Having just finished watching the first season of Gene Simmons Family Jewels I have to wonder what took me so long. I love The Osbournes and have both seasons on DVD (still waiting for the last seasons to emerge) and I enjoyed the MTV Cribs show that Gene did back in 2002. I can only imagine that I was scared of it being corny, I mean I just idolised KISS when I was a teenager, what if it wasn’t any good? Honestly I needn’t have worried.
Yes, Gene Simmons is a rock god outside the home but inside his family just treat him like a father and… boy friend. The ’M' word gets mentioned a few times. Shannon even sets up a fake wedding, rabbi and all. But they seem happy not being married. Happier than married people do.
Watching it you have to compare it to The Osbournes but Family Jewels is certainly more orchestrated, with Gene’s intro and the sofa interviews shattering that fourth wall. But it’s only the same as the KISS Exposed ‘reality’ segments, you don’t expect the band to live in the same house surrounded by scantily clad women. As the show goes on you do start to think would Gene spend that long promping his hair, but does he really wear that red romper suit in bed? Or is that just set-up?
One thing for sure is they don’t have as many pets or visitors as The Osbournes. The only regular visitor is Tracy Tweed, Shannon’s sister, and Courtney Love look-a-like. It’s funny how they both call him ‘Genie’.
Back when I was collecting their records with my pocket money it was a very rare sight indeed to catch them on TV, which I think made any footage I did see all the more magical. I’d never think that Gene did his own supermarket shopping, let alone did any cooking. But Scott Ian of Anthrax is in one of the shows, he’s being interviewed for a magazine and is outside with his KISS records under his arm and a car pulls up to the house and Scott says, “Gene drives!”. Almost as if Simmons should be carried around everywhere on a sedan chair with women throwing rose petals into his path.
During one show Gene puts on the costume and the make-up in the house. Of course it was only since the reunion shows that I realised that they actually did this themselves. Some of the sofa chats have Shannon sat next to him in full KISS garb and she’s calling him Genie and is taking the mickey. His son Nick is probably the one who pulls Gene’s leg the most with Sophie and Shannon coming in a close second.
After the end of season cliffhanger (Is Shannon pregnant? Is Gene going to go through with the facelift?) I can’t wait for the next two seasons to arrive in the post.