2008, $2.00, at Out of the Closet Superstore on San Fernando

First Impression: Jillian Michaels sees what you did there.

Second Impression: She’s on her way to audition for the Kate Austen role in the reboot of “Lost.”

The DVD front cover invites us all to “Eliminate Love Handles, Muffin Tops, and Wobbly Arms for good!” Aren’t love handles and muffin tops basically the same thing? Or does my torso have two different trouble zones to worry about aiiiieeee? It’s moot, moot, because the back cover chimes in about “unsightly saddlebags,” and it’s enough to get the most body-confident person to don one of those shiny heat suits while washing down green coffee bean extract with grapefruit juice.

I actually think some of the cute names for unsightly body parts are kind of funny. My friend referred to her “Hi Helens” and I asked what those were. She croaked, “Hi, Helen!” in a cartoon old-lady voice and flapped her upper arm like she was greeting a Bingo buddy.

I always thought of Hi Helens as Teacher Arms, because in grade school I was fascinated by the way the teachers’ upper arms would jiggle when they wrote on the blackboard. It was like the flesh was trying to shake itself off the bone. I put that detail into a short story in college, and the class said it was weird and nobody would ever notice that. Well, excuse me for being too weird for the weirdos. Also, I beg to differ, people do notice these things. That’s why I have about 50 fitness DVDs in my house that focus on firming up your arms.   As Jillian Michaels points out in this video, “your arms are the only parts of your body that are naked in front of people most of the time.”

She sets about to fix those soft spots with two helpers, seven circuits, some handweights, and her signature communication style in which she ironically refers to people as “Sweet Pea.” Tremble in fear, trouble zones, the Firming Time is nigh.

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