2010, $1.49, at Goodwill Superstore on San Fernando

First Impression: The Blandingtons! They bore themselves, each other, and you!

Second Impression: Catch them weeknights when you’re folding laundry and waiting for pasta to boil!

Gunnar Peterson poses on the front cover with a wax figure of Alicia Silverstone borrowed from Madame Tussaud’s. Judging by his button nose and friendly grin, I imagine that his speaking voice would sound light and boyish.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. His voice is weary with irritation, like my high school gym teacher who really wanted to be a stockbroker.  He insisted everyone call him “Coach Red,” but he didn’t like me because I was proper and called him by his actual name, “Mr. Whatsabucket.” He wasn’t my coach.

Perhaps the sparkle in his eye was put there with Photoshop, because he regards the camera with arms permanently akimbo, and the dead gaze of someone who wants to know how long this is going to take, exactly?

Don’t worry, Gunnar, each routine is only 20 minutes, 40 if you do both. You might as well. It goes by quickly because you do a bunch of different exercises and don’t repeat any.  My favorite is pushups with your hands staggered. I’m not certain what those are meant to accomplish – Gunnar was too huffy to go into it – but it’s cool to discover you can do that if asked.

Gunnar leads us through the workout in a brick-and-concrete space appropriate for a tech startup. The room has a very masculine feel, but the exercise mats used by Gunnar and his lady backup girl assistant ladies are definitely a deep rose-pink. This is a home fitness product clearly intended for women, but fronted by an instructor that has no interest in adapting to a communication style that women would appreciate.

His patter is peppered with humorless quips like “just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water” that you know were written by a personality consultant. He instructs us to “inhale, exhale” with the evident ennui of someone who has spent a lifetime reminding people to breathe. Gunnar wraps things up with an insincere “terrific job” that leaves us feeling quite the opposite. Was is a terrific job?  Was it, Gunnar?

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