“Not to be used by pregnant women, people with pacemakers, or epileptics” warns the gentle disclaimer that appears midway through the Dr. Ho Muscle Massager infomercial. After watching the device in action, viewers will suspect that for epileptics Dr. Ho is not really dangerous—it’s merely redundant.
The Soothing Seizures of Dr. Ho
Throughout this infomercial, Dr. Michael Ho attaches his namesake device to human flesh and then gleefully turns up the juice. We are repeatedly subjected to the sight of arms, shoulders, legs, necks, even the soles of feet twitching spasmodically. And everyone sticks to the story that these rapidly convulsing muscles are actually receiving a soothing, relaxing massage. So who ya gonna believe: the Dr. Ho infomercial or your own lying eyes?
Dr. Ho and His Ho’s
To distract viewers for all the involuntary muscle contractions, the Dr. Ho infomercial relies on a tried-and-true formula: T & A. This program is set beside a pool where dozens of men and women are lounging in their swimwear. All the women have model-quality looks, which is probably not an accident. One of these women is a blonde hottie named Cindy who asks, “Would this help someone who works on a computer all day because I do”—which probably means she works as a Web cam girl. The doctor attaches his device to her “wrist and forearm” and Cindy very helpfully holds that wrist and forearm across her chest, letting us all enjoy an eyeful of her rather exquisite cleavage.
Later Dr. Ho demonstrates how effective his invention is for massaging the “hip” by hooking it up to Jeanine, a dancer who sports a high-cut bikini and a first-rate rear. As Jeanine tries out the machine, Dr. Ho keeps shouting, “It’s great for the hip muscles, you know…It’s massaging those hip muscles.” Hey, Doc—the “hip” ain’t the body part anybody’s thinking about right now.
Dr. Ho and His Hostess
Another attractive woman who appears here is the Asian hostess. (I think she might be Dr. Ho’s wife, but because I don’t have the first five minutes of this infomercial on tape I can’t be sure.) Sheathed in a gray sack dress, the hostess is the only fully-clothed female around the pool. That fact, along with her upswept hair and makeup, give the hostess a vaguely madamish air. This is especially evident in one scene. The hostess assures a timid barely-legal girl, “I promise it won’t hurt.” She then guides the frightened female into the clutches of Dr. Ho, saying, “Michael, Jennifer here is scared to try Dr. Ho.” The good doctor presses the wires against her skin and enthusiastically describes the things the electrical impulses are doing to her body.
If there is something in this infomercial other than T & A to distract viewers from the electrically-induced muscle contractions, it would have to be the upbeat and animated manner of Dr. Michael Ho. This is most apparent when he narrates how it feels to use the Dr. Ho Muscle Massager:
Each mode gives you four massaging techniques. The first setting is like someone using their palms that goes ooooooh ooooooh. And then using their thumbs and going squeeeezing squeeeeezing. And then level 2, you can try that, it’s like someone goes chop chop chop chop chop chop chop chop. And they’re pounding pounding from side to side. And then level 3, some of you will love this one. It’s like little magical fingers under your skin just go WwwooooHoooo. And the ruuuubing ruuuuubing. And the squeeeze squeeeze. And finally it will pick your muscle up, let it drop, to give you that total relaxation sensation.
Dr. Ho and the Abolition of Man
And don’t dismiss this effort to sell that “total relaxation sensation” as sexist just because it relies so much on female pulchritude. There is actually a theme of misandry that runs throughout this program. One fetching blonde who tries out Dr. Ho as she lounges on a pool chair states, “Never mind men. You don’t need men at home.” Another woman insists, “I can use it myself. I don’t have to bug my husband anymore.” And yet another woman comes to the ineluctable conclusion that men have been rendered obsolete: “I must be honest—Dr. Ho gives me a massage much longer than my husband would.” It makes you wonder just what kind of satisfaction our doctor gets from having his eponymous gadget busily cuckolding untold numbers of men.
The Greatness of Dr. Ho
Infomercials never tire of touting the miracle-working powers of electric gizmos, and this program is a fabulous addition to the genre. In fact, several of the themes featured here are reminiscent of the best elements of many classic infomercials. The greatness of the Dr. Ho Muscle Massager infomercial comes from combining the style of Tom Vu with the voltage of Rejuvenique.
"Jennifer Here is Scared to Try Dr. Ho"
Jennifer, a young lady in a bikini, gets her first time trying the Dr. Ho massager captured on video. Meanwhile, Dr. Ho goes wild trying to describe how his muscle machine really feels.
Men: Meet Your Replacement
Dr. Ho hooks up his contraption to a fetching blonde in a bikini, who giggles, "You don't need men at home!"