2002, $1.99, at Goodwill Superstore on San Fernando

First Impression: Dr. Crusher from Next Generation gets into the fitness game.

Second Impression: Synchronized swimming is difficult when you’re the only one at practice.

As she did in Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss, Suzanne Deason once again turns to body-shaming as a motivator. “Excess weight on a person tells me that something is out of balance,” she murmurs. What kind of a vague judgment is this? Does she really get to decide what qualifies as an “excess” amount of weight on a stranger?

What, is she one of those government-sanctioned charts that hangs in your doctor’s office? They are so outdated that the height ranges for women are noted with an asterisk, “in two inch heels” so you have to add two inches to your actual height to find the right column. And then you look at the target weight for your height and you fully understand that these numbers were devised long before there was high-fructose corn syrup in every single thing we ate.

So after Suzanne Deason primly reminds us that she’s never herself had a weight problem, we start the workout, and I am predisposed to be annoyed at everything she says and does. The warm-up happens on a triangular point of land that juts out into the angry sea. The waves violently crash into the rocks as, nearby, a mermaid lures a sailing vessel towards its certain doom.

Suzanne and her helpers are installed on some wooden platforms from IKEA, the Exärceyse, I think. You know there was a whole production meeting about those platforms. The art director pointed out how uncomfortable it would be to lie down on volcanic seaside rocks, and a producer said, “Can’t they just put a mat down?” and the line producer said, “Are you sure they all need platforms?” and the talent made them all do situps on some rocks before the executive producer got the platforms, and made sure everyone knew they paid for them out of pocket.

At some point, the platforms get moved into a field, and the ladies do roll-ups and double-leg stretches with cows in the background. The cows look happier than the people.


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