SHANNON TWEED BURNS GENE SIMMONS PRIZED PHOTO COLLECTION
The eighth season of ‘Gene Simmons Family Jewels’ kicked off with flames tonight (May 28) on the A&E Network, as the Demon’s new wife, Shannon Tweed, set his prized photo collection of previous sexual conquests on fire.
The episode centered on Simmons and Tweed adjusting to their new life as a married couple. In the opening scene, the couple are in one-on-one sessions with their therapist, Dr. Ann Wexler. Simmons tells her that married life is “wonderful.” Tweed says that Simmons is acting differently, but still has a lot to learn. She still doesn’t trust her new husband, even though he is making strides, which Gene admits is a struggle. “There are cloudy days and there are sunshine days, but every day is a good day,” he says.
Following the session, the Simmons family, including their children, Nick and Sophie, discuss the changes in their relationship, with Nick and Sophie describing their parents’ sex life in awkward detail. Still, their public displays of affection surprises Nick, who makes several smart-aleck remarks about how they’re behaving in the reverse of other couples, who begin hating each other after the marriage.
Simmons brings in a giant blow-up of the photo of the family at their wedding, much to the surprise of the other three. Although they are happy that Gene is showing a commitment to the family like never before, the size of the photo is embarrassing to them and Shannon says that it will not be displayed in the house.
Over lunch with a friend, Shannon talks about the possibility of adoption, which is the main plot of this episode and an arc for the season. Shannon then tells Wexler that she has always wanted to adopt, even after the births of Nick and Sophie. She’s worried about the changes that it will bring to the family dynamic, but she feels that, with Nick and Sophie grown, she still needs an outlet for her maternal instincts.
After having difficulty finding the right time to bring up the subject, Shannon finally confronts Gene about her desire. “Two is not enough?” Gene asks. As it turns out, a woman from an adoption agency, Robyn Harrod, is waiting downstairs to speak with the couple about it. Harrod also brings up the idea of being a foster parent, and tells them about the differences between adoption and raising children of your own. Without explicitly saying he’s against it, Gene’s lack of enthusiasm for the idea tips Shannon off.
The third act found Gene in Wexler’s office discussing Shannon’s wishes, admits that it’s all happened so fast that he hasn’t had time to think about it. But you can still sense that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Later, the couple discuss it in their bedroom, where Shannon says that Gene’s life as a rock star is still moving forward, but hers, as a mother, has stagnated. Gene, clad in Kiss pajamas, says he’s willing to financially support 100 children, but isn’t sure if he wants the emotional commitment at this stage in his life.
Later, while moving boxes of keepsakes in their garage, Shannon finds a mysterious set of keys. Unable to find the proper lock, she asks a friend how she should confront Gene. After a session with Wexler, she confronts him in his office about the keys. He admits that it’s the key to a safe-deposit box containing his famous collection of photos of the many women that he has been with. Although the photos are no secret, Shannon basically tells him that they have no place in their marriage, and that if she will destroy the photos if he won’t.
Gene tells Wexler the origin of the photos, that they started as a result of his newfound fame since he didn’t drink or do drugs. “They then became trophies,” he says, saying that they were no different than new pieces of Kiss merchandise.
Late in the show, a third plot develops over Sophie’s new boyfriend, with Shannon trying to give her daughter the benefit of her experience. Talking to Wexler, Shannon says how proud she is of her daughter. She also expresses dismay that Gene’s past keeps coming into their marriage, and they is worried that these revelations are affecting her desire to adopt. This is reinforced when Harrod calls the house to tell Shannon that an orientation for adoption is coming soon, but Shannon says she’ll have to miss this one.
Gene feels “embarrassed and ashamed” for getting caught. She wonders why he kept them, through all the years of the relationship and the births of their children. He knows he’s in the wrong and tells her that, whenever she gives the word, they will go to the safe-deposit box and dispose of the photos forever.
In a couples session with Wexler, Gene and Shannon discuss the photos. He admits that there was never any emotional connection to the women, and that he would feel emasculated if Shannon brought pictures of her ex-boyfriends into the home. As the session goes on, we see them going to the bank to pick up the portfolios. The show ends with Shannon lighting them on fire as Gene watches.
Next week’s episode will center on Shannon asking Nick and Sophie for their thoughts about the adoption.