Film: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
That's one stylish newscaster.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
"He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr, and suits
so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo. In other words, Ron Burgundy was the balls."
is a memetic 2004 comedy starring Will Ferrell
It is the 1970s
, the age of strange haircuts, polyester, wide lapels, and swinging bachelors. Ron Burgundy is the top anchor of the #1 news program in San Diego, and respected throughout the city. He is somewhat demanding.
One day, due to a lack of diversity, the nebbish who runs the station hires a new female co-anchor, Veronica Corningstone. Burgundy (like most males in the film) is sexist, and so it's near-hatred at first sight. It doesn't help that the gorgeous lady wants to be a serious newscaster, but is assigned stories about cat fashion shows.
What evolves is a Slap-Slap-Kiss
situation. Burgundy falls for Veronica, and she for him, and they try to make things work even while the news is still happening.
Oh, and there is lots
of '70s style decadence.
A straight-to-DVD sequel was made with various outtakes, unused plot concepts, and clips from the final movie called Wake Up, Ron Burgundy
. The plot concerns a radical team of bank robbers being investigated by the Action 4 team. They refer to themselves as "The Alarm Clock", seeking to "wake up" San Diego.note
The companion movie was packaged with the original as a special gift.
Eight years after its release, Ferrell showed up in character on Conan
to play some jazz flute. He also announced they were finally making a sequel. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
. It was released on December 18, 2013, with the main cast returned to reprise their roles. Released alongside the film is the Expanded Universe
book Let Me Off At The Top!
, a memoir "written by" Burgundy that further fleshes out the character and his world from his childhood up through The New Tens
. It's exactly as bizarre as you think.
The following are based on actual tropes. Only the included names, locations and events have been changed:
- A Cappella: It has a hilarious moment of the guys singing an A capella "Afternoon Delight".
- Aerith and Bob: The members of The Alarm Clock: Kanshasha X, Mouse, Malcolm Y...and Paul.
- Affectionate Parody: The two encounters between the news teams send up West Side Story. With Spartacus and Planet of the Apes thrown in for good measure.
- Agree to Disagree
- Ambiguously Gay: Champ.
- Angrish: After Baxter is punted off a bridge.
Ron: The man punted....AAAARGH...NAAGH, GRAAAAGH...
Brian: Ron? Ron?, you're not making sense, where are you?
Ron: AAAAAARGH, QAPLAAAAARGH...I'm in a glass cage of emotion! [actually a phone box]
- Angry Mob: Following Ron's on-air Precision F-Strike. It gets to the point where he has to be escorted off the premises by a pair of security guards for his own safety.
- An Arm and a Leg: One of Frank Vitchard's arms is chopped off during the 'rumble', and the other is torn away by a bear.
- All Periods Are PMS: Brick's remark that women on the news team will attract bears when they're on their periods is exaggerated by the rest of the news team to suggest they're all being put at risk of a bear attack no matter where they are.
- Atomic F-Bomb: Never loudly call someone who had sabotaged you a bitch when there are bears nearby.
- Avengers Assemble: "News team... ASSEMBLE!" They've actually been standing behind him playing pool the whole time.
- Based on a Great Big Lie: The opening title card.
- Badass Boast:
- Ron to Veronica when they first meet:
Ron: I don't know how to put this, but... I'm kind of a big deal. People know me. I'm very important. I own many leather-bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.
- The meeting of the News Teams a la West Side Story is a treasure trove of this:
Spanish Language Anchor: Como estan, bitches! Spanish Language News is here. Tonight's top story: The sewers run red...with Burgundy's blood!
Public News Anchor
: NOT SO FAST, YOU INGRATES!
Public News Team is taking a break from its pledge drive to kick some ass. NO COMMERCIALS, NO MERCYYYYYYYYYYY!
- Bears Are Bad News: They can smell menstruation.
- Beard of Sorrow: Ron grows one after he gets fired.
- Berserk Button:
- Insulting Ron's hair.
