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Characters / Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

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This is a trope page describing the characters that appear in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

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    Ricky Bobby
"Hang on, Baby Jesus! This got' get bumpy!"
"Well Dick, here's the deal: I'm the best there is, plain and simple. I mean, I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence, and nobody can hang with my stuff, you know? I'm just a big, hairy, American winning machine."

Played by Will Ferrell

Ricky Bobby, son of the speed-seeking Reese Bobby, is NASCAR's #1 driver. From humble pit crew beginnings, Ricky took the first opportunity he had to get on the track and never looked back, collecting fame, money, and a kickass reputation along the way.

Tropes related to Ricky:

  • Humiliation Conga: The beginning of the film shows Ricky's rise in the NASCAR ranks, only for one bad race to immediately send him on a downward spiral. He's hospitalized, loses his wife, and can't get into a car without freaking out, all while a French stock car racer steals his fame.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Whenever he starts a sentence with: with all due respect.
  • Large Ham: Is a poster boy to this trope. Special mention goes to how he keeps awkwardly raising his hands into frame in one of his first interviews despite being told to just keep them by his sides.
  • Manchild: After succeeding his whole life, Ricky becomes utterly useless in the face of failure.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Firmly believes this at the start of the movie due to his dad telling him "If you ain't first, you're last" when he was ten years old. He went on to model his whole life after that slogan.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: "I'm flying through the air now. This isn't good."
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Ricky's worst moments happen undeniably towards the beginning of the movie, where he's let fame get to his head.
  • Two First Names: Which is Lampshaded towards the beginning during his rise to fame.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Ricky admits that his main motivation for racing and winning is to gain his father’s love and attention.
  • Worthy Opponent: Jean Gerard reveals to Ricky that he's bored with life and came to America to seek out an opponent worthy of taking on. He believed Ricky to be this, and plans to retire once he's beaten. In the end, he and Ricky come to an understanding after Ricky beats him on foot and the two share a kiss.

    Cal Naughton, Jr.
"Shake and bake!"
"I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-shirt. 'Cause it says, like, I wanna be formal, but I’m here to party, too. I like to party, so I like my Jesus to party."

Played by John C. Reilly

Ricky's lifelong best friend, Cal Naughton, Jr. always dreamed of becoming a stock car racer alongside his buddy, and not long after Ricky's big break, his dream came true. When necessary, Cal uses his and Ricky's on-track dynamic to rocket his friend into first place through a process they call "Shake and Bake."

Tropes related to Cal:

  • Always Second Best: Certainly feels this way towards Ricky, which is why he always helps him win and hardly ever draws attention to himself. In the final race, Ricky and Jean Gerard get out of their cars and race to the finish after all the other racers have crashed. They're disqualified, and Cal is declared the technical winner of the race due to crashing in third place behind them.
  • Freudian Excuse: Cal's pit chief suggests that Cal stealing Ricky's wife resulted in a subliminal resentment towards his best friend for never letting him win any races. Cal spends the whole final race distracted by this.
  • Manchild: Just like his best friend, Ricky, which is why they have such good chemistry.
  • Nice Guy: His friendship with Ricky especially when they utter Shake and Bake.

    Carley Bobby
"Hey, um, you know, sweetie, Jesus did grow up. You don't always have to call him baby. It's a bit odd and off-putting to pray to a baby."

Played by Leslie Bibb

After flashing Ricky at one of his races, Carley Bobby became his beautiful trophy wife. Together, they brought up two sons, Walker and Texas Ranger, and let her father live with them in their enormous mansion.

Tropes related to Carley:

  • Buxom Is Better: What got Ricky attracted to her (ironically, Leslie Bibb is actually rather modestly endowed).
  • The Ditz: She thinks Ricky Bobby is dead when he's in hospital.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Everyone is aware of how hot Carley is, including her husband, Ricky, and later on his best friend, Cal, when she moves on after Ricky loses his stardom.
  • Gold Digger: Her primary character trait. After Ricky makes a fool of himself and is forced to take a leave from racing, she immediately moves on to his best friend Cal.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In-Universe and out. If Ricky marrying her not long after seeing her breasts tells you anything, she's pretty well known for her body. When she flashes Ricky again towards the end, a man faints.

    Jean Gerard
"Hakunah Matata, bitches!"
"I will battle you with the entirety of my heart, and you will probably lose, but maybe, just maybe, you might challenge me. God needs the Devil. The Beatles needed The Rolling Stones. Even Diane Sawyer needed Katie Couric. Will you be my...Katie Couric?"

Jean Gerard is a sophisticated, homosexual French NASCAR driver who begins stealing the spotlight from Ricky with his clashing lifestyle and undeniable skill behind the wheel.

Tropes relating to Gerard:

  • Affably Evil: Gerard is one of the most likable characters in the film. In fact, he's not even evil, the story just makes him out to be that way simply because he's Ricky's rival.
  • Anti-Villain: To the point where he's pretty much a Designated Villain. Especially since he’s more reasonable and honorable than most of the protagonists.
  • Cultured Badass: He drinks tea and reads philosophy books while behind the wheel and still comes out on top.
  • Hero Antagonist: See Anti-Villain above.
  • Precision F-Strike: Has one of these towards Ricky in the final race.
    Gerard: By the way, Ricky, I saw the Highlander movie! It was shit!
  • Quote Swear Unquote: "Hakuna matata, bitches!"
  • Worthy Opponent: Came to America seeking someone who could best him in stock car racing. By the end of the movie, he and Ricky both consider each other this and share a kiss.

