Monday’s Think Piece: Why I Heart Gene Simmons

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Monday tends to be a serious day ’round these here parts and the only serious stuff I can think to write about would sure as crap result in Big Drama and, gee, I’m up to here with Big Drama.  And, heck, it’s Beach Week 2009 for many of you out there anyway (but, alas, not for me) so today I’m going to write seriously about my serious affection for Gene Simmons.

As in tongue-y Gene Simmons.  As in really stupid costumes Gene Simmons.  As in patron saint of adolescent boys Gene Simmons.

As in loving father and partner to the lovely Shannon Gene Simmons.  In short, as in unexpected romance hero Gene Simmons.

Considering my total disinterest in Kiss (to be honest, they kind of scared me as a kid) it’s more than fair to say I initially had zero interest in A&E’s Gene Simmons Family Jewels when the show first debuted a few years ago. Then came a marathon. Ah, yes. The dreaded marathon when a woman with nothing to do or  with too much that she totally doesn’t want to do, gets sucked into her own personal little serial indulgence. When one episode just bleeds into another and, before you know it, you’re racing into the kitchen to fix yourself something quick to eat so you don’t have to miss a minute.

That kind of marathon.

Anyhoo, much to my shock (and some chagrin), instead of sneering cynically at the self-proclaimed “rock god” as I expected, I found myself totally charmed by Gene and his love for his family. Add in the fact that he’s not afraid to laugh at himself, is proudly geeky about his children, and seems to have a sharp appreciation for the value of every dollar he ever earned, and his attractions grow.

And here’s the capper:  Together with Shannon Tweed, he’s raised two terrific kids in Nick and Sophie. Both are privileged and appreciate that fact, but Nick and Sophie are grounded, sensible, and all around destined to do great things in life. In fact, my favorite Simmons moments involve his kids.

Gene’s tendency to overdo everything is a source of frequent embarrassment to Nick and Sophie. When Sophie had a chance to model in Paris, Gene accompanied her and worked hard to stay the hell out of Sophie’s business. But when she complains about his interference (Gene just can’t help himself), here’s how he responds (paraphrasing here):  “I never thought I would have a little girl, and when I did, I promised myself that I wouldn’t screw it up.”

Sophie melted.  I melted.

In another favorite moment, Nick and Gene are once again discussing the perennial topic: How Gene embarrasses his children. When Nick complains of a specific incident, Gene responds:  “Well, that’s a loving father.”  Nick’s reply? “That’s a loving father with too much money and too much time on his hands.”

Wise kid.  Wise Gene to take his lumps.

And, frankly, I think that’s the crux of why I’ve grown to like him so much. You never doubt for one moment that Gene has a heart the size of Texas. He worships the ground Shannon walks upon and pops with pride over his two children. But, just as important, he also respects all three and values their opinions – even when they differ from his own. He makes mistakes, but acknowledges them when he does.  And, gee, when you put all those things together, isn’t that what being a good person is all about?

As for Shannon and Gene’s real life love story, they fit. Perfectly. And, considering that this is a man regularly surrounded by big-breasted bimbos (and it’s crystal clear that Gene appreciates said bimbos), at the end of the day we know he’s going to be in the bed of the woman he’s been with since the 1970s.

But I promised a think piece, so here’s what I think. I’ve met the stars of a reality show three times now and they are exactly the people you see on TV. Really and truly. And, though I know that the Simmons family story is Hollywood-ized for TV, I’m betting that the real guy we see and the love of that family is the real deal.

Gene is overbearing and obnoxious, but he’s the man. He’s a man.  And, from where I’m sitting, he is one grade A prime romance hero specimen.

Okay, the hair’s not too great, but you can’t have it all, can you?

-Sandy AAR

22 thoughts on “Monday’s Think Piece: Why I Heart Gene Simmons

  1. Well in my book the real-life romance hero is Robert Downey Jr. Its just so seeing him with his wife Susan. After 4 years of marriage they seem to be still so in love with each other. And he can’t stop touching her.