- Don't talk about Wes's mother, she's a saint!
- Bilingual Bonus: "Oh, mi corazón es en fuego!" means "my heart is on fire."
- Big Damn Heroes: Played with. Ron attempts this, utterly failing ("I immediately regret this decision!"), the rest of the news team does pretty well, but it's Baxter who saves the day.
- Big "NO!":
- Ron, after the biker punts Baxter off the bridge. One of the deleted scenes on the DVD has this taken Up to Eleven.
- After Ron gets fired, Veronica lets two or three out as Ron is dragged away.
- Bilingual Bonus: The restaurant the women go to is "Escupimos en su Alimento" (Spanish for "we spit in your food").
- Bloody Hilarious: Channel 2's news anchor losing both arms.
- Bottled Cool: Sex Panther by Odeon, which is illegal in nine countries. It's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good. 60% of the time, it works every time. It also smells like Bigfoot's dick and has a tendency to set off the fire alarm. And it's so strong that the user has to be jet-hosed to expunge the stench.
- Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Ron and Baxter are both shown sleeping with headgear on early in the film.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Channel4 team members talk into the camera when introducing themselves.
- Brick Joke:
- When we first see Baxter, Ron responds to some of his barking by telling him he doesn't understand Spanish and to say it in English. Later, when he and Veronica are in the throes of passion, she says something in Spanish—which leads Baxter to suddenly bark.
- During the fight against the newscasters, one of the anchormen gets his arm chopped off, prompting him to say "I did not see that coming!" His other arm is ripped off by a bear later on in the film, which is met with a response of how ri-goddamn-diculous it is.
- Unfortunately averted with Brick himself, since none of his antics fulfill the trope the potential Just for Pun is completely wasted. Fast forward a decade, though...
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Brick is an extremely competent weatherman...but is completely out to lunch otherwise.
- Cain and Abel: A deleted scene reveals that Ron himself and Wes Mantooth are half-brothers.
Wes Mantooth: I hate you Ron Burgundy! I hate you.
- Also hinted at in the actual movie when Ron calls him brother as he leaves the bear pit.
- California Doubling: Much of the film was shot in Los Angeles and Glendale, on backlot sets designed to look like '70s San Diego.
- Catch Phrase: Lampshaded. Champ's signature catchphrase is "Whammy!"
- Chekhov's Gun: If it's on the teleprompter, Ron will read it. Even typos ("I'm Ron Burgundy?"). Anything and everything.
- The San Diego Observatory in Wake Up Ron Burgundy.
- Chew Bubblegum: This great quote by Veronica.
Veronica Corningstone: Because I am good at three things: Fighting, screwing, and reading the news. I've already done two of those today, so what's the other one gonna be? Huh?
Ed Harken: Screwing?
- Cloudcuckoolander: Brick.
- Cluster F-Bomb: In the uncut version, following Ron's exile from Action 4.
- Comically Missing the Point:
"I would like to extend to you an invitation to the pants party."
Veronica: I'm good at three things: fighting, screwing, and reading the news. I've already done one of those today, so what's the other one gonna be? Huh?
Ed: (hopefully) Uh...screwing?
- Creator Cameo: Adam McKay as one of the guys who hoses the Sex Panther off of Brian. Judd Apatow appears as the guy who comments that Sex Panther smells like "a turd covered in burnt hair".
- Critical Research Failure: In-universe, Ron's brief summary of the history of San Diego.
Ron: Discovered by the Germans in...1904. They named it "Sandiaago". Which, of course, in German means "a whale's vagina".
- When the news team is being informed of their lack of diversity, Ron states:
"I may be wrong about this, but I believe diversity is an old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era."
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Brick's statement that women's periods attract bears sounds like another one of his bizarre comments, but it turns out to be important in the climax.
- Cue Card: This is a plot point. Ron relies on teleprompters to do the news.
