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- Posted on Jun 14th 2011 2:30PM by Chris Epting
In the spirit of perhaps a Kiss show, it started off loud and with lots of fireworks as Shannon decided she needs to reevaluate her relationship with Simmons, so she left. Shocking perhaps, but judging from how playful and supportive the couple seem during their interview with Spinner, things worked out as they often do on TV, especially when you're dealing with a "normal, pretty conventional, loving family" as Tweed describes she and her brood.
Since hitting the airwaves in 2006, the show built around the Simmons clan has proven to be a formidable force, and Tweed thinks it's because the family is so disarmingly down to earth.
"People always expected a car wreck," she says with a knowing, bemused chuckle. "But it's not. We're just normal, grounded people. So that ends up being the thing that you stare at -- the 'normal.'"
Tweed also says that while the show capture the family in fairly everyday settings, it also pushes them to come up with interesting things to do so that the audience will have something to follow.
"We talk about it all the time: What can we do, where can we go, what helps the show?" she says. "In that sense, the show has been good for our family because it had led us to do things we probably would never have done. It inspires us. You think I would have ever gone skydiving?" she asks with another laugh.
On a more serious note, Tweed adds that the while she and Simmons have essentially enjoyed the complete, overall experience of doing of the show, the kids have had their ups and downs.
"It's a roller coaster for them," she says. "Like any normal teenagers, they wanted their privacy or sometimes just wanted to blend in. And of course that's fine. We've just worked around that. They can do whatever they want on whatever level they want. That's always been our attitude. They're marvelous, grounded kids, but they go through stages like anyone would."
The new season features Sophie's first year in college, which prevented her from being as involved as she has been. "Nick was free and clear after getting out of college, but Sophie was having a hard time when she had exams and couldn't travel to Israel with us," Tweed says.
Simmons picks up the story from the statuesque blonde, whom he calls "The absolute love of my life, for 28 years."
"I was born in Israel, and in the show this season we visit there; the first time for me since I left when I was about 8," he says. "My parents had divorced; I came to America with my mom and never saw my dad again. He was married at least six times, as I understand it. Anyway, the trip was Shannon's idea. She thought it would be good for the show. So we get to a restaurant for dinner and a man approaches, a big, good-looking guy I thought was the waiter. Then they spring it on me: It's a brother I never met. Then two sisters, then another sister. Shannon arranged for all of my relatives from my father's side to surprise me. Her master plan."
Simmons goes on to explain that since Tweed comes from a big family, she felt it was important to bring Simmons together with extended family members. "Without the show, again, I may not have inspired to do that," she says.
Simmons sees Tweed as a sort of "fulcrum" of the show, the main support. "On the show, especially this new season, I see my kids through Shannon's eyes. As a father, watching the kids evolve through her viewpoint, it's been a good wakeup call -- a time for me to grow up and act like an adult. We men are like 12-year-old boys. The great wisdom in a household comes from women, in my opinion."
This season, Simmons says, viewers will not only get to watch his family in Israel but also in Belize and a place that was instantly near and dear to his heart: Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas
"Aside from my kids, nothing makes me cry except the United States military," he reveals. "The episode at Fort Hood is as inspirational as anything you will ever see. You meet men and woman there who are going overseas on their fourth or fifth deployment, risking their lives for an idea called America. It wakes you up. We've been to other bases before but to be at Fort Hood on the day when they are leaving, it was unforgettable. Their gaze is unwavering, the look you in the eye address you as 'sir' -- they are amazing."
Simmons' love and respect of the military goes back to what his mother taught him. "I'm an immigrant," he says. "My mom told me that America saved the world many times, and she's right. The greatest country in the world? You bet your ass it is. This country has given me my life, my family, my band -- and this show. It's given me everything, and then some, as you'll especially see this season."
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