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Una LaMarche

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Wii Think You Are Fat

Posted: 07/21/09 04:51 PM ET

Every single morning I set my alarm for 7:00 AM. And every single morning I snooze until 8:15, the time when I actually have to get up. I torture myself day after day with interrupted sleep because I believe, deep in my soul, that one day -- soon! -- I will bound out of bed, fresh and flush with health, go to the living room, and finally do one of my bajillion exercise DVDs.

This never happens. I would say that my quest for physical fitness is Sisyphusean, but Sisyphus actually pushed a giant boulder up a hill, which, if you take a look at my biceps, is obviously not something I can claim. My main problem is that I want to be toned but don't want to work at it; to paraphrase Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites, I am the reason the Ab Roller was invented.

I have gone to extraordinarily lazy extremes to stave off the letting-myself-go process. I own a pair of phenomenally expensive sneakers that look like orthopedic platforms and are designed to work my calves and butt while I am standing or walking. I think they work, but I can't actually tell because they are so ugly that I have to wear long pants with them, thus hiding my legs. I also own a Pilates magic circle, which looks like a giant, flexible intrauterine device and which is used to build muscle through resistance exercises. It's a glorified Thighmaster, but I happily trot it out during commercials, doing pliés until it inevitably springs from my knees and flies across the room and breaks something.

So, of course, when the Wii Fit came out, I knew that it would be mine. My husband and I like our Wii, but wii (ha!) don't use it that often because it involves unplugging the DVD player, and yes, wii are that lazy. But Wii Fit seemed like the perfect momentary obsession workout regimen for someone with absolutely no willpower or motivation who needs to be distracted in order to exercise (If you dangled a cupcake in front of me, maybe -- maybe -- I would run, but probably I would just go online and order cupcakes from FreshDirect and then watch 14 hours of television while I waited). In other words, desperate quads called for desperate measures.

Unfortunately after only a few uses I was forced by vanity to shove my balance board under the couch and cower in fear. For instance, no one told me that if one does not use it every single day (and really, who has that kind of time, let alone willpower?), the Wii chides you as soon as you start. "Oh, too busy to work out yesterday, huh?" it mocks in a high-pitched, childlike voice not unlike HAL after a few hits of helium. I don't know about you, but standing in front of my TV wearing a sports bra is not the best time for me to be mocked. It sends me into the kitchen for some ice cream and/or vodka. The least it could do is mock you after you're done. As it is if I miss a day (or two, or ten) I fear the mocking too much to get back on schedule.

Also, before each exercise, the Wii asks you to step onto the balance board so that it can register your alignment. For some reason, half the time when I step on the voice says "Okay!" but the other half of the time it says "Oh!" Like, "Oh! Wow! We've got a bigg'un! Send in the reinforcements!" Suffice to say it is not great for the self-esteem. Neither is the machine's unsolicited report of how much weight you have gained since the last time you used your Wii. As if that wasn't insulting enough, it asks "Why do you think you gained weight?" and then goes on to give you tips on how to stop being such a fatass. (Note: screaming at the TV that you have your period will not register with the sensor).

Of course, it's not all bad. My virtual trainer looks like an animated Ken doll and has a cheery disposition. He says things like "Wow, you've got amazing ab strength!" or "You've got great balance!" Even when I suck he says "It gets harder to balance when you're tired, doesn't it?" And I'm like, "Yes, Ken, it does. Thank you for understanding me." Sometimes he flirts with me unintentionally: "Press the + sign to view me from the back," he says as he demonstrates a squat. Aye aye, cap'n!

Still, Wii Fit 2.0 could use some adjustments. Some suggestions:

  • The Wii's voice should sound like Barry White in "You're My First, My Last, My Everything," and should address users as "Baby."
  • When someone steps on the balance board, it should say "Are you standing on me yet? I can't feel a thing!"
  • When you finish exercising, Wii should say "You know what tastes great after a good workout? Nachos."
  • Have Ken wear short shorts.


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