Special TV offer! Act now!

I’ve been spending lots of time at the gym lately, and not because I’m suddenly dedicated to fitness, believe me. No. Unlike my house, the gym is air-conditioned.  So even though exercise is far from my first-choice activity, I’ve been spending quality time on the treadmill, trying to distract myself from exercise by watching the row of TVs hanging nearby.

If you’ve ever experienced the phenomenon of watching multiple TVs at once, you know how disorienting it can be. Fox News and MSNBC! Right next to each other! Each furiously spinning its own view of reality until our heads threaten to explode! And no workout towel can take care of that mess, I assure you.

But weekends are a whole different matter. Apparently, the weekend afternoon is the hour of the infomercial. I know this because yesterday I spent my entire workout watching Montel Williams transform lives by running broccoli through a blender. As columnist Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up. Yes, for just four payments of $49.95, you too can create spinach and blueberry smoothies. It! will! change! your! life!

Now, as fascinating as that was, today was even better. Today, Cindy Crawford shared her equally transformative anti-aging skin-care regimen. It was created with a doctor’s help, naturally, from rare melons grown in the oh-so-glamorous South of France. Where else? No sub-par domestic melons for Cindy!

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

But seriously. I should not make fun. These melons are no laughing matter. These melons are blessed with a rare enzyme containing unparalleled antioxidant properties. We know this because the infomercial shows us actual photos of “before” and “after” melons. The “after” melon — the special French melon with the magical substance — is plump, perky, and fresh-looking. The poor, sad, “before” melon — the ordinary, non-French melon — is droopy, brown and decaying.

Oh, honey. I know just how you feel.

Now, my first suspicion was that, when nobody was looking, somebody slapped some makeup on that “after” melon. Or maybe they switched to more flattering lighting. But I could be wrong. Maybe there’s just a rapidly-aging melon portrait rotting away in the “after” melon’s attic. Anything’s possible, right?

But the “befores” and “afters” didn’t end there. We also saw photos of Cindy Crawford herself: before the treatment, at age 28, and after the treatments, at age 43. She looks exactly the same. This prompted her co-star, the always infomercial-friendly Valerie Bertinelli, to exclaim, “Holy f***ing sh*t, Cindy!” (Though I may be paraphrasing here).

I will say this, though. Those two photos of the non-aging Cindy are pretty damn startling. As a woman of 47, I might have been swayed by them, even tempted to research the products, if I didn’t know about the magical powers of airbrushing and Botox. Oh, yeah, and there’s also this:  Even at 28, I didn’t look like Cindy Crawford.  I find this oddly liberating. I didn’t look like her then, so why would I expect to look like her now?

Possibly anticipating my skepticism, Cindy pulled out all the stops. She invited us into her home — her home! To meet her family! Yes, her mother, and some sisters too, I think. They talked about how wonderful Cindy is, how kind, and how generous, because she wants to share her secret with the whole world.

Now, I have nothing against Cindy. She seems like a perfectly lovely woman. And she has every right to go into any business that she wants. But can we please not be asked to forget that this is a business? That she is selling these products to make money? There’s no shame in this, as long as we are completely honest about it. See? Was that so hard?

Since we’re now acknowledging that this is a business, I think it’s not indelicate to discuss price. The infomercial was offering a special deal: $39.95 for a one-month supply of Cindy’s products. (Several products are included in the line, I believe, though I’m fuzzy on the details. I may have started to lose focus at this point — I think somebody on Fox News, two TVs over, said something about “death panels for pets” that distracted me).

Depending who you ask, $40 a month could be seen as quite reasonable or as absurdly expensive. Women vary greatly in their ability and willingness to pay for beauty products. I’ve often considered myself fairly middle-of-the-road in this area. However, I recently questioned my own habits while using a coupon to purchase a higher-end, higher-SPF item from Olay’s Regenerist line. The drugstore clerk eyed me with sympathy and said, “Boy, the discount doesn’t make much of a difference when you’re buying that Olay stuff, does it?”

Of course, that product rings in at a lower price than Cindy’s line, and it will last several months. But with all the infomercials I’ve been watching, I’m starting to think there must be a better way. Now that I think of it, Montel Williams’ veggie-and-fruit smoothies are supposed to be high in antioxidants, too. And his badass blender/juicer could be mine, permanently, for just pennies more than five months’ worth of Cindy’s line. Couldn’t I whip up my own antioxidant face masks? After the first five months, we’re talking free skin care, baby! Well, except for the cost of the produce.

But wait: What would stop me from going to the South of France and harvesting my own fancy-pants, French-speaking, anti-aging melons? Sure, the airfare would create a few extra costs, not to mention any court fees that I incur if arrested while trespassing and melon-smuggling. But still, in time, this stuff pays for itself. I’m a genius! I must share this with the world!

Who has a camera? I’ve got an infomercial to make.

About Anne @ The Frump Factor

Reflections on beauty and style, for women who weren't born yesterday. Bring your sense of humor and "Fight the Frump" with me!
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40 Responses to Special TV offer! Act now!

