A&E // 2006 // 176 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Christopher Kulik (Retired) // April 9th, 2008
KISS your expectations goodbye.
Reality television has become so popular, with shows focusing on everything from wannabe pop stars to the search for the next "coyote ugly" bar. Since America seems to be addicted to the private lives of celebrities, then what better way to attract viewers than presenting the day-to-day life of a rock demigod?
In 2006, A&E unleashed Gene Simmons Family Jewels and, due to its popularity, they wasted no time in churning out the first two seasons on DVD. As if that wasn't enough, they decided to release an additional DVD spotlighting the "best" episodes of both seasons. There are only nine episodes on Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Best of Seasons 1 & 2, with one treated as a bonus:
* "Happily Unmarried"
* "Next Generation Rock Star"
* "The Demon Lives"
* "Driving Me Crazy"
* "Under the Knife?"
* "A Bun in the Oven?"
* "Face Off"
* "Master Gene Theater" (bonus)
I'm going to make this short and sweet. The show wants to honestly present the family of KISS bassist Gene Simmons, including his "other half" Shannon Tweed (a former Playboy playmate), and children Nick (age 17) & Sophie (age 13, though she looks 21).
Unlike The Osbournes, however, Gene Simmons is acting more like Howard Stern did when the latter made Private Parts. Despite his bed-hopping reputation, Simmons wants to present himself as an all-American dad with a strikingly normal family. How much of his family's antics are really staged is up to the viewer to decide.
In that sense, Gene Simmons Family Jewels accomplishes its task: satisfying the curious. If you have never seen the show on A&E, then the Best of Season 1 & 2 should provide an adequate introduction. You get to see Gene plan a birthday celebration for Shannon before running off to a Hooters casino in Vegas. You get to see how Gene applies his KISS demon makeup. Shannon wants to have another baby, which scares Gene...almost as much as getting married. Oh, yes, we also get to have two whole episodes concentrating on Gene and Shannon's plastic surgery.
Admittedly, some of this stuff is amusing on the level of perverse fascination. You might chuckle as Gene blows into a tissue, gives it to his wife, and then says "Ebay." Nick and his dad make a bet on who will have a better score on their driving tests. Two lesbians want Gene to supply six ounces of his sperm so they can have a baby with his genetic makeup. Oh, the humanity!
You probably now have the whole idea of the show in a nutshell. That being said, don't say I didn't warn you!
The presentation is full-frame, retaining its cable-look feel. Decent audio for the most part, with the expected KISS tunes being played from time to time. However, there are no subtitles and only one bonus, which is "Master Gene Theater." Don't get too excited, though: it's merely another Season Two episode that shows the behind-the-scenes hijinx of the freaky foursome.
As for myself, watching these nine episodes was enough. If watching Gene Simmons getting liposuction is really your cup of tea, tune in!
Gene Simmons and his family are found guilty for their childish, attention-getting antics. Let the record show also that A&E is given a warning on releasing more Family Jewels than we really need.
Review content copyright © 2008 Christopher Kulik; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 176 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Master Gene Theater"
* Official Website
* Wikipedia: Gene Simmons Family Jewels
* DVD Verdict Review - Season 1
* DVD Verdict Review - Season 2