I’ve always thought it would be a genius idea to mass-market a TV whose power is generated by an attached exercise bike. Want to know if Kate and Sawyer get off the island? Hit the pedal. Did Beauty and the Geek’s Megan really tackle a sheep wearing nothing but a bikini? Hit the pedal. It’s the perfect solution for getting lazy TV addicts like me out of a permanent state of recline on my couch (short of, you know, actually putting on sneakers and exercising). Fisher-Price clearly thought so as well, as they are launching just such a product to help battle childhood obesity: the Smart Cycle, a mini-stationary bike for 3 to 5 year olds that only lets the rider view the TV screen and play games when in motion.
To promote their shiny new product, the F-P folks decided to go with a child-like spokesmodel: 58-year-old oldies sweat-er Richard Simmons who, while not so new, was certainly quite shiny in his now trademark bejeweled tank and striped short shorts at the announcement at Toy Fair in New York City today. Taking about his own childhood obesity problem — the New Orleans native topped out at 268 pounds when the graduated from high school (“If it was fried, it was my friend”) — Simmons (who also has the softest hands of any guy I’ve ever met) eagerly chatted up the product, and mentioned to me that he’s actually in the process of gearing up for his first Congressional hearing to promote a fitness bill he’s been discussing with Congressman Wamp of Tennessee. Richard Simmons in a suit? There better be some rhinestones on that sucker.