A couple of nights ago El Yenta Man couldn’t take me barking at CNN for another minute and flipped the channel to A&E, thinking he’d bore me to sleep. Unfortunately for him, Gene Simmons Family Jewels was showing back-to-back episodes and he had to get me a dish of ice cream instead.
Tailored along the lines of The Osbournes, the Simmons have all the right elements of a TV-worthy rock n’ roll family: The sarcastic, over-indulged kids; the long-suffering wife, the once-heavy metal-rock-god-now-a-dithering-goofball man of the house. Sure, Ozzie and Co. already did it, but the Simmons’ show ain’t half bad.
Some entertaining highlights included watching Gene, who claims to be “happily unmarried” to ex-Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed, tricked into an ambush wedding, complete with the local Beverly Hills Rent-a-Rabbi. The scene where he applies his famous make-up for a show and then makes time for his daughter next to the mirror (“Wow, Dad, your brushes are nicer than mine”) showed a sweet side. And then there’s son Nick, a handsome, self-deprecating lad of 6’7″, who provides much comic relief by sucking the wind out of his dad’s monster ego.
“Family Jewels” airs Monday nights on A&E. While some of the “reality” is obviously contrived, finding out that the dead animal on Gene’s head is actual hair is worth a half hour of late-night TV in between blog posts and laundry folding, anyway.