Much of television is written by people who grew up, or at least who have lived the majority of their lives, in a big city—often New York or Los Angeles. For that reason, characters who are culturally not from one of those places are at risk of getting written in broad strokes, becoming caricatures of whatever culture they represent.
My favorite kind of caricature is the broad Southern villain because they are where TV writers say “fuck it,” snort glue, and write literal nonsense, trusting the actors’ accents will make that nonsense seem wise. These characters hate Jews; they speak in truisms and clichés and religious references; they publicly spout Christian ideology and privately murders and adulterates.
I mean, as my pappy used to say, never kiss a show pig on the tail. Just kidding, he never said that because that is garbage and he’d be committed to an asylum—but if one of these characters said it, you’d laugh and say, “Ho ho ho, the South is so charming and odd.”
2015 was good to me. Here are my favorite accented cartoons of the year:
5. Pensatucky, Orange is the New Black
I love Pensatucky so much, especially in her moments of sweet vulnerability like in the clip above. She’s born-again Christian and pro-life but has had six abortions, and every unborn baby has a “B” name (Blake, Bonnie, Boyd, Bethany, Braden, and Buddy Jr.). Beautiful.
4. Everyone, Nashville
Nashville is just this list written out into four seasons.
3. Baron Quinn, Badlands
Baron Quinn has mastered the art of the aging villain grasping onto the last shreds of influence he has (honestly, much like a large portion of this list). One clarification: the Badlands are technically South Dakota which is technically the Midwest, but I’m going to expand this category to include any character that comes from anywhere dusty, especially those with that sweet syrup-y drawl.
2. Sally Langston, Scandal
This monologue is technically from 2014, but how can I not include it? Sally Langston is everything one could want from a stereotypical Southern evangelist: she’s judgmentally Christian, has a hot temper, hosts a Fox News-like opinion show, is out for blood. Yum yum, crispy piggy, yum yum!
1. Frank Underwood, House of Cards
Frank Underwood is the South Carolinian TV president that inspired this whole list. His “Back in Gaffney-isms” are a fucking revelation in terms of making Southern people seem like folktale porch-sitting oracles. “In Gaffney, we had our own brand of diplomacy: shake with your right hand, but hold a rock in your left,” he says in the above video. Those Gaffney residents—so quaint and lawless.
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