- In Wake Up, Ron Burgundy, he's forced to deliver a message on TV by The Alarm Clock without cue cards or a teleprompter, and is reduced to blurting out pure word salad. He can't even remember his own name.
- Cultured Badass: The public news team.
- Deleted Scene: So many that they were able to make a whole other movie out of them.
- Did I Say That Out Loud: "VERONICA CORNINGSTONE AND I HAD SEX, AND WE ARE IN LOVE!"
- Disney Acid Sequence: The Pleasure Town sequence:
Ron: Look! It's the most glorious rainbow ever!
Veronica: Do me on it!
- Disproportionate Retribution: The biker who's accidentally pelted by Ron's burrito punts Ron's dog off a bridge. He does get better.
- Distracted by My Own Sexy: "I look good. (Beat) I mean really good. (Beat) HEY EVERYONE! (Beat) COME AND SEE HOW GOOD I LOOK!"
- The Ditz: Brick.
"I ate a lava lamp. It wasn't lava."
- The other three anchorman aren't exactly the brightest tools in the shed either, especially Champ and Ron. But they're still smarter than Brick.
- Do Wrong, Right: The bank robbery scene in Wake Up Ron Burgundy, in which the bank teller mocks the Alarm Clock for the inconsistency of whatever message they're trying to send, gets Hauser to admit to being a pacifist, and then praises Malcolm for actually being a little intimidating. She ends up giving him some money while telling the other three to beat it.
- Dying Declaration of Love: Before the bears would tear them apart, Veronica confesses to Ron about the teleprompter.
- Elephant in the Living Room: In Wake Up, Ron Burgundy, Champ declares his love for Ron whilst the news team is in the car. Extreme awkwardness ensues as Ron and Brian concentrate very hard on ignoring him.
- Epic Hail: Subverted, in that they were in the same building the whole time.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: This little exchange:
Champ Kind: I will smash your face into a car windshield, and then take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again!
Wes Mantooth: Dorothy Mantooth is a saint! You understand me? Dorothy Mantooth is a saint!
Ron Burgundy: Hey, let's leave the mothers out of this.
- Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Every anchorman apparently keeps weapons on their person, at all times.
- Fan Disservice: Ron's Shirtless Scene.
- Feet-First Introduction: Both, Ron and Veronica enter this way.
- Five-Man Band:
- The Hero: Ron, the stylish leader of the Channel Four News Team, who wears suits that make "Frank Sinatra look like a hobo", and more importantly, makes the news look good. Face it, the rest of the team's a mess without him.
- The Lancer: Brian, the second-in-command to Ron, and the one everyone turns to for guidance if Ron is not around.
- The Big Guy: Champ, a tough and loudmouthed bigot who is the biggest in size, as well as team sportscaster.
- The Smart Chick: Veronica, the ambitious token female of the news team and quite clearly the smartest.
- The Heart: Brick, with an IQ of 48, is polite and in a way, the one that keeps the news team together.
- Team Pet: Baxter, Ron's dog who exhibits Undying Loyalty to his master.
- Five-Temperament Ensemble: Ron Burgundy (sanguine), Champ Kind (choleric), Veronica Corningstone (melancholic), Brick Tamland (phlegmatic), Brian Fantana (leukine).
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Adam Scott and Jon Hamm are listed as writers in the credits rolling over Ron and Veronica insulting each other.
- During the bar scene in which Ron assembles the channel six news team, they can be seen playing pool behind him, out of focus and their faces obscured. They really were there the whole time he was.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Garth calls Ron a "poopmouth" after that Precision F-Strike.
- Groin Attack: Veronica nails Champ after he tries to grope her.
Ron Burgundy: "I'm gonna punch you in the ovary. Yep. Straight shot, right to the baby-maker."
- Hilarious Outtakes: Even includes an outtake from Smokey and the Bandit II, which was one of the first films to include outtakes in its closing credits.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Ron is done in by his own dedication to reading the news exactly as written on the teleprompter. When Veronica takes advantage of this, things go to hell rather quickly.
