It's time for another episode of Gene Simmons' Rock School. This is the show that asks the question, "Can VH1 resurrect the career of another aging heavy metal star?" Okay, well maybe that's not what they think they're asking, but we know the truth (*winks conspiratorially*)....
Gene has been a faculty member at Christ’s Hospital Boarding School for exactly one week. That means he has only five weeks left to turn ten prepubescent classical music prodigies into mini rock gods. Last week, Gene made a bold move and chose Josh, aka Emperor, to be the lead singer… bold in that Josh is completely tone deaf and has zero singing ability. This week, the kids will audition for two more spots in the band and Gene’s validity as a teacher will be called into question.
Born to be Mild
As week two begins, we find that the kids have been learning the history of rock. They stand in the courtyard quizzing each other on rock trivia. It seems like they’re in remedial rock history, since one of the questions asks for the name of the lead singer of the Rolling Stones. As the students continue testing each other, Josh stands off to the side listening to his Discman while singing and dancing around to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” His singing isn’t any more on key than it was last week. We see the kids and Gene watching him from a safe distance. Rodney tells us that Josh is taking this whole thing very seriously and will now only answer to the name Emperor.
Gene’s next mission is to loosen up the kids a bit (and boy, do some of them need it!). He counts to three and has them scream as loudly as they can. Some, like Rodney and (surprisingly) Lucian, really let loose. A few, including Camilla, just sound constipated. Emperor, of course, was born to scream. He tells us that he loves primal screaming. I’ll bet primal screaming in elvish would send him over the edge. Gene then plays Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” and the kids start to dance around, play air guitar and give their impressions of a full body seizure. Camilla bounces around like she’s on a pogo stick, until she regains her composure and slinks back into the corner. Let me just say, that it’s extremely hard to look cool or even to loosen up wearing those uniforms. I’m amazed that they could look like anything cooler than a guard at Buckingham Palace. Those bright yellow socks are bordering on abuse…. particularly for those of us who have to look at them.
Camilla, in particular, is having trouble loosening up. She tells us that she is new to the school and isn’t as confident as the others. She also doesn’t think that letting go, the way Gene wants them to, is “right.” Gene tells us that Camilla is his special project. He’s going to do whatever it takes to get her to snap out of it and crack that shell she’s got around her. Look out, Camilla.
*Commercial break observation* Okay, show of hands: Does anyone else think VH1 may have gone too far with that Danny Bonaduce show? It feels like the reality TV equivalent to watching someone slam their head in a car door over and over.
The Day the Music (almost) Died <---- just trying to “up” the drama here, people
The school’s debate society has decided to challenge Gene’s right to teach rock and roll at Christ’s Hospital. To that end, all of the students have gathered for a debate and then a vote on whether Gene should stay. The students take turns bashing Gene and rock and roll, which seems ironic, since none of them had any experience with either before about a week ago. One kid stands up and announces that Gene claims to have slept with over 4,600 women. Gene immediately stands up and protests this attack on his character – well, really he just objects to the word “claims.” Alrighty then.
After some half-hearted protest and a rousing speech from Gene about making lots of money through rock and roll, the motion of the Extremely Repressed Debate Society is defeated. Some of Gene’s students say that they don’t approve of his morals either but they don’t say that he shouldn’t be teaching their class. Gene tells us that, whenever people bag on the fact that he has too much money or has been with lots of women, he just interprets it as “I wish I could be Gene Simmons.” Let’s face it: in a lot of cases, he’s probably right.
Holy Rock ‘N Rollin’
It’s time for choir practice in the chapel and Gene will be leading it. Deputy Head Mary Ireland is understandably nervous. I myself start to wonder what song he’ll have the choir sing. It turns out that there’s nothing to worry about. Gene leads the choir in singing KISS’ “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” and everyone seems happy. It’s a very Sister Act moment. The kids admit that it was much more fun than the usual choir practice and Mary Ireland says that she was pleasantly surprised as well. KISS isn’t exactly Handel’s “Messiah,” but at least he didn’t have them sing “Lick it Up.” Mary Ireland would have had a seizure watching all those kids go through spontaneous, synchronized puberty together.
