Common threads between Anchorman 2 and D2
Wasn’t it Anchorman 2 where someone told the protagonist, “Everyone wants to be something bigger”?
No, that was Don Tibbles speaking to Gordon Bombay in Mighty Ducks 2. But if Freddie Shapp had said the same to Ron Burgundy, the line would have fit just as well.
That common thread between the Anchorman and Mighty Ducks sequels could not be much plainer. In each film, the main character leaves his beloved lifelong locality for a larger position in one of America’s coastal cultural capitals.
For Burgundy, this means going cross-country from San Diego to New York City, home of a newfangled 24-hour news station. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Miracle Man journeys to Los Angeles to coach his country at the Junior Goodwill Games.
And incidentally, both men embark on those gigs after briefly returning home following a career setback. That and seven other threads lend more commonality between Anchorman 2 and D2 than meets the eye.
Injuries on ice
Bombay and Burgundy are at the height of their respective dream careers when a frustrated rival derails them.
After a hiatus of an unspecified length, Bombay had returned to competitive hockey on a professional tryout. He quickly parlays his stint in the minors to the promise of an imminent promotion to the NHL. But moments after his latest scoring play, an opponent known only as Norbert inflicts a career-ending knee injury.
Burgundy is already a big-time national anchor when Jack Lame (nee Lime) sends him crumbling to a sheet of ice. Nonetheless, he too faces a long road back to fulfillment in his field.
At least that is the only time Burgundy has his allies storming to his aid on the ice. He will have another clash in the park, but escapes unscathed (minus some burns by Brick’s sheer foolishness).
Conversely, in D2, another opponent — Iceland coach Wolf Stansson — slashes Bombay’s already injured knee. So much for the friendly one-on-one on the eve of their big game.
On the rebound
The Norbert incident sets D2’s storyline in motion, as Bombay’s best bet is now a return to coaching. Meanwhile, in the tone-setting stages of Anchorman 2, Burgundy is fired when he expects a promotion.
With the former misfortune, Bombay sulks at a sporting-goods shop, wondering if he has hit a dead end sharpening skates. As if on cue, Tibbles shows up to offer the Goodwill Games coaching job on behalf of Team USA’s investor.
Similarly, since Anchorman 2 is less family friendly, Burgundy tries to take his life when his lack of passion for emceeing at Sea World gets him axed again. Seconds after he fails, he meets the arriving Shapp, who lays out Kench Allenby’s ambitious plans of GNN.
Just like that, the two men are on their way back to where they belong. One will once again “have salon-quality hair and read the news.” The other will do the former while coaching a pack of puck prodigies.
The only missing prop here is Burgundy’s seashell from the original Anchorman. That was his answer to the duck whistle Bombay lends to Charlie as the captain reenlists the key Ducks alumni.
That discrepancy aside, both teams come back together, one piece (or no more than two) at a time. In both cases, the emergence of the last holdover is the sneakiest and (at least supposed to be) the funniest.
Toward the end of the original, Bombay kisses Casey Conway. Burgundy does the same with Veronica Corningstone when they make up after surviving their fall into the Kodiak pit. One can only assume something serious is in place for each couple as the credits roll.
Yet in D2, the only mention of Charlie’s mother is when Jan alludes to her having “remarried.” Meanwhile, Burgundy’s firing concomitant with Corningstone’s elevation puts their marriage on thin ice.
Being his petty self, Burgundy walks out when Corningstone refuses to pass up her promotion. The ensuing storyline illustrates his choice of career over family.
While he is far less deplorable, Bombay’s time away in the minors clearly killed his relationship with Casey. He admits to having been too caught up in his professional pursuits to sustain decent long-distance communication.
Regardless, while each relationship is shorter lived, both men find a new flame in their respective sequels. Once again, the fine line between PG and PG-13 is thicker than the five lines on a rink combined.
Calling Bombay and Michele McKay a couple might be a stretch since he only kisses her on the cheek once. Prior to that, he only goes for ice cream with the Iceland trainer.
Conversely, while at dinner with Linda Jackson, Burgundy withholds no details as to how far they will go. With that said, their relationship has an expiration date, just as anything between Bombay and McKay does. Corningstone will return by movie’s end, and McKay will vanish to start D3.
While most serve little more purpose than amplifying the excess glamour, each sequel has a slew of celebrity guest spots.
Seven then-current or former athletes play themselves in D2. In Anchorman 2, the fight scene alone generates 11 one-off A-list appearances as fictitious famed TV personalities. Earlier on, rapper, actor and comedian Drake shouts out to Burgundy and Corningstone.
Leading up to Burgundy’s fall on the ice, narrator Bill Kurtis evokes the myth of Icarus to stress his ego. Because Burgundy has hogged the spotlight, his three longtime colleagues are less than concerned when he falls.
Similar estrangement erupts when Bombay’s immersion in Hollywood glitz clouds his commitment to his players. Unfortunately, he too sees everything from the pedestal and blames everyone but himself for a humiliating 12-1 loss to Iceland.
Each protagonist will spend time in voluntary isolation by the ocean before they return and repair fractured relations.
Rival becomes rescuer
For the better part of the first Mighty Ducks film, Adam Banks is the embodiment of evil. Even when he transfers from the Hawks, it takes time for the “cake eater” to grow on every Duck.
Meanwhile, when he was reigning supreme on San Diego’s news circuit, Burgundy was the envy of Wes Mantooth. Yet by the end of the climactic zoo scene, the second-rate anchor concedes, “I respect you.”
Upon ceding the story of the day to his crosstown foe, Mantooth literally walks offscreen. That is the last we see or hear of him until the final showdown of the sequel.
By then, Burgundy is the target of Chicago’s Jack Lame in a fight on New York’s neutral ground. Under this dynamic, Mantooth cares about his common San Diego roots with Burgundy. As such, he steps in and convinces the Chicago team to back off.
Back in Southern California, Banks cashes in on his first opportunity to win a big game for the Ducks. After rebounding from one injury in the original and another at the hands of Iceland, he scores the deciding shootout goal in the gold-medal game.