Monday, March 12, 2012

Ron Burgundy: "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy"

Actor:           Will Ferrell
Year:            2004
Beard Type:  Depression Beard

As the subtitle suggests, Anchorman chronicles the career and local celebrity status of Ron Burgundy, anchorman for KVWN Channel 4 News Team. Burgundy, an egotistical dimwit with a charismatic moustache, soon finds himself head-over-heels for Veronica Corningstone, the new KVWN reporter who is determined to become the nation's first female news anchor. Anchorman is one of those films which may initially come across as stupid. However, appreciation for Anchorman, much like a beard, grows over time.

Deep down, Ron Burgundy always wanted a beard. He eluded to this desire throughout the film by quoting exclamations like "By the beard of Zeus!" and mentioning Blackbeard's Delight cologne. However, he settled for the moustache in order to conform to the standards of the time and increase his popularity. This moustache/fame correlation of the 1970s is a fallacy also known by the Latin phrase cum Burt Reynolds ergo propter Burt Reynolds.

The Depression Beard, by nature, is grown at a low point in one's life. It is usually coupled with erratic behavior, alcoholic binges, and uncleanliness. Often times, the Depression Beard needs a catalyst in order to grow. Burgundy's catalyst was a burrito (Figure 1).

The progression of Burgundy's Depression Beard began as he traveled via automobile with his beloved dog Baxter while eating a burrito. Burgundy comes to the realization that said burrito is delicious, yet filling, and he throws it out the window into the face of an unsuspecting motorcyclist (Jack Black), which ultimately "thrashes the chopper." Out of anger, the motorcyclist dropkicks Burgundy's dog Baxter off the bridge and into the river. The motorcyclist, coincidentally, had a beard. One beard creates another.

The loss of his dog triggers the loss of his girlfriend and his job, otherwise known as the trifecta of loss in the country music genre. Only after so much loss can the seed of the Depression Beard truly blossom. We see the beard in multiple stages of progression: getting prank calls from a presumed Wilt Chamberlain, eating cat poop for steak, and making poor life choices by drinking milk when it's so damn hot. Burgundy bottoms out at a dive bar while Danny Trejo gives him life lessons.

Ultimately, Burgundy gets called to report on a panda birth at a zoo since Corningstone is busy being cornered by Kodiak bears (thanks for that foreshadowing, Brick). The Depression Beard is instantaneously shed in the dive bar restroom, allowing Burgundy to regain his legendary big-deal persona.

Ironically, the power of Ron Burgundy's beard emerged in its absence.

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