9/2 Recap - Playing Your Way Out of a Paper Bag
Welcome to the latest episode of Gene Simmons’ Rock School! This is the show with the coolest lead-in music ever. Seriously, every week when I hear Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” I can’t help but get into it. Take that Donald Trump! Last week, Gene picked a drummer and a guitarist and tried to release Camilla’s inner rebel. This week, the kids audition for keyboard and bass and Gene has another go at Camilla and tries to remove the stick from her…. well, wherever sticks are that make you uptight (PG-13 rewrite).
Gene is now into his third week of teaching at Christ's Hospital Boarding School and the bloom is off the rose, so-to-speak. While Gene is conducting auditions for the band’s keyboard player, the rest of the kids are left to their own devices. They’re passing notes, falling asleep…. normal behavior for children their age. Of course, these aren’t normal children – they’re attending the educational equivalent of Stepford High: Victorian Edition, so this behavior is totally unacceptable. The kids tell us that Gene has no lesson plan and is totally unorganized. There is no discipline in his class.
While the rest of the kids learn to build a bomb, work on plans for a career as an actuary…. and complete their English-Elvish Dictionary (you know who you are), Gene works with Camilla, as she tries to find her inner rock god. He persuades her to muss up her hair and she proceeds to bash around on the keyboard. She begins playing a specific piece but then really starts riffing. She says that it was horrid, but Gene seems to enjoy the fact that Camilla is letting loose a little. Next up is Kwame and, as he is playing, Gene turns to the camera and mouths the word “wow.” Kwame tells us that he really wants in the band and, even more than that, he does not want to end up as the band manager or the water boy.
How do You Make a Hormone? Tell her you’re a cop *rimshot*
Apparently, rock and roll does lead to sex because it looks like puberty has hit at least two of the students. Frances and Dudley have got a little puppy love going on. It’s so obvious that even self-involved Gene has picked up on it. He teases Frances gently about it as she blushes and says “Geeeeeene". In separate interviews, Frances and Dudley talk about their budding relationship and Dudley even cites Gene’s rock and roll class as a factor. I don’t know how a physical attraction could happen when those two are wearing those god awful uniforms, but then again, hormones are a powerful thing. We’re then treated a montage of Dudders and Frances in the throes of young love – they’re walking together, hanging on each other and even *gasp* kissing. (I’m sure Mary Ireland would be scandalized)
Hello? Is This Thing On?
Every week at Christ’s Hospital, there is a showcase of musical talent for the members of the local community. This week, Gene will be headlining. Let me just say that the “local community” must include the local rest home, ‘cause I only saw two people under the age of 60 in that group. Then again, considering how old Gene is, this actually is his peer group. Scary. Gene steps up and sings “Rock & Roll All Nite” – after prodding the audience into clapping along – and it seems to go pretty well. Some of them almost look like they’re enjoying the show. Others look horrified. Gene finishes up and is met by golf claps. Some of the audience members say that they enjoyed a little something different. A few people say they enjoy that sort of thing…. in small doses. I’m guessing that none of these people will be buying tickets for the next KISS reunion tour.
Gene returns to the country inn where he is staying and has very sedate dinner. He says the place feels like a haunted house: quiet, deserted… no girls around. Aha. Now we’re at the crux of the issue. Gene is horny. He hops into a car and goes down the road to Ye Olde Strip Club for drinks and a lap dance. All is well in his world now.
Back at the dorms, the kids mug and do Gene Simmons impressions for the camera. They take turns putting plastic garbage bag wigs on and waxing poetic about sex, drugs and rock and roll. KwameGene says that sex, money and KISS is everything! Oddly, FionaGene has a southern accent.
Come on Doooowwwwn!
Everyone is gathered in the auditorium for the bass auditions. Gene says that, because no one really has any experience with the bass, everyone will be trying out. He tells the kids that they must play the bass aggressively, like a weapon.
