Will Ferrell’s maroon-festooned anchor and his compatriots on San Diego’s Channel 4 News Team have our number. From inane anchor chatter (“great story; compelling and rich”) to professional rivalries (“you dirtbags have been in third place for five years”) to silly live shots (“Panda watch!”) to egos (“I’m kind of a big deal”), Anchorman cuts close to the bone. Entertainment Weekly may have only given the 2004 film a C-plus, but history would quibble. Now the fictional Burgundy not only has a new book, Let Me Off at the Top! My Classy Life and Other Musings, but there is an actual Anchorman exhibition at the Newseum.
And at long last: a sequel! It took nearly a decade and an ill-fated flirtation with the possibility of an Anchorman musical, but Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues beckons to take us to Pleasure Town. Though Hollywood insiders swear the film is testing well, I admit some trepidation. How many masterwork sequels have served only to sully the original?
Fortuitously, whereas the first film took place in “a time before cable, when the local anchorman reigned supreme,” the plot of Anchorman 2 deals with the birth of 24-hour news, the world I entered earlier this year when I left ABC News after nearly a decade to become a full-time anchorman at CNN. In my new world, Burgundy keeps us all grounded, serving as a way to mock the pageantry of the anchor throne, the gravity of our pronouncements. I find I can’t stop myself during breaks from uttering a Burgundyism or two to the crew: “Nice work, everyone. Sharp broadcast. Really a lot of hustle. I liked it.” And let me tell you, any anchor who says he or she has never been thrown by a stray typo in the teleprompter—whether it’s an errant question mark or a misspelling—is either lying or is the second coming of Murrow. Though we’d all like to believe our similarities with Burgundy stop there.
Here’s hoping the sequel is everything it can be. Until then, stay classy, Planet Earth. I’m Jake Tapper?