A&E // 2006 // 600 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // December 8th, 2008
KISS your expectations goodbye! A look at the family life of rock star and KISS front man, Gene Simmons.
If someone had told me at the start of the reality TV craze that: A) there would be a reality series based on the home life of Gene Simmons, and B) that the self-same series would be renewed for a full third season, I'd have traded in my dragon boots and pancake make-up on the spot! But here we are.
Rock legend Gene Simmons, his former-Playmate partner Shannon Tweed, and their remarkably normal and charming kids Sophie and Nick are back for another season of fun, fueled by Gene's crazy schemes. They really are the most non-traditional, traditional family on TV.
All 28 episodes of the show's third season, including the double length episodes "The Brutal Truth" and "South of the Border," are now available to fans with the release of Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season 3, spread over four discs as follows:
* "Gene's Best friend"
* "Liar, Liar Tongue on Fire"
* "The Brutal Truth (Double Episode)"
* "Before the Flood"
* "Knock, Knock Who's There?"
* "Swinging Gene"
* "Something's Fishy"
* "Nail Me"
* "Shannon B. DeMille"
* "Lil' Gene"
* "Ladies of the Night"
* "Sophie Couture"
* "Viewer Mail"
* "Mommy Makeover"
* "Gene the Apprentice"
* "Gene's Ego Trip"
* "Shannon to the Rescue"
* "Honeymoon at Last"
* "Power Outage"
* "Nicke After Dark"
* "South of the Border" (Double Episode)
* "Happy Birthday...To Whom"
* "Raw & Uncut"
* "Fan Favorites"
* "Gene Down Under"
Gene Simmons has been to my home city twice this year: first, when he served as Grand Marshall for the first IndyCar race series in Edmonton history, and again on December 6, 2008, when he signed autographs at the opening of a new big-box electronics store. I'm a sideline fan so the autograph opportunity wouldn't have been worth the wait in sub-zero temperatures, but it's kinda cool that he's been here so much lately.
Founded 36 years ago by Simmons and band mate Paul Stanley, the legendary rock band KISS is still Simmons' biggest claim to fame. The band continues to perform to this day, most recently to crowds as large as 400,000, and have announced a large North American tour for 2009. Although the band has still not been admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, despite being eligible since 2000, they have been recognized as America's Number One Gold Record Award Winning Group of All Time by the Recording Industry Association of America. KISSology, a three-volume compilation of the band's musical legacy, has gone 20 times platinum in North America alone, and more than 2,500 licensed KISS products are available to fans around the world. So clearly, the KISS empire and Gene Simmons are doing very well, thank you very much.
Gene Simmons has long been recognized for his shrewd business sense and adventurous, risk-taking approach to life, so the announcement of his family as the focus of a new reality TV show likely came as little surprise to anyone, and was certainly a delight for KISS fans. The concept of a legendary rock star being, for all intents and purposes, married to a former Playboy Playmate seems absolutely ludicrous, but somehow Simmons and Shannon Tweed make it seem completely natural. Shannon rules the roost and the mutual love and respect she and Simmons seem to have for each other is at the core of the show's appeal and longevity. Add Sophie and Nick...Simmons-Tweed?...into the mix and Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season 3 becomes a fairly entertaining little show.
Three short featurettes are included on disc four: "Family Time With the Simmons" alternates between the familiar couch segments and on-location footage of the family doing...family stuff; "The Tweed Sisters" delivers more couch segments, interspersed with Shannon and her sister Tracy doing everything from hunting pigs in the backwoods of Hawaii, to having several procedures done, including botox injections, laser facelifts and liposuction (yum!); and in "More Gene," viewers get more random hits of Simmons as he grants a young boy's wish through the Kids Wish Foundation, expresses his dislike for beer, exhibits his bad driving skills, meets magician Criss Angel, and much more. Overall, there isn't a lot of value here and the content is all over the map.
It's the same request I made with my review of Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season 2: A&E, can we please have episode audio commentaries with Gene, Shannon, Sophie, and Nick? Next time Gene's in town, I'll ask him.
This set delivers more of the same formula introduced in season one and polished in season two, so if you liked that, Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season 3 will make you "Rock and Roll All Night." If you can't stand Gene, Shannon or the whole concept of the show, then this release will likely make you "Hotter Than Hell."
Gene Simmons is a lot like a traffic accident...you just can't stop looking!
Fans of the series will be happy with this set, and even more so considering it
can be picked up from Amazon for less than $20. I still have to laugh when I
consider that the same network that brought us Murder, She Wrote reruns
now ladles up big helpings of Gene Simmons, but what the heck...he's Gene
Review content copyright © 2008 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 600 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Family Time With the Simmons"
* "The Tweed Sister"
* "More Gene"
* Official Site