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American Chopper: Peace at Last?

In the final few minutes of American Chopper’s last episode of the season there was finally the hug between Paul Teutul, Sr. and Paul Teutul, Jr.

Like Sam Cooke said, it’s been a long time coming….

As difficult and awkward as the situation is, the Teutuls at least had the courage to sit down and start a process which could lead to communication and maybe from communication something entirely better.

Mikey, another brother, has decided to leave the show, in part because he thinks it will help get him back with his father. That’s an untraveled path, we’ll have to see how that works out.

Mikey’s been on the national show for number of years, it’s obviously provided something in the way of financial advantage and publicity for his artwork. If he leaves, Mikey’s choosing a road with less exposure, fewer dollars and no sure way back to his father. It’s a gutsy option.

Productivity

The basic theory of the show is that a market exists to build new and custom choppers, bikes and motorcycles. But how big is that market? Is it big enough to support both Orange County Choppers and PJD, two rival companies? After all, OCC did face foreclosure a few years as a result of mortgage disputes.

Would the market even exist without the American Chopper TV series? And if there is a market for choppers-as-advertising has it now reached a natural conclusion after being on the air for many years?


As viewers we get to see the Teutuls from the outside. We hear bits and pieces of dialogue, we have some intimation of what goes on, but we really don’t know the full story.

What we do know is that Paul Sr. grew up in tremendous poverty, built his own business and as luck would have it became an American success story with his own program on national television. Coincidentally, it turns out that Paul Jr. is an enormously skilled designer and builder who over time has arguably outgrown his father.

In effect it’s a classic Greek drama. Father versus son for the love of….

Well, that’s not too clear.

The two Pauls are not fighting over a woman instead they’re fighting over the amorphous idea of respect. Paul Sr. is remarkably critical of his son even though most parents realize even when you disagree or disapprove you root for your kid simply because he or she is your kid.

It’s obvious that Paul Jr. and Mikey were very hurt by their childhoods, even though as adults they are functional and much of what they know came from the household where they grew up. It’s the conflict between what they got in a material sense and what they failed to get on an emotional level that’s so compelling.

Friends

Meanwhile, off to the side are Vinnie and Rick. Vinnie is a lifelong friend of Paul Jr., an extremely skilled machinist and builder, while Rick is a terrrific fabricator and everyone’s friend.

Vinnie and Rick, the most well-grounded people in the series, somehow see through the arguments and disputes at the Teutel household. They listen well and push neither party. In the end they are probably the most unassuming and calming people on the series — and that’s good for everyone around them.

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2 Comments on "American Chopper: Peace at Last?"

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  1. As difficult and awkward as the situation is, the Teutuls at least had the courage to sit down and start a process which could lead to communication and maybe from communication something entirely better.
    you have made some interesting points in this article you really know alot on this topic.
    Thanks for posting it.

  2. RALPH EARNHARDT says:

    EVERYTHING COULD BE SOLVED IF SR. GOT OFF HIS BUTT AND BECAME “INVOLVED” IN THE SHOP, INSTEAD OF TELLING EVERYONE HOW HE HAS “BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT”. JR. THINKS THAT HIS NAME ENTITLES HIM TO ALSO SIT ON HIS BUTT AND BE BOSS. HE NEEDS TO LIMIT HIS ACTIVITIES TO “DESIGN” ONLY. GET RID OF JASON. JR.TO THE DESIGN OFFICE, SR. TO THE BUILD FLOOR WITH HANDS ON. OCC DOESN’T NEED 2 CHIEFS, IT NEEDS 2 INDIANS AND A BEHIND THE SCENES COO. IF VINNY , RICK AND SR. TEAMED UP TO BUILD, IT WOULD PRODUCE AWESOME BIKES.

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