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Michael Thurmond's Six-Day Body Makeover

It's a diet that masquerades as a non-diet.

What it Is: A diet and exercise plan. It includes anatomically engineered "blueprinting" cards, which you use to stack together a portrait of your body and arrive at a customized plan. For your workouts, Thurmond provides the body sculpting band - an elastic rope with handles at each end. For the dieting part, there's a recipe and dining-out guide, and tapes on "living lean."

Quote: "Eat more, exercise less, and make your entire body over exactly as you want it . . . if you do it, it's impossible to fail!"


Shill: Product inventor Michael Thurmond himself, and an attractive female "reporter" who "interviews" him. Apparently he's been in the diet game since the 1980s, but he's got the strained demeanor and leathery features of a high-school football coach. You'd think two decades of pitching would make his gestures and facial expression more fluid, but instead he looks like he's trying to cram an enormous burrito in his mouth that doesn't taste all that good.

Set and Costumes: The clothes are pretty much unremarkable - conservative slacks and polos, tasteful skirt-suits. The interviews take place in a TV studio and in doctors' offices.

Cost: $139.93 after shipping.

Rallying Cry: "No two bodies are the same."

Gimmick: Inside and Out, a fake news program set inside a TV studio. The reporter conducts fake interviews, of Thurmond, complete with thoughtful looks, pencil and pad. She feigns skepticism during her interviews with doctors . . . only so they can bowl her over with the scientific viability of the Thurmond program, of course.

Promises of Ease: "You don't get hungry, you just eat, and you eat, and you eat." Apparently, the idea is to just eat more of the right stuff. (Less Ben & Jerry's, more polenta!) One man claims he's lost 90 pounds in six months and eats five or six times a day. The word "eat" and its derivatives are repeated without end throughout the infomercial.

Tearful Moment: "If I had to say in one word what this program has done for me, it would be miracles."

Inspirational Gimmick: A huge spread of fat-people photos becomes a collage American flag. One market, indivisible, under lard casings.

Breaking Points of Internal Logic: One man says: "If you've tried all the other ones, it would be a real shame if you didn't try this one." A woman testifier says: "Three years ago, I was sitting on the couch, watching this infomercial, just like you are now."

Evaluation: The problem with the diet is that there's no one shiny object to focus in on. There are just a lot of little, non-thrilling objects, and Thurmond really ought to throw in a free bookcase for all this shit.

Score: 1.5

- Scott Gordon


Posted on February 20, 2007

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