Ron Burgundy Wednesday

I am currently without my car, as it sits at the garage awaiting its final diagnosis about why it has been so jumpy lately. I’ve had this car for over 11 years and this is the first real problem that I’ve had with it, so while I anticipate a semi-expensive resolution I can’t really complain. The car has taken me on many of my pop culture adventures and while I am sure we are ending our partnership sooner rather than later, I’m hoping to at least make it through the winter before I have to go car shopping. I’ve been amazingly lucky in the car department – I’ve had only two cars since I’ve turned 16 and got 10+ years out of both of them. Not too shabby.

I dropped my car off at the garage last night, so I was effectively home-bound most of the evening once I got a ride back to my apartment. I decided to take advantage of my stranded status to read Ron Bugundy’s new book, Let Me Off at the Top! My Classy Life and Other Musings. As a fan of Anchorman, I was curious what exactly this faux biography would be like. Would the jokes work on paper as well as they do in the films? Was this a shameless money grab, timed to tie in with the release of the new Anchorman movie in December? Would the memoir be completely silly?

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The answer to all three of these questions is yes. While Let Me Off at the Top is not any work of great literature (contrary to what Mr. Burgundy will tell you), it was a fairly amusing read. It doesn’t really add much to the storylines from either Anchorman movie – he skips over the time that is chronicled in his “documentaries” – it is a fun little trifle that fans of the franchise will get a kick out off. It is definitely a shameless tie in with the new movie, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While the book is a complete exercise in lunacy, I found myself quietly chuckling during a number of passages. It helps if you can imagine the book narrated by Will Ferrell in character. Whoever actually wrote this book has a pretty good understanding of Burgundy and the memoir feels like an extension of what we’ve seen in Anchorman (and what I expect we’ll see in Anchorman 2). The author gets the comic sensibility just right.

So what exactly is in a memoir by legendary newsman Ron Burgundy? As the title indicated, Let Me Off at the Top! is not necessary a cohesive chronological account of the character’s life, but a collection of random musings and stories. It covers some of Burgundy’s early life in Haggleworth, Iowa as the youngest of a rough and tumble brood of eight boys but it also jumps around to cover the formation of his news team, his rules for surviving a prison riot and how to woo a woman and his night of passion with Bruce Lee. The book also includes the first chapter of another book that Burgundy is hoping to write on the history of Mexico. The stories are peppered with references to celebrities and other newscasters and there are occasionally photos interspersed in-between his legendary tales.  He also randomly chronicles his on-going feud with his neighbor over a leaf blower.

Half the fun of the book is the sheer lunacy of the stories and the unpredictable nature of the narrative. The book may be silly, but it is not boring. You never know when a story about one thing will lead to something totally unexpected: a story about jackalope hunting with Bobby Kennedy and Peter Lawford leads to a discussion of the splendor of the Las Vegas breakfast buffet and camping trips with Channel 4 news team. The book is all over the place, but in the best way possible. There is a story about a mission he did for President George H.W. Bush that is mostly redacted. He pens his own “new and improved” lyrics to the National Anthem. He outs Barbra Streisand and Tom Brokaw as lovers. He is pro-gay rights. You literally have no idea what is going to be “revealed” in the next paragraph; I really don’t know how they came up with some of this stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of pot was involved.

Let Me Off at the Top! My Classy Life and Other Musings is in no way required readings and walks a very fine line between being absolutely hilarious and completely stupid. It doesn’t always walk that line well, but the bonus is that because the book hops around so much, it usually rights itself pretty quickly. This is not a sophisticated book; there is plenty of sophomoric humor, which shouldn’t be unexpected if you know the movies (and if you don’t know the movies, why are you reading this?). Some of the wording is a little repetitive and it totally overuses exclamation points, but that is in keeping with the Burgundy character. I pre-ordered the Kindle version of the book for under $5, which I think is about the right price for it; I don’t think you’d want to bother springing for the hardcover version. You really have to be a fan of Anchorman to get anything out of this book; if you found the movie lacking, you aren’t going to dig the book at all. But if you frequently tell people that “milk was a bad choice” than you might find the book a fun little diversion. It isn’t very long (a smart movie for a novelty book like this) and is instantly quotable. I’m sure I’ll be pulling out a few nuggets to drop into my regular lexicon. GQ rounds up some of their favorite passages, but I think they missed some of the best. Most of the celebrities that he references in the book are dead (Burgundy is, after all, 73 years old now according to the book), but I’m curious what Doris Kearns Goodwin, Katie Couric and Brian Williams, among others, think about their inclusion. I’d be flattered personally, but something tells me that Streisand doesn’t have a great sense of humor.

In keeping with the Burgundy theme, I also wanted to give an update on my quest for Ben and Jerry’s new Anchorman inspired flavor, Scotchy Scotch Scotch. After several weeks of making unnecessary trips to various supermarkets in my quest to find it, I finally stumbled upon it this week at our local Wal-mart. I am almost embossed to say how excited I got when my eyes glanced across the freezer and spotted this inside:

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If they check the security footage, they will see one happy girl. I was partially excited to finally be able to sample the flavor, but I was also relieved that I completed my search, since I wound up buying a lot of other flavors of ice cream while looking for Scotchy Scotch Scotch. I felt weird leaving the grocery store without buying anything if they didn’t have the Anchorman ice cream, so I wound up with a freezer full of Ben and Jerry’s that proved to be too tempting for me to resist. Suffice it to say, I’ve had ice cream for dinner a LOT lately.

Scotchy Scotch Scotch certainly lives up to its name; while it isn’t high in alcohol content, the ice cream is definitely butterscotch-y. I like butterscotch and it was almost too much for me. That didn’t stop me from eventually polishing off the whole pint, mind you, but I don’t know if I would necessarily seek it out again. I think they needed something else in the ice cream to cut the sweetness of the butterscotch. Butterscotch ice cream with butterscotch swirls is a lot of butterscotch to process. If you aren’t partial to the confectionery, don’t even bother with the ice cream. You won’t like it.

And finally, I acquired a new toy for my desk at work: a LEGO minifig decked out to look like the man himself, Ron Burgundy (complete with a mini bottle of Scotch).

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He’s a welcome addition to the office and makes me smile every time I look at it. I’ve had a ton of people ask me where they can get one; he’s proven to be more popular than my LEGO minifigs of Walter White and Omar Little.

Stay Classy, readers.

Let Me Off at the Top! My Classy Life and Other Musings by Ron Burgundy was released Tuesday November 19th; you can read an excerpt here. Ben and Jerry’s has created a flavor locator to assist people in finding Scotchy Scotch Scotch. The 70s news anchor minifig was available on ETSY, but appears to be sold out. I am a trend setter.

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