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Infomercial Hell has fun with some of the most laughable infomercials ever broadcast. This site does not review products and neither endorses nor condemns any of the products sold on the infomercials.


Tae Bo

Dara Torres

Billy Blanks

"3 easy payments of $19.95"

Airdate Circa:
June 1999


“The problem is, is that people have been lied to.”

“Until you have experienced it, you have not lived.”

“ mom noticed. My mom's like, 'You know that Tae Bo you do?' She's like, 'Your butt's looking smaller.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, finally!'”

“When you become confident with your inner-self, the outside's just going to fall into place.”

“Well, Billy, it seems that a day hardly goes by that we don't see you on TV.”

“People like Tae Bo but they like what Tae Bo represents: It represents the truth.”


  • Exercise By Faith

    In this Trinity Broadcasting Network interview, Bill Blanks expounds upon his combination of fitness and theology.
  • shame on you!!!

    Some Billy Blanks fan flamed me. Read the text of her e-mail.
  • You are not a Christian

    This flame comes from someone who likes Billy Blanks and dislikes my use of scripture.


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Tae Bo

Billy Blanks, a karate champion, a seventh degree black belt, and a man who looks like pop-singer Seal without the face-craters, has created Tae Bo: The Future of Fitness. Hosted by world champion swimmer Dara Torres, this infomercial extols the virtues of Billy Blanks and Tae Bo, “an amazing blend of tae kwon do, boxing, aerobics, and dance into one complete system.”

The National Enquirer, that paper of record, has lauded Blanks as “L.A.’s fitness guru to the stars.” And this infomercial is not shy about brandishing all the actors and sports figures who use Tae Bo. Interspersed with shots of “everyday people” working out at Billy’s World Training Center are testimonials from Sinbad, Shaquille O’Neal, Carmen Electra, Shannon Tweed, former boxing champ “King” Carlos Palomino, and some guy named TJ Storm whom they assure us did something in Conan the Barbarian. There is, however, something a little different—and weird—about Shaquille O’Neal’s testimonial. Those other stars were filmed inside Billy’s fitness center with proper lighting, but it looks like they ambushed Shaq in the parking lot with a camcorder, obliging him to mutter something about getting “off your butt” and using Tae Bo.

Although this infomercial makes the usual claims about lost weight and improved muscles, the main selling point for Tae Bo is that it is not “boring” like normal aerobics routines. Carmen Electra complains of those other workouts, “Within five minutes I’m bored and I’m ready to leave” (she could well have said the same thing of her marriage). Fruity Richard Simmons might go after the 300-pound couch potato eating twinkies all day, but Billy Blanks targets people who already exercise regularly but long to be amused while doing so.

Try Tae Bo “one time,” everyone insists, and you’ll immediately be hooked. At a rap session hosted by Blanks and Torres, about three dozen Tae Bo fans describe the workout as “addicting.” One declares, “You can’t even describe it. It’s the ultimate high.” Tae Bo: Hollywood’s Healthy Alternative to Heroin.

This infomercial features many shots of those addictive Tae Bo classes in action, and on the walls can be seen the (uncited) Bible quotes, “Walk With Faith And Not Sight” and “Faith Without Works Is Dead.” In their New Testament context, these verses exhort followers of Christ to persevere in their belief and express their faith in deeds. But in the context of Billy Blanks’ fitness center, they encourage the Beamer-and-bottled-water Southern California yuppies to press on unto firmer abs and slimmer thighs. Still, we shouldn’t be too hard on Billy: there’s more scripture-quoting on the walls of his studio than there was at the “wedding” of Tae Bo aficionado Carmen Electra to Dennis Rodman.

All infomercials try to build up the credibility of the expert, but this one makes a particularly strong effort to praise the virtues and life story of Billy Blanks—something usually reserved for get-rich-quick peddlers like Tom Vu and Don Lapre. Billy’s personal hardships are compared to Rocky: one of 15 brothers and sisters in the housing projects of Eire, Pennsylvania, Billy struggled and succeeded in winning seven world karate championships and starring in twenty third-rate action movies. The merits of Blanks test the very limits of language: “I don’t know if you can put it into words,” claims Shannon Tweed, and Sinbad says simply, “…every once in a while there comes along a person who’s like got this extra thing.” One enthusiastic testifier gushes, “His spirit just like walks in front of him”—which raises some thorny metaphysical problems.

Blanks himself claims that God put him on the earth to propagate Tae Bo—apparently, making sure Shannon Tweed’s ass looks firm for her next Playboy spread constitutes some sort of a ministry.

People in this infomercial are constantly referring to “spirit” of one kind or another, and the expert is no exception: “It’s going to teach you how to reach inside, grab your spirit, and take it, and take over the outside.”One wonders whether fitness isn’t the only area where Billy plays the “guru.”