    From Parade magazine:

    She told me, “I’m not doing that [drug] dance with you. I’m drawing a line in the sand here.“ She was absolutely clear about it. That doesn’t mean that other women, business associates, movie directors, insurance companies, judges and law enforcement hadn’t been clear about it too. It was that, before I met Mrs. Downey, I just didn’t give a goddamn. What changed is that I cared.

    Awwww

  2. i, too, am not a fan of kiss, and wondered what in the world shannon saw in this guy. after getting drawn in, i now understand. he is a loving, caring man. he is not afraid to show that he still loves his mother. and his kids are great. not the foul mouth, i am a the world owes me because who my father is. i make a point now to watch it every sunday night. and if the men of the world more like gene, then the men in this world would be wonderful.

  3. I’m with KATIE MACk. I recently saw Mr. Simmons “pseudo-psycho” interview with New Zealander/UK More4 Pamela Stephenson, and I was thinking, my goodness, what an immature, insecure man. To finish the interview, Mr. Simmons, 50-something I believe, lashed out that oh-so-famous tongue of his which he claims has “satisfied” 1,500 women or so, and in no subtle way whatsoever called Ms. Stepheson, “Dr” mind you, in her 50′s mind you, very professional mind you, “girl” — while making those not-so-subtle gestures with his ah-so-(in)famous tongue (Ms. Stephenson was all but rolling her eyes, in case you wondered). And I though, this very mature man (obviously not a gentleman, though) has it all, yet still behaves like a fifteen-year-old-wannabe–All Man who thinks that a woman = fresh meat.

  4. In interest of full disclosure, KatieMack and Margaret, I really didn’t think much of him in the 80′s either – or the fact that he never married Shannon even tho she has pushed for it (I think she’s ok with it now). So I intially watched it thinking I would see a chauvinistic pig and a car wreck of a family. He changed my mind. I’m not saying he would change yours, but the show provides an interesting perspective on how the rich and famous _can_ raise well-adjusted, unspoiled kids. And how loving parents can make all the difference.

  5. I remember watching him on Celebrity Apprentice where he didn’t last long. I think he was the 3rd celebrity fired. Anyway, he was very stubborn and doesn’t take direction well, but that is understandable. He seems rather set in his ways. On his show I particularly like his son. He seems easy going and a really good kid. I just remember watching The Osborns when their show was on and thinking the kids were a real handful. Not so with Gene Simmons kids.

  6. I remember liking him on Rock School, although I only saw a couple of episodes. I’ve since read that the rest of the kids at the school weren’t crazy about him, but I’d guess that was a bit of “I wish I’d been in the rock band.” Did you know he was a teacher before he was a rock star?

  7. AAR Sandy: Margaret, if you don’t like Gene Simmons, then you don’t like Gene Simmons. There are plenty of celebrities I don’t like. I do feel compelled, though, to point out that it has been a very long time since he bragged about his conquests (certainly any present ones) and he has long since been a family man. I was surprised at how much I liked him since I was never a Kiss fan. I’d say watch the show and give him a try, but I can’t imagine watching a show about a celebrity I disliked, so I won’t go there. But for those of us who do like him, he and Shannon raised two great kids who obviously love him dearly and that is certainly proof of something.

    Sandy, the interviews I’ve seen have been within the past 5 years or less, I’m sure Youtube should have a few. I think it’s great that he seems like a good father and partner, but I don’t put much faith in the truth about reality tv. Just offering a different view. He seems like an intelligent man who is re-inventing his image. And hey, back in the day I was a KISS fan.

  8. I like the show too. What cracks me up is how the kids have a rock star as a dad and yet the way they react to him sometimes is just like any kids from middle america would. “Oh Dad. You’re so lame!” But they really love each other.

  9. While I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the marriage, one thing that I enjoy about the show is how articulate and intellegent Gene Simmons seems. I was not a Kiss fan, even though I am of the generation that was Kiss crazy back in the 70′s and 80′s, and I always had a preconceived image of rather dense dope heads that I associated with the band.

    I have to say I find him rather amusing if not out-right attractive now.

