Welcome to the latest episode of Gene Simmons’ Rock School! Last week, Gene finalized the lineup for the band. This week, they’ll be put to the test, when they have their first performance in front of an actual audience. This could get really ugly, people. Let's forge ahead!
Constructive Criticism 101
It’s time for the band to really start rehearsing and the narrator tells us that rock and roll is not coming easily to the kids. They finish their first “song” and Gene comes up on stage to talk about how they did. Proving that he’s never learned the art of tact, Gene tells them “It was crap.” They’ve got a lot of work to do. He then gives the rest of the kids their “band assignments.” Rods will be the band manager, Mr. White and Lucian will be the stage managers, while Francis and Fiona will be the stylists.
The kids are annoyed about the “crap” comment, but Gene says that he will always be honest with them: he’ll tell them if they’re bad, but he’ll also tell them when they’re good. He says that he is their rock. So, as long as no one ties Gene to their ankles and throws them off a bridge, we’re all good.
Gene tells the kids that, unfortunately, he will be leaving them for a week. He has to fly out to L.A. to be a presenter at the American Music Awards. In a surprise move, he will be taking Deputy Head, Mary Ireland with him. He tells her that she already has the “rock hair.” She explains that she didn’t have the hair products to do her hair correctly. He says that her necklace is very rock, but she calls them “middle-aged lady beads.” As he continues to try to compliment and cajole her, trying to get her into the spirit of the trip, Mary begins to blush. She tells us that she is definitely not his type: tall, blonde and tarty
Oscar and Felix Redux
Gene and Mary Ireland are off to L.A., leaving the class pretty much unattended. We catch up with Gene and Mary at Gene’s ginormous and definitely A-List home in the hills. Proving that she is trying to get into the spirit of things, Mary is not wearing her usual suit, and is even sporting sunglasses.
Gene gives Mary a tour of his home, which is beautiful. Really. They finally come to Gene’s office, which is covered floor to ceiling with KISS memorabilia. There are gold/platinum records all over the walls and Gene even has several glass cases filled with everything from KISS dolls to KISS Kondoms (which, honestly, seems like a much more logical tie-in than the KISS lunchbox). She asks his if it’s weird being surrounded by pictures of himself. Gene replies, “No, it’s as it should be.” Just another snapshot of life as an egomaniac.
Gene and Mary adjourn to the deck and enjoy the amazing view – no smog in sight. Mary tells Gene that the home isn’t as tasteless as she had thought it would be – it’s one of those insult-compliments. She says it’s almost as nice as England. Gene says that he thought it was Ireland. Mary admits that she’s actually Scottish. Confused? Me too.
Beat on the Brat
Back at Christ's Hospital, the kids soldier on without Gene. They are working on a new song but Josh’s inability to sing, memorize the lyrics or even come in at the right part in the song, is causing them all to lose patience with him. The rest of the band is starting to sound alright…. aside from the fact that the song they’re playing is completely unrecognizable.
As Josh continues to flounder, Dudley is obviously ticked off. He tells us that Josh is naff. He also admits that it’s difficult to be really mad at Josh because he’s trying so hard.
The kids continue to try to help Josh, but he just isn’t listening. Kwame blames Gene for making Josh so arrogant. By the end of the session, Josh is humiliated and in tears. He can’t get in time with the band and doesn’t know how he will be able to change.
Kickin’ it Like a Rock Star
Back in L.A., Gene and Mary Ireland are preparing for the American Music Awards. As they travel to the awards ceremony by limo – Mary in a tasteful black number that looks like it was made out of a magician’s cape and Gene just in black – Mary comments that this whole thing (awards shows) seems very self-indulgent. Gene tells her that is the point.
With Mary installed in the audience, it’s time for Gene to present an award. His co-presenter is Jenny McCarthy, who does the requisite Anna Nicole Smith joke, which used to be funny, but now just seems kind of pathetic. Mary tells us that she thought most of it was boring. Gene tells us that he thinks Mary was fascinated by him and the music industry.
The next morning, Gene calls band manager Rods for a status report. Rods tell Gene that they are having problems with Josh. Gene reminds Rods that part of being the band manager is dealing with these sorts of issues. He appoints Rods "Band Prime Minister" and urges him to step up and try to find a solution.
Laying Down the Law
To his credit, Rods appears at the next band rehearsal and takes control. He tells the band that they will be learning a new song: “Wild Thing.” He asks if any of them knows the song and Dudley immediately steps up, straps on a guitar and goes for it. Rods shows that he’s really thinking creatively, as he brings in a CD of the song. As the song plays, he cues Josh on when he needs to come in with the vocals. By the end of the song, it’s obvious that Josh is feeling much more comfortable. The kids all applaud…. I’m sure it’s more out of relief because now, they might not end up being laughed at.
Gene is back at school and he asks the kids to perform for him. He sits in the auditorium as they perform “Wild Thing.” Really, it’s not that bad. Gene grins and even laughs as the kids rock out. He tells them that, while they’ve improved, they still have a lot of work to do. He says that they each lack conviction and have to work on the performance aspect of the band. In a shocking turn of events, Camilla tells us that she is glad Gene is back. She says that his return brought them all back to Earth – they were all thinking they sounded really good and needed him to tell them the truth. She says that she had forgotten all about the performance aspect and working on her stage presence.
Gene then tells the kids that he has organized a warm-up show where they will play for their parents and some friends. The kids moan that they don’t even have their costumes yet. Gene tells that that, if they perform like rock stars, no one will notice what they’re wearing. He says that this will be a friendly audience. Jesse is freaking out over the performance. She says that this is not going to be a friendly audience: it’s going to be filled with people who will judge them.
It’s the night of the band’s first performance and the kids are feeling nervous and overwhelmed. They seem especially afraid of being laughed at. I want to point out to them that the uniform they wear to school every day ensures that they will be laughed at. Gene gives them a pep talk and tells them that he wouldn’t have scheduled the performance if he didn’t think they could do it. He tells them the story of his first performance. He was so excited that when he went to spit fire, he overdid it and lit his hair on fire. He finished the performance with singed hair and melted makeup, but the crowd went crazy and it was his picture that was in the newspaper the next day. The moral of the story? Just go for it and everything will be okay…either that or, always have a fire extinguisher handy.
Rods takes the stage to make the introduction and reveal the name of the band. Are you ready? Here it is: The Class. Yeah, I thought he said “The Clash” too. The band launches into “Wild Thing” and it sounds pretty good. The audience sits motionless, like they’re in shock. Soon though, everyone loosens up a bit. Gene seems to really be enjoying the performance and his enthusiasm might just be rubbing off on the rest of the crowd. Dudley is killing on the drums and Josh…. well, Josh is just killing. Luckily, this song doesn’t involve any real singing, per se, so it’s okay.
The band finishes the song and Gene jumps to his feet in wild applause. The rest of the audience follows suit. Gene tells that kids that he loved it. He didn’t even plan on giving them a standing ovation – he just couldn’t help it. Rods tells us that Josh did well. We see Josh with his mother. Suddenly he’s turned back into that meek little read-headed kid and is clinging to his mom. She tells him that she’s proud of him and that he did well. We get little shots of several of the parents telling their children how proud they are, including Camilla’s dad. Who knew? Gene says that they stood and delivered.
Next week: The band gets a new image and an appearance on a local radio show leads to a thrown-down between Gene and band manager Rods.
*tap tap* Is this thing on? Critical@fansofrealitytv.com