- Human Interest Story:
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Brick manages to produce a grenade and a trident during the parking lot brawl. The former is lampshaded.
"Brick, where'd you get that hand grenade?"
- Actually, the whole brawl scene. Ron pulls an old table leg out of his jacket, another guy has a heavy-gauge chain. Wes Mantooth has a sitck with a saw blade on it...
- And of course, in the fight scene from the second movie, Brick's ray gun.
- I HATE YOU, BUT YOU HATE ME MORE!
- Improv: Many of the actors as well as Will Ferrell are well versed in the art of improvisation and would sometimes do up to 20 different versions of reaction lines trying out the first thing that popped into their heads.
- Ice Queen: That's how Veronica appears to the news team, espcially after none of their advances worked out.
- Idiot Ball: Brick. It says a lot as he has an IQ of 48, and is what some people would technically call "mentally retarded" (which he says while mindlessly spooning mayonnaise into a toaster).
- In a World: "There was a time, a time before cable ..."
- Instant Costume Change: Ron goes from bearded and disheveled to clean-shaven and perfectly tailored in two seconds, just by ducking into a bathroom.
- I Call Him "Mr. Happy": Brian Fantana has a nickname for his penis. It's called "the Octagon". He also has names for his testes. The left one is "James Westfall" and the right one "Dr. Kenneth Noisewater". And if you ladies play your cards right, you might get to meet the whole gang.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Ron is only enraged by Veronica insulting his hair.
- It Tastes Like Feet: Sex Panther:
"It smells like Bigfoot's dick!"
- It Will Never Catch On: Ron's opinion on SportsCenter.
Ron: "SportsCenter? That's just dumb..."
- The Alarm Clock's "manifesto" in Wake Up, Ron Burgundy.
Maya Rudolph: Electric cars? Man, are you high right now?
- Karma Houdini:
- The Public News Anchor cuts the Channel 2 News Anchor's arm off and pushed Veronica into a bear pit. Nothing ever happens to him.
- The biker who punts Baxter off of a bridge. Not only is he not shown answering to the law for his very illegal act, but the film actually downplays the wrongness of his crime.
- Brick kills someone during the parking lot brawl (although Ron suggests he might want to lay low for a while as the cops are looking for him).
- Kent Brockman News: Particularly once Veronica is introduced, though there is a moment of Brick referring to part of the United States as "the Middle East".
- Kick the Dog: Right off a bridge (though in the TV-edited version, it was Throw the Dog). He gets better, though.
- Lame Comeback: "Oh yeah? Well you're about to be in ... dead place."
"Hey. Where did you get those clothes? The toilet store?"
- Large Ham: Most of the news team, but everything that comes out of Ron's mouth would qualify.
- Leave the Camera Running: In-universe example with Ron himself:
"I love scotch. Scotchy-scotch-scotch."
- Major Injury Underreaction: When Luke Wilson's anchorman gets his arm chopped off by Tim Robbins — "Oh, man! I did NOT see that coming!"
- Later when the other arm is bitten off by a bear — "Oh, this is ri-goddamn-diculous!"
- Male Gaze: The entire News Team has some intense Perverse Sexual Lust for Veronica. Just to drive the point home, about half of her early scenes involve the guys gushing about her shapely butt.
- Ms. Fanservice: Veronica. Which leads to So Beautiful, It's a Curse, for her.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Veronica after her act of sabotage ends with Ron swearing on live television.
- Naked Apron: Veronica wears one in Ron's fantasy.
- Narrator: Real-life anchorman Bill Curtis doing the opening and closing narration. Most people know him from A&E crime-show narration ("the Menendez brothers..."), but for anybody who grew up watching him on CBS 2-WBBM in Chicago, this was a special treat.
- Never Trust a Trailer: A good portion of scenes from the trailers are completely omitted from the film's final cut. These scenes include:
- Burgundy taking a bullet for Veronica
- A later shot of him and her emerging from a TV van to a cheering crowd with Burgundy visibly showing a bandaged wound.
