2013, 99 cents, at American Way Thrift Store in Burbank

First Impression: This is a Pilates class in Heaven.

Second Impression: Wait, we still have to exercise in the afterlife? Ripoff.

This DVD has three 20-minute Pilates mat workouts. If I do them all in a row, it approximates the Pilates class I used to take at the gym, minus all the teenagers bragging, “this isn’t as hard as what we do in cheer everyday. We work out every day in cheer.”

A nice redhaired lady demonstrates the routine on top of a platform-covered hot tub in a rich person’s Malibu backyard. We’re right next to the black-bottomed pool, which makes you feel as if you are swimming in the infinite, unknowable abyss of time and space. The drought-defying lush green lawn is edged with flowerbeds, inviting you towards a verdant path that leads down to the seashore in the distance.

Also on this walkway is what appears to be an IKEA silver gooseneck lamp. I can’t tell if it’s production equipment, or backyard debris stashed away by the set dresser, or a permanent fixture to illuminate the path for romantic late-night strolls. In any case, it’s right behind the instructor the entire time and I can’t stop looking at it.

I’m also distracted by the changing shadows from workout to workout, which means they aren’t using a silk topper to block the light. I worry that the instructor’s pale redhead complexion will burn by the end of the DVD, and this whole thing will turn out to be a cleverly disguised ad for Coppertone.

A disembodied voice-over uses some adorable imagery to help us master the poses. We are instructed to “press your heels together like you have a precious ruby and you don’t want to drop it.” This is a change from the violent phrasing used in my old Pilates class at the gym. For example: “Touch your toes like you’re bending over razor wire and you don’t want to get cut in half.” I bet you didn’t learn that in cheer, girls.

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