What a rip-off. After five weeks of build-up, the sixth season finale of Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels ended not with a “yes” or a “no” but with yet another of those infuriating “to be continued” title cards. Nine measly episodes and no pay-off? As Mean Gene would say, “Give me a break!”.
For 28 years, Simmons and his longtime companion Shannon Tweed have been “happily unmarried”, to use the Kiss co-founder’s famous phrase. But, as Tweed herself noted on the show’s sixth season premiere, things haven’t been going very well for the last three.
As noted in this space previously, it’s most likely the revelation of a secret sex tape in 2008, that featured Gene with another woman, that has caused all this friction. Although you would never know it since not once this year did anybody mention it on the show.
Yes, it’s been established, despite the lie detector episode from season two (that Gene mysteriously passed), that Gene hasn’t been completely monogamous in the last 30 years. But the extent of his infidelities have never been properly specified. The lack of complete candor within the family and with the audience has been more than a little disappointing. (If only they would submit to an interview conducted by Howard Stern.)
But back to the finale. After several on-camera shrink sessions (the one with the family last week was the most brutal even though it could’ve gone even further), a number of foreign trips and extensive periods of separation, Gene finally does something he never expected to do in his personal life: attempt to settle down with one female.
Realizing what he has with Shannon, a terrified Gene meticulously plans a romantic getaway to the stunning Caribbean getaway Belize where he will bare his soul and hope for a true reconciliation. No business meetings, no cell phone distractions (he throws it in a pitcher of water during dinner one night), no self-absorption. Gene really goes out of his comfort zone to show his true love and affection for his suspicious common-law wife on this important trip. In all my years of watching this show, I’ve never seen him so desperate to please. He has never taken such a serious gamble in his entire life.
Whether you love him or hate him, though, you’ve gotta give him credit here. The show has long established his reticence for the outdoors and untamed wildlife (I can relate) but he sucks it up to give his appreciative gal a great vacation.
He couldn’t have picked a better location. From tubing in bat caves to climbing up the legendary Mayan Temples to swimming with sharks to a panoramic helicopter ride over the truly awesome Blue Hole, Belize really does set the mood for the entire hour as everything leads to that key final scene on a pier.
And let it be said that despite the lack of a proper conclusion, Gene sweetly lets down his guard, actually apologizes (a true rarity for him) and says some touching things while Shannon (who looks stunning in that red dress) can do nothing but absorb them in a state of tearful shock, especially when he goes down on one knee.
And after several painful seconds of silence, the episode ends without a resolution. According to Wikipedia, season seven is scheduled for this fall. Why? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to reveal the answer now instead of forcing us to wait a few more months, especially when People Magazine is already reporting that the relationship is pretty much kaput?
Yes, you read that right. Since taping stopped, Simmons and Tweed have split, or at least that’s the impression you get from People. (No official break-up announcement has been made.) According to the article, the Belize episode was filmed “several months ago” and apparently, it didn’t really change anything. Tweed recently revealed that she doesn’t even live in the family home anymore and that there’s a “slim chance” the couple will ever rekindle their longterm romance.
As I’ve written previously, the whole marriage issue was a red herring anyway. It’s Gene’s behaviour that’s been the real problem, the true stumbling block to a happy future with Shannon. He’s selfish, arrogant, constantly on the road and never without babes in his company. And his long absences, not to mention his stubborn unwillingness to scale down his professional life, have led to long simmering resentments from both his woman and his two kids.
Throwing away his core, personal beliefs in an incredible act of desperation looks like a last ditch effort to save the unsaveable. As Tweed noted in this recent article, “I’ve been trying for a long, long time. I hope for an epiphany, but good luck.”.
So, now what? Will we really have to wait until the autumn to see the rest of that proposal scene? And more importantly, will it even matter by then? Shannon’s already left. Does a “yes” or “no” really mean anything at this point?
After a month of watching Family Jewels this season we’re still no closer to knowing the full truth about this couple’s estrangement. One wonders why any of us even bothered to watch at all.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
UPDATE: Entertainment Weekly reports that the show was watched by an estimated 3 million viewers, making it the most successful episode in the history of the series. Furthermore, it notes that new episodes of Family Jewels start airing again on September 6, so it will be a late summer return, not a fall re-entry.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, July 28, 2011
CLARIFICATION & UPDATE: This episode actually ended the first half of season six. TVshowsonDVD.com is reporting that A&E is planning to release all the Family Jewels programs from 2011 in two new box sets. Look for Season Six Part One and Season Six Part Two on June 12. And just as an aside, how dumb was I in believing Gene & Shannon were truly broken up? This is one of those moments where I wish I was less naive.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, February 29, 2012