Tune into your local Univision or Telemundo station some sleepy weekend afternoon and you’re likely to hear the language of Cervantes used to hawk an infomercial product. A few of these Spanish infomercials are simply badly-dubbed versions of English ones (the Spanish version of the Mighty Pro Grill is so awful that it makes the dubbing in kung-fu flicks seem downright artistic). Others are created exclusively for the Hispanic audience: Poder Sexual is one of these.
Aired in the days before Viagra, Poder Sexual (“Sexual Power”) touts the wonders of “100% Natural” aphrodisiac pills. To convince the viewers of the effectiveness of these pills, the host, who looks like Sally Jessy Raphael, interviews two experts: a Poder Sexual sales rep and a middle-aged female “sexologa.” These experts insist that Poder Sexual is great for both “matrimonio” and “amor libre.” (Upon mention of “amor libre,” some grainy film footage that might be from Woodstock appears on screen.)
In spite of this mention of free love, the infomercial features dramatizations which are all very domestic. One of these depicts a husband and wife whose ritzy decor indicates that these Latino yuppies are no barrio-dwellers. The horny hubby approaches his wife while she does the dishes—but she’s more interested in getting her silverware spic-and-span than in copulating. Distraught, the man comes across the Poder Sexual infomercial on TV. We see him watching the same set of testimonials that were shown earlier in the infomercial. This raises an interesting metanarrative question: If the man were to continue watching the infomercial would he eventually see himself watching the infomercial?
Anyway, the man orders Poder Sexual. When it arrives he gives a pill to his wife and then takes a pill himself. But that doesn’t make any sense! If he’s already horny, why would he take a pill to make him hornier still? If Poder Sexual really works, wouldn’t that make her horny and him twice as horny? And wouldn’t they end up with the same problems they started with? As you might suspect, these questions are not addressed by this infomercial. Instead the two enter the bedroom, soft porn music plays, and the scene quickly cuts to the following morning: The wife sits at the breakfast table with a contented grin on her face, and as soon as her husband arrives she grabs him by the tie and leads him back into the bedroom for an encore performance. The viewer wonders if that wouldn’t make him late for work—but he seems like the kind of guy who has flextime.
This Spanish infomercial differs from the rest of Spanish television in one important aspect: the looks of the women. The females in the dramatizations are only average looking and fully clothed; the ones on the studio set are frumpy and middle-aged; the testimonials feature ugly old crones. This is in sharp contrast to every other Spanish program, which can’t go two minutes without having some barely-clothed twentysomething jiggle across the screen. There may be a strategy in this: If men can watch this infomercial for thirty minutes without being stimulated then they may fear for their virility and buy Poder Sexual for themselves.
The plight of the unvirile man is depicted in the final dramatization: A man sits on the edge of his bed with a pistol in his hand, depressed because he can’t get as firm as the gun. His wife stumbles in on him and calls the police; thus his attempt at suicide proves as futile as his attempts to maintain an erection. Later, the man sees the Poder Sexual infomercial and orders the product. The pills succeed in curing both his impotence and his suicidal tendencies.
The real life man whose life was portrayed in the dramatization is then interviewed in the studio. The infomercial concludes with his wife bringing out their newborn baby in her arms—the natural consequence of using Poder Sexual. This is an ending that would never be featured on an aphrodisiac infomercial for English-speaking Americans, who like sex best when it’s barren.
Suicide Attempt Over Failed Erections
In this dramatization, a man attempts to blow his brains out because he can't get an erection. (He fails at that too!) Fortunately, his life (and love life) is saved when he sees the Poder Sexual infomercial on TV.
Horny Hubby Gets a Horny Wife
Who knew that watching infomercials was the key to turning your frigid wife into a raging nympho!