2007, $1.99, at Salvation Army in Pasadena

First Impression: Get fit like the stars with Billy Blanks!

Second Impression: But first, let’s block the view up his shorts with some A-Plus graphic design.

Do you want to tone up and slim down like a Hollywood star? Well, this DVD will help you live like an exclusive industry professional, who is constantly judged and evaluated by strangers! Doesn’t that sound like an amazing lifestyle? Well, let’s get started! This is how celebrities get it done! Their lives are scheduled in 6 minute increments, which is why the workout is exactly 42 minutes long!

The routine is fast paced but easy to follow, mostly because the moves are identical to all other Tae Bo videos. It also takes place in the same studio and features the usual backup people. The sameness makes Billy Blanks videos comforting, like a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

As always, Billy Blanks’ stepdaughter Shelley stands to his left, chanting out the count into her headset mike and occasionally turning around to scream, “Is everyone okaaaaaayyyyy?” She responds to each of his commands with a hearty, “Yes, Sir!”

It is soon clear that her real job is to keep Billy on task. Shelley calls out to him, “Dad, Dad!”  She throws him a complicated signal, and he runs to her side for the close-up coaching shot that he forgot. “I like this song, I like this song,” she declares, as if inventing another reason to have called him over.

Billy invites you to take your best shot:

Doesn’t that make you feel like a famous celebrity with your very own personal trainer right there in your living room? No?

“Are you a superstar?” asks Billy. “Are you a celebrity? All right, let’s put it in action.”

He instructs Shelley to run back and forth across his lap, putting his nards in peril:

“You here at home, are you ready,” he says to the wrong camera, so we only see his back. Ever vigilant, Shelley signals the camera man to switch on, but it’s too late. I guess it shows that celebrities are just like us!

After the cool down, Billy instructs the crew to gather at Camera One.

He gives a heartfelt, inspiring speech about keeping your statements positive. “Remember words are pregnated. They give power to life.”  “Yes, Sir,” adds Shelley.


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