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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season 1 (review)

What kind of life can a rock god and a Playboy playmate possible have together? A pretty normal one, actually, it seems, if not too much of this A&E reality series has been staged for the cameras, and not too much of the reality has been left on the cutting-room floor. But is that enough to carry a TV series: “Look how just-folks the celebrity freaks are”? Why Gene Simmons, still going strong as the frontman for KISS lo these many years, and his not-wife, soft-core queen Shannon Tweed — they’ve been not-married for 23 years — would let TV cameras into their home to spy on their lives is a question that must be asked, but perhaps the simple answer is that they’re a couple of genuine narcisists, whores for publicity who can’t get enough of thinking we can’t get enough of them, even when they’re just puttering around the house, giving the dog a bath, or canoodling in bed talking about having another baby. Oh, yeah: they have two kids, teenagers Nick and Sophie, and the biggest surprise about the show is how startlingly smart and well-adjusted they seem to be, considering the psychological issues their mom and dad are dealing with on a daily basis. (To get a facelife, or not to get a facelift…) When one of the poor kids washes up at rehab or in a mug shot, we’ll know how little of this was on the level. Tons of featurettes — including a peek at Simmons’ shrine to himself, Simmons reminiscing about his old songs, and more — will amuse his fans.

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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