Much like today, fitness was all the rage in the 80’s. Just go down to the local gym and replace all of the yoga pants, sports bras and tramp stamps with bright colored leotards, spandex, and leg warmers… and you’ve got yourself a bonafide 1980’s style workout party! Partly inspired by the dance craze movies of the early 80’s such as “Fame”, “Flashdance”, and “Footloose”, aerobic exercise was a fad that spanned the decade, and ushered in the Super Size decade of the 90’s.
Whether it was Jane Fonda, Denise Austin, or (gulp) Susan Powter, one thing all of these fitness fests had in common was a lot of thin, toned, perky chicks in tight clothing made from genuine rainbows who weren’t afraid to shake their spandex clad buns of steel to the beat. Not only did these aerobic vixens help inspire women all over America to get off their couch and get in shape, but they also provided plenty of eye candy for the guys to do a little solo exercising of their own.
There was one exception to this rule, however…..
Richard Simmons was already established as a genuine fitness guru even before he tortured our eyes with these commercials for his “Sweating To The Oldies” series in the late 80’s. As you can see from the commercial, a Richard Simmons workout was a tad different from one you might catch in the morning on ESPN 30 years ago. While exercise is for all, especially those who are a bit pleasantly plump, no self-respecting celebrity aerobics instructor was going to be bouncing their ponytail within 5 miles of the nearest fat person.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The author of the Evil Squirrel’s Nest Blog is certified by the medical community, and mainly his peckerhead doctor, as being 30 pounds overweight for his height. This therefore makes him a certified fatass, and under Article XXII, Section 69, Part 4.7 of the Political Correctness Code of 1992, does legally allow him to poke fun at other people who share his affliction.
Simmons’ trademark annoying overbubbliness is on full display in his ad for “Sweating To The Oldies 2” for the full 120 seconds of fat burning sock hopping we are subjected to. Back in the 1980’s, “oldies” consisted of songs from the 50’s and 60’s that rarely ever get played on the radio anymore, and “Sweating” delivers some of the best dance songs of the era, like “Jailhouse Rock”…
“Summer in the City”….. wait, “Summer in the City”!?!? I wouldn’t exactly call that a dance song. Although I imagine Richard Simmons happily provides the sound effects of the jackhammer during the instrumental break. Seriously, Elvis Presley gave you his OK from the chalet he’s hiding at in Switzerland to use one of his songs, yet you couldn’t round up some better 60’s dance music from lesser artists like “The Twist” or “Do You Love Me?” I guess John Sebastian was hard up for money… Lord only knows what else was considered to fill out your little VHS tape….
Today The Nest salutes a true legend of the world of fitness who got more 300 pound people off of their La-Z-Boys and into tight fitting workout clothes than the lure of a late night run to
Walmart Mecca. We vow to be bright eyed and bushy tailed every morning when we pop that “Sweating to the Oldies” cassette into our no-longer-working Sony Walkman and hit the road for a high impact power walk. Thank you Richard Simmons for giving us the opportunity to feel the burn!