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American Chopper: Teutuls striving to meet in the middle

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Both Paul Sr. and Paulie appear to be giving each other a chance to prove that, yes, they can be father and son once again.

American Chopper is focusing not as much on the “build” this season as it is the “rebuild.” Fans have found themselves invested in the show, typically on one Teutul’s “side” or the other. Even talk show host David Letterman weighed in on the father-son relationship, and let Paul Sr. know that he was firmly on his son’s side.

“You said, as a parent,” Letterman told Senior, “you said some things about your family that I never in my wildest dreams would say … in public or would say on a television show, and it made me feel bad for Paul and for the tubby one, Mikey.”

But, with their relationship on the line, the Teutuls appear to be trying to walk a tightrope when they are around each other, not delving too far into anything that might cause tempers to flare, and staying away from the “taking sides” mentality. Senior seems almost afraid to speak when he is with his son, for fear he might say the wrong thing. Everything is couched with, “if you want to’s” and “but, we don’t have to do it that way's,” and other phrases to make it clear he is trying to be flexible. Junior, for his part, is not turning every word into a study in psychiatric philosophy, not analyzing what the “real” meaning is behind their conversations, just taking his dad at face value, giving him a chance.

So Far, So Good

“I think the project’s going well so far,” Senior said. “I think that our relationship is starting to get a little bit better. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but I think that, hopefully, by the time this bike is done, we’ll have a closer relationship.”

“I don’t expect big, long deep conversations,” Junior explained, seeming hopeful, as well. “It’s just really about kinda getting around each other and, again, you know, just trying to do something positive and progressive. Something that we can both do together. That’s going in the right direction.”

Additionally, when working together, they are talking—not debating, not topping each other, not making the work into some kind of masculine pride challenge, which both Senior and Junior seemed to recognize, as well.

“Far as I’m concerned, I’m just glad to be up here,” Junior observed. “Glad we’re not necessarily at each other’s throats.”

“I think that being up here today as opposed to two and a half years ago, there’s quite a big difference,” Senior said. “I’m happy about where we are at this point.”

“I don’t really know what’s going to come out of this build,” Junior said. “I would like to have a relationship with my father that’s not based on business. I think for right now, the further we stay away from anything that’s too heavy, the better.”

Will the Teutuls get to where they want to go together?

Stay tuned.

American Chopper airs on the Discovery Channel tonight, Monday, at 9 p.m. E/P.

Image: Discovery Channel

Video: Discovery Channel/American Chopper

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