essays

Time to Feel the Burn Again

Jane Fonda DVD imageOkay, let’s start with the photos on the box. Yes, Jane Fonda has been airbrushed out the wazoo to look like that (see a more current photo below). But what do you want? She’s 72 and just about to release two new workout DVDs, so baby boomers should rejoice. Let’s give credit where credit is due. I think she’s had a knee replacement and freely admits to a few nips here and tucks here and there, but she’s Jane Fonda, for crying out loud. She’s supposed to look good. In person and on the box.

When I hear the name Jane Fonda, I think Barbarella or Klute. Maybe Electric Horseman or Cat Ballou. The later movies like Monster-In-Law or Georgia Rule weren’t bad, but coming out of retirement, Fonda seemed to graviate toward the mouthy older woman roles. Maybe that’s the only roles female actresses of a certain age can get (see Leachman, Cloris or White, Betty).

Jane FondaA lot of women hear the name Jane Fonda and they think back to their first aerobics workout tape. The year was 1982 and the tape was such a hit that it sold 17 million copies and prompted a lot of people to go out and buy those new fangled VCR machines. Jane Fonda went on to put out another 23 workout videos. It was a major phenomenom and inspired countless exercise gurus to follow in her very successful footsteps. But let it be said that Jane Fonda really did kick off a fitness craze among baby boomers who were then approaching middle age and starting to experience the spread that came with age. For those boomers, these workout tapes were a godsend.

So here she is again in 2010 about to release two new DVDs (which is good because we’ve all given away our old VCRs to Goodwill). Jane Fonda: Prime Time Walkout and Jane Fonda: Prime Time Fit & Strong are due out Nov. 30 and are primarily aimed at boomers, but not exclusively. Fonda says she wants to inspire “people who think that they are too far unfit to get fit again.” Well, that could cover a lot of boomers if all the stats on American obesity are accurate.

Back in 1982, Fonda urged her legions of followers to “feel the burn.” Maybe now with the new DVDs it they can just go with “burn off the pounds.”

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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