G’Day, Mate

Has anyone else wondered why D’Anna Biers has an accent – or at least, an accent that is different from the one used by most of the other characters in BSG? “Well,” you might say, “It’s obvious: Lucy Lawless is from New Zealand, so she doesn’t sound like the American and Canadian actors.”But Jamie Bamber has a strong British accent, and as Lee Adama he speaks in the same kind of general Amer-Canadian accent everyone else uses. It’s not unusual for actors to change their normal voices to fit a character, but D’Anna Biers speaks in the New Zealand accent of the actor, and surely this was not just an accident. Assuming the writers decided to have her keep the accent, I wonder if it has any significance to the story?

Some ideas: 1) Chuck says it would be useful for the Cylons to have diversity in the skinjob models because they’d be more realistic. 2) Accents are often sexy, and the female CylonZ have to all be really attractive. Also, 3) Chuck thinks Jamie Bamber’s accent is one often associated with comedy in the U.S., which might clash with the show’s serious attitude, while the same is not true for a New Zealand accent.

Humans get their unique language characteristics from growth and experience, but Cylons supposedly have no real past- they reincarnate as adults with only adult memories. I wonder how Cylons get “programmed” to look, act, believe, and talk like the individual models they are. Was D’Anna, Number Three, programmed to talk like a New Zealander as well as everything else that makes her unique?

14 Responses to "G’Day, Mate"
  1. Arktis says:

    You’re way over-thinking this. Don’t fall into the trekie/treker slump.

  2. Audra says:

    Hey, we just finished recording the podcast, so all my good ideas are fried out. 🙂 This was just a random question that popped up. I’m also a language lover so I geek out on anything having to do with words.

  3. john patrick says:

    I could be making this up, but I’m a language lover too–my degrees are in linguistics. So here’s my theory:

    I seem to remember Lucy Lawless on Leno or Letterman, talking about the American accent, and her being unwilling to do it live on the air, saying that in Xena she had a dialect coach that helped her all the time. My theory is that she didn’t want to bother, and who can blame her. I certainly believe that her Xena pronunciation would have been wrong for the character.

    People would cry fowl if Adama the father spoke American English, and Adama the son spoke British English. I’ve heard Bamber on a British promo, saying “Stay tuned for BaTTlestah Galacticar” with really hard British T’s, and I was pretty surprised.

    Bamber’s American is pretty perfect, but one thing I noticed is that it’s the same perfect whether he’s happy, or angry, or frustrated, or terrified. I’m not sure he knows how to speak ‘stressed-out American;’ either that or it’s an acting choice he’s made. Either way, it makes him the beta-dog in scenes with Adama or Starbuck.

    And yes, maybe other people don’t hear it; I am a big fat dork with a linguistics degree. I do, however, learning the difference between cute Australian English and super stressed out Australian English when some Australian girls were kicked off my train in Spain for having the wrong kind of pass. Yikes, that was scary.

  4. A. Lo says:

    I seem to recall RDM saying in a podcast from last season (when D’Anna’s character first popped up) that everyone agreed it was cool to let Lucy Lawless just speak with her native accent – without tying any explanations to it within the show itself.

  5. The 13th Cylon says:

    Yeah, at least Baltar has a buddy who speaks with the same accent. Think of all the accents we have on one planet (and not even all the countries speak English), so imagine how many they would have on 12 planets.

  6. Pike says:

    Audra, I think your focus is wrong. It’s not that #3 speaks like a kiwi, it’s that Jamie doesn’t . I think the reason is that it’d be harder to accept a “son” that had a different accent from the father (and in this case, would YOU tell Olmos that he had to affect an english accent for five, potential, years?)

  7. Tanya says:

    I’m a big fan on BSG but I’m an even bigger fan of Xena/Lucy Lawless so when she announced on her website that she was going to be on the show I was estatic to say the least. From what I can recall when she talked about originally making her apperances in season 2 she said mentioned how happy she was to be using her kiwi accent and that Ron just suggested for her to use it instead of an american one. She never mentioned if there was a motive behind it other than it would sound cool/different. She also mentioned how her character was supposed to be kinda like real life reporter Christine Armanapour so having the accent would kinda help getting into that frame of mind.

    I guess it could be viewed as just having models as diverse as the humans so they would be able to intergrate into society better. I mean if Baltar can have an british accent, why couldn’t a cylon have a kiwi accent? I also figure that since there is no England/America/New Zeland in the BSG universe, the accents are just something that is just there and is to be taken as is without much thought.

  8. The 13th Cylon says:

    I think the last time on the show that Lucy/Xena/Mrs. Beirs is killed, she should do that wierd Xena “ahaaaahhhaaa” call/yell that she did back in the day. That would be fraking awesome.

  9. Audra says:

    Thanks all for humoring my random thoughts on the accent! John Patrick, I’m happy to have another language geek around! I do not have a linguistics degree but I have studied it and am probe to picking up the Oxford Word Guide for fun. (Dork, I know.)

    And thanks for the info on RDM’s and Lucy Lawless’ comments on it. It really sheds light on a small but cool thing I wasn’t sure anyone was interested in.

  10. Eyeless says:

    This brings up the question of why Baltar has the only English accent in the show.

  11. Arktis says:

    Eyeless: In American television and film, a British accent is usually associated with a high degree of intelligence/wit and/or a sinister nature.

  12. Eyeless says:

    I know. =D It’s funny. In my college drama class, people usually unconsciously pick up a British accent when delivering lines. It’s pretty weird.

  13. Courtney Shay says:

    This is a sort of on topic but off topic comment. I was just having a similar discussion about accents and language in the show. Do you think that they are speaking English? Or is it just English for us so we can understand it? If it’s English, is that a clue to the time period that they were in when humans broke off from earth to form the colonies? English would’ve had to be a prevalent language, and that means they would’ve had to have broken off after the British Empire’s reign on earth. But they still use ancient greek mythology. I’m just wondering where it all fits in. This is all assuming that English was created ON Earth, and not on a planet BEFORE earth and then passed down to earth. Does this make any sense to anyone?

  14. Jaz says:

    Yeah, Courtenay, it makes sense. I’ve wondered about all that also. Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers for you. I’ve been very curious about how earth figures into everything, if at all.

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