Wawa is life and Kate Winslet finally understands that
The Delco accent is put on blast by “Saturday Night Live” in a new, dark parody of Kate Winslet’s crime series the “Mare of Easttown,” which is set in Delco.
Winslet stars as a detective in the “Mare of Easttown,” a drama where the actress is trying to solve the murder of a young girl.
The SNL skit is titled “Murdur Durdur” and pokes fun at the way Delco folks say the words “murder daughter.”
At one point in the bit, "SNL's'' Kate McKinnon's "Clare'' scolds her fellow investigators for dripping the contents of their hoagies onto the, well, dead daughter. ("Would you guys quit eating hoagies over the body, please!'')
The comedy sketch also features a silly references to Hockessin — which someone mixes up with Conshohocken.
The Philly Phanatic gets a shout out in the skit — and Gritty makes a cameo.
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People got a kick out of "SNL'' roasting the Delco accent on the show's official Twitter page, where they posted a video of the parody on Saturday.
“HAHAHHA BEST SKETCH KATE LOOKS SO GOOD,” one person tweeted.
“I was in tears,” another tweeted. “From West Chester, now in Southern California. This was absolutely hysterical,” one user said.
Then again, not everyone was impressed. “Delete your account,” one critic tweeted.
“Unfunny jokes,” another wrote.
Winslet loves Wawa
The star of "Mare of Easttown" joined the Los Angeles Times podcast “The Envelope” on Wednesday, where she expressed how excited she was to finally step foot inside a Wawa.
“It almost felt like a mythical place … Wawa,” she said on the podcast. “By the time I got there, I was like ‘Look, it’s real! … It’s Wawa!’”
The convenience store chain is “the heart of Delco,” Winslet added. “To finally walk through the door of a Wawa, I don’t know why I felt like, ‘Oh, yes, I’m here, I belong. This is where it’s at. Wawa.’ ”
At least one Twitter user believes Wawa is worthy of such national attention.
“People are making fun of Kate Winslet for being awestruck by Wawa, like 'Pfft, rich person experiencing a normal convenience store, ha.' But having lived in Philly for a few years now, Wawa is not simply a normal convenience store. It's part of the local landscape and culture,” the tweet said.
More on Kate Winslet:So what does Delco think about her 'Mare of Easttown' accent?
After Winslet revealed she was smitten by Wawa, the official Wawa Twitter account decided to shoot its shot at the actress.
“We’ll always hold the door open for you, Kate,” Wawa tweeted.
“I would've loved to be the one to take kate winslet's hand & gently guide it to unlock the wawa secret menu touch screen,” another Twitter user said.
“Kate Winslet's reaction to Wawa is the correct one. I am prepared to fight about this,” another wrote.
Struggle to learn Delco accent
The Academy Award-winning actress, who was born in England, said in an interview at the CTAM Winter 2021 Press Tour panel on the “Mare of Easttown” that learning the Delco accent was one of the toughest dialects she’s had to master for an acting role.
Delco native Joe Manzi took offense to that.
“I think it’s laughable that the Delco accent is the hardest she’s ever had to do, because there’s really no accent around here; maybe to her it is, because she’s English,” Manzi, 39, of Glenolden, Pennsylvania told Delaware Online /The News Journal.
Manzi said he hasn’t seen “Mare of Easttown.” He’s not alone in that camp.
Delaware Online/The News Journal asked about two dozen strangers in Glenolden, mostly near Wawa, if they’d heard of the “Mare of Easttown” on April 28.
Only three people said they’d heard of the show, but none of them had seen it at the time. None of them were very familiar with Winslet either.
As for that Delco accent she finds so challenging, there was a mixed bag of people who didn't think local folks had an accent, or that there was a big difference in the way they speak compared with Philly folks who live in the city.
Dr. Betsy Sneller, assistant professor of linguistics at Michigan State University, said it’s normal for people to think they don’t have an accent.
“You cannot speak without having an accent, it’s impossible. Every single person has an accent,” said Sneller, who earned her PhD specializing in Philadelphia language from the University of Pennsylvania.
Since many people are surrounded by folks that use the same dialect “they don’t think of themselves as sounding weird or having an accent,” Sneller added.
Language expert judges Winslet
Philadelphia English or the “Philly accent” is commonly used in Delco, Philly, South Jersey and Baltimore. It’s a blend of dialects that includes New York and Southern American English.
Sneller said there's a slight difference in the way Philadelphians talk versus lingo used in Delco. Black Philadelphians have a noticeably different way of talking than white Philadelphians, she added, and Winslet is attempting to model the white Philly accent.
What makes the Philly accent complex, Sneller said, is Philadelphia English speakers play by a unique set of rules. For example, take the words “mad, bad and glad.” Now pronounce each word like they're fused with the word “yeah.”
Another example is Philly English speakers pronounce words that have an “O” sound such as “home” or “phone,” which ends up sounding like “heom” or “pheon.”
Sneller said the Delco accent has long been documented as a tough one to learn. She referenced a report from the 1980s conducted by researcher Arvilla Payne, who was studying how kids acquired the Philly/Delco accent.
“What she found is, it’s so difficult that if you don’t have two Philadelphian English parents, you’re not gonna acquire it completely,” Sneller explained.
In the research, Payne was looking at kids who had one parent who spoke Philly English, while the other didn’t. It was tough for those children to perfect the Philly accent.
The Penn graduate takes Winslet’s attempt at the Delco accent very seriously.
“She’s very, very good at it. Most of the time when I’m watching the show, I don’t remember that she’s not from Philly,” Sneller said. “Then every once in a while she’ll do something that pulls me out of it.”
Winslet gets style points for correctly pronouncing water (w-o-o-d-e-r). But sometimes she loses Sneller when she doesn’t nail her “O” sounds. Then again, “I’m incredibly impressed that she tried it in the first place.”
The “Mare of Easttown” airs its fifth episode on HBO at 10 p.m., Sunday. Episodes run every Sunday. It is also streaming on HBO Max.
Andre Lamar is the features/lifestyle reporter. If you have an interesting story idea, email Andre Lamar at firstname.lastname@example.org