[Contains gun-waving, skirt-wearing SPOILERS!!!]
My Anchorman boxset also included a copy of Wake Up, Ron Burgundy (2004), which is rather erroneously touted as an “all-new story” on the DVD cover. In reality, it’s an alternative A-plot that was excised from the original movie (after testing poorly with audiences, according to the self-mocking narration), padded out with vestigial remnants of deleted scenes and unused takes.
In this alternate timeline, Ron tries to show Veronica up by stealing her exclusive lead on an activist organisation called “The Alarm Clock”, who have been robbing banks around the city, and bickering among themselves. Eventually the Clocks kidnap Veronica, and take her to the city observatory, where they hope to strong-arm her into broadcasting their ill-defined, unwritten manifesto to the masses… only to be thwarted by the timely intervention of the heroic Channel 4 News Team, led by a repentant Ron. Although this all-action finale features a neat payoff to the running gag about Ron’s dependency on his teleprompter, as well as his love of free-form jazz, I found it vastly inferior to the real ending, on the grounds that it makes Veronica seem like even more of a passive damsel-in-distress than she is in the everyone-gets-saved-by-Baxter scenario.
That said, there are a number of notable female characters in this version of the story, from Laura Kightlinger’s bisexual research assistant with a not-so-secret crush on Veronica, to Amy Poehler’s argumentative ‘Bank Teller’, who refuses to give the Clocks any money until they explain the thematic inconsistency in their choice of identity-concealing masks… not to mention Maya Rudolph’s brilliant turn as ‘Kanshasha X’, the indignant, afro-ed activist the teller somehow mistakes for a man!
Wake Up really doesn’t work as a stand-alone film, and any attempt to sell it as a sequel is patently ridiculous since Veronica is still referring to Ron as “Mr. Burgundy” in the early scenes, but viewed as an extended “special feature”, it’s a pretty fascinating (and frequently very funny) window into what might have been.