ExtaMax is humiliation porn: viciously misogynistic, unforgiving, and bleak. It preys on the desperate in a way that is so blatantly contrived, but also brutally effective and constructed like every other infomercial: Here we are, alone, in the dark, thinking about what’s wrong with us, listening to a confident woman holding a microphone and telling us unequivocally that we are defective and hopeless. They make statements that are dire and absolute; there are magnified images of the spectacular, craterous pores of a person who is not you but who is maybe sort of you.
There is such a shocking, vivid element of the ridiculous in infomercials because they are serving this to the delusional, to the helpless, to the obese, the naive, the damaged, the heathens, the women with psoriasis, the men with shriveled, runty dicks. Infomercials reduce you to nothing so that you will need their products to survive. We’re here with Jennifer, whose face looks like a pastrami sandwich. Jennifer, would you like to not have a face like a pastrami sandwich? If you have watched television after two in the morning then you have been relentlessly reminded that you are wrong. All of you: your bald head, your posture, your breath, your epidermis. Delirious televangelists thundering like Lenin at the podium, telling you your attitude is wrong, too, but that he will save you. It will only take 26 minutes + shipping and handling. Infomercials are their own revolution, wise and inspiring only in that their audience needs them to be.