his British accent. I know I was, but I didn’t think much of it other than, “Wow, he does a really good American accent on that show. Huh.” That program began in 2004, and in the nearly ten years since, this British invasion has only escalated.

Example #1: A British ginger plays a Muslim terrorist pretending to be an American hero. (Got that?)

Those of you who watch Homeland on HBO, when you aren’t distracted by Claire Danes’ ugly cry-face, are probably impressed with Damian Lewis’s portrayal of the multifaceted character Nicholas Brody. You’re not the only one; Lewis has won several awards for his turn as the tortured American soldier with questionable allegiance.

But did you know that not only is Nicholas Brody a Muslim terrorist, he’s also…British? Not just British, but like, super British. The first time I saw him accept an award for his role in Homeland, I couldn’t figure out why his voice was being dubbed by the Queen of England. (That’s how British he sounds.)

See for yourself. (You can skip ahead to about the 1:20 mark for his speech.)

Example #2: After the Zombiepocalypse, the South is overrun with Brits.

There are at least two British actors on The Walking Dead pretending to be good ol’ American zombie hunters. Not only are they playing American, but they are portraying small-town southerners. (I have a theory on this that I will get to shortly.)

Sheriff Rick Grimes? Brit. Sweet Maggie, the farmer’s daughter? BRIT! There may be more! I don’t even know.

Maggie, played by Lauren Cohan:

Sheriff Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln. (That’s not even his real name! President Abe is rolling in his grave!)

Example #3: Badass Biker Brits

I recently started binge-watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix. For those of you unacquainted with the show, at least for the ladies, one of the highlights of this program is the amount of time Jax Teller, played by Charlie Hunnam spends in the buff.  (AMC is the new HBO y’all.)

Being that I’m developing a bit of a crush on Mr. Hunnam, I did a little googling to see what else he’s been in. I can’t explain why or how, but right before I clicked on his IMDB profile, I thought to myself, “How funny would it be if this quintessential American biker dude was played by a Brit?” And there it was: Charlie Hunnam, born in Newcastle, England. You’ve got to be kidding me.

Nope, it’s true. (Although to be fair, it doesn’t appear that the badassery is an act.)

Jax Teller, played by Charlie Hunnam:

In summation, I have basically two takeaways from this:

  1. White foreigners are taking our acting jobs. Right now, we’re looking at a primarily British attack. In the 1980’ss and 1990’s it was those pesky Canadians and their love of American sitcoms. (If you’re old enough to remember  “Dead or Canadian?” on the Mtv game show Remote Control then you know what I’m talking about. I’m looking at you Michael J. Fox, Pamela Anderson, and every awkward male comedian who has ever done sketch comedy.)
  2. Brits typically play southerners. Not always, but frequently, and I think I’ve figured out why.  My friend Kristy is married to a Brit named Steve. I once tried to get Steve to put on an American accent for me, but he refused. (We Americans are always trying to sound cute by attempting a British accent, so I wanted to see what that sounded like in reverse.)  Anyway, Steve was too embarrassed to do it because he said he couldn’t do an American accent without sounding like a hick. Finally, I think he managed a “Y’all”. And that’s it! A Midwestern accent is difficult because it’s so nondescript, but the opposite of a cultured British accent is a Honey Boo Boo-esque redneck affectation. It’s easier for Brits. That’s why even though Jax Teller, motorcycle hottie, who lives in California on Sons of Anarchy, often calls the ladies, “Darlin’”.

So, next time you’re watching your favorite television show, look and listen a little more closely, y’all. Because the British are coming…to a theatre near you.

Open Letter: J.J. Abrams, My Abusive Boyfriend

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Producer and director J.J. Abrams participatin...

Dear J.J.,

I think it’s time I finally tell you how I feel. You are ruining my life and destroying my dreams.

Okay, maybe I should back up a little bit.

Let’s start with Lost. Remember that little show, Lost? That’s when I fell in love with you, and when you fucked me over for the first, but not the last time. See, I got on board with Lost a little behind schedule. It was in the early 2000’s that I discovered your mysterious creation, and I was instantly hooked. That was back when people still got their Netflix DVDs in the mail, and I watched the first two seasons back to back like it was my fucking job. I couldn’t wait to see how those survivors navigated the incredible wonders of the island you created. Adam and Eve! The hatch! That crazy fucking hatch! And the numbers! What the hell were those numbers all about? I was riveted and trembling with anticipation.

I should have known it would all fall apart when you veered left of center with that Nikki and Paulo shit. What the fuck was that, J.J.? Were you hung over that week and decided to throw together a plotline that would dangle endlessly and then just disappear into the ether? I let that one slide, thinking it was a one-off mistake. Oh, how wrong I was. As time progressed and the clock ticked off 108 minutes at a time, I was eager for a perfect ending that would seamlessly weave together the myriad plot threads I had been lovingly following with nail-biting intensity season after motherfucking season. But it would never be.

I saw stories evaporate and threads snap as you deux ex machina’ed the fuck out of everything I had been hanging on to for years. Good versus evil? Motherfucking trite much? Jacob and the magic river of glowing ectoplasm? I was waiting for Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd to show up and spew some shit about not crossing the streams. Then, guess what? We’re all in heaven and everybody’s happy! Yay. Not this girl. Fuck you, J.J.!

So, why am I bitching about this now, you may wonder. Well, I’ll get to that.

A few weeks ago, I garnered some insight into why you may be such a crazy bastard. Or if not why, I can at least testify to the fact that you seem to have been this way since you were a wee lad. Exhibit A: TED Talks. Now, I’ve always thought those kids who hold onto their toys without opening them from the cellophane packaging (see: 40 Year Old Virgin) were more than a little off, but this takes the cake. In an attempt to explain your creative inspiration, you show a “mystery box” package you purchased from a magic shop as a child. This mystery box is unopened and one cannot tell what goodies are inside. It takes a special kind of crazy to purchase a surprise like this as a kid and not open it. CRAZY! The fun is in the opening! I cannot reiterate this enough. This doesn’t explain why you are a great creator of entertainment; it only explains why you are a bastard who doesn’t reveal the mysteries in your television and movies. I want to reach through my laptop screen and tear open your mystery box. (That sounds like the makings of a heavy metal/boy band mash-up song, but you get the picture.)

The reason why all of my frustration with you, J.J., is coming to a head at this particular time, is because I recently started watching your show Fringe on Netflix. Apparently it’s been long enough since you fucked me over with Lost, and I felt ready for another beating. Why, oh why did I do this? It’s like I saw your name and only remembered the amazing sex and not the bad case of The Clap you left me with. And it burns.

Fringe started out incredible, of course. The far-out science is interesting and compelling. The actors, especially John Noble, are wonderful. I started ‘shipping the Peter and Olivia characters almost immediately because I’m a typical fangirl and I cannot help myself. Then, the other shoe fell and you broke my heart again. Just when I thought my couple was coupling, you had to cross universes and have mistaken identities abound and complicate things with unintended accelerated pregnancies and now the world might end. (No spoilers, please! I’m only on Season 3, and I’m still holding out hope everything will work out. I know, I know. I’ve got it so bad.)

I knew I was completely fucked last week when the episode focused around a series of very familiar numbers. Really, J.J.? Are you fucking kidding me? If it turns out that they are all in heaven at the end, I will find you, and I will shove your box into a very mysterious (and uncomfortable) place.

I wish I knew how to quit you.

Begrudgingly yours,

Tina Steele