  1. Heather says:

    The regenerist stuff is really good, probably just as good as those melons. And Cindy looks pretty good too, but I think there might have been some nip tuck going on don’t you? Melons are lovely, to eat, not sure how they work on our faces!

    Love the part about watching mnbc and fox simultaneously. That must be weird.

    • Yeah, that particular Olay line has a reputation for being quite good and relatively cost-effective. Do I look like I did at 28? No! But of course, we don’t know what I’d look like if I weren’t using it….

  2. Can I do one of the testimonials about how great you are for sharing your amazing ideas with world?!
    Please oh Please!

  3. Melanie says:

    Bwa-ha-ha!!! LOL!! Miz Bagg and designer iqi, who are known to work exclusively with me and Vogue magazine, are very excited to discuss the possibility of a co-production deal for your infomercial. As you know, iqi is a very talented cosmetician as well and he would be able to disguise your melons cleverly as Cindy Crawford for smuggling out of the country. Miz Bagg is also working on an exclusive line of masking tape as a do-it-yourself at-home facelift!!

    I’m not one for unguents on my face, especially since I heard from “them/they” that the nano particles now commonly used in beauty products can migrate into surrounding tissues and cause permanent DNA damage. I think I’ll try spackle, the non-nano particle kind.

  4. The infomercial people really know what they are doing. I almost always feel I HAVE to have that product even when knowing it is all too good to be true. I haven’t succumbed yet although the Wen commercial is tempting me…

  5. Loved this. The description of the before melon was hilarious.

  6. Franca says:

    Haha, as a person living in Europe, I always find it hilarious when some place that seems pretty normal to me is supposed to have all these magical properties! Ooooh ooh, the South of France.

  7. notquiteold says:

    I too never looked like Cindy Crawford. But there is a tiny part of me (that seems to be connected directly to my wallet) that thinks I still can.

  8. I know! I have seen the “before and after” of Cindy and CANNOT tell them apart – must. buy. meloncream. You have me laughing out loud, and you’ve made the day so much lighter, Anne – you’re a treasure.

  9. I almost got in really good shape one time when our water was shut off after a flood and I had to go to the gym to shower every day.
    As to this infomercial phenomenon, I’m now so programmed to get everything at the low, low price of 2 for only 19.99 that I yell at the TV if they suggest that I should pay more for anything. No way am I paying 39.95 to be a better melon. I can get 4 pocket fishermen or 2 cans of spray-on hair for that much.

  10. Terri says:

    Hm, did Cindy drink any of her facial product?

  11. I know I heard Cindy has had some work done. Admittedly, she looks great, but as you said, if we didn’t start out looking like her, where does that leave us now? I’m going to have to research those melons, though. Maybe I’m missing something, haha.

  12. gracefully50 says:

    Haha, all I can say is “thank you” for the laugh!
    I’m sitting here with my face all swollen and itching from an allergic reaction to something I ate yesterday! Cream? Anything for red & itchy skin? Don’t care if it makes me look like Cindy….just make it stop itching!

    • Well, if I were whipping up all-natural face products in the Magic Blender, I’d probably put some milk in there. Or aloe. Won’t THAT be attractive? Failing that, there’s always hydrocortisone cream. Hope it clears up fast!

  13. Beryl says:

    When I was watching the movie, Mirror Mirror, I actually thought of what women do in the name of beauty during the hilarious Evil Queen Spa Day scene. (See Pigeon Dropping comment above.) Thanks for the laugh, Anne!

  14. Mmm..I’d be inclined to stick with the Olay. Cindy can keep her before & after melons!

  15. yearstricken says:

    Before you get rich and famous, can I have your autograph?

    • Sure! We’d better take care of it now, though. Once my blender face mask industry gets going, you won’t be able to get a meeting with me. Nor will you be able to recognize my new, young face.

  16. Brilliantly funny! You know if you would have written it in the south of France, the jokes would last longer. You use wit to question a powerful selling technique: that something over there (insert poetical romantical place representing all that is cultured and good and perfect) and your life HERE will be cultured and good and perfect. At the end of the day- we do what we can, but I’m not sure a melon is really going to make a difference. Except for the one on my neck.

  17. Oh so funny…especially Valerie Bertinelli’s exclamation of amazement. hahaha

  18. This is just so well written 😀
    Melons are a great snack, never heard of them having any anti-aging qualities, but hey you live and you learn… Perhaps melons are slowly becoming the new cucumbers? Those were claimed to be a skin regenerating Mecca.

    As for our good friend, Cindy, of course there is a whole lot of airbrushing going on, and perhaps a few extras from Good old doctor Plastic. If so, it totally works for her as that woman is just amazingly beautiful!

    Edita xx

  19. Lorena says:

    This is so funny- i try to avoid infomercials and i think they are all a faux. My husband is very drawn to them and as he sits there hypnotized, i make sure that the credit card is far away from his reach…. oh, and i’d buy your melon smoothie mask product 🙂

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