2003, $2.99, at Goodwill on Brand in Glendale

First Impression: In which, Richard Simmons guest stars on My Little Pony.

Second Impression: Friendship is Magic.

Make sure you are really ready when you press Play, because this routine starts abruptly with a rhythmic screech of “Are! You! Ready to tone! Up! Those! Muscles! Grapevine!”

Richard and friends are grapevining in a room so hideous that you question your sanity. The walls are all slightly different shades of goldenrod.  Blue archways frame windows made of glass bricks, to emphasize how oppressive they are.

“Make those pecs perky!” insists Richard, as we wing our arms in and out. He’s updated his look, with a navy blue tank top crisscrossed with strips of sequins. It’s more of an evening aerobics ensemble, but the decor of the room screams morning. Early, early morning.

The first song is an upbeat P!nk knockoff with a chorus about “doin’ it all night long.”  One of Richard’s friends seems to particularly enjoy this song, mouthing the words with gusto.

In some shots, we can see bumpy, colorful shapes dangling from the ceiling.  They might be full of candy, or perhaps bees. Each is equally likely.

“I have some more shoulder rolls for you!” Richard cackles as he leads us in a mid-workout stretch. “Exercise will made your body feel stronger and last longer!”

In the background, there are pedestals with silver toned hand weights displayed on them as if they are priceless works of art.

We stretch our hands out, fingers pointed down at an extreme angle. Richard sarcastically screams “aaauuuugh!” in mock horror. As we go back to using the weights, he sputters, “Oh, you want some more chest? I seem to have it!”  That makes me laugh out loud every time I do this workout.  Sass + line flub = comedy gold!

During the cooldown, Richard shouts at me what I already know to be true, “You deserve some kisses!” and we all do a standing in and out starfish pose. We end with a double punch forward, sealed with Richard’s “God bless.”

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