April 3rd, 2000
Ever since our government decided against strippers being naked last week, America's been wondering what our erotic dancing future looks like. And to see forward, we only have to look to the past. To 1988's health, fitness, and FUN classic -- Alyssa Milano's Teen Steam. Is this what you wanted, Supreme Court? I knew that law was a bullshit publicity stunt from Alyssa Milano's government lobbyists. Banning stripping in strip clubs... that's stupid even for us. It should have been obvious from the beginning that it was all a scam to draw attention to the wholesome and inspiring TEEN STEAM. It worked, too. Not only did I write this article, but I feel fit and fantastic!
The tape's only 30 minutes long, but that's long enough to learn about all of the pressure that gets laid on 80s teenagers. Their jackets always fall to their elbows, there are buttons and things randomly sewn onto their clothes, and every time something serious comes up, Alyssa Milano calls you and expects to fix everything with some jumping jacks. That's what this video is about -- "Letting it out!" Did you get a D in math class? Just dance! Did your grandma die? Alyssa has a stretch for that! Her and her two friends will help you no matter what kind of problem you have! She might not be a "liscenced" fitness instructor, but she has a framed picture of Corey Haim by her boom box. And if you can't trust a person that frames pictures of Corey[!!], go buy some shotgun polish and build a log cabin today, because you're a crazy hermit waiting to happen.
Besides the "very important" warm-up and cooool-down, Alyssa ignores most of her workout. She does sit on her ass and tell her friends what to do, though. At first I thought she was just lazy. But that's not it. Alyssa's not working out because if she broke a sweat, the Diet Coke coming out of her pores would mix with her Aquanet and paste her eyes shut.
So her only job is counting and encouragement, and she even screws that up. If she's not making fun of them, she's just chanting random numbers. Not the kind we learned in school that went 1,2,3,4, etc. Alyssa had one of those hollywood tutors that I guess taught her a rigid sequence of numbers is fascist and antiquated. So while her exercise slaves are doing her situps for her, she's insanely shouting, "2, 3, 15, 8 and two more, 5, 7, 1, 4, just 28 more." There are a couple times where she counts right, but ends up chatting about shoes and phones between the numbers so much that after 10 minutes of leg lifts, she's at about 6. Her friends don't seem to notice, and even if they do, they probably know they're not big enough stars to tell the girl from Who's the Boss? how to fucking count. Click here to watch the disaster. (57 seconds)
Workout videos are popular, mostly because not all of them are three kids giggling in a studio. Some of them help your fat ass get back into your fourth wedding dress. These videos do all have one thing in common, though -- disclaimer screens. If you make a workout tape, the first thing you want to do when is make sure the out of shape people don't get mad at you for their heart attack after you tell them to jump up and down. This video takes extra special care in that since all the health advice is coming from a girl whose previous fitness credits are "Worked closely with Tony Danza on complicated comedic dance routine involving trays of food." Half of this entire tape is screens making damn sure they can't get sued, and like all aerobics videos, they remind us to always consult a doctor or physician before starting any workout. I know some of you can get caught up in the whirlwind of your life and neglect the muscles that help you breathe and wave your arms around, but can you imagine actually calling your doctor and asking for permission to do the Teen Steam workout?
You: "Doctor, I needed to come into your office to discuss something important."This might not be what you'd expect from such a crappy video, but by the end, I started to have a new respect for Alyssa Milano. She just doesn't care how bad the project is, she's going to smile and dance her way through it. She made it through Who's the Boss?, a series of TV dramas, and at least 10 film roles where her breast implants got credited before her name. This tape is honestly one the most embarrassing thing you can get caught doing, and she still made it through. And have you ever seen show Charmed? It's so bad most people can't even sit through one episode in a week -- she does it 8 hours a day. Even Batman isn't tough enough to do that.
One of the video's creepiest features is how the photographer carefully kept her teensteaming chest in the frame of every shot. I don't know how old she was when she made this, and I don't really care. I'm more worried about the fact that the camera man doing it is probably her cousin. Teen Steam's credits looked like the table reservations at Alyssa's family reunion. Every single crew memeber's last name was Milano. I flew to LA to try to ask them about what it was like to make a family-produced workout video, but they wouldn't let me in their house. But while I snuck back the next morning disguised as a bush, I heard this conversation between the Milanos and their neighbors:
Neighbors: "Hey, Milanos! Nice flower garden!"
While she's singing the theme song (written by Tom Milano), Alyssa doesn't put the headphones on all the way. Not just because it's cool to break the rules, but because anything that brushed against your hair in the 80s could destroy 45 minutes of work. From the song, we learn valuable firefighting metaphors like "you can't put out a fire by jumping into the flames." We also learn, "Teen STEEEEAAAMMMM! Got to let it out!" Click here to watch the music video, but you might want to work up to something this eighties with a Rubik's cube or an Optimus Prime or something. (1 minute, 10 seconds)
"Our incredible dance number!" Those are Alyssa's words, not mine.
It might seem weird to be dancing with strangers in a misty alley today, but in the 80s, it was almost unheard of to dance anywhere else. If you believed in yourself, and tore enough holes in your pants, there was always a mist-filled alley right around the corner.
Alyssa's singing career didn't end with this crime of a song. She made records. You can buy them for only $40 each, which might seem weird if you're used to paying less for shitty music. For example, I got my Martika and Tiffany albums for a chewed pencil and half a stick of deodorant. Maybe Alyssa's CDs have tits on them or something. But for $40, they better not just be pictures of tits. I better not be able to get them into the CD player if it's cold.
Teenagers talk on the phone all the time. Here's a funny joke about talking on the phone that my parents told every day I was a teenager: "Boy, teenagers sure talk on the phone a lot! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!"
You know once you get three teens together, and one of them's black, somebody's going to start rapping. Sometimes with tragic results. Click here to watch it. (29 seconds)
I think this was the weirdest exercise they did. They grabbed their ankles and bobbed their asses up and down. I know they're only like 16, but I kept expecting Alyssa to say, "Alright girls, this exercise is really versatile. It'll really help you when you're fucking standing up, facing each other or not!" I sped this video up, since workout videos are a lot funnier when they're in fast motion. That still wasn't worth watching, so it gets played in reverse half way through and they all sound like swedish mice. Click here to watch it. (21 seconds)
This might help you LET IT OUT a little bit more. Click here to see what the tape cover looks like.