I mentioned this a bit yesterday in The Park Bench Yahoo group, (which you should join), but I just had to throw a bit more love toward A&E's "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," which is probably my favorite reality show that doesn't involve an amazing race or an angry Scottish chef. I don't care how much of the show is scripted or how much is fake; all I know is I enjoy watching this family function. And that's really the best part of the show -- the fact that former KISS frontman Gene Simmons, his long-time girlfriend and former Playmate Shannon Tweed and their two teenage kids, Sophie and Nick seem like a truly functional, happy family. And they're funny as hell. Nick should have his own comedy show -- the kid is dry-witted and gently mocking of his parents, especially his father, and he's just a riot. His sister, Sophie, is quieter but just as sweetly funny as her brother can be. Shannon Tweed seems pleasantly bemused by the whole thing with a teasing side that seems best spent on freaking out Gene, like when she convinces him she's adopted a child without his knowing about it.
As for the long-tongued man himself, Gene Simmons is pretty damn likable. I never liked KISS. I still don't like KISS, but I've gotta love a guy who loves himself so much and in such a charming way. He totally thinks he's God's gift to music and to women, but he's also incredibly eager to laugh at himself...or at least smile like a bemused Ozzie Nelson. To paraphrase his son's description of him, "Outside, he's omniscient, world-famous rock star Gene Simmons. At home, he's more like Richard Simmons." It's a good combo.
"Gene Simmons Family Jewels" is the antithesis of "The Osbornes," and I'm thinking that's a good thing. No drug-induced brain damage, no crassness or debauchery, no high-maintenance offspring -- just a guy with a super-long tongue who likes to paint his face, wear leather, make lots and lots of money and hang out with his family. and that's pretty much what the American dream is all about, right?