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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

“The Court Jester” brings light to the purity that Richard Simmons strives to deliver to the world

The poster for “The Court Jester” is one that certainly draws attention, and it captures the essence of Simmons as an entertainer.

As a child, I was a gymnast and therefore quite active; before that, I would get my activity in by watching dance workout tapes with my mom. 

We would convert the living room into a mini studio, pushing the tables aside to create a space big enough for us to move around freely. 

We couldn’t just watch any tape, though; it had to be Sweatin’ to the Oldies with Richard Simmons. 

As two music fanatics, we were always fascinated by the classics featured in the tapes; “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “It’s My Party,” and “The Locomotion” were always my favorites. His flamboyant and lively spirit—and the token 1980s short shorts—have always made us smile, and perhaps, the most beautiful thing about him has always been his heart for others.

We’ve always had a deep love for Richard Simmons, even after his mysterious—albeit temporary and controversial—disappearance from the public eye in 2014.

Theories had arisen about the reason for such an abrupt change in his societal presence, ranging from “he’s having a health crisis” all the way to “his housekeeper is holding him hostage.” 

In 2022, he broke his silence in a brief Facebook post and continued to occasionally inform the public that he was well. In an exciting turn of events for such avid fans as my mother and me, in January of this year, he became more active on his platform than ever, posting daily reminders of one’s worth and little stories to make his followers smile. 

Almost any quote from Simmons is centered around self-love, from “You are worth it” to “Count your blessings. You are one of a kind. There’s no one in the world like you. You are amazing.”

It was all a pure and wholesome return to the social world—until it was announced that there would be a short film biopic coming out about him, starring Pauly Shore, titled “The Court Jester.”

At first, my mom and I were ecstatic to see a film about such an underrated ‘80s icon and finally give him the recognition he deserves, but, upon hearing his reaction, it became apparent that Simmons had never given his approval for the film to be made. 

For this reason, I didn’t want to like the film—I didn’t even want to watch it out of respect for Simmons. Admittedly, my mom and I caved and we watched it upon its release. 

It opens up with the backstage crew of The Ellen DeGeneres Show preparing for the 2004 episode featuring Simmons to begin, and it focuses on an overlooked and underappreciated crew member named David, played by Jesse Heiman. He struggles with his self-esteem, and he often fails to satisfy those around him, essentially turning into the errand boy for the higher-ups.

Simmons’ appearance on the show is full of life and love, and David watches in amazement at the confidence that Simmons has. However, after the show, he is looked down on for not fulfilling a certain task, and, on his way to the snack table, he bumps into Simmons. 

Simmons’ energy and kindness are appalling to David; even more so, David is in disbelief when the fitness coach takes a donut from the table and eats it. 

The nine-minute film is the ultimate display of Simmons’ adoration for every person he’d met, and it serves as a reminder for everybody watching it that everyone—and every body—is beautiful and worthy of love.

The two begin talking about their lives, and the classic Richard Simmons motivational speech ensues. As they sit, he tells David about the struggles he had faced throughout his whole life as well as the affirmations he had eventually begun to believe. 

The nine-minute film is the ultimate display of Simmons’ adoration for every person he’d met, and it serves as a reminder for everybody watching it that everyone—and every body—is beautiful and worthy of love. 

As for the performance, Shore looks more like Simmons than Simmons himself. It is an immaculately cast role, to say the very least, and even superfans like my mom and I could barely tell the two apart. 

Everything about Shore’s performance was perfect—except for the voice. It wasn’t bad, in the slightest, but it was his voice, not Simmons’. It passes well, but, listening closely, it is very clearly Pauly Shore speaking without any alteration to his voice.

Heiman’s poignant expressions throughout the picture give it that much more meaning, and they showcase the idea that Simmons’ words and actions had such a deep-rooted effect on the people around him.

After the release of “The Court Jester,” Simmons’ attitude toward the production changed from one of disavow to one of appreciation. While it’s still wrong to have made a film about somebody without their permission, Simmons gave in and expressed his signature love and understanding toward the creators and Shore. 

Richard Simmons, the 75-year-old former fitness coach of Sweatin’ to the Oldies, is no longer missing, and the light of his character has been displayed for the world to see. “The Court Jester” serves as a segue into exactly that: it’s a beautiful depiction of one of the most pure souls one could encounter on this earth.

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About the Contributor
Eva LaBeau, Publicity Managing Editor
Eva LaBeau is a senior entering her second year on The Central Trend. She takes on everything she does with great passion, specifically when relating to her hobbies and academics. Whenever she can, she writes or draws whatever is on her mind. Raised by an artist and an avid music fanatic, Eva listens to music and loves to create art of all forms every chance she gets. Realistically, anybody could likely say that her 340-hour (and still growing) primary playlist is one of the most convoluted out there. Aside from her art, Eva spends as much time as she can with her family and friends, and she never hesitates to let them know just how much she appreciates them. Being a part of the community housed in Room 139 will forever be an unmatched feeling to her, and she'll forever love the beautiful people she has met and continues to meet along her journey thus far. Hopefully, her senior year at FHC will be the best one yet, and she wouldn't want to take it on with any other people. Favorite color: sage green or warm tan Favorite mascara combo: L'Oreal Telescopic Lift in Blackest Black and Morphe Make It Big in Bold Black Car: 2012 Ford Escape named Harvey (Very) irrational fears: velvet, people taller than 6'7", 2-door cars, and bodybuilders, among others.

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    Jesse HeimanFeb 23, 2024 at 11:57 am

    Thank you for your amazing review we are so proud of our little project and appreciate you and your mom, keep movin those buns!