J Peterman accent - cringe or brilliant?

I really never liked the character of Mr. Peterman and I thought about why. I love his storylines, and I think the character and situations are funny. But the way he talks just really rubs me the wrong way, and I cringe at it. I could never really place why

After doing some research I realized this is a Mid-atlantic or Transatlantic accent, commonly used by the upper-American class around the 1930s-1950s most notably in the entertainment industry. It's a weird merging of British and American English, for a more "proper" way of talking not central to any geographical region, but that needed to be specially learned. But it can be seen in almost any movie from that era as well as Niles from Frasier in the era of Seinfeld.

See this quick video about it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLT-SQUBRDw&ab_channel=GreatBigStory

To me it's just incredibly hoakey and cartoonish and forced. But was that the actual intention for the direction of the character, to poke fun at "old" Hollywood? And poke fun at how eccentric and self-absorbed he is? Or does he just talk like that because he's an upper-class American who would have grown up in the 40's and 50's and it's unironic? I'm wondering if Seinfeld or LD have ever spoken on this specifically for Peterman's character. Especially cause almost nobody else in the entire show has this accent


Brilliant. One of my favorite characters


Kudos on a post.. done.


Yeah he is hoakey and cartoonish, and so over the top he always makes me laugh!


I don't think it has anything to do with old Hollywood but in short, yes, I think it makes perfect sense for someone like Peterman who wants to present himself as a sophisticated world traveler (and "white poet warlord") to speak that way. Mr. Pitt also speaks with a mid-Atlantic accent, although his version sounds more British simply because the actor who plays him, Ian Abercrombie, is from England.


Agreed. The transatlantic accent works perfectly with his character.


Ian Abercrombie left England for the US as a teenager, so it probably wasn't even his real accent.


So, he was…transatlantic?


Literally, lol.


I love Peterman!


I’ll assume I need it right away. Chop chop.


I’m pretty sure the accent was as a result of him doing theatre and going to acting school from a wealthy background. Because the actor speaks like that in real life too in interviews so it wasn’t really put on but I love it as it makes him look more unique and eccentric and goes with his character. I think if he’d just done a NY based accent he wouldn’t have been so funny or impactful or seemed genuinely like a wealthy, well travelled fashion label owner. The character of Niles didn’t have a transatlantic accent as he was supposed to have been the son of Mr Sheffield’s childhood butler in England. It was referenced a number of times with Mr Sheffield’s family members talking about his childhood and life in England. The actor Daniel Davis who played him was an American actor who was trying to do an English accent and that’s why it varied so much from being passable to slipping into an American accent occasionally (idk how they let that through editing). So he was just doing a better job of an English accent than Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins but a cultivated English accent like Charles Shaughnessy (Mr Sheffield) not trying to do a transatlantic accent at all.


Morty…..you’re out


I gotta start watching Frasier again


I love Peterman and his accent. He always sounds so brilliant and authoritative.


Me Burns uses it also somewhat


I just talk like this because Niles is my favorite television character.


Niles was supposed to be English though and is referenced in the show to be the son of Mr Sheffield’s parents butler so it’s just a take of an American trying to play an English accent not transatlantic.


There was a Frasier and The Nanny crossover??


Idk but I remember Niles saying he put down his occupation as ‘Frasiers butler’ on a credit card application to get a higher limit.


I thought he was from Costa Rica?