The joyous news is upon us: after years of waiting, we’re finally getting a sequel to the seminal frat pack movie Anchorman. Ron Burgundy and his mustache and jazz flute will ride again! I hope, though, that Anchorman 2 is smart enough to recognize that a lot of what made the original—a story about an outrageously manly San Diego news team learning to deal with their new female coworker in the 1970s—such a comedic masterpiece was its feminism. As a satire of blustering, clueless masculinity and male misconceptions about women, Anchorman is nigh-unequaled in our recent popular culture.
The members of Ron’s news team are posturing, peacocking, competitive, wannabe gentlemanly idiots even before Veronica Corningstone, a sexy, smart female anchor transfers in to join their team as part of the rising tide of women’s lib:
Once she arrives, the team reacts with sheer panic. Has there been a better encapsulation of uninformed, sexist ranting in terror at the loss of privilege than Brick Tamland hollering “I don’t know what we’re talking about!” and “Loud noises!” in the movies since?
These guys know absolutely nothing about women.
And the great joy of the movie is that, by its end, it’s about feminism’s victory. The women at the station where Ron and his team work stand up for themselves and demand better treatment. Veronica proves herself as a smart, competent reporter and anchor. Sports reporter Champ Kind learns that just because Ron’s heart is engaged doesn’t mean he’s lost his best friend. No one loses, unless you count Luke Wilson’s repeated maiming in the news team anchor rumble, still one of the funniest action sequences in quite some time. We need more men in pop culture to have that realization that the rise of women doesn’t automatically make their lives poorer. When it comes to family bands and bear births, feminism can mean that everybody wins.