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That '70s Show Star Wilmer Valderrama's Iconic Accent Is All Fake

Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) is one of the funniest and most dynamic characters on "That '70s Show." One of the reasons Fez is so funny is that he is a complete wildcard. Unlike the other characters, his family background and childhood backstory are not explored in nearly as much depth, which allows him to exhibit odd behaviors or make bizarre comments that would sound wrong coming from the other characters.

Fez is a foreign exchange student who attends school in Point Place, Wisconsin, with the other teenagers on the show. However, nobody really knows where he is from (even after several seasons), which creates many different absurd, ironic moments of humor. Fez does not exactly understand all American traditions, but he also exhibits his own random collection of traditions or eccentricities that nobody can pinpoint because nobody knows his country of origin.

Although Fez's nationality is deliberately left unknown, he definitely has an accent that sets him apart from the other Wisconsinite characters on the show. However, the actor himself does not have this same accent; rather, Wilmer Valderrama's accent on "That '70s Show" is completely made up.

Wilmer Valderrama created Fez's accent by combining accents from several countries

In an interview with Today, Wilmer Valderrama clarified that Fez's accent on "That '70s Show" is fake, and does not match his accent in real life. Further, Valderrama said Fez's accent is not even based on an accent from any real country or region, but rather is a blend of several different accents. He said, "I interpreted it as like, oh, we don't know where he's from, it'd be really funny if I just combined accents from different countries."

Although some think Fez's character from "That '70s Show" did not age well, Valderrama seems to have enjoyed playing him. Fez's accent coupled with his personality helped Valderrama craft the character into such a humorous and dynamic one. "Given this naiveté, this innocence ... he could just make any verbal mistake he could and be received as just charming as opposed to offensive," the actor said. Valderrama added that when he created Fez's "secret sauce" and auditioned with that, they brought him in four more times to audition again.

Fez's name, which stands for "Foreign Exchange Student," arose out of Valderrama's "secret sauce" take on the character's accent. He said he felt "a license to be a little bit of everything" because Fez was not from any actual specific country, and because he was supposed to be naive to certain American cultural norms and traditions. 

"In many ways, [Fez could] ask the questions that everyone was thinking and say the things that was on everyone's mind and not have to filter it," Valderrama added. "I felt like that accent was another great aesthetic to create a character that was still multi-dimensional that I hadn't seen on television."