Will Ferrell is my Anchorman


Unlike most 10-year-olds, I was not watching girlhood staples like Barbie of Swan Lake {2003} or Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses {2006}. I wasn’t watching family-friendly content like How to Train Your Dragon {2010} or Kung Fu Panda {2008}, either. I had a different, relatively mature taste in movies that I had to keep on the down-low. At least when I was around my pure-eyed friends and their parents. What I mean is this: I was a die-hard Will Ferrell fan. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy {2004} was all I thought about, and the only people I could disclose my love to were my sisters and parents.

Set in San Diego in the 70s, Anchorman is about an overweening, sexist news anchor named Ron Burgundy {played by Will Ferrell} who falls in love with his co-worker Veronica Corningstone, an aspiring lead news reporter. His career and relationship with Veronica are shaken when she steals his spotlight in the newsroom. I will admit—this film does not scream “movie of the century.” Some of the scenes are offensive and cringey, especially now in 2024, and the effects are laugh-out-loud ridiculous. If Anchorman came out today rather than in 2004, the cancel culture side of social media would tear it apart for sure. However, I would be the first person to defend this film. Because it was the comedy that brought my family together on the couch on Saturday nights. It was the very thing that nourished my closest relationships and birthed my fondest memories. 

Ferrell is predominantly known for his spot-on celebrity impersonations, physical comedy, and shock humor. His talents specifically shine during his Saturday Night Live career, which lasted from 1995 to 2002. If Saturday Night Live does not ring a bell for anyone, it is a sketch comedy show that airs live late every Saturday night on NBC and Hulu. What I love the most about Ferrell as a comedic actor is his confidence and commitment to his roles—he is not afraid to appear ridiculous to the public eye and sink his teeth into his characters. I will use the SNL skit “More Cowbell” as an example. Ferrell danced on screen wearing the tightest, 70s-esque top known to man, but he wore it with pride because he knew it would create laughs. He is cool in his own skin, which teaches me to be cool in my own skin. Another thing I find captivating about Ferrell’s work is his SNL career. It is extensive, full of memorable performances and one-liners. I would argue that Ferrell is one of the most successful cast members in SNL history.

I grew up watching Elf {2003} every Christmas, so I was already acquainted with Ferrell’s comedy. But what really kicked off my admiration for him was when I watched Anchorman at seven-years-old. I remember it playing in my parents’ bedroom at 11:30 one night on Starz. I snuck into their bed and watched it with my dad until I fell asleep. Some of his lines must have snuck into my subconscious because I began to quote the movie daily, which turned into something my family and I did together. “Hey everyone, come and see how good I look,” “Milk was a bad choice,” and “You stay classy, San Diego” became my personal slogans, references that lit up my world.    

My parents had triplet daughters: Christina, Oliva, and me. Anchorman was our favorite Ferrell movie. My family would constantly quote lines from the film. Whenever someone was eating in the kitchen, my dad would approach them and yell Ron Burgundy’s line, the one before throwing a burrito out his car window and hitting a motorcyclist. “This burrito is good, but it is filling!” he’d yell, and it would leave that person in stitches. If there was a moment of silence at dinner, we would quote Brick Tamland {Ron Burgundy’s dull-witted co-anchor} to break the silence: “I love lamp.” 99 percent of the dialogue in Anchorman is nonsensical, words from an idiot trying to be wise, but Ferrell and his co-stars’ delivery is what makes the dialogue hilarious. The film became so ingrained in our lives that my sisters and I named my first hamster Baxter after Ron Burgundy’s dog. I became so obsessed with Ferrell as a comedian that my dad got me the Saturday Night Live – The Best of Will Ferrell – Volume 2 DVD for Christmas. Skits like “Evil Boss” and “Short Shorts for the USA” evolved into quick-acting remedies for my Monday blues.   

One time, my dad and I quoted Anchorman in front of my friend’s family. We were at their house for New Year’s in 2014. He whispered a line from the movie in my ear. “The sewers run red with Burgundy’s blood!” he said, quoting Ben Stiller’s character. I laughed hysterically and quoted another line from the film in response. My friend’s mom, a bona fide helicopter parent who thought TV turned kids into Satan worshippers, overheard our conversation. 

“Chris,” she called my dad’s name, “are you two quoting Anchorman?” 

His face turned red. “Ah… yes.” 

“You let your 11-year-old daughter watch that filth?”

He shrugged. “It’s a good movie.”

And that was the beginning of the end of that friendship.

With that being said, I can confirm that my parents were pretty relaxed about what we watched on TV. They refused to join the “what kids should or should not watch” debate because they found it redundant. They were also massive comedy fans, especially my dad. How could he shield our eyes from legends like Will Ferrell? Now, they drew some lines, like when Fifty Shades of Grey {2015} and Ted {2012} came out, they told me to wait until I was older to watch them because of their acute sexual nature. So they were not “careless parents.” They were, as I like to put it, “easygoing.” Yes, that is how I would describe them. Easygoing. And I would not change them for the world.

I still hold Ferrell’s early 2000s films and work on SNL to the highest esteem. They are oldies but goodies. What can I say? Nothing tops Ferrell in his prime years. With that being said, though, I enjoy the work he is doing today. In 2015 and 2017, Ferrel starred in the Daddy’s Home movies with Mark Wahlberg, which were hilarious. Daddy’s Home 2 has recently become a Christmas staple in my home. In 2022, he starred in the musical comedy Spirited alongside Ryan Reynolds. I found that to be a funny and pleasurable watch with the family. Not as goofy as Anchorman, but much more child-friendly. The comedian also appeared in Barbie {2023} as the CEO of Mattel. Even though he played a secondary character, he did not fail to bring some laughs into my living room. 

But as I stated before, nothing tops his older works.

I love what I love. That is my truth. People and their moms can crap on me all they want. They will never erase the affection I have for Ferrell’s work. I am what I am because of Anchorman. If I had not crawled into my parents’ bed on that one night when I was small and watched a hairy Ferrell cannonball into an inground pool, my taste in comedy would be drastically different. Bland, even. So if someone has a problem with my anchorman, they can talk to the hand.    



Samantha Szumloz

Samantha Szumloz is a sophomore Writing Arts major at Rowan University. Her passions include writing poetry, short stories, and pop culture pieces.