First up is Richard, followed by Lucian. Neither of them are all that impressive. Next up is Camilla, who tells us that she definitely does not want to be the bass player (Hey, is that Foreshadowing over in the corner? What is he doing here?). She gets up there and proceeds to play the same note over and over – just like Gene said they could. We also see Frances take a stab at bass, with less than stellar results. Gene tells us what we already knew: no one knows how to play bass – they don’t understand pitch, they can’t hold a pick and they don’t know how to position their fingers on the fret board. Ahem…. as their teacher, maybe that’s something you could teach them, Gene. Just a thought.
While the auditions are going on, Deputy Head Mary Ireland comes in to watch. She says that the kids all look bored since Gene is focusing his attention on only one of them at a time
Guys Who Need Baths and Play Guitar
In an effort to infuse the kids with a little enthusiasm, Gene decides to take them to see a KISS tribute band. Shockingly, Mary Ireland is going along for the ride – probably to chaperone Gene and make sure he doesn’t turn the kids to devil worship. This will not only get them into the rock spirit, it will feed his huge ego as well so: win-win. As the concert gets going, we get shots of the crowd going crazy like it’s the real thing. They jump up and down, bang their heads and act like the usual metal audience (not like I’d know anything about that *ahem*). Cut to Gene’s kids sitting in their seats, hands in their laps, like they’re listening to chamber music. Baby steps, I guess.
After the show, Gene takes the kids backstage to meet the band and discuss the performance. He points out that it was not just about musicianship (thank God) – it was about giving a performance as well. Each member of the band will have to learn how to put on a show. Gene gives the tribute band’s energy and spirit a thumbs up – tellingly, he doesn’t comment on their musical skills. He says that the concert was a way to get the kids to understand the visual aspect of being in a band.
The kids tell us that they enjoyed the show and even Mary Ireland appreciated the showmanship. The music she says wasn’t good but (and this is muy bitchy) what can you expect: they were singing KISS songs. MEE. OW. You know how, in junior high, you make fun of the kid you really like? Methinks Miss Mary’s got a thing for Gene. Marks my words people, she’s harboring some lustful thoughts and a kitten-with-a-whip persona under that sturdy, gray, librarian exterior.
And the Nominees Are…
It’s time for the band lineup to be announced. There are seven kids left and only two spots in the band. After three weeks, they have all gotten into this project and all really want to be in the band. Apparently, no one wants to be the band manager or the stylist…. or the water boy. I didn’t know there were water boys in rock and roll – it’s probably more like the Alcohol Boy, but it’s sweet that the kids are so naïve.
Gene stands on the stage and begins to list the band members…. On drums, will be Dudders (Dudley)…. on guitar, Bagpuss (Jesse)….. on keyboards, Mr. Cool (Kwame)…on bass… well… After having every one of the kids audition for bass, Gene still isn’t convinced that any of them should do it. He’s going to try an experiment. He will pick one person to play bass on a trial basis. If that person doesn’t work out, he’ll try someone else. The first bass player will be Camilla. After all that talk about not wanting to be the bass player, Camilla looks pretty well chuffed to have been picked.
The other kids express their disappointment at not being picked – Richard, Lucian and Rodney, in particular, really wanted to be in the band. Fiona and Frances are ticked off about the way that Gene is completely ignoring the kids who did not make the band. He is up on stage, coaching the band, while the other five sit around with nothing to do. Fran and Fi have finally had enough and they just up and leave. They tell us that, while he probably made the right decisions, with respect to the band members, he didn’t handle the rest of them right. Frances says that he should have known how to handle the situation because he’s like, 60. Fiona smirks.
Gene turns around and sees that some of the kids have left class. He tells us that he doesn’t really care: he feels he made the right decisions and it not really bothered that the other kids are upset. He says that life is full of disappointments and they will just have to get used to that. “Welcome to life on Earth” he says. So, I guess Gene’s next project isn’t a set of personal motivation tapes.
As the episode closes, and with the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” playing, we get the obligatory shot of the band members walking together toward the camera.
Next week: The remaining kids find out their role in the band, tensions boil over as the band gets going and Josh can’t stay in time.
Everything Critical@fansofreality.com learned about boarding school head mistresses she learned from watching Three Men and a Little Lady.