- The line where Ron asks Garth about his divorce while at a party
- Ron walking into a filing cabinet and falling over
- Alternate dialog when Ron asks Veronica what her dream is
- Veronica and Ron tackling each other on the conference room table, collapsing (with Ron shouting "Let's make a baby!")
- Ron admiring his own billboard
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If it weren't for the actions of the Public News Anchor, Ron Burgundy wouldn't have been rehired by Channel 4.
- No, Except Yes: Literally with Brick. After hitting on Veronica using a line supplied by Brian, she asks if Brian told him to say it. Brick quickly says "No, yes."
- Noodle Incident: "Put down the gun, and let the marching band go. We'll play it off as a prank."
- Also, why Brick's charity golf game won't be repeated: "Too many people died last year." Too many, as if there is an acceptable number of deaths for a golf game.
- While Brian is busy having the Sex Panther cologne washed off him, one of the men cleaning him comments their current situation is "worse than the time the raccoon got in the copier."
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Many of the characters are based on real San Diego newscasters that were well known to locals back in the '70s.
- Though Ron himself is allegedly based on a Santa Barbara anchor.
- Ron himself, at least in appearance, is an almost perfect Expy of long-time San Diego anchor Paul Bloom (see this clip from 1980). Unlike Ron, however, Paul Bloom is known throughout the community for his selfless promotion of charitable causes (particularly the unemployed and homeless).
- And one character is apparently based on Peter Mansbridge, the anchor of CBC's The National.
- Only Sane Man: His fondness for horrid colognes aside, Brian Fantana is by far the most normal and sane of the Channel Four News Team. Hilariously, Ron is this to Brian when he has his moments.
- Politically Correct History: Noticeably averted. Though most of the '70s-style kitsch is played for laughs, all of the male characters are very casually sexist, and several characters drop the occasional homophobic remark. The characters also surprisingly cavalier about littering, frequently dropping trash or unfinished food on the street without a second thought.
- Porn Stache: Several (there's two in the poster alone). Ben Stiller, for one. Also, Danny Trejo.
- Power Walk: Performed by the Channel4 News Team early on.
- Prank Call: "This is Dr Chim. Dr Chim Richalds..."
- Precision F-Strike: A plot-relevant one, even.
- Present Day Past: The aerial establishing shots of downtown San Diego prominently feature buildings such as Petco Park and One America Plaza, which weren't constructed until decades after the year in which the film is set.
- Brian Fantana nicknames his penis "the Octagon", a reference to the eight-sided ring used in UFC, which did not come into being until 1993.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: After Veronica insults Ron's hairstyle in the newsroom:
Ron: What did you say!?
Veronica: I said... "Your hair. Looks. Stupid."
- Raging Stiffie: "Don't act like you're not impressed."
- Reality Ensues: Played for Laughs (like everything else in this movie) after the absurdly over-the-top fight scene between the news teams.
Ron: Boy...that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.
Champ: It jumped up a notch.
Ron: It did, didn't it?
Brick: Yeah. I stabbed a man in the heart.
Ron: I saw that! Brick killed a guy! Did you throw a trident?
Ron: Brick, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safe house or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you're probably wanted for murder.
- Refuge in Audacity: The brawl scene.
- Roman ŕ Clef: Parodied in the faux disclaimer at the start:
"The following is based on actual events. Only the names, locations, and events have been changed."
- Rule of Funny: All other concerns - plot, character, period accuracy, internal logic and coherence - fall second to it.
- Serious Business: Competition between local news teams is cranked Up to Eleven.
- Scenery Porn: Filmed on location in San Diego. Wide shots actually make use of period stock footage!
- The Seventies: In full effect.
- Sex Equals Love: The aftermath of the trippy "Pleasure Town" sequence.
- Shirtless Scene: It's time to get your tickets to the gun show.