    Reese Bobby 
"You need to learn to drive with the fear, and there ain't nothin' more goddamn frightening than driving with a live cougar in the car."

Played by Gary Cole

Ricky Bobby's mischievous, deadbeat father who Ricky initially got into racing to impress despite his prolonged absence in his life.

Tropes related to Reese:

  • Disappeared Dad: Is this for Ricky. He showed up at his son's elementary school career day when Ricky was 10 years old and made a scene, which was the last time he saw him until adulthood.
  • Playing Gertrude: Gary Cole is only eleven years older than Will Ferrell, yet here he plays his middle-aged father.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Passes on this mentality to his son with his famous "If you ain't first, you're last" line. It later turns out he only said this because he was high at the time and points out it makes no sense at all.

    Lucy Bobby 
"When are you boys going to stop tossing me the radio in the bathtub?"

Played by Jane Lynch

Ricky's loving mother who knows how to run a house and whip children into shape.

Tropes related to Lucy:

  • Cool Old Lady: She takes in her son and his kids without a second thought and whips them into shape after they demonstrate their anarchic behavior.
  • Playing Gertrude: Jane Lynch is only seven years older than Will Ferrell, yet here she plays his middle-aged mother.

    Lucius Washington 
"I don't wanna rain on your parade, but that was some of the dumbest driving I have ever seen in my life."

Ricky Bobby's crew chief who supported his driver from his humble beginnings on the pit crew.

Tropes related to Lucius:

  • Berserk Button: Doesn't take kindly to Ricky cursing the health of his future children.
    Lucius: Don't you put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby!
  • Only Sane Man: Usually Played Straight, but sometimes it becomes relative based on whatever's going on around him. See Worst Aid below.
  • Worst Aid: When Ricky Bobby stabs himself in the leg with a knife, Lucius thinks up the idea to remove it by sticking another knife in his leg and prying it out.

"Ricky Bobby is not a thinker! Ricky Bobby is a driver!"

Played by Amy Adams

Ricky's assistant who takes a liking to him despite him barely noticing her existence.

Tropes related to Susan:

  • Adorkable: She apologies to Ricky for getting in the way while he's signing autographs.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Gives Ricky one of these speeches that certainly helps him get back into the game.
    Susan: Ricky Bobby is not a thinker. Ricky Bobby is a driver. He is a doer, and that's what you need to do. You don't need to think. You need to drive. You need speed. You need to go out there, and you need to rev your engine. You need to fire it up. You need to grab ahold of that line between speed and chaos, and you need to wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra. And then, when the fear rises up in your belly, you use it. And you know that fear is powerful, because it has been there for billions of years! And it is good! And you use it! And you ride it; you ride it like a skeleton horse through the gates of hell, and then you win, Ricky! You win! And you don't win for anybody else. You win for you, you know why? Because a man takes what he wants. He takes it all. And you're a man, aren't you? Aren't you?!
  • Glasses Girl: She's a smart assistant who provides Ricky with everything he needs, even when it's not her job.
  • Guardian Angel: She motivates Ricky to race again and acknowledges that his sponsors, father and Carley have left him for Ricky trying to prove himself.
  • Hollywood Nerd: The prime example in the film.
  • Nice Girl: She's not only polite when Ricky Bobby is acting childish but also self conscious. She never calls him out on his bad behaviour rather she motivates him and shows sympathy for him.
  • Stealth Insult: Her iconic speech does, after all, starts off with "Ricky Bobby isn't a thinker," though she clearly meant no harm by it.
  • Worthy Opponent: At the end of the film, Susan flashes her own breasts at Carley. Carley is impressed.

    Glenn Muncie 
"Ricky, this car is like your Excalibur, the mighty sword King Arthur used to bring together the knights of the roundtable, until Lancelot betrayed him by laying with his queen... in the biblical sense."
Played by Jack McBrayer

A nerdy member of Ricky Bobby's pit crew.

Tropes related to Glenn:

  • Ambiguously Christian: Glenn saying, “in the biblical sense,” instead of, “in a sexual way.” He also doesn’t curse or swear. Glenn is also the only one to cover his eyes when Carley flashes Ricky. Though he could just be a gentleman, Christians who are serious about their religion tend to try not to look at a member of the opposite sex naked who they aren’t married to.
  • Mood Killer: After Lucius gives a stirring speech about Ricky driving for his own sake, Glenn completely ruins the moment by making the above quote.

    Ricky: Okay, Glenn. Everything cool that Susan said, you wrecked it.

  • Nice Guy: He very obviously cherishes his fellow pit crew members and crew chief.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Glenn implies he stalked an ex-girlfriend.
  • The Pollyanna: “It’s not always bad to be in last place! Here’s some things we can focus on! One, we tried hard, and two, we’re still dear friends!”
  • Lovable Nerd: He’s very nice, caring, and supportive.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: In order to motivate Ricky for the race, the rest of the pit crew pretend to be sad, while Lucius tells Ricky Glenn died in his arms as he held him. Lucius then goes on to say that while Glenn was dying, he said, “Tell Ricky to win.” Ricky is upset about his “death,” but he quickly sees Glenn hiding and peeking at him, then tells him he sees him.

    Walker and Texas Ranger Bobby 
Walker: Shut up, Chip, or I'll go ape shit on your ass!
Texas Ranger: I'm gonna scissor-kick you in the back of the head!

Played by Houston Tumlin (Walker) and Grayson Russell (Texas Ranger)

Ricky and Carlye's two delinquent sons who say whatever rowdy thing comes to their minds with no repercussions from their parents.

Tropes related to Walker and Texas Ranger:


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