  10. Margaret, if you don’t like Gene Simmons, then you don’t like Gene Simmons. There are plenty of celebrities I don’t like. I do feel compelled, though, to point out that it has been a very long time since he bragged about his conquests (certainly any present ones) and he has long since been a family man. I was surprised at how much I liked him since I was never a Kiss fan. I’d say watch the show and give him a try, but I can’t imagine watching a show about a celebrity I disliked, so I won’t go there. But for those of us who do like him, he and Shannon raised two great kids who obviously love him dearly and that is certainly proof of something.

  11. I don’t watch his “reality” show, but I agree with Katie Mack about this. Any time I’ve seen him in an interview he has been a sexist pig…bragging about the number of women he’s slept with, keeping a photo album with all of them in it. What a way to respect women(true or not…he’s proven he can lie well). That may be the image he wanted to convey then, and now he’s trying to convey a new image for TV. Who’s knows what the truth is, and I certainly would take the results of lie detector tests…done for a tv show…with a grain of salt.

  12. Lee, Shannon said in the lie detector test that if Clooney wanted to hook up with her, she would. And Gene said something like, wouldn’t that make a great story afterwards. I think Gene knows that Shannon wouldn’t do it and Shannon knows that Gene wouldn’t either. Their relationship is damn unique in that way, but it works. Nick and Sophie are proof of that.

  13. I haven’t seen this show in a while, but saw the first 2 seasons pretty regularly. It must have fit my crazy schedule cuz I’m not a fan of reality TV – in fact that and The Osbornes are the only 2 I’ve ever seen. But I agree that he is a damn fine role model for 2 level-headed kids and he does adore his wife (and his mom!). I loved how he said on the Today Show that mothering is the hardest job in the world and that a major problem with society is absentee or uninvolved dads. Rock on Gene! And he did admit that all that womanizing did occur prior to Shannon – just like the best rakes in Romanceland! (And correct me if I misremember, but didn’t Shannon admit to a fling under the lie detector herself?)

  14. Katie, Gene wants people to believe in his reputation as a Lothario, but in one episode he passed a lie detector test proving that he had been with no other woman since 1983 when he and Shannon began living together. Their relationship is unique, but dysfunctional? Not a bit. If there were more dysfunctional relationships like this one, the world would be a far, far happier place.

    Heather, I’ve turned people on to the show, too.

    xina, just saw the Godfather episode again yesterday. One of my favorites, too! For some reason, the father stuff gets to me. He is a wonderful dad with a great sense of humor about his foibles.

  15. I do SO agree with you Sandy. I fallen under his charms too watching this show and have many a **sigh** moment while watching. His kids are wonderful too and very respectful of him and their mom. I’ve watched for the last year, and kept waiting for flaws, for him to screw up in some way, but no….he is wonderful through and through. Did you see the show where he was appointed godfather to his Italian friend’s baby? All the women in the kitchen and Gene just thinking that was silly. And then Shannon suggests the men cook. It was cute and showed how sweet their relationship is. Love the show.

  16. I have to seriously disagree with you on this one, Sandy. Gene Simmons literally turns my stomach. He is one of the very few celebrities that I have a very visceral, and very negative reaction to.

    I don’t consider him to be a loving and adoring partner when he has admitted to (and brags about) having sex with any and every woman who shows any interest in him. He doesn’t see a problem with this because he’s upfront about it, but I have to wonder just how low Shannon’s self-esteem is that she puts up with this behavior even though she has expressed that she doesn’t like it. Basically, I think he knows she doesn’t like it, but he does it anyway because he knows she’ll never leave him. That’s not a “loving” relationship; that’s some serious dysfunction.

  17. Ah, Sandy, you’re not the only one. I love Gene Simmons and I didn’t care for Kiss at all. I started watching his show last year and would go to work after every episode and gush on and on to coworkers about it. Now they all watch it too. The way he interacts with his wife, mother, and children is so loving and respectful, and quite humorous. The stuff he does for his kids, even though it often annoys the hell out of them, is (gosh I hate to use this word) inspiring. He did an interview recently on the Today Show with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford about his appreciation for women. It was both what you would expect and sweet at the same time. If you can find it on Youtube it’s worth the watch.

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