The really fascinating part is how Shannon stuck out the twenty eight years and, all along, was really just an anthropological mom.
Now I don't know either of these people (Gene or Shannon) so I can only speak about what I see on the program...
Shannon, as a mother, seems to be truly devoted to her children and obviously did her best despite a whole raft of difficult issues to raise them correctly.
One the difficult issues side there was Gene's infidelity. Here, most interestingly were the two conversations each kid had with Gene during the time when Shannon had moved out of the house.
"There are no sides in a family," they said. "But we support mom."
Obviously these children were not impressed with the great Gene Simmons, KISS, his "stuff, his "money" or any of the rest of it. They felt they were obligated to do what was they saw as right regardless of how difficult it might be. (I wonder how many other "rich LA kids" see things this way...?)
These sorts of situations are difficult enough, but imagine being a twenty-something, having to hold the discussion on the worldwide video, and having to do it with your rich and powerful dad.
Now numerous times its pointed out that Gene believes in "always telling the truth." I think that while Gene is doing this the kids are also seeing the hypocrisy of Gene's philandering. So I think Gene's hypocrisy is a second serious issue for Shannon to deal with with regard to her children.
I really couldn't say how she dealt with this directly - but she seemed to do a good job. The kids obviously love their dad, but not everything he does.
Now these people are not poor (Simmons net worth is estimated at $300 million USD).
But you see very little trappings of "spoiled rich kids" nor do you see, beyond what I suppose are basic necessities of high-end LA celebrity living, flaunting of riches. Certainly they have a cushy life but what you don't see is anyone lording it over others, ridiculing those with less and so on.
It also seems pretty obvious from the family videos that she had good control over the whole family process and raised the kids in a fairly mid-western sort of environment. No "spoiled rich kids" stuff is obvious. No drugs and alcohol. Their house looks fairly ordinary (the previous one). They do fairly normal things. Mom spends time with here kids...
Imagine how difficult this must have been with Gene as a partner.
And in the end what did Shannon really want all along?
A husband... A real, old fashioned one. Not an "open marriage." Not a thirty year string of one-night stands. Just a plain old man she could call her own.
As you watch these episodes you see Gene go through a complete transformation.
(Yes I know its a TV show and I know that its not all truly "reality." However, there seem to be enough cues available to those who have been down a transformational road to tell you something significant has happened.)
From someone who is living in a "continuous bachelor party" to a grown up "man."
What this says is that, ultimately, for the love of Shannon, he changed himself. She never (at least on the show) beat him up directly but instead made it clear that her love for him was what was at stake. He could take it or leave it and it was up to him.
The sign of a truly old fashioned woman.
She didn't chase after or throw herself at him. She expects certain things from him (some left unsaid in the show but more than likely him living up to previous promises about fidelity and love).
He needed (and still needs) to live up to whatever expectations they set between them are.
But in the end it is him who must please her.
From watching the show on and off over the last several years its really hard to accept that the most recent outcome was somehow staged or planned. You can tell by examining their body language - there's a dramatic change between a year ago and today.
Personally I think that what happened was unexpected and that, to some degree, the show catalyzed the inevitable fall out over Gene philandering. At first the show was probably kind of "fun" and not serious. But as time when on the presence of the film crew probably became less invasive and the pressure of what was going on came more to the surface. (The popularity of the show causing Gene to be tracked in more detail at all hours of the day and night, for example.)
I was never a fan of KISS. They were around when I was in high school and still are to this day.
But Gene has made a living out of being the "Hugh Hefner" of the rock world - rock'n'roll, party, womanizing, etc.
I imagine that this change for him is on the one hand easy - because of his love for Shannon - and difficult because it sort of invalidates his prior forty years of being a "bad boy."
What gives me hope is the "Boot Camp" and "Israel" episodes. Here its obvious that Gene is really trying to work through various personal issues - particularly with his family and his father. Without reflecting on and changing how he views these issues I doubt he would be able to change his lifestyle.
But making the effort to change how he feels about such important personal matters shows the way to changing how he thinks about women, Shannon and his daughter.
Ultimately the sharpest barb thrown, and perhaps the most effective, is the point where someone asks "how many nineteen year olds has he slept with?" (His daughter is nineteen.)
That's a really touch nut to swallow regardless of who you are.
Will Gene give up his former lifestyle...?
He must in order to keep Shannon.
Shannon, on the other hand, seems happy to have finally gotten what I think she probably always wanted: a husband. Gene was always, to a point, an excellent father figure for his children - so Shannon mostly, I think, got what she wanted there.
There will be future issues with the kids regarding Gene's past behavior - but I would think they can be resolved over time.
Ultimately this is a story about how "Anthropological Mom" triumphs over "The Demon."
But the jury will be out for some time...