Well, fans—and anti-fans, for that matter—of Paul Sr., Paul Jr. and the rest of the cast of American Chopper said goodbye to the Teutuls and company last night with the airing of the final episode of the long-running hit reality series. Before the last episode, however, the Discovery Channel aired the very first episode of American Chopper, which was an interesting look back at where the Teutuls started and how far they have come—or, perhaps, how far they have not.
As viewers realize, the show started as “American Chopper,” then morphed into, “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior” when the father-son team just could not get along any longer. And, as it ended last night, the two had come back around full-circle, back to “American Chopper” once again, albeit still as Orange County Choppers and Paul Junior Designs. However, the interesting thing about watching the very first episode followed by the very last was seeing that, overall, the father-son made little, if any, real movement, either personally or professionally, over the years, as they continued building the same bikes and having the same arguments as the show finished its final season as when they were just getting started. And, claims that being on the show had contributed to the breakdown of their relationship, well, from watching the premiere episode, their relationship was broken from the first day of filming—blaming the TV show for their troubles is simply not credible.
No More Blaming the Show
The most obvious constant that jumped out from the original episode was the personalities of both Junior and Senior—they never got along, they were never compatible as a working team, and it was that way from the very beginning; the show had nothing to do with their broken relations. From the beginning, Senior was obviously a control freak, and Junior was obviously a slacker. And, from the very first episode, they were inclined to build weird, tricked-out “theme” bikes, with the “jet bike” being the first of its kind on the show itself. It’s no wonder that Discovery Channel sought these two out from the very beginning: They didn’t have to do anything to make the show “work” for TV viewing. From the start, the “love-hate” tensions were there between father and son, and the potential for corporate sponsorship via infomercial bike-builds was shining through, with Junior willing to glue anything and everything on a bike for added effect, and Senior willing to just stand around and let him do it.
More TV Teutuls?
It is unlikely that the Teutuls are gone from television for good. They have obviously grown to love, even crave, the spotlight. Paul Sr. was straightforward last night, indicating that he is looking for another vehicle for television for himself, and that fans have not seen the last of him. Paul Jr., no doubt, will be back, as well; he certainly has the fan base, and without TV builds, his customer base could fall significantly, which is no doubt why he spent the last season on-air trying to “brand” himself, as he indicated repeatedly. And, if they can pull the numbers, Discovery Channel would no doubt love to have them back. So, at this point, it’s just going to take some brainstorming by the teams to create a new-but-familiar vehicle for Teutul television success.
But, in the meantime, don’t be shocked if Paul Sr. gives Dancing with the Stars a go; it just has the Senior Teutul written all over it.
Image: Discovery Channel
Video: Discovery Channel/American Chopper