Now that Mary Ireland is feeling all warm and fuzzy toward Gene, it’s time for him to piss her off a little. The kids have a photo shoot (their first as budding rock stars) and it is cutting into class time. Mary Ireland sends the kids off to class and scolds Gene. She accuses him of undoing all the work that the school has done. She is particularly concerned about Josh, who she says is taking this way too far. Cut to Josh rambling on about rock and roll. It’s a good thing that Josh is subtitled. I would have no idea what he’s talking about. It could be elvish for all I know. That kid never takes a breath either - at any moment he could just turn blue and keel over.
In contrast to Josh and his rock and roll hoochie coo is Camilla waxing rhapsodic about classical music and denouncing rock and roll as “noise.” Oh, Camilla. *shakes head*
Inka Dinka Bottle of Ink
It’s time for more band auditions. This week, Gene is deciding on a drummer and a lead guitarist. He tells the kids that he wants to see some “agro rock star aggression,” which most of them wouldn’t know if it gave them a wedgie and lit their yellow socks on fire.
Camilla is up first on drums. Gene tells her to beat the crap out of the drums and Camilla, well, yeah… not so much. It’s back to chamber music for Camilla. Jesse does quite well bashing on the drums, as does Rodney. Richard tells us that he thinks he should be the drummer, based on the fact that he is a percussionist for the National Orchestra of Band Nerds… or something like that. Finally, Dudley is up and he wails on the drums showing both talent and attitude.
As the guitar auditions get under way, Gene tells us that Dudley is also a leading contender on that instrument. Dudley tells us that he really wants in the band and then proceeds to list all of the instruments he plays. The list includes pretty much every instrument known to man… I didn’t hear him mention the sitar, but I’m sure he’s got that down as well.
Dudley’s only real competition on guitar is Jesse, aka Bagpuss. Gene coaches her a bit, telling her to shake her head. She does a pretty good John Frusciante impression…. only without the vacant stare and the track marks. Gene coaches the other kids in the “Smell the Armpit” pose – you know the one: imagine John Travolta à la Saturday Night Fever, only he’s got a guitar.
Jesse and Dudley tell us that, while they both want in the band, they are friends and that this could pose a problem. Dudley says that, if he is chosen as guitarist over Jesse, it might hurt their friendship. Jesse shyly approaches Gene, asking about the results of the auditions. He remains silent and makes her sweat a while longer.
The Dudley Dilemma
Gene is about to make his decision about the band’s drummer and lead guitarist. He says that “Dudders” is fearless and was the best at both instruments. Whichever instrument Dudley plays will be great, but the other instrument will suffer.
The kids are assembled in class awaiting Gene’s decision. He calls Dudley to the front of the classroom. After asking Dudley if he thinks he is any good (Dudley says he’s pretty good), he hands over the drum sticks and congratulates Dudley on being the new drummer. The kids applaud… all except for Richard, who is clearly bummed out. Gene says that, just because there are lots of great guitarists who are men, that doesn’t mean a woman can’t be a great guitarist too. He then calls Jesse to the front and congratulates her on being the band’s guitarist. Jesse and Dudley tell us that this is great news – their friendship is safe (We’ll see how Jesse feels next week when Dudley starts trying to put the moves on Frances). Gene tells us that he picked Jesse because she has the rock attitude He can teach her to play the guitar.
Proving that his ego is in tact, Gene tells us that he is “stunningly good”, nay, “brilliant” as a teacher.
Next week: Love is in the air, as puberty finally strikes the kids and the final lineup of the band is announced.
Critical@fansofrealitytv.com is still wondering what the mickey is and if having it ripped out of you is worse than a bikini wax.