Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Creators of the Shake Weight – Let’s Give ‘Em a Hand (for a) Job Well Done

The universe of infomercials and questionable "as seen on TV" scammy-seeming products is, if nothing else, great entertainment. Most of the stuff being hawked is so ridiculous, you have to just laugh at the thought that someone is going to spend actual, real life dollars trying it out. The exercise equipment is best. The promise of most of the products is that, from the comfort of your own home, without moving or doing much of anything at all, you can shed pounds, get washboard abs and look 20 years younger. Usually in under a week. Physiologically speaking, who knows if any of the stuff works. Probably not, but if you focus on the entertainment value, who cares. One of the most awesome exercise inventions ever was the fat-jiggler machine that was popular in the '70s. We had one in my frat house that still worked. Who knows that the effects of using it were, but watching people get drunk, strap in and jiggle their belly fat was top quality entertainment.

The fat jiggler, the Thighmaster, whatever inventions Suzanne Somers endorsed over the course of her illustrious post-Three's Company career - all fine products. But they don't hold a candle to this year's blockbuster exercise breakthrough - the Shake Weight. The Shake Weight is an exercise device that is supposed to tone your arms. I cannot describe in words how the device works (at least not in a blog that my mom is going to read). Watch the ad and see for yourself:

The first time I saw this ad, I thought, there's no way this can possibly be real. The underworld of internet comedians and commentators were quick to point out what you would think would be immediately obvious to everyone in the world. A wide variety of voice-overs and parodies followed. Saturday Night Live did a spoof selling DVDs of the ad. Jon Stewart featured it in his Moment of Zen. But, as highlighted on the Shake Weight official webpage, this thing continued to get high praise from the most mainstream of magazines and talk shows. Did no-one dare speak up? Was the whole thing some kind of huge public Emperor's New Clothes fiasco? Were the thousands of producers and writers and researches who put together all these usually milquetoast morning talk shows really unaware that they were featuring A GIANT MECHANICAL HANDJOB SIMULATOR?

I had seen the Shake Weight ad some time ago, laughed, and then forgot about it. But then, last week, I saw it again on a plane. The 6:00 Monday morning DC to Boston shuttle carries about as corporate a group of people as you'll find anywhere. And when I came out of the bathroom in the rear of the DC-9, looked down the aisle at the vast sea of groggy business travelers and saw 175 little TV screens, each showing an athletic-looking woman appearing to give a vigorous handjob to a giant, out of control, robotic cock, well, that was just a terrific way to start the week.

I don't know who is behind the Shake Weight. But whoever you are, I’d like to give you a hand (for a) job well done. If you were totally oblivious to what people would look like using this thing, and just genuinely thought it was a good exercise idea, that's great. If you knew, and figured you'd try moving some units anyway, even better. And if - and this is what I suspect - you thought the whole thing was so outrageous that no-one would ever agree to let the thing appear on TV, and if the whole point was to just to laugh at our collective cluelessness and maybe even make a few bucks on the side, and if you meant to subvert the mainstream media by inducing every wholesome family morning show to peddle your giant handjob machine, then you are my hero. It worked, and you must be the happiest people around. Well, except for all the guys whose significant others have been doing the Shake Weight workout.

Useful Links:

For the real ad CLICK HERE

For the Saturday Night Live riff CLICK HERE

For the Jon Stewart Moment of Zen CLICK HERE

For an awesome overdub (R rated) of the ad CLICK HERE


veryfrank said...

Wow! After watching that ad, I'm feeling pretty excited right about now, if you know what I mean!
If you like this sort of thing, you've got to check out Suzanne Somers Facemaster Facial Toning System.
maybe they can work out a deal for a twofer@

marisa.s said...

Excellent as always, Dan. Did you know that the Shakeweight inspired one of the greatest South Park episodes of all time?
You're welcome.