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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.kymberlieingalls.com/p/editing-services.html

Monday, June 20, 2011

When Reality TV ... Actually Is!

Nooooooo!  Say it ain’t so.  Gene and Shannon on the skids?

I don’t often care too much about celebrity unions.  They are made, usually, of the same celluloid reality that invades our lives for a brief time before the credits roll and we chalk them up to Hollywood History.  But, grieve over these breakups I do not, because at the end of the day, I don’t know these people and there is rarely truth to any of what we read or see on tv.

Admittedly, I was on Team Aniston when it came to Brad and Jennifer, because this was a girl I’d grown up with, being a fan from when she was a teenager in crappy movies and television shows.  Long before our beloved Rachel Greene, I was suffering the lame tv version of Ferris Beuller just so I could learn to be as mean yet witty as Jeannie (much better portrayed by Aniston than Grey, in my opinion).

I also empathized with much of Aniston’s demons, and her fairytale wedding coincided with the finding of my own Prince Charming.  So – that one I took a little personal and refuse to watch an Angelina Jolie movie in this lifetime. 

Another of the rare couples that I have found myself invested in is Gene Simmons (of KISS fame) and Shannon Tweed (former Playmate).  Perhaps because, from their onset, they seemed more grounded than the typical tabloid affairs.  I used to watch Shannon on Days Of Our Lives, and grew up with KISS.  I find myself more drawn to couples that shun the limelight than I do those who change partners according to who’s trending on Google at the moment. 

A few years ago, Gene and Shannon invited us into their home by way of a ‘reality’ show on A&E, Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels.  It showed what I’d suspected all along, the ‘normalcy’ of their unmarried union.  Like everyone else, I put little faith in so-called reality television.  Like Gene is really going to be stuck in a desert when his car dies.  Alone.  Without his cell phone.  And yet, there’s a cameraman.  Who wouldn’t have a cell phone?  C’mon.  But it was at least entertaining.  And they didn’t make the show all about creating rumors, or any of that VH-1 type trash (My Fair Brady, anyone?).  It just showed us the dynamics of a family and their family business. 

Also like everyone else, when my husband texted me last week with the headline ‘Gene And Shannon split?’ I answered back with “yeah, right.  Fodder for the show.”

But, maybe not.  This clip certainly indicates otherwise, and as Joy Behar says to Simmons’ admonishments that she set him up to anger Shannon enough to walk off set, she assumed it was a publicity stunt, as is usually the case with ‘reality tv.’ 

It’s appearing that the cracks in the Simmons/Tweed planet are real, and the faultlines are widening every day.  There are no sides to take for me; she signed on for the lifestyle, but now wants to enjoy the fruits of that sacrifice, and wants him to as well.  It’s not a horrendous request.  The question on every viewer’s mind is, will Gene give up his lifestyle to keep Shannon, and go into his golden years without any other woman on his arm but her?  And it's clear that, based on this episode, he's still hiding behind "Gene Simmons, Rock Star."  Here's hoping 'reality' hits him, whether it's shown on camera or not.

If they split, it’s not going to send me tailspinning into a depression.  I don’t know them personally.  But it will be a sad thing to see another long-lasting couple having drifted apart.  Sometimes it takes such things as reminders, when they fill my screen as headlines, to appreciate my own life.  I wonder how I would handle being in the public eye, not just for my triumphs but for the judgment that comes with it.  I take these moments to look at my own marriage and relationships (“Paris and Nicole no longer BFF’s!”) and appreciate them that much more. 

I’m thankful to be grounded in my own reality, and while it hasn’t made me famous yet, if I ever decided to write a country song about it all, I soon would be Famous In A Small Town for sure.

Miranda Lambert - Famous In A Small Town

© Kymberlie Ingalls, June 20, 2011

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