A&E // 2007 // 460 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // January 29th, 2011
"I was never interested in being a rock star. I always wanted to be Boris Karloff." -- Gene Simmons
They're baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Gene, Shannon, Nick and Sophie are back for a fourth season of slightly-less-than-believable family fun, balancing family dynamics with fame and fortune.
Originally airing on A&E between June and August 2009, for some reason, it took longer for Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season 4 to be released on DVD, compared to previous seasons. Whatever the reason, Season 4 and Season 5 hit store shelves in time for the 2010 holiday season.
All 18 episodes of the fourth season are included with this release, spread over three discs as follows:
* "Sophie's Sweet 16"
* "Memphis Blues"
* "Fireman Gene"
* "Godfather Gene"
* "Economic Stimulus"
* "Slumber Party"
* "The Night From Hell"
* "Who Dunnit"
* "Puppy Love"
* "Grape of Wrath"
* "Dirty Little Secrets"
* "Movin' Out"
* "Derby Queen"
* "Fresh Meat"
* "Gene the Slacker"
* "Rootin Tootin Gene"
* "Sex & Rock n' Roll"
* "Letters Lost"
Given The Osbournes were first out of the gate with the 'rock star family life' reality TV motif, I was surprised to hear Gene Simmons, Shannon Tweed and their children Sophie and Nick were launching their own show in 2006. Expecting a sense of déjà vu, and not in a good way, I figured Gene Simmons Family Jewels to be a dud. Who would have thought that, not only would the series prove to be more than a little entertaining, it would manage to last more than 115 episodes and continue into a a sixth season to date? So why does it work?
Gene Simmons Family Jewels isn't for everyone, but for fans and even casual watchers, the show offers some amusing moments. Even though many of the situations and events in Season 4 feel really contrived and ridiculous, much of the content does show the Simmons-Tweed family as relatively normal in the way they interact with each other. For me, it's the blend of average family interactions, dynamics and relationships, combined with an unbelievable amount of money and fame, that make the series an enjoyable watch.
Highlights this season include: Sophie's sweet 16 party, Gene chaperoning a slumber party, Nick spending the day with the son of one of Gene's business associates, Sophie putting a girlfriend's cheating beau through the ringer, Gene and Nick's trip to Memphis, and the panic of Nick's band having their instruments stolen before an important gig. It's not all gold, but there are enough entertaining moments throughout the season that it will likely merit repeat viewing for diehard fans.
With a full frame video presentation and a 2.0 audio mix, the A/V presentation is only slightly better than average, but is likely as good or slightly better than it looked and sounded when it originally aired. The only extra features are an assortment of couch segments that will be familiar to anyone who watches the series; there are some laughs here, but you'll blast through the 20-odd short clips pretty quickly. I've said it before: where are the audio commentaries to shed a bit more light on the real family behind the series?
While the situations and events in Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season 4 are often unbelievable and contrived, the family chemistry is likely what keeps me and most other fans coming back for more.
A&E's shoddy treatment of the audio and video presentation makes me so
angry I could bite the head off a bat! Oh wait...that's Ozzy.
Review content copyright © 2011 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 460 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage
* Official Site