by Julia Vaccarella ’20 A&E Staff
The concept of the true crime podcast is one that is currently thriving. A twist on the traditional notion of this is now available from an unlikely source, with Will Ferrell reprising his role in the Anchorman series in the recently released The Ron Burgundy Podcast. The first episode of the show, titled “True Crime,” came out on Feb. 7.
It has been established that the show will not be featuring true crime during every episode. The podcast description states, “Each episode has a different theme in which Ron engages in conversation with another notable person on the topic at hand. In true Ron Burgundy fashion, these conversations have a tendency to go off the rails…” Many podcasts operate this way, as it allows the host/hosts to engage in a much broader range of discussion. This is particularly fitting for the character of Ron Burgundy, who likely has the ability to provide some kind of commentary on almost any topic.
Based on the Anchorman films, it seems that no other characters besides Ferrell as Ron Burgundy will be present, but it may be too early to say whether this is definitely true. The films are most commonly attributed to a 1970s setting, but it seems to be that the podcast takes place in the current time. The initial episode features a discussion of Lady Gaga, alternatively called “Lady Goo Goo,” in a subtle pop culture reference to the film A Star is Born.
The persona of Ron Burgundy, who begins the show seemingly unaware of what a podcast actually is, does seem to know that the most popular kind of podcast is indeed true crime. As a result, the focus shifts to this format later on in the episode. The use of the running joke that casts Texas Senator Ted Cruz as the Zodiac Killer is featured prominently, as it is alluded to as something that many listeners would be familiar with.
One downside to the podcast format of the Ron Burgundy revival is that the character is a news broadcaster. It is precisely his lack of awareness and understanding of what is going on that made the character worthwhile to watch in the Anchorman series. With The Ron Burgundy Podcast, we are able to hear Will Ferrell bring about this sense of confusion, but it is more effective as a visual approach within the films.
“So far, The Ron Burgundy Podcast is set entirely in a recording studio and, while Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy is clearly the protagonist, the only stakes involved are in Ron’s nervousness at putting on a good show. Also, it is not very similar in structure to many television shows or movies playing out instead without interruption in the style of a morning radio program,” writes Joshua Dudley of Forbes. Going forward, it will be interesting to see which guests are featured and how they will play into bringing out Ron Burgundy as a character.