What’s the deal with comedy sequels?

By Nick Harley | nh632010@ohiou.edu

Will Ferrell appeared on 'Conan' recently to announce his reprisal of his role of Ron Burgundy in the upcoming 'Anchorman 2.'


I don’t know if I have ever seen a comedy sequel that has bested the original. Maybe I haven’t pondered it too deeply, but there aren’t any that are jumping out at me in.

In theory, the idea of the comedy sequel is a tantalizing one. The thought of being reacquainted with old friends who make you laugh seems great on paper, but in reality, it’s hard to match that initial experience. It’s kind of like high school romances, when people are breaking up and getting back together all the time. Nothing is going to match that first time, being introduced and learning everything about each other. When it’s over you feel like it may be a good idea to return, since things seemed so magical in retrospect, but when you’re reunited, you just can’t recreate that initial spark.

That’s why when Will Ferrell recently appeared on Conan in character as Ron Burgundy to announce Anchorman 2, I didn’t get as excited as I should have been.

I love the original Anchorman passionately. This may sound silly, but I cannot tell you how many times, be it with my brother, my friends, or complete strangers, that I’ve shared hardy and heartfelt laughs quoting the movie. I cannot think of any other film in recent memory that is so quotable and is still quoted on a consistent basis after so many years.

But it’s hard to catch lightning in a bottle like that. I don’t want to see the legacy, well, the LEGEND of Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 News Team tarnished.

The original films inceptors, Ferrell and writer, producer, and director Adam McKay, are going to back behind the reins of the new film, and the duo together have a pretty consistent and impressive track record; Talladega Nights, Step Brothers and The Other Guys are all fine films, but there is something about the comedic well that seems too difficult to return to.

Take, for example, the recently released American Reunion. I caught an advanced screening Wednesday night at the Athena Grand, courtesy of OU Movie Zone. Had it not been for the theater full of collegiate kids laughing along, I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the movie quite as much as I did. What I do know, however, is that American Reunion is the perfect example of what a comedy sequel should not be. The movie relied so heavily on nods and reprises of old jokes from the original that it almost seemed as if it would have been a better idea just to watch American Pie. The movie wasn’t devoid of laughs, but it certainly lacked the energy and flare of the original. I don’t want to see this happen to my favorite news team.

In other sequel news, the famous comedy directing duo the Farrelly Brothers, out promoting the dreadful looking 3 Stooges movie, announced they would be sequelizing their 1994 classic, Dumb and Dumber, with original stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in the titular roles. Holding even a more immortal rank in the comedy world, this one seems like an even touchier idea. Do we really want to see the much older team of Carrey and Daniels back in roles of their youth, with the recently struggling Farrelly Bros. at the helm, rehashing jokes about Samsonite and the most annoying sound in the world? The image of the two men, both now in their 50s, with those haircuts is distressing enough.

I guess time will tell how these two much anticipated sequels will be remembered, but I’m begging, please if anyone is listening, just don’t let them ruin the legacies of the originals.

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