Perhaps one of the more unsung gems on cable is something called Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels.
It is a show, loosely modeled on the passion play that was the Osbourne Family (sired by Ozzie of Black Sabbath), in which Mr. Simmons is supposedly seen in his everyday life, with his family mocking him at every step.
His son, his daughter and his common law notwife, former Playboy bunny Shannon Tweed, are often hilarious in their ability to lampoon the Kiss frontman. They reveal many aspects of his Jewish Momma’s boy persona. He sleeps in a red onezie. He whines incessantly about money.
And he is desperate for his 14-year-old daughter not to have any kind of even circumspect action with the opposite sex.
The man whose tongue is far more memorable than his face also prides himself on his non-marriage. He declares that his relationship, which has now lasted more than 20 years, rises above the conventions of nuptiality.
He is, after all, a rockstar. So he has to enjoy all of the fruits of being a rockstar: girls, breasts, collagen etc.
Ms. Tweed has even tried to get him to take a lie detector test to reveal whether he really has enjoyed the 4800 women he claims.
And whether they were before or after her. Or, perhaps more accurately, during.
So the spectacle is all very modern. Post-modern, even.
Except for the bleeps. The show runs on the A&E channel, not one I have had the pleasure of encountering until now. It airs at 9 o’clock in the evening, roughly the same time that Vincent Chase and his friends can be heard using the word ‘fuck’ to their heart’s content.
Yet, on Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels the word ‘ass’ is bleeped. Ass, I tell you. Ass. How rockstar is that? Do the folks who run the A&E channel- who appear to be a teaparty of ABC, NBC Universal and the Hearst Corporation- have some special hangup about asses? More specifically, the word itself.
The Head of A&E takes his children to the zoo.
Son: ” Dad, there’s an ass.”
Dad: ” No, son. That’s a donkey.”
Son: ” Are we going to mass tomorrow?”
Dad: ” No, son. We’re going to mdonkey.”
A&E’s motto is: Everyday. We grab people everywhere. With our entertaining take on life.
Well, you don’t appear to grab people by the ass, sir.
Leaving aside how long that motto must have taken to write, I think we should be told how it is possible to bleep a rockstar’s ass. They show it often enough. They even had Hugh Hefner on the last episode, with Gene and Shannon vying to see who could take the best nudie snaps. (Shannon, of course, was the victress.) There was certainly the suggestion of some ass. Although so much of the photo area was blurred that it really does make one wonder what kind of strange people are running this channel.
And whether they occasionally talk out of their, um, bleeps.