- Short Cuts Make Long Delays: The news teams goes out to buy new suits. One shortcut from Brick and they find themselves in a news team battle royale with all the other stations.
- Shout-Out: Burgundy finishes his jazz flute performance with the flute riff from Jethro Tull's Aqualung. He even bellows the song title, like Ian Anderson does in the original.
- Signing Off Catch Phrase: "Stay Classy, San Diego".
- Small Name, Big Ego: Ron, in the larger scheme of things.
- Smoking Hot Sex
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Poor Veronica.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Ron, apparently, can understand Baxter's barks but not if he speaks Spanish. Or Spanish in general, really note . In the climax, Baxter converses with a bear.
- The Stinger: There is one more scene after the end credits roll with the Anchor Team walking as Ron talk about where they will be years from now.
- Take That: During the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, the narrator states that Brick Tamland become "one of the top political advisers to the Bush White House".
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: Ron repeatedly yells which emotion he is feeling, with great emphasis.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "Como están, bitches?"
- Transparent Closet: Champ Kind:
"I miss your scent, Ron, your musk..."
- He's later fired from his job as an NFL commentator for sexually harassing Terry Bradshaw.
- Truth in Television: Local TV news in San Diego does love a good baby panda story. It helps the realism that the San Diego Zoo is one of the few zoos outside of China that houses giant pandas.
- The level of harassment Veronica endures was not uncommon in the '70s. Guys hitting on her relentlessly, Champ trying to grope her breasts, having to work harder and prove herself more because she was a woman; yeah, that happened. Not only was it commonplace, it wasn't seen as inappropriate behavior and was not punished; most women had little choice but to endure that treatment or leave their place of work. There was no guarantee they wouldn't be treated worse in another workplace setting, either.
- Unusual Euphemism: Pretty much every single one in the film.
Ron: Knights of Columbus, that hurt!
- Volleying Insults: Ron and Veronica in the news room before it gets physical.
Ron: You are a smelly pirate hooker.
Veronica: You look like a blueberry!
Ron: Why don't you go back to your home on Whore Island?!
- Earlier, they trade comments when they finish broadcasting for the day. Thankfully, the credits have started rolling, so the viewers at home have no idea what they're saying. The audio cut to the theme music and both of them look like they're engaging in jovial small talk as the credits roll.
Ron: You've got a dirty, whorish mouth.
Veronica: You have man boobs.
Ron: I'm gonna punch you in the ovary. Right in the babymaker.
Veronica: Jazz flute is for little fairy boys.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:
- Champ Kind went on to become a commentator for the NFL; but was later fired after being accused of sexual harrasment by Terry Bradshaw.
- Brian Fantata would have great success as the host of the hit TV show Intercourse Island on the FOX Network.
- Brick Tamland is married with 11 children, and is one of the top political advisors to the Bush White House.
- Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone didn't stay in San Diego for long; they replaced Bill Kurtis and became the first mixed-gender news team, something they're still doing today.
- World of Ham: It would be easier to list the lines that aren't hammy.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: Every news station in San Diego is covering the birth of a baby panda around the clock, but apparently ignore the exploits of Ed Harkin's son Chris; which include firing a bow & arrow into a crowd, and taking a marching band hostage with a gun.
- Worthy Opponent: Even though Wes Mantooth absolutely hates Ron, he respects him even more, which is why he spares him from falling back into the bear pit.
- Would Toss a Girl: After the aforementioned Volleying Insults, Ron is not above chucking Veronica across a table.
- Fortunately for Veronica, fighting is one of the three things she's good at. Along with screwing and reading the news.
- "YEAH!" Shot
- Yet Another Baby Panda: Veronica is frustrated because these stories are all that she's getting. Ironically, several stories that normally would be relegated to this (footage of a waterskiing squirrel and an actual panda birth) are considered huge news.
- Your Mom: Used by Champ to push Wes' Berserk Button.
: Then I take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again