It’s 3 p.m.! Let The A.V. Club briefly make use of the waning hours of your productivity with some pop culture ephemera pulled from the depths of YouTube.
The shadows are lengthening on the lawn where you have your computer set up, for reasons we won’t explore—the ideal time for a moment of mindfulness and restorative self-care, such as watching Dame Angela Lansbury touch herself. The Murder She Wrote star was a spry 63 when, in 1988, she filmed Angela Lansbury’s Positive Moves: My Personal Plan For Fitness And Wellbeing, just one of the dozens of exercise videos that celebrities released in the 1980s in order to whip American citizens into shape for war with the Russkies. Unlike the other workout tapes of its day, however, Lansbury’s plan focused largely on self-acceptance and the proven medical benefits of just sort of puttering around. The tape singlehandedly saved your grandmother’s life. It also taught her how to masturbate in the tub. Let’s watch it together!
Set to the soothing sounds of fife music, Lansbury walks you through her daily routine, beginning with a “mini-massage with aloe lotion” that allows her to “stay in touch with her body.” The camera lingers over the exposed skin of Lansbury’s tastefully towel-draped frame as she smears herself with moisturizer, sensually rubbing it into her calves and temples while her face goes slack with pleasure. “I think about each demand that will present itself in the coming day and I visualize myself meeting it easily and well,” Lansbury says in voiceover, mentally picturing the many difficult studio meetings she will effortlessly untangle herself from by simply slipping her greasy body out the door.
A quick stop to change into one of several pastel jumpsuits later, Lansbury walks you through several exercises that she, Angela Lansbury, came up with: “This next move is my own invention: I call it On-Land Swimming,” she says, miming swimming motions in the air while standing on her patio. (“It’s really the breaststroke,” she admits—but who actually calls it that?) She spends about 20 minutes having fun with “what I call Feeling Free.” To the layman, perhaps, it just looks like Angela Lansbury lying on the floor, gyrating and thrusting her pelvis into the camera, then heading out to the garden where she waves loosely to and fro like an esteemed stalk of wheat. But no, it’s called Feeling Free™ and Angela Lansbury invented it! If you don’t like it, Feel Free™ to kiss Angela Lansbury’s well-lotioned ass!
“If you have time to continue, I’ll show you what I do,” Lansbury says with a clear tone of condescension. Angela Lansbury is right to mock you. You have time. You have nothing but time. You’re wasting your precious days above ground reading about YouTube ephemera; you have time to watch Angela Lansbury ride a bike, bite enthusiastically into a big, honking sandwich, don a blue-collar uniform of ballcap and chambray shirt to polish her Mercedes, and demonstrate how to “illustrate a thought with a gesture, such as [dramatically sweeping hand chop, as though inviting the Queen to dance] ‘Have a piece of chocolate cake!’” Buddy [dramatically pointing to wristwatch spelling out the ticking minutes of your misspent life], you’ve got nothing but time.
Finally, the pastel jumpsuits are, presumably, thrown directly into the garbage so that we can get down to business: Watching Angela Lansbury take a sensuous bath surrounded by “soft towels” and fragrant oils,” while she murmurs into your aloe-d ears about how “it used to be thought that women lose interest in sex after menopause, but now we know that just isn’t true.” Lansbury languorously arches her feet into the air as she illustrates her thought with the gesture of her hand slipping coyly beneath the bubbles. Truly, it’s a positive move. We’re glad you made it with us.