Monday, September 25, 2006

Family Jewels

While channel surfing to kill a few minutes before a promised early night to bed, I discovered an absolutely hilarious reality show on A&E. It took me by complete surprise because
  1. I try to avoid reality television at all costs (except for Rockstar - damn good performances!!) and
  2. the subject of the reality show is a man I would never have pegged for a 'normal' guy.
Incase you haven't guessed, the show is Gene Simmons' Family Jewels starring the 57 year old singer of KISS. I found this ironically amusing because I was introduced to KISS when I was in the sixth grade and instantly fell in love with the painted foursome, whose records were banned by my mother who was quite certain they were Devil Worshippers. But that's exactly why I liked them! They were NEVER seen without their make-up in those days (thank God, because collectively they define fugly), kept their mystery by always being in character and brilliantly allowed the rumors of satanism drive their album sales.
I LOVED KISS. I loved their funky logo that was so easy to doodle on my pencil case and I loved that my mother disapproved of me loving them! I loved Ace Freehly, the Spaceman. (I never got the whole Paul Stanley with the big lips thing - which goes to show how young I was!)
I left KISS fandom behind sometime around 10th grade, when being rebellious meant liking The Clash and anything with the word 'underground'. I just assumed KISS would cease to exist without my loyality. Boy was I wrong! From the brief episode I caught, Gene's fans are still as devoted and freakish as ever.
But the biggest surprise was Gene, the man. He is, dare I say, normal, with teenage kids that roll their eye's at 'old' dad, think his fans are old and take great pleasure in aiding mom in the burning of dad's pleather lace-up pants. After 22 years, he's still with Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed, although not married, and they appear to have a wonderful, honest relationship, complete with the playful frustration and eye-rolling encounters shared by most long-term couples.
This family is the 'Cleavers' compared to the 'Osbournes' (which I only saw once but was quite disgusted!) Their language didn't need censoring and they genuinely seemed to like each other's company. Their daughter Sophie and son Nick were equally engaging, well-mannered, and were never shown with a beer, cigarette, mobster friends, or fighting one another. There was no pink hair, multiple piercings (visible, anyway), freaky clothes or spoiled outbursts.
It was this very 'mundane-ness' that kept me glued to the television. How could the Devil-Himself head this charming family? And he's funny! He thankfully doesn't take himself too seriously and easily plays the fall-guy to his strait family.
A wee bit of me is disappointed. Where's the Beast from my youth? How could he grow up to be a father who loads the dishwasher and plays mini-golf with a fan? That little teensy bit of my rebel youth is crushed!!
On the other hand, it was extremely refreshing to know that under the painted face was just a guy.
My mother would be disappointed...

PS - it's on Monday nights, A&E, 10pm est.


Terra Kent said...

Yeah I think I got hooked on Gene Simmons reality show for the same reasons but my favorite was always Peter Criss the drummer.

Wylie Kinson said...

Ahhh, Peter Criss. My best friend Marnie loved him and according to 'best-friend etiquette', I had to choose another band member, hence my love for Ace.