Viewers will see how that conflict plays out as A&E launches the new season of Gene Simmons Family Jewels tonight at 10/9c. "I'm not perfect," Simmons told TV Guide Magazine earlier this month at Realscreen's Factual Entertainment Forum. "I've got lots of warts on me. The difference between our show and other shows is that we actually show them."
Adds Tweed: "Oh, we're going to show lots of warts this year." In the season opener, Tweed gets angry after Simmons is photographed with two young women while leaving a restaurant, having missed a family function. She played nice for the cameras while kids Nick and Sophie still lived at home, but Tweed says Sophie's departure for college gave her an opening to finally confront Simmons over his ways and their 28-year relationship.
"There were a lot of things that I kept to myself until they did go to college," Tweed says. "A lot of mothers do that. A lot of couples stay together for the children. I think it's an obligation that parents have... You made a commitment, you had children, you should see it through."
The family admits that they might have been more guarded in Season One had this happened back then. But now, "the longer the cameras are there, the more real stuff you get to deal with," Tweed says. "Familiarity brings out other issues and we don't hide them."
Executive producer Adam Freeman says he believes viewers will be even more invested in the family this season. "A&E likes to describe their programming as 'Real Life Drama.' I can't think of anything else on their air right now that will exemplify that more than this season of the show."
Simmons and Tweed appear to be working through their problems, although an appearance Monday on Today left many viewers wondering whether tensions had been resolved. Meanwhile, if there's one family member who's still unhappy about what has happened, it's Sophie.
"It was hard doing this the first year of college and then confronting all of this, with the show," she says. "I missed a lot of classes to come back and make sure everything was OK." Sophie, who is studying to become a computer engineer, says she "hates" the cameras, but admits that the show helped keep her out of trouble during her teenage years. Says Freeman: "I give [Sophie and Nick] credit for being open and continuing to be as charming as they are. Because I remember when I was 16, I was kind of an a--hole."
How long can Family Jewels last? The family says they're up for continuing with the show for the foreseeable future. "I like having a paying job, a guy who just graduated from college," Nick says. The whole family is regularly pitched other reality show ideas; Nick, for example, has turned down overtures to star in a dating series.
"It's kind of like therapy out in the open," Tweed says. "By the time you're done, you're pretty much over your problems." Simmons also says he's not finished with reality TV. "We love doing everything we do, as opposed to doing what? Flipping burgers?"