How is it possible that this show has been on for six seasons? Firefly only lasted one and is a masterpiece. Such is the case of cheaply-produced, poorly written “reality” television. Rock icon Gene Simmons stars in Gene Simmons: Family Jewels which is like a bargain basement version of The Osbournes only not as funny and lacking anyone interesting (with the exception of Gene himself).
The first episode of season six opens with Gene’s long time girlfriend having left him. Over the course of the first few episodes, we learn why. With daughter Sophie off to college, and Nick doing his own thing, former Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed (Gene’s chick of 20+ years) has all of a sudden grown tired of the way the father of her children keeps them in the lap of luxury. It’s like all of a sudden she’s having a revelation that he uses young, attractive women to close business deals with insecure men.
It’s difficult watching a “reality” show, when so much of it is painfully false. This show, in particular, has seen its fair share of controversy, depicting events that either never occurred or utilizing actors and being called on it. Everyone seems to be acting, from Gene (who’s better at it than others) to his obnoxious son Nick, who stalks around looking like Billy Zane wearing a fake glam-70’s rock wig. He’s just an awful human being.
Suffice to say, I genuinely felt bad for Gene. He’s a guy who has worked his butt off since the formation of KISS, traveled the world, made money, and delivered amazing music and exceptional stage shows for fans. Not many other bands or musicians can say they still rock after twenty years of fame. To see his horrific family out of nowhere (six seasons in) start whining that he’s never around, or that he’s out late with young women while trying to put food on the family’s table, is frustrating. Whether their complaints are “real” or not, Gene deserves near-sainthood for putting up with the semi-plastic Shannon (who slurs every word either due to pain pills or a half-frozen mouth courtesy of Botox, my money is on the latter), the whiny Sophie or the nightmarishly cliché Nick.
The second volume of season 6 includes 8 episodes geared toward (spoilers) Gene and Shannon's wedding. I found this stuff to be pretty funny, to be honest, as I'm always a sucker for wedding humor. That's a thing. Don't judge me. I appreciate the stressful situation and mounting costs of a wedding set against the absurdity of a "reality" show. There, I said it.
DVD Bonus Features
Previously unreleased episodes from season 5 (oh boy!).
"Gene Simmons Family Jewels Season 6, Volumes 1 & 2" is on sale June 12, 2012 and is not rated. Reality. Written and directed by Adam Freeman. Starring Gene Simmons, Shannon Tweed, Sophie Simmons.