1998, $2.99, at Goodwill on Brand in Glendale

First Impression: Paula Abdul could play the Feisty Neighbor in a romantic comedy.

Second Impression: Or perhaps she wants to cosplay Harley Quinn.

Paula Abdul made a series of fitness videos when she was at the height of her recording career. Can you imagine Taylor Swift, or even better, Lady Gaga, or better yet, Beyonce, making an exercise video? That would sell out. There would be a stampede at Target and the air would be filled with the lamentations of the men cowering in the not recently cleaned restroom. Ladies, please, America clamors for your fitness tips!

But thankfully, we have this video to fulfill our dreams of pop star fitness. Paula Abdul shows off her moves on a set with an oversized checkerboard pattern that seems borrowed from a Tom Petty music video.

When we get to learning the routine, Paula and her dancer friends start doing the choreography slowly, and speed up each time they repeat it until we’re up to tempo. It’s a good idea in theory. But what complicates things is the “footwatcher” feature in the bottom corner of the screen, showing Paula doing the moves from the back.   I focus on the back view so I can copy her feet, since she doesn’t call out left or right. Then when we get up to tempo the footwatcher view goes away, and what you’re seeing is the dancers doing the opposite of what you’ve just struggled to learn. It feels like you’ve just learned it wrong. It’s discouraging.

I’ve also noticed she doesn’t call out the counts of eight, but she does use dance vocabulary  like “pas de beret,” which I believe is French for, “I don’t want a hat.”

My dismal failure at learning any of the choreography is followed by a dance-inspired stretching & toning segment. The interesting thing about this segment is that while Paula verbalizes instructions in her Speaking Voice, she also uses her Mind Voice to give additional tips. It’s like when Galadriel talks to Frodo and suddenly stops moving her lips, but we can all hear her loud and clear. Apparently Paula Abdul has many magical gifts at her disposal. She is Forever Your Girl.

Post Script: Keep watching through the credits. One of the sound guys is named Dick Burns.

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