Listen, Will Ferrell, we get it. Anchorman 2 is coming out soon, and Ferrell's Ron Burgundy character has been everywhere promoting the film: Dodge Durango commercials (70 of them!), on bookshelves, at Emerson College, and on Canada's TSN. There are many, many more examples. Tomorrow at 6, Burgundy will host ESPN's Sportscenter for an entire hour. By 7, we predict, the nation will be officially burned out on Burgundy. For a short spurt of silliness, his schtick is great. For an hour-long, live broadcast, though, we're less convinced.
ESPN teased his appearance on the network with a video interview of Burgundy and quarterback Peyton Manning:
It's a nice, silly video full of plenty of Burgundy-isms: "You look like a succulent
baby lamb," he tells the mustache-less Manning, for example. And Manning, for his part, plays the straight man well, and seems to goes along with Burgundy's eyeroll-worthy jokes. He even cracks up laughing at Burgundy's tales of being a scout team quarterback. And why not; it's pretty funny!
In all, the teaser interview consists of three short, edited bits that cut off at the right moment, just as the joke begins to turn stale. And therein lies the problem. We noted last month why the Anchorman sequel got the go-ahead despite the relatively modest success of the original. "Of course, what buoyed Anchorman's legacy was the fact that its highly quotable, easily GIF-able nature thrived online," The Wire's Esther Zuckerman wrote. In short bursts, Burgundy's big-headedness is great silly fodder. Over the course of a two-hour movie, though, his persona comes off as outright condescension, misogyny, and obnoxiousness.
That's a fact Dodge ad executives understood well, which is why they produced about 70 unique, quick-hit commercials with Burgundy. Some were for TV, some for the web, but all were united in their short time limits. And they have been incredibly successful, too, boosting Durango sales 59 percent in October. Dodge was just one of the many Ron Burgundy promotional appearances, and it's clear from Vulture's exhaustive list that the snappier his appearance, the better.
Which brings us back to SportsCenter. Burgundy and his fellow faux-newscaster Champ Kind will appear alongside regular ESPN anchors to go through the news of the day, surely with plenty of time for Burgundy hijinks. But without a video editor to cut off those flailing jokes, and with too much free reign over commenting on the day's highlights, expect moments of genuine hilarity mixed with plenty of awkward, uncomfortable dialogue. And expect the latter to pile up over the course of the hour.
"Just give the man his own 24/7 channel. Burgundy TV," The Philadelphia Inquirer's TV critic David Hiltbrand wrote upon hearing the ESPN news. By 7 tomorrow, we expect that tune to change when Peak Ron Burgundy will be achieved and the fatigue sets in.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.