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A lot of hay has been made online about Kate Winslet’s Mare of Easttown accent and if people in the Philadelphia suburbs really say “wooder” for “water” and whether or not she’s saying “creek” correctly. To be honest, I dunno! She sounds pretty not-from-where-I-live to me, so I say “sure, Pennsylvania, that sounds about right!”

Whenever actors attempt accents other than their own, I can never really decide if anyone’s good at it. I mean: as long as they don’t sound like me—100% magnolia-mouthed from way down south—I figure, “Hey, give her a prize.”

Mare of Easttown is (I admit yet another) dead-kid-in-the-woods procedural (whyyyyy are there so maaaaannnnny?), but we’re halfway through it and while I’m not particularly engrossed by the murder mystery part (and I think the series isn’t particularly interested in it either) I am appreciating the complicatedness of Mare herself (she does something truly morally objectionable in the third episode, and you do start to question any sympathy you have toward her—most of which is earned by Winslet herself being majorly likable even when she’s playing a character who is not). 

There’s further complication (especially at the beginning) figuring out which kid belongs to who and who’s a mother and who’s a grandmother (I hope you were sitting down for that, but let me repeat: Kate Winslet is now playing a grandmother) and which dude with a beard is an ex-husband and which dude with a beard is a cousin (?) of someone else and wait, there are two priests? It all clears up (one’s a deacon!) but it’s appealingly foggy right from the start.

The series’ pleasures are all in the details and the grace notes: Jean Smart as Mare’s mother, who isn’t afraid to have a cuss-filled shouting match with her daughter, the way everyone in Easttown is connected to everyone else in some way or another, the way the sun’s never out and everything seems slightly damp, the sheer quantity of Rolling Rock that gets consumed.

I think in the end, the whodunnit of the plot will matter less than all of that stuff. It seems like it’s playing out more as a portrait of a place than as a satisfying mystery . . . but maybe not. Either way, I’m cool with it.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.

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  • DG Strong, this is the best description of this compelling show! I never thought I’d want weekly TV after a year of binge watching but one episode is plenty and then I can’t wait for the next one. I love your reviews. Can you add a dragonfly? ; )

  • Where are they heading? I’m so engrossed with the story and anticipate each new episode.
    Thanks for another delightful and spot on review. And the new word…

  • Yep! All of that!

    • Yup. It’s pronounced (more like) wudder. And the football team we love to hate is the Iggles. And the local newspaper is the Fluffya Inkwire.

      Thank you for this entertaining read. Off to find your (hibernating) blog.

  • haha, so right. I think part of the accent thing is english.I like how she dresses too. A finger to cleavage and heels.

  • Can I just say that you are one of the most entertaining writers I’ve come across in a long, long time. Thanks so much for sharing your gift with us!!

  • It helped me to watch the first two episodes a second time to sort everyone out. I’ll rewatch 3 today. The beards are a real turn off, and I say that living in SW PA – they’re here and NW PA too. Ugh. mostly.. Mare’s impulsive transgression was heart-wrenching b/c you know it isn’t going to go well.

  • That’s my county! Yup. “Wooder” it is.

  • I’ve been enjoying Older Kate Winslet and the messiness of this show, but your writing about it is even more enjoyable!

  • I am a lifelong DelCo girl and they are pretty accurate in the depiction of DelCo life. DelCo not a destination but a way of life. Although Wawa’s coffee and hoagies suck.

  • As a resident of Delaware County, the setting of the show, I can assure you with complete certainty that people in Philly DO have a very distinct accent. We DO say “wooder” for “water” and “Skookul” for “Schuykill” and there’s plenty of regional slang. I haven’t yet watched the show (I’m going to binge it when all the episodes are out) but I’m highly skeptical of Mare’s accent just from the trailer. No self-respecting resident of Delco would say “creeeeeek” — they would say “crick.” Thanks for the review!

  • What he said. Oh, and I’m concerned she’s gonna suffer from the vaping…because it’s the easiest worry…because something bad is about to happen. Engrossing.

  • Thanks DG Strong, you sold me on another series. Keep ’em coming!

  • Agree. She had a woman cop from tne area on set with her in addition to the dialect coach.

  • I agree! This is more about a character study than a murder mystery but it’s definitely all about Kate Winslet’s amazing portrayal of Mar. When you consider that Ms Winslet is English yet she is acting in this Philadelphia style lingo, it’s even more outstanding. This is an extraordinary series that you can really enjoy.

  • My daughter sent us a text, telling us to watch Mare of Easttown. You’ll want to watch it – she said. She was right.

  • I had high hopes for this one but they’re not making it easy. Her accent is OK but what’s up with the hair & make-up? It looks like to get the Roots Effect they over-dyed her base bleached blonde color with some really ill-blended dark stuff. Where the gray? It is also very distracting to see close-ups of a working-class character who has no apparent life experience mapped on her face (I had lots of wrinkles at 45 and had a job where I worked outside alongside cops and believe me, I was messy). This and the fact there hasn’t been one crumb of gracefulness or something in her performance that we can grab onto emotionally makes this a bit of a slog.

  • Thanks for the recommendation — but WHOA — what is that blanket behind you?? My husband is on a quest to see all the National Parks and that blanket gave me an idea of something to knit for him. He gets cold while camping so a nice wool blanket to throw in or over his sleeping bag might be appreciated. The photo is on the Snippets email page for those wondering what the heck I’m talking about — down at the bottom.

    • You can read alllllllllllllll about it (AND THEN SOME) right here!

  • I sooooo look forward to your post and loved your blog! Keep’em coming.

  • I know I’m odd that I don’t have Netflix or HBO. Please take a look at PBS Passport. It’s only $5 a month. The series Craft in America could entertain this group a long time.

  • No more dead kids in the woods. Just. No.

  • We started this yesterday and got through all available episodes today. Kind of reminds me of the film style of Mystic River. Can’t wait for the finale now!

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