In the 80's, sweatbands and leggings were more than exercise gear -- they were fashion accessories. The popularity of the Jane Fonda Workout spawned a new brand of "just like mommy" pretend play. I was one of those girls that was given a set of Get in Shape Girl before I was old read the instructions. As long as I knew the triangle button on my Fisher Price cassette player was Play I could still put on my outfit from the Parkettes, pull up my leg warmers, and prance around the basement twirling my ribbon on a stick like I was Mary Lou Retton.
(Click to Download the Original Commercial)
There was only one commercial for Get in Shape Girl, and it has burned its theme into the memory banks of women to this day. "Get in Shape Girl, it's so appealing, Get in Shape Girl, you know the feeling!" There were 5 sets in all, and each one came with the same bleach white audio cassette with pink sticker. You had to have spandex pants and Reebok to complete the ensemble, otherwise you'd be a reject like the kids from Mousercise.
Now that adults are treating childhood obesity like it's colon cancer, it's a perfect opportunity to bring back Get in Shape Girl. The license has changed from the beloved Hasbro, makers of Transformers and My Little Ponies, to Arbor Toys. Arbor toys is mainly known for their Pretend Play toys like Disney Princess dress-up and the McDonald's cash register. It's no biggie, you'd have to work pretty hard to fuck up a toy line like Get in Shape Girl. Take dash of sweatbands, a water bottle, and about 50 tons of pink and purple -- VIOLA!
The Fitness Set comes with your basics for keeping in shape. Some hand weights, jump rope, wristbands, water bottle, instructional guide, and a carry case to put it all in! It's a bit of a change from the original big pink tote bag with the ginourmous GISG logo printed on the front. This one is clear plastic, so that wherever you go, everyone can see you're carrying around work-out gear.
This kit doubles as a very inconspicuous murder weapon. You can tie people up with the jump rope, beat them senseless with the weights, and force them to drink drugged water from the water bottle. I dare say no one would expect a little exercise knapsack to be the culprit in a blunt force trauma.
Here we have the Deluxe Yoga set, which is only one red string short of being the Madonna set. It comes with a burning hot pink floor mat, for girls to flail around on trying to tuck various limbs behind other parts of their body. As a child, I could see myself using it as flooring for My Little Ponies to re-enact the movie scene where Lickety-Split ruins the Baby Ponies routine for the Spring Festival.
Yoga isn't the kind of sport that'll land your face on the Wheaties box, but there's something to be revered about someone who can scratch their back with their toenails. If my foot ever lands behind my head, you can assure it's because it's been severed. Ah, to be young and limber.
Two huge sets were made for the new GISG line. One for Gymnastics, the other for Cheerleading. I opted not to bring the Cheerleading one into play, as it comes with an instructional DVD that seemed just a little too pedophilic. This set brings back the old ribbon on a stick, and adds a whole new scene into the play. You get a pink balance beam, which requires some assembly. I think a dense foam chunk would be a lot safer, and a lot easier to use. I wouldn't trust a hunk of plastic to be jumped around upon. Inevitably broken chunks of pink plastic will wedge themselves into your ass as you fall on it.
The first thing I love about this poster is the matching scrunchies. I can't tell you how many scrunchies I had back in the day. I used to go to Claire's at the mall and oogle the wall full of scrunchies. My favorite were probably the denim scrunches, as they went so amazingly well with my jean jacket with the cute little ruffles. I had a few scrunchies that matched my stirrup pants. I don't think stirrup pants were actually popular, but they were what my mom bought me, and they matched my scrunchies, so I didn't really care.
The second thing I love about this poster is how it illustrates the way your neck moves. Move your head in a circular pivot, but not completely around in a circle, and not while expelling split pea soup from your mouth. It warns against getting injured during workout, which is nice of them to say as you're crashing your weight down on a thin piece of plastic without wearing shoes.
There's a handful of cheaper Get in Shape Girl sets you can buy. They each come with the worst CD ever made. It sounds like they were all written by 10 year old prima donnas chained to pianos and deprived of food and water until they wrote something vaguely representing music. It's a lot of synthesized melodies and "Woo hoo! Sit-ups are fun!" for about 15 minutes. Girls today are gonna break that shit in half and pump iron to the Kidz Bop version of "My Humps."
The Jump and Jive set is your best bet, because above everything else it comes with wristbands. These wristbands are way cooler than any shit you can dig up at Hot Topic. They're colorful, they're retro, and you don't have to worry about encountering 50 other wannabe's with the same one. In fact, one wristband alone is probably worth $6. Wristbands are the new snap bracelets.
I think Get in Shape Girl really deserved another run, and it appears it was a rather good one. I witnessed a ton of Cheerleader sets sell out at my local Wal-Mart in about a week's time. It's got a certain amount of longevity to it, much like pretend girl make-over kits and walking toy puppies. It's nice to see little girls acting like little girls and not playing with Skanky McBratz Blinged Out Botox and Collagen Kit.