Thoughts on Gene Simmons Family Jewels

I just finished watching the premiere episodes of Gene Simmons Family Jewels on A&E, I decided to post my gut reaction rather than watch it again and analyze it.

For the record, I’m a HUGE KISS fan but I’m not a fan of Gene Simmons television. I did like his Biography (also on A&E) but I didn’t watch Rock School. When he is on as a guest (Bill Maher, Jay Leno) or on a music documentary (VH-1 Classic), he comes off like a windbag buffoon. The man is obviously intelligent but his Rock Star ego always gets in the way. I always give him credit for saying exactly what is on his mind, telling the truth so to speak. I just can’t stand it when he beats you over the head with his ideas/ideals. On to the show……

Episode 1 SummaryGene wants to surprise Shannon (Tweed) with a surprise birthday party and also agrees to “be Shannon” for a day (doing household chores, errands, etc.). Shannon finds out about the party and turns the tables on Gene by turning it into a surprise wedding.

Gene doesn’t believe in marriage. He’s been beating that point for the better part of 3 decades! Perfect storyline…..was it something that actually happened or was it all staged? Gene goes to Las Vegas and a fan, who is getting married, asks him to attend. He attends and gives the bride away. When the minister says, “Speak now or forever hold your peace.”, of course Gene has something to say. It just comes off as inappropriate. And why would a star like Simmons just go with a fan to her wedding across town? It felt staged. The party for Shannon seems genuine and the trick she plays on Gene is actually funny but it also seems staged. Watching Gene do housework is disturbing, very Ozzy-like but without the shakes.

Episode 2 SummaryShannon wants to take Sopie to a fashion show but Sophie needs to pretend to be 18 instead of her real age 13. Nick has a band and wants to be a musician and Gene tries too hard to help. It becomes more Gene taking over than helping Nick and the band.

Another perfect story line…..Gene is a Rock Star and knows the business and he tries to promote his son. Everything seems forced and Gene is a bad actor. I didn’t believe that Gene was over-eager in helping his son’s band, especially when he gets a plane to fly a sign over L.A. promoting Nick’s band’s gig that Gene got them. The plane flys over the mansion, Gene takes Nick to see it. Here comes Shannon and Sophie, they all crack on Gene and leave him on the front lawn. Staged!

What I did like in both episodes:

  • After every commercial break, there were clips from family home movies when the kids were younger. Some KISS footage is in there.
  • I liked getting a look inside of the Simmons’ mansion. To see the KISS memories & merchandise displayed throughout what is a very nice mansion is interesting.
  • The kids make the show. They seem more well-rounded and grounded compared to the Osbournes’ spawn.
  • Shannon Tweed still looks great!
  • There are times when Gene actually seems genuine, letting the Demon go and just being Dad and husband life partner.

By the way, the theme Gene wrote and performs is awful! The show is worth watching if you can tape it. I’ll keep you all posted on upcoming episodes.