The Return of Paul Junior
One of my most highly read Celebrity Semiotic articles — “The Family Tragedy of American Chopper” — dealt with a father’s destruction of his sons on a reality television show. One of those misbegotten sons, Paul, Jr., is going back on television with his tormentor.
TLC is reviving “American Chopper” — with the estranged Teutuls going head-to-head in competing bike shops. The new show, “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior,” begins filming next week and will premiere in August.
It focuses both on the original Orange County Choppers business run by Paul Sr., and Paul Jr.’s startup bike shop. The new shop, Paul Jr. Designs, is located across from the original OCC shop in Rock Tavern, NY, near OCC’s Newburgh site.
The hook? Father and son haven’t spoken in over a year, ever since Senior fired Junior from the family business.
The split effectively ended their long-running reality show. TLC axed “American Chopper” last February and, in an ugly legal battle, Senior is demanding the return of Junior’s 20 percent stake in OCC. After a brief reconciliation, Junior rode out his one-year non-compete clause and moved into his new shop last week. Father and son remain at odds, with no resolution in sight.
I find the impending — and sure to be ugly — reunification of the Teutuls on television incredibly disappointing.
Paul Jr. was cut free from his bully of a father — but he ultimately returns for more demonstrative emotional and intellectual punishment. Is that entertaining, or is it just an MMA fight with motorcycles and arc welding? I think it is evidence of a genetically seeded human catastrophe.
I understand Paul, Jr. need to make a living, and the TV money will help him get his shop started — but sharing screen time again with the very man who tried to break you and destroy your future — is a masochism I do not comprehend.