2002, $1.50, at Goodwill Superstore on San Fernando

First Impression: Hands on your hips, give ‘em a push!

Second Impression: Look at you now, you’re doing the French Mistake. Voila!

Here is the second half of my two-part review of FIRM Parts: The Firming!

This workout is a Whitman’s sampler of ab routines, cobbled together from old FIRM videos. Each segment is introduced by the Joey Tribbiani of fitness, Tracy James.

Mr. James first appears to us in closeup in a state of dishabille. Then the camera pulls out and destroys the illusion.  He’s shirtless, but does wear plain gray sweatpants. I’m sure they chafe. Aren’t your pants chafing you, Mr. James?  I’m sure everyone would understand if you needed to take them off.

Within seconds, he asks us to “take a supine position on the floor.”


“Hands behind your head.”


“Raise your legs over your head.”

All right!

“Now prepare for an isometric contraction.”

Ummm… this is turning out to be a weird Tinder date.

We cut back to Mr. James after the first workout segment is complete. “Good job,” he coos, giving us a non-ironic thumbs up. He smiles the way he practiced in a mirror, slightly lifting his eyebrows as we freeze frame.

My favorite segment is taught by a an individual who was valedictorian of her class at the Jane Fonda School of Fitness Instruction. She’s nailed La Fonda’s stilted Mid-Atlantic speech pattern and intellectual intensity.  When her mouth pulls down in a beautiful grimace, demanding we “CONTROL!!!!” our abs, I can only think of Cruella DeVil shouting, “Get those puppies!”

I work my way through the five segments, and each time we cut back to that him-bo Mr. James, he appeals less and less.  He directs us to “decline to the floor,” and I’m all, “is that even how you use that word?” I looked it up, and the answer is NO. “Decline” is an archaic way of saying “bend down.”  But we’re not bending, we’re lying down on the floor to do a 30-year-old ab workout.  Don’t use words if you don’t know what they mean, Mr. James. We’re through